Americans of different ages feel very differently about Joe Biden's performance as president, as well as his handling of specific issues, according to polling by the Economist/YouGov conducted throughout his presidency. While Biden's net job-approval rating — the percentage who say they approve of his handling of the job minus the percentage who disapprove — has fallen since the start of his presidency within each age group, our latest analysis shows a significant bump in approval among younger Americans in recent months.
We also find significant age gaps in evaluations of Biden's handling of specific issues, with younger Americans (ages 18 to 44) being more likely than older Americans (45 and older) to approve of his performance. The largest gap between younger and older Americans is on immigration, an issue on which older Americans are especially likely to disapprove of Biden's handling. Other issues with sizable age gaps in recent months include COVID-19, national security, foreign policy, jobs and the economy, taxes and government spending, and crime.
For most issues, Biden began his presidency receiving higher ratings from younger rather than older Americans. Toward the end of his first year as president, age groups began to converge in their evaluations of him, primarily as a result of younger Americans souring on his performance. As 2022 has progressed, approval of his approach to most issues has risen among younger Americans; exceptions include abortion as well as jobs and the economy. Among older Americans, evaluations of Biden's handling of most issues polled have continued to fall steadily.
Age also plays a role in how Americans say they intend to vote in the forthcoming 2022 Congressional elections. While younger voters are increasingly breaking for Democrats, Americans 65 and older are increasingly moving toward Republicans.
– Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contribute to this article
This poll was conducted on September 10 - 13, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.
Image: Getty (Alex Wong)