Biden and Trump tied despite debate, as 67% call for president to drop out: POLL

Written by on July 11, 2024

U.S. President Joe Biden during the first presidential debate with former U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, June 27, 2024. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Two-thirds of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll — including a majority of Joe Biden’s own supporters — say he should step aside as his party’s presumptive nominee for president given his debate performance two weeks ago. That’s even as Biden continues to run evenly with Donald Trump, with no meaningful post-debate change in vote preferences.

Americans divide 46-47% between Biden and Trump if the election were today, almost identical to a 44-46% ABC/Ipsos poll result in April. Among registered voters (though there’s plenty of time to register) it’s an absolute tie, 46-46%.

Were Vice President Kamala Harris to replace Biden as the Democratic nominee, vote choices are 49-46%, Harris-Trump, among all adults (and 49-47% among registered voters). Harris’ 49% is slightly better than Biden’s 46%, although she doesn’t have a statistically significant lead over Trump.

Click here to see a PDF with the full results from the poll

This doesn’t mean Biden didn’t take on damage from the debate. Sixty-seven percent overall say he should withdraw from the race. More, 85%, now say he is too old for a second term, a new high, up from an already-broad 81% in April and 68% just more than a year ago.

Further, the poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates with fieldwork by Ipsos, finds Trump leading Biden by 30 percentage points, 44%-14%, in being seen as having the mental sharpness it takes to serve effectively as president. Trump’s lead is about as wide in being seen as having the physical health to serve, and his advantages on both have widened since April.

As the horse race shows, those views may not be determinative. Biden’s job approval rating is stable, albeit at a weak 36%. Though neither is broadly popular, Biden continues to have a better personal favorability rating than Trump. And Biden leads Trump by 17 points, 39%-22%, in being seen as more honest and trustworthy, essentially unchanged from the spring.

Both candidates face a high degree of scorn. About 4 in 10 Americans say neither has the mental sharpness or the physical health to serve effectively, and as many say neither is honest and trustworthy. Sixty percent say Trump is too old for a second term, also a new high, up from 44% in spring 2023. And in a sign of the nation’s political polarization, 50% say that given his debate performance, Trump should step aside in favor of another nominee — although, in contrast with Biden, very few of Trump’s own supporters say so.

It’s clearly Biden who suffered more reputational harm from the debate. Half of Americans say it left them with a less favorable opinion of him, versus 22% who say that about Trump’s performance. Twenty-seven percent see Trump more favorably because of the debate, versus just 7% for Biden on this measure.

Even among people who say they’ll vote for Biden in November, 81% say he is too old for another term and just 44% say he should continue in the race; 54% say he should step aside. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, more — 62% — say he should go. (For comparison, just 16% of Republicans and GOP leaners say Trump should withdraw.)

Should Biden withdraw — and he maintains he won’t — just 44% of Americans overall say they’d be satisfied with Harris as the Democratic nominee, with 53% dissatisfied. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, however, satisfaction with Harris reaches 70%, and it’s 76% among current Biden supporters.

Taken another way, in an open-ended question, Democrats and Democratic leaners were asked whom they’d like to see take Biden’s place if he withdrew. Twenty-nine percent named Harris, easily the leading choice in this group, with all others in the single digits. Still, demonstrating fragmentation, more than 30 potential candidates were named.

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