Across the globe, the U.S. faces a growing list of dangerous foreign policy challenges. But is the 80-year-old President Joe Biden, with growing signs of age-related mental issues, up to the task? A large majority of Americans, including Democrats, say no, according to the latest I&I/TIPP Poll.
Global dangers abound. China's engaged in a massive military buildup and poised to attack Taiwan. Meanwhile, Russia wages a bloody war with U.S.-supported Ukraine. In the Mideast, Iran's nuclear program nears completion, and the U.S.' 2021 Afghanistan departure has left a power vacuum across the region. This is just a partial list of growing threats.
With these in mind and a looming presidential election, the online I&I/TIPP Poll asked 1,351 adults around the country: "How concerned are you that Biden's age and mental capacity pose a national security threat?" The poll, taken from Aug. 30-Sept. 1, has a margin of error of +/-2.7 percentage points.
The response was clear: After rounding the data, 70% of all respondents said they were either "very concerned" (44%) or "somewhat concerned" (25%). Just 15% answered "not very concerned," while 13% said "not at all concerned," for a total of 28%.
Even a majority of Democrats (54%) were concerned Biden's fading mental acuity posed a national security risk, while 43% said they weren't.
Republicans expressed the greatest concern, at 92%, versus just 7% saying they weren't. As is often the case, independents straddled the two major parties, with 67% choosing "concerned" in response to Biden's evident mental issues, while 29% selected the "unconcerned" categories.
In fact, only one group among the 36 that the I&I/TIPP Poll follows each month has a reading below 50% and has more people saying they're "not concerned": Self-described liberals, at 48% "concerned" vs. 49% "unconcerned."
By contrast, self-described moderates were 70% concerned, 28% unconcerned, while conservatives stood at 88% and 11%.
In short, virtually everyone worries about Biden's mental faculties as he navigates the treacherous waters of overseas politics, diplomacy and military affairs.
Even within the Democratic Party, there's growing concern over Biden as the presidential candidate for 2024. And with good reason.
Just last week, a poll by the Associated Press and the Norc Center for Public Affairs showed 77% thought that Biden was too old for a second term, including 89% of Republicans and 69% of Democrats. Meanwhile, the same poll found just 51% of Americans felt the same about 77-year-old former President Donald Trump.
And a new book by the Atlantic's Franklin Foer claims Biden privately admits he's "tired."
“It was striking that he took so few morning meetings or presided over so few public events before 10 a.m. His public persona reflected physical decline and time’s dulling of mental faculties that no pill or exercise regime can resist," Foer wrote. "In private, he would occasionally admit that he felt tired.”
It hasn't helped that Biden has spent close to a year on vacation, a record, before completing his third year in office.
This image of mental feebleness and age poses a serious problem for Biden as he seeks re-election in 2024. But they might not have been so important if not for one major issue: Afghanistan.
Many Americans are still angry and over the U.S.' abrupt, bungled departure from Afghanistan in 2021, handing control to the Muslim extremist Taliban movement. Hundreds of American citizens in the country were left to fend for themselves, as billions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment were left to terrorists. The fiasco ended with the deaths of 13 Americans during the chaotic U.S. exodus.
And his poll numbers have never recovered. Even so, when it comes to national security, Afghanistan's the least of Biden's troubles.
Energy: By killing the Keystone pipeline, restricting oil and natural gas drilling, and taking millions of acres off the table for the extraction of, and exploration for, new energy sources, Biden ended America's brief energy independence under former President Trump. He also drained the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices just before the 2022 congressional elections, while spending hundreds of billions of dollars on wasteful wind and solar projects. Today, as Americans struggle, gasoline prices are double what they were in April of 2020.
Immigration: A record flood of 2.3 million illegal immigrants has crossed the U.S. border since Biden took office, including thousands of terrorists, cartel members, and violent criminals. Local communities now struggle with soaring costs and crime. At the federal level alone, illegal immigration costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $151 billion a year, even after adjusting for taxes paid by those here illegally. But the debate is not just about dollars: The border surge of the deadly opioid fentanyl now claims more than 100,000 American lives a year.
Ukraine: Biden called Russia's invasion of Ukraine a "minor incursion" and initially refused military aid. Since then, Biden has enthusiastically embraced Ukraine's fight, spending more than $100 billion. With both China and Iran backing Russia, the potential for a wider conflict is clear.
Military readiness: By focusing on "white supremacy," transgenderism, and DEI issues in the armed forces, Biden's policies have contributed to a decline in U.S. military readiness and hamstrung recruiting efforts.
China: Under communist leader Xi Jinpeng, Beijing has expanded military spending faster than its economic growth, even as it deals with a slumping economy and rising unemployment. Xi's long-term goal is clear: Dominate Asia and push the U.S. out. And his "belt and road initiative" seeks to displace U.S. influence around the developing world.
With such a formidable lineup of national security issues, it's no wonder Biden struggles in polls. His image of feebleness and advancing age poses a serious problem for his re-election bid.
As I&I/TIPP Poll results show, these will be major issues for candidate Biden in 2024 during this time of growing global turmoil and instability. Will Democrats use his mental infirmities and age as the lever to remove Biden from the campaign trail and into retirement?
I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique, and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP’s reputation for polling excellence comes from 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 national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.
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