Readers are happy with Biden — but not enough to support a second term
"It is time for the younger generations to determine the social and political course for this country."
President Joe Biden turned 80 last year, making him our nation’s first President Biden octogenarian president. And while 40% of Americans approve of the president, a recent University of Massachusetts Amherst poll shows the majority of Americans agree that he’s too old for the job.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents across all demographics, political ideologies, and ages said the president of the United States should not be older than 70.
We asked Boston.com readers if they agreed with this age cutoff and most of the 253 people who responded to our survey shared similar sentiments. Fifty-one percent of our readers said the age cap should be 70 and 26% said it should be 65. Only 2% of the readers polled said 80 was a fine age to hold the Oval Office.
“He does not have the energy to run. This job ages the POTUS at an accelerated rate,” one reader said. “We need someone who can withstand the rigors of the role.”
Keith M. from Jamaica Plain said he feels generally positive about Biden’s performance as president, but still thinks he’s too old to continue with a second term.
“Biden will be 86 at the end of his next term. That is just simply too old to cope with the rigors and stress of the job. I would go so far as to pass a constitutional amendment that no individual can run for President if they are 65 or older on Election Day. That would preclude anyone over 70 from being President,” he said. “Call it ageism if you will, but the job demands the stamina of a younger person. Biden has done a very good job thus far, but he definitely should not run in 2024.”
Jeff from Hopkinton is one of a handful of readers who doesn’t care at all about Biden’s age.
“90 is the new 70,” he told Boston.com.
For Michael S. from Acushnet, the issue is more complicated than whether or not to have an age limit for office. It’s not a politician’s age that’s an issue, but their “level of competence.”
“I would be reluctant to start assigning arbitrary age limits to such an important office because it could eliminate qualified candidates on a singular basis. The Office of the President is already held to a two-term elected maximum, so [it’s] best for the people to decide who is and is not qualified based on their history and anticipated level of performance,” he said.
If the public is considering age limits, however, Michael S. is one of several readers who’s more inclined to support caps for Congress than the Oval Office.
“If it’s good for the Office of the President, why should Congress be any different? Eliminate life-long roles based on popularity or (worse) voter apathy and create a more dynamic branch of government based on achievement,” he said.
Even though most readers who responded to our survey are generally satisfied with Biden’s time in office so far, they also don’t think he should run again in 2024. Below you’ll find a sampling of responses from readers sharing how much age plays a role in their support for a Biden second term.
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Should Joe Biden run in 2024?
“I feel it is time for the younger generations to determine the social and political course for this country as they will be the ones most likely living when the repercussions of those decisions. Someone over the age of 70, will be less likely to have to live with the repercussions of decisions made in the current state of time.” — John, Yarmouth
“Although I believe Biden’s successes such as the post-COVID recovery program and the Infrastructure program are praiseworthy (especially since Trump failed at both), Biden has neglected other vitally important legislation, namely concerning immigration and the environment. And it doesn’t look as if he will pay much attention to them in the next two years…and they need immediate attention for obvious reasons.” — D.G. Ferguson
“Too old! In most jobs, you would be forced to retire long before his age.” — Colleen, Lowell
“He’s a man of solid character, but the job is too stressful for a person of his age. It’s not a criticism, it’s a fact. America deserves better than the politicians currently in office.” — P.K., Becket
“While he has clearly shown he can still govern, I believe he shouldn’t run again in 2024. His term would run until 6 years from now which is a very, very long time for anyone, let alone someone who is about to turn 80. Biden is uniquely positioned to hand the torch to the next generation without them having to wrestle it away in a bruising primary. If he still has the vigor to campaign, he can campaign in support of his handpicked replacement. It would be a tremendous sign of unity and progress that the GOP would have no answer for as they focus on eating each other’s faces and stabbing one another in the back.” — Calvin, Boston
“He was a placeholder with enough name recognition to get Trump out of office, which was the only thing that mattered in 2020. Now it’s time to move on to a new generation of leadership.” — Peter, Waltham
“Biden will be 82 at the start if he wins. While he’s done a decent job, I think the job pressure will just increase and he should cede to a newer generation of Democrats. I don’t believe the rhetoric about him losing it — that’s Republican propaganda. Is he missing a step now and then? Sure. But he’s still got his heart in the right place. I think a younger candidate would inspire more younger voters who could relate better to a younger candidate instead of someone who is probably as old as their grandparents.” — Joe C., Acton
“He deserves a second term, age be damned!”
“Biden can do what he wants. The voters have the opportunity to decide yes or no. It’s his choice. Age isn’t the issue. Mental capacity should be the issue.” — M.J., Dracut
“His record speaks for itself. He is doing an outstanding job. Even better when viewed with the background of the previous disaster of an administration. Given the option of four more years of Biden or of Trump’s younger counterpart from Florida, the decision is clear and America would vote Dem again.” — Dave, Boston
“He’s doing an excellent job. He has passed historic legislation and has accomplished the most as a President since LBJ almost 60 years ago. His best qualities are his compassion and empathy and there isn’t a more qualified individual in either party that could do what he’s been able to accomplish. The President’s character sets him apart from so many others and he has shown himself more than able and capable. He deserves a second term, age be damned!” — Riley A., Tewksbury
“If he can actually survive a campaign and can do the job in office, why shouldn’t he? Term limits or age limits prevent me from voting for the person that I want.” — Robert, Brockton
Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be read as an unscientific gauge of readers’ opinion.
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