A majority of Americans say Joe Biden and Donald Trump — the undisputed leaders of their parties in 2024 — are “not fit” to serve another presidential term, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
The July 13-17 poll of 1,638 American adults goes one step further than previous polls by both Yahoo News/YouGov and other outlets, which typically asked whether Biden and Trump should run again and found that most Americans would rather they didn’t.
Instead, the new poll asked a sharper question: Are the two people most likely to take the Oval Office in January 2025 worthy of the position.
A whopping 55% of Americans believe there is no Biden. A statistically identical 53% say the same about Trump.
Why Americans are angry at Trump and Biden
Partisanship and polarization, as usual, play a major role here. Nearly unanimous, 94% of Trump voters in 2020 say Biden is not fit to be president again; 91% of Biden voters in 2020 say the same about Trump.
By far, more Americans say “yes” when asked if Trump is ready to serve again (36%) than say “yes” about Biden (27%). But even that gap comes down almost entirely to partisan differences, as Trump voters are more likely to endorse Trump’s suitability (76%) than Biden’s voters to endorse Biden’s suitability (62%).
But Biden still enjoys more overall support than Trump. Among registered voters, the current president leads his predecessor by 4 points (47% vs. 43%), a lead that matches last month’s Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
When Americans who think Biden or Trump are unsuitable for the presidency are asked why they think they are, serious concerns arise about both candidates. Among Biden’s detractors, 20% say he is unusable because he is “incompetent”; 12% say it’s because he’s “too old”; 10% say it’s because he’s “corrupt”; 9% say it’s because it “doesn’t work well”; and 3% say it’s because he’s “dangerous”.
Trump’s numbers, meanwhile, are nearly reversed: 21% of his detractors say he’s unfit because he’s dangerous, 17% say it’s because he’s corrupt, 6% say it’s because he’s incompetent, 5% say it’s because “he didn’t perform well during his first term”; and only 2% say it’s because he’s too old. (Biden is 80, Trump is 77.)
More disturbing news for Trump than for Biden
Trump continues to dominate the Republican field among would-be GOP primary voters, with more than double the support (48%) of his closest challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (23%). The rest of the Republican candidates are stuck in the low single digits.
But while nearly half (49%) of potential GOP voters still prefer Trump to an unnamed hypothetical alternative – just as they did last month – the share of those choosing “someone else” has now jumped to 43%. This is 4 points higher than in June and is the highest figure this year.
Similarly, Trump’s current favorable rating among all Americans (38%) is the lowest so far as measured by Yahoo News and YouGov.
Trump’s ongoing legal troubles could be fueling these shifts. The current poll came before the former president announced on Tuesday that he was awaiting special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury indictment on Jan. 6, citing a “target letter” he received days earlier.
But the results show that a significant – and growing – majority of Americans now view the January 6 allegations that could be brought against Trump as “serious crimes”:
● 70% now consider “inciting or aiding rebellion against the federal government” a serious crime, up 6 points from 64% at the end of May.
● 70% now consider “plotting to overturn the results of the presidential election” a serious crime, up 4 points from 66% at the end of May.
● 67% now consider “trying to obstruct the certification of presidential election results” as a serious crime, up 4 points from 63% at the end of May.
Similarly, only 24% of Americans now believe that Trump should be allowed to become president again in the future “if he is found guilty of a serious crime in the coming months,” compared to 28% in June (when a similar question was specifically about a possible conviction in the classified documents case).
A total of 60% of Americans believe that Trump should withdraw from the presidential race if he is found guilty of a “serious crime”; only 27% say he should not drop out.
Biden ousts ‘someone else’ in the Democratic nomination
Biden, on the other hand, has somewhat improved his position among the Democrats. Today, more than half (53%) of potential Democratic voters now prefer Biden to an unnamed alternative Democratic candidate, up from 48% in the June poll.
This is the highest number Yahoo News and YouGov have tracked to date, as Biden’s support against “someone else” has risen from the mid-30s (during most of 2022) to 40 (in the first half of 2023) and just over 50% in recent weeks.
It’s also 4 points higher than Trump’s comparable number among Republican primary voters.
The Yahoo News Poll was conducted by YouGov using a nationwide representative sample of 1,638 American adults surveyed online from July 13 to 17, 2023. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, turnout in the 2020 and presidential elections, baseline party affiliation, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets are from the 2019 American Community Survey. The base party identification is the last answer given by the respondent prior to March 15, 2022, and is weighted by the estimated distribution at that time (32% Democrats, 27% Republicans). Respondents were selected from a YouGov consensus group to represent all US adults. The error is approximately 2.7%.