Most Americans aren’t concerned about the presidential candidates’ ages

August 09, 2020, 7:00 PM UTC

Whichever man wins in November, President Donald Trump or the presumptive Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, he will become the oldest president ever inaugurated (Biden will turn 78 after the November election, the President is now 74). American voters have mixed reactions to that. Twice as many registered voters in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll believe age gives candidates experience and wisdom (45%) to do a good job as say it makes it too difficult to do the work of a president (23%). 

 Biden leads Trump among those who say age will make the job difficult by eight points,  26 percent to 18 percent. Just over half (52%) of Trump supporters and 44 percent of Biden supporters say age will help the candidates.  

Voters under the age of 45 are more concerned about age affecting a president’s ability, though younger voters are more likely to support Biden. Those 45 and older are much less worried, no matter which candidate they support. Among voters over 45, just 19 percent say they think the candidates’ ages might make it too difficult to do the work the job requires.  

Biden has maintained a 9-point lead over the president in most of the Economist/YouGov Polls conducted in the last few weeks. He is ahead with women, those who have attended college, and those under the age of 45. Older voters are closely divided, as are men. 

There are multiple characteristics on which Biden fares better than the president with the voting public. Half of registered voters say the Democrat cares about people like themselves, just 41 percent say that about the president. About two in five (43%) think Biden is someone they like “as a person,” 11 points more than say that about the President. A similar number (44%) of registered voters find Biden honest and trustworthy; 34 percent think that about Donald Trump.  

Even on the economy, Biden has reached parity with the President on what has been the president’s strongest issue.  This may not be because Biden is seen as an economic savior, but because most Americans believe things are getting worse, and perhaps that will happen whomever is president. Roughly half (53%) of registered voters believe the economy is getting worse; and their approval rating of the president when it comes to his handling of the economy is almost evenly divided (50% of registered voters approve; 48% do not). When asked what will happen to the economy if each man wins, there is no difference in expectations.  

Voters are divided on whom they expect will finally win the election (39% say Biden will win; 39% say it will be the President). Biden’s voters are still less convinced than the President’s voters are of a victory in November. Just 75 percent of his voters say Biden will win, 5 percent believe the president will and 20 percent aren’t sure what will happen (in contrast, 86 percent of the president’s supporters expect victory). However, when it comes to expectations for which party will control the Senate, for the first time voters expect Democrats may take control. About two in five (43%) registered voters say the Democratic Party will control the Senate after the election, 35 percent say the Republicans will retain control. Democrats (76%) are just as convinced as Republicans (75%) are that their party will win. 

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll. 

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between August 2 - 4, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.3% for the overall sample.  

Image: Getty