Issues & Insights

I&I/TIPP Poll: Just 42% Now Think Biden Is ‘Mentally Sharp’

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.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

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Terry Jones

Terry Jones was part of Investor's Business Daily from its inception in 1983, working in a variety of posts, including reporter, economics correspondent, National Issues editor and economics editor. Most recently, from 1996 to 2019, he served as associate editor of the newspaper and deputy editor and editor of IBD's Issues & Insights. His many media appearances include spots on the Larry Kudlow, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck shows. He also served as Free Markets columnist for Townhall Magazine, and as a weekly guest on PJTV’s The Front Page. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, and is an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute


  • This poll about being mentally sharp also shows that 42% of the responders are not.

  • Whatever your political party, if you say the you think Biden is mentally sharp, you are lying or hopelessly deluded.

  • So, 42% of Americans are so clueless that they think Biden is mentally sharp. These people need to move to Venezuela. We don’t need such ignorance in America.

  • How could 42% of the public somehow imagine that Biden is in any way “mentally sharp”? I guess those people must get all their news from Democrat media and aren’t paying all that much attention. Biden wasn’t mentally sharp in his best years, and that was a very long time ago.

  • Biden has always been ‘unsharp’, as any survey of his career in politics shows. He and his Democrats are different from Republicans, libertarians and independents with traditional notions of fair play. The Democratic playbook calls for over the top passes, end-around runs and trick plays in order to fashion a country that half of us (at least) do not want. We should blitz every attempt to remake America as anything other than a free republic under Constitutional order, and throw the Biden team for a loss whenever it proposes a play that undermines that tradition. A penalty flag for illegal procedure should be thrown for progressive valetudinarians who claim all manner of ills – unfair tax system, criticism of illegal immigration, white supremacy, work requirements for welfare recipients, means testing for all sorts of freebies, etc. Perhaps the best play is electoral disqualification of Team Blue.

  • Those that think he is a good communicator probably cannot name one thing he communicated effectively related to his Build Back Better bill.

  • How can that many people think he is competent? Are they in a coma?

  • Statistically speaking half of the population is below average in their mental capacities. This survey may just have identified a vast majority of that lower cohort.

  • The choses in these polls don’t give you good choses, they’re all complimentary, they’re not fair answers.

  • I knew before they selected Biden as a Presidential Candidate that he was unfit for office. Every time I heard that family members were urging him to run, I was thinking I am not sure he could keep a job as a dog catcher. he really didn’t contribute much as VP to the Obama Presidency except I hear that he was a good fund raiser, which simply means he had connections from way back when? many people can not handle getting information from more that one source. They get too confused, so they usually latch on to the source that says what they think.

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