Concerns about President Joe Biden’s mental abilities have gone mainstream.
Although the press has largely overlooked Biden’s gaffes, his disastrous performance at a decidedly friendly CNN townhall prompted the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that Biden’s “frequent public confusion about the major issues of the day is a reason for the growing public concern.”
Even the notoriously partisan “Saturday Night Live” has started to use Biden’s mental acuity as a punchline. One of the show’s characters has quipped about how “insiders are also saying that, during meetings, President Biden repeatedly uses the f-word in conversation. More concerning, the f-word he keeps using is ‘forget.’”
Biden’s critics have long pointed to increased verbal gaffes, along with his advanced age (he turns 79 later this month) as problems. But the mainstream press has largely ignored signs of mental decline.
The latest I&I/TIPP poll shows that, despite this, the perception of Biden’s cognitive descent has become widespread.
The poll tried to gauge the public’s perceptions of Biden on several measures, including mental abilities, by asking a random sampling of adults to “indicate your level of agreement or disagreement with the following descriptions of President Joe Biden.” Among the choices given were “mentally sharp,” “energetic,” and “a good communicator.”
The results are not good for Biden.
Just 42% of those polled say they think the president is “mentally sharp,” and 42% say he’s “energetic.” (Half those polled say he isn’t mentally sharp or energetic.) Fewer than half surveyed (47%) say Biden is a “good communicator.”
The data come from the November I&I/TIPP Poll of 1,306 adults, which was conducted online from Oct. 27-29 by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, I&I’s polling partner. The margin of error for the analysis is +/-2.8 percentage points.
As with any such poll, there is a sharp partisan divide, with 74% of Democrats saying Biden is mentally sharp, compared with only 13% of Republicans.
But the poll sheds still more light on the erosion of Biden’s support among independents, women, middle-income Americans, and suburbanites – groups that were key to his becoming president.
Among independents, for example, only 34% say Biden is mentally sharp, while 58% say he isn’t. Among women, 40% say he is mentally sharp and 51% say he isn’t. That’s worse than among men, 45% of whom say Biden is sharp vs. 50% who say he isn’t. Biden fares even worse among married women, only 36% of whom think he is mentally sharp compared with 58% who say he isn’t.
Among those living in the suburbs, 43% say he’s sharp and 51% say he isn’t, and among those making $50,000-$75,000 a year, the split is 37% to 58%.
Groups least likely to think Biden is “energetic” include those living in the South (38%), in rural areas (34%), making $50,000-75,000 (34%), and married women (36%)
The poll found that fewer than half of those surveyed (47%) think Biden is a good communicator, but also that this number drops sharply to 37% among independents, 37% among those in rural areas, and 39% among married women.
Other surveys are showing similar results about the public’s views of Biden’s mental abilities.
A Pew Research poll taken in September found that only 43% said that “mentally sharp” describes Biden well, while 56% said it didn’t.
A new Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 58% said they are not confident that the president “is physically and mentally up to the job of being president of the United States.”
An ABC News/Ipsos poll out over the weekend found that Biden has failed to sell his two signature legislative items to the public – his massive infrastructure bill and even bigger social spending plan that he’s calling the “Build Back Better Act.” The poll also learned that, despite months of Biden trying to sell these bills, the public is “broadly unaware of what is in the spending packages or skeptical they would help people like themselves, or the economy, if signed into law.”
I&I/TIPP will continue to provide more informative data from our polls in the coming weeks and months on topics of interest to all Americans. TIPP has the distinction of being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.