Election 2024

Polls show nearly half of Democrats believe Biden should drop out

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden Photo: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on Mother Jones. It has been republished with the publication’s permission.

Over the past year, voters have consistently said that they believe 81-year-old President Joe Biden is too old to serve as president. When CBS News asked registered voters in early June whether they thought Biden had the mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president, 65 percent of them said no. And that was before Thursday’s disastrous debate when Biden froze, lost his train of thought, provided incoherent responses, and otherwise mumbled through his first debate with former president Donald Trump.

But when CBS asked voters after the debate how they felt about Biden’s mental fitness now, that figure jumped seven points. Fully 72% of the respondents thought Biden was mentally unfit for office. Only 18% of voters polled thought Biden inspired confidence at the debate, compared with 44% who thought Trump did. Nearly half think Biden should not be running for office, up 10 points since February, and 45% of registered Democrats think he should step aside.

That’s not to suggest that voters are sold on Trump’s mental fitness, either, despite his repeated boasts about acing the cognitive tests administered by his doctor. Only 50% of the voters polled thought the 78-year-old former president was fit to serve. And they recognized that much of what he said during the debate consisted of lies. Nonetheless, they rated his performance better than Biden’s and gave him much better marks for inspiring confidence and presenting his ideas clearly.

The debate was followed by several days of calls for him to step down by some funders and several liberal media outlets, including the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal and ConstitutionOn Friday, David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorkeradded his voice to the chorus, writing:

“Watching Thursday’s debate, observing Biden wander into senselessness onstage, was an agonizing experience, and it is bound to obliterate forever all those vague and qualified descriptions from White House insiders about good days and bad days,” he wrote. “You watched it, and, on the most basic human level, you could only feel pity for the man and, more, fear for the country….To stay in the race would be pure vanity, uncharacteristic of someone whom most have come to view as decent and devoted to public service.”

Biden is reportedly conferring with his family and advisors at Camp David today. These poll numbers probably won’t do much to improve the mood.

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