While birthdays are typically a cause for celebration, the 81st birthday of US President Joe Biden on Monday 20 November re-upped concerns that the president’s advanced age may injure his chances at re-election next year. Poll after poll show Democrat voters are unenthusiastic about another Biden term and often cite his age as their number one concern about voting for him again in 2024. According to the latest NYT/Siena College poll, 71 per cent of voters, including more than half of Democrat voters, in six key battleground states say Biden is “too old” to be president, where only 31 per cent said the same just three years ago.

Biden is not only the oldest-ever US president but also the most unpopular president seeking re-election at this point in the election cycle, having only 39.5 per cent of Americans’ approval on his birthday. Surveys also show declining favour of Biden among key constituencies that boosted his success in 2020. Support for Biden among younger voters – a demographic where Biden won 60 per cent of the vote compared to Trump’s 36 per cent according to exit polls in 2020 – has declined a significant 15 percentage points since September, according to one national survey. Another shows non-white voters under 45 years of age – a group that has reliably voted for Democrats for decades – supported Biden over Trump by 39 points in 2020; while in 2023, Biden is only ahead of Trump among this same demographic by 6 points.

There are 349 days until the 2024 election, so it is still too soon to know how voters will feel in a year. Yet, with his age so front-of-mind for critical voters and consistently low approval ratings, President Biden is going to need much more than a ‘don’t fall’ strategy to recover some of the enthusiasm and belief of the over 81 million voters that turned out for him in 2020. Perhaps then, a path forward would be the ultimate birthday gift.

Recent ABC News/Ipsos polling shows both leading candidates for the two major US political parties are suffering the same disapproval problem with the American public. Only around a third of Americans view the two presidents, Biden (33 per cent) and Trump (29 per cent), favourably, and successive surveys show voters in both parties are almost equally dissatisfied with the prospects of another four years of either candidate.

But, when the United States Studies Centre (USSC) asked Australians about the two candidates, they appeared much more approving of a second Biden, than a second Trump, term. According to the latest USSC polling, 32 per cent of Australians think a second Biden term would be a good or very good thing for Australia, while 25 per cent said the same of a second Trump term.

Sure, only seven per cent separates Australians’ positive sentiments toward the two candidates, yet Australians hold much more negative perceptions about another four years of Trump than Biden. Twenty-two per cent of Australians said a second Biden term would be bad or very bad for Australia, where 45 per cent (23 per cent more) said the same of Trump. In fact, those Australians with a negative perception of a second Trump term outnumber those with a positive view by a margin of almost two to one.

Read the latest findings
One year from the 2024 US presidential election: The stakes for Australia and the alliance

In August 2023, the United States Studies Centre conducted a public opinion survey in Australia, the United States and Japan to understand the public sentiment in each nation on a variety of issues one year out from the 2024 US presidential election.

Australia, US and Japan flags