Fewer Voters Than Ever See Biden as Mentally Fit

37% of voters say Biden is mentally fit, a record low
Getty Images / Morning Consult artwork by Kelly Rice
July 01, 2024 at 2:48 pm UTC

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Voter perceptions about President Joe Biden’s mental and physical fitness and age have worsened following his first 2024 debate against former President Donald Trump, driven in large part by heightened concern among his own party’s voters. 

According to Morning Consult’s weekly tracking survey conducted over the weekend, 37% of voters say Biden is mentally fit — down 6 percentage points from a survey conducted ahead of the debate. Among Democratic voters, 68% say Biden is mentally fit, down 9 points from before the debate. Both numbers are the lowest on record since Morning Consult began asking the question in 2020.

Perceptions of Biden’s mental fitness, age decline after first 2024 presidential debate

Shares of voters who said President Joe Biden is …
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Surveys conducted June 21-23, 2024, and June 28-July 1, 2024, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Perceptions of whether Biden is in good health fell by similar margins, from 41% to 35% among all voters and from 75% to 63% among Democrats. Half of Democrats and 68% of all voters also now say Biden is too old, up from 43% and 64% prior to the debate, respectively.

The coverage of Biden’s performance in the June 27 debate, which sent Democrats in Washington into a panic, is without a doubt the worst news cycle the president has had to weather in a long time: Voters are 31 points more likely to say they’ve heard something negative than positive about Biden in the past week — the lowest number we’ve captured since we began tracking the question weekly in November 2022.

The bottom line

If there is a silver lining for the Biden campaign, it’s that voter concerns about these issues are well known and may well be baked into the fundamentals of the race: Our latest tracking of the race, conducted in the three days after the debate, found Biden trailing Trump by 1 point, compared with a tie before the debate.

But the dwindling confidence in Biden’s mental capacity and health, particularly among Democratic voters, is nonetheless alarming for the president — especially given the amount of work his campaign has done to try to shake off such questions by pointing to moments such as his State of the Union Address earlier.

The debate performance will make that work all the more harder, and could hamper the Democrats’ chances of defeating Trump, whom voters are far more likely to see as mentally fit (46%) or in good health (52%).

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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