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Poll: Voters aren't sure Biden or Trump can serve another 4 years

FILE PHOTOS: Former President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Michael Conroy); President Joe Biden (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
FILE PHOTOS: Former President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Michael Conroy); President Joe Biden (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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A new survey shows widespread sentiment that our political system is broken and widespread skepticism over whether the leading contenders for president can even make it through another term in the White House.

The 2024 frontrunners, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, are two of the three oldest people to ever serve in the office.

And voters are worried about their ability to serve out another four years.

Those concerns are especially true of Biden, who is 80.

Just 34% of registered voters in a CBS News/YouGov poll think it’s likely Biden would finish a second term if reelected.

Trump, 77, fared better on that question, with 55% saying the same of him. But that still leaves nearly half of voters who are pessimistic or unsure of Trump’s ability to serve a full four years in the White House.

The age issue disproportionately affects Biden rather than Trump, said Todd Belt, Political Management program director at The George Washington University.

He said that’s also been reflected in GW politics polls.

And independent voters are much more concerned about the age and health issues with Biden compared to Trump, Belt said.

The CBS News/YouGov poll also found that just a third of voters feel Biden has the mental and cognitive health to serve as president. That counts the 7% of people who feel both Biden and Trump have the mental and cognitive health to serve.

Just 26% of people picked only Biden on the mental and cognitive health question. And 44% picked only Trump.

Just 12% said both Biden and Trump are physically healthy enough to serve as president.

Trump outperformed Biden on that question, too.

But nearly 30% of people don’t think either man is healthy enough to serve as president.

Americans don’t have a rosy view of the country or our political system.

Nearly 70% said things in America are going somewhat or very badly.

And a Biden-Trump rematch, which appears to be the most likely outcome, would make 64% of people feel as though our political system is broken.

And just 8% would say that such a rematch would make them feel as though Biden and Trump are the best candidates for the job.

Voters will also have to decide if and how Trump’s multiple felony indictments will sway their decision.

The CBS News/YouGov poll shows a virtual toss-up in a Biden-Trump election, with Trump holding a one-point advantage.

And voters are fairly evenly dispersed in expectations of who would win, regardless of how they plan to vote personally – 34% expect Biden would win, 35% expect Trump would win, and 31% said either could win.

Americans would probably prefer a different matchup, Belt said.

So, how are Biden and Trump the frontrunners?

These two rule the campaign contributors, volunteers and endorsements, Belt said.

“Both of these candidates, Biden and Trump, have a tremendous advantage in those three key variables,” he said.

American politics are in a rut, Belt said. And that feeling could be reflected in the survey results.

But Belt said, “As long as (Biden and Trump) want to run, the nominations are pretty much theirs barring any sort of unforeseen circumstances.”

Belt isn’t sure Biden would want to run again if not for Trump’s determination to reclaim the White House.

Trump brought a “disruptor approach” to the presidency, Belt said.

Biden ran because he said he wanted to restore normal order to the government.

“Because Trump is in there, and Biden truly believes that he is the one who can beat Trump, because he showed he could and doesn't necessarily think anybody else can, especially having the full power and weight of the presidency behind him, I think this is really about Donald Trump running his revenge tour 2020 for here,” Belt said.

Despite concerns over fitness for office, Belt said the top issue in next year’s election is sure to be the economy.

“As it always is and always will be,” he said.

We’ve so far avoided a recession, with the jobs market remaining strong and inflation cooling.

But the survey showed 73% of people think the quality and quantity of jobs is worse or the same as before the pandemic.

And 80% said they are the same or worse off financially compared to before the pandemic.

Still, Belt said, Biden’s age and Trump’s legal issues could be among “a cluster of other issues that could be potentially important and may actually swing the balance in a couple of these important states.”

And both will matter more to independent voters than to partisan supporters.

It’s just a question of which, if either, has the power to sway the swing voters more.

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