Biden’s Bad 81st Birthday Present: Dismal Polls and Distressed Democrats

President Joe Biden celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday, driving home his status as the oldest president in US history.


President Joe Biden celebrated his 81st birthday on Monday, driving home his status as the oldest president in US history. The president’s birthday was greeted with polls illustrating Americans’ growing concerns with his advanced age, adding to Democrats’ fears that he could lose to Donald Trump in the 2024 general election.

  • Biden’s approval rating has sunk to 40 percent, according to a national NBC News survey published on Sunday, with 57 percent disapproving – Biden’s lowest rating in an NBC News poll. Trump leads Biden by a 46 percent to 44 percent margin, the first time Trump has ever led Biden in an NBC News poll.
  • According to the survey, Biden is underwater on key issues like foreign policy, the border, and the economy. Only a third of voters approve of Biden’s handling of foreign policy, with 62 percent disapproving. Just 38 percent of voters support Biden’s stewardship of the economy.
  • Similarly, a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll released on Monday found Trump leading Biden by a sizeable margin, 48 percent to 41 percent. That poll also found that 60 percent of voters agree with the statement “Joe Biden helped and participated in Hunter Biden’s business.”
  • Should Biden win reelection, he would be 86 years old should he still be president at the conclusion of his term in January 2029. Trump is 77 years old and would leave office at 82 should he win the 2024 election and serve out his term. Before Trump and Biden, the oldest person to ever serve as president was Ronald Reagan, who left office at age 77 in 1989.
  • According to Politico, Biden’s campaign is starting to feel the heat from donors and activists about how they’re handling the president’s age: “Even those in Biden’s inner circle, including family members, worry about the optics of age. Those close allies believe that Biden is mentally up for the job, but some acknowledge that the president can at times appear frail, according to two people involved in the conversations but not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations.”
  • White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed reporters yesterday and insisted that there was nothing to see here. “There’s no alarm happening behind the scenes. I can only speak behind the scenes here,” Jean-Pierre said when asked about concerns over Biden’s age expressed by David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to then-President Barack Obama .
  • “There’s no alarm happening behind the scenes,” she repeated, “And I’m certainly not going to comment on everybody who has something to say.” Jean-Pierre continued, “Our perspective is that it’s not about age, it’s about the President’s experience. That’s what we believe.”
  • The President spent his 81st birthday partaking in the traditional White House turkey pardoning ceremony. Two birds, Liberty and Bell, were granted mercy and spared the Thanksgiving table. The turkeys will instead live out a comfortable retirement at the University of Minnesota.
  • Biden tried to make light of his birthday in an Instagram post showing him with a blazing cake with so many candles it created a ring of fire. The caption read: “Turns out on your 146th birthday, you run out of space for candles!”

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • Politico explored the five ways Democrats “are coping with Biden’s terrible polls.” Democrats’ rationalizations include: “Biden was underestimated in 2020, too;” “the polls this far out aren’t predictive;” “Trump is much, much worse!” and “there’s no other option.”
  • The New York Times’ Peter Baker observed, “The best birthday gift the oldest president in American history could hope for would be a strategy for assuaging voters’ concerns, but that has been hard to come by. Mr. Biden and his team have taken the approach that his record of domestic legislation and international leadership should belie any worries about his capacity, even though polls have shown consistently that that line of argument has not been persuasive, at least not yet.”
  • What would Biden’s birthday be without another presidential gaffe – this time, the octogenarian fumbled a reference to not just one but three pop divas. Per NBC News, Biden said that becoming a White House turkey is “even harder than getting a ticket to the Renaissance tour or, or Britney’s tour. She’s down, it’s kind of warm in Brazil right now.” The Brazil comment was a clear reference to Taylor Swift, but the Renaissance tour is Beyonce’s production, and Britney Spears isn’t even touring right now. Biden’s speechwriters might want to limit his musical references other aging boomer icons like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and Bob Dylan.



  • The Wall Street Journal covered another area of vulnerability for Biden’s reelection bid: foreign policy. The “overlapping crises” in Israel, Ukraine, and China “are complicating his bid to persuade U.S. voters he is focused on the domestic issues they care about most.”
  • National Review’s Jim Geraghty recalled when Biden described himself as a “bridge” to a new generation in 2019, and asks “Say, how’s that bridge coming?” Geraghty concludes, “But Biden clearly hasn’t been a “bridge” to anyone or anything. If you wanted Biden to be a transitional president, then the work of preparing the American public for President Kamala Harris would’ve had to start much earlier.”
  • Fox News’ Howard Kurtz surveyed media coverage of Biden’s birthday, and came to one conclusion: “One thing is certain: No matter the twists and turns of the campaign, including Trump’s criminal trials, there is one issue that by definition cannot go away, and that is Biden’s age. At least, from his standpoint, he won’t have another birthday before the next election.”

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© Dominic Moore, 2023