President Joe Biden is considered to be “elderly” and “perplexed,” while former President Donald Trump is viewed as “corrupt” and “dishonest.” These are some of the primary descriptions given by Americans when asked to characterize the Democratic leader in the White House and the Republican contender best positioned to challenge him in the upcoming election.
An unflattering image of Biden and Trump emerges clearly from a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. This survey posed an open-ended question about people’s perceptions of the two political figures.
Regarding Biden, the majority of American adults, including both Democrats and Republicans, expressed concern about his advanced age. At 80, Biden is only three years older than Trump, but many Americans are genuinely worried about his capacity to continue leading as president.
In contrast, Trump has been indicted in four cases with a total of 91 criminal charges and is associated with terms like “corrupt” and “crooked” (mentioned by 15%), in addition to negative comments such as “bad” and other generally unfavorable remarks (11%). Words like “liar” and “dishonest” (8%) closely follow. However, 8% did offer more positive remarks like “good.”
A closer examination reveals that neither Biden nor Trump fares well. While many criticisms align with the typical partisan divide, the survey indicates that both men can face scrutiny within their own party.
“He gives the impression of being someone’s kindly grandfather, rather than someone capable of being in a position of power,” commented Justin Campbell, a 27-year-old security guard and Democrat from the Brookhaven area of Mississippi, regarding Biden. Campbell held an even more negative opinion of Trump, stating that the former president “behaves childishly when confronted.”
Campbell suggested that Trump’s limited knowledge about policy and national security makes him potentially “illiterate in practice.” He shared his intention to vote for Biden in the upcoming elections and added, “I eagerly anticipate the day when Donald Trump is imprisoned.”
The survey, conducted from August 10th to 14th, 2023, involved 1,165 adults and utilized a sample taken from the NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel, which is based on probability and designed to represent the U.S. population. The margin of error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.