Beyond politics: How Americans compare Biden's and Trump's abilities in other realms

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
June 26, 2024, 4:32 PM GMT+0

While much attention has been given to Joe Biden's and Donald Trump's handling of political issues, we wanted to know how Americans perceive the candidates' abilities in more relatable, apolitical contexts. To this end, we asked Americans to compare the two leading presidential candidates in 20 situations. The results reveal that Biden is more likely to be seen as superior to Trump in the personal realm — including giving advice, helping others, and being hospitable. Trump, by contrast, is viewed as more likely to best Biden in physical and mental pursuits.

More say that compared to Trump, Biden would be more likely to help a stranger (46% say Biden vs. 30% Trump), be a better houseguest (44% vs. 29%), give better relationship advice (44% vs. 21%), be more likely to return a lost wallet (43% vs. 27%), give better parenting advice (42% vs. 27%), be more likely to keep a secret (41% vs. 23%), and be a more trustworthy babysitter (38% vs. 27%).

Trump, on the other hand, is seen as more likely than Biden to win in contests between the candidates of arm wrestling (52% say Trump vs. 14% Biden) and poker (47% vs. 16%). More also think that compared to Biden, Trump would be better at giving financial advice (47% vs. 31%), remembering birthdays (40% vs. 28%), surviving on a deserted island (39% vs. 24%), winning at trivia (37% vs. 30%), and imitating celebrity voices (37% vs. 8%).

Each candidate's supporters believe that their candidate is more likely to have an advantage in nearly all of the scenarios asked about. But one-quarter of people who plan to vote for Biden think Trump would win at arm wrestling, and a similar proportion think he would be better than Biden at imitating celebrity voices.

Biden supporters are more likely to say that Trump would spend more time getting ready in the morning; Trump supporters are split on this question, with slightly more agreeing that Trump's getting-ready routine would outlast Biden's than the other way around.


— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the results for this YouGov poll

Methodology: This poll was conducted online on May 17 - 20, 2024 among 1,122 U.S. adult citizens. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to November 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (33% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 4%.

Image: Getty