Two-thirds of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll – including a majority of Joe Biden’s own supporters – say he should step aside as his party’s presumptive nominee for president given his debate performance two weeks ago. That’s even as Biden continues to run evenly with Donald Trump, with no meaningful post-debate change in vote preferences.

Americans divide 46-47% between Biden and Trump if the election were today, almost identical to a 44-46% ABC/Ipsos poll result in April. Among registered voters (though there’s plenty of time to register) it’s an absolute tie, 46-46%.

Were Vice President Kamala Harris to replace Biden as the Democratic nominee, vote choices are 49-46%, Harris-Trump, among all adults (and 49-47% among registered voters). Harris’ 49% is slightly better than Biden’s 46%, although she doesn’t have a statistically significant lead over Trump.

Vote preference between Joe Biden / Donald Trump now, and in Apr. 2024, and Kamal Harris / Donald Trump in Apr. 2024

ABC News / Washington Post / Ipsos and ABC News / Ipsos polls

See PDF for full results.

This doesn’t mean Biden didn’t take on damage from the debate. Sixty-seven percent overall say he should withdraw from the race. More, 85% now say he is too old for a second term, a new high, up from an already-broad 81% in April and 68% just more than a year ago.

Too Old for a Second Term?

ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll

Further, the poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates with fieldwork by Ipsos, finds Trump leading Biden by 30 percentage points, 44%-14%, in being seen as having the mental sharpness it takes to serve effectively as president. Trump’s lead is about as wide in being seen as having the physical health to serve, and his advantages on both have widened since April.

As the horse race shows, those views may not be determinative. Biden’s job approval rating is stable, albeit at a weak 36%. Though neither is broadly popular, Biden continues to have a better personal favorability rating than Trump. And Biden leads Trump by 17 points, 39%-22%, in being seen as more honest and trustworthy, essentially unchanged from the spring.

Both candidates face a high degree of scorn. About 4 in 10 Americans say neither has the mental sharpness or the physical health to serve effectively, and as many say neither is honest and trustworthy. Sixty percent say Trump is too old for a second term, also a new high, up from 44% in spring 2023. And in a sign of the nation’s political polarization, 50% say that given his debate performance, Trump should step aside in favor of another nominee — although, in contrast with Biden, very few of Trump’s own supporters say so.

It’s clearly Biden who suffered more reputational harm from the debate. Half of Americans say it left them with a less favorable opinion of him, versus 22% who say that about Trump’s performance. Twenty-seven percent see Trump more favorably because of the debate, versus just 7% for Biden on this measure.

Even among people who say they’ll vote for Biden in November, 81% say he is too old for another term and just 44% say he should continue in the race; 54% say he should step aside. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, more — 62% — say he should go. (For comparison, just 16% of Republicans and GOP leaners say Trump should withdraw.)

% Saying Biden Should Step Aside

ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll

Should Biden withdraw — and he maintains he won’t — just 44% of Americans overall say they’d be satisfied with Harris as the Democratic nominee, with 53% dissatisfied. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, however, satisfaction with Harris reaches 70%, and it’s 76% among current Biden supporters.

Taken another way, in an open-ended question, Democrats and Democratic leaners were asked whom they’d like to see take Biden’s place if he withdrew. Twenty-nine percent named Harris, easily the leading choice in this group, with all others in the single digits. Still, demonstrating fragmentation, more than 30 potential candidates were named.

The debate

The verdict on the debate is not close: Two-thirds of Americans say Trump won it, rising to 74% of those who watched it. (This includes those who initially call it a tie but then lean toward one or the other as the winner.)

Among Biden supporters, 59% say he won, demonstrating a significant degree of loyalty in this group. Among those who favor either Trump or another candidate, by contrast, a nearly unanimous 94% say Trump won the debate.

Another result may raise the stakes for Biden’s future appearances, including his scheduled news conference later Thursday: Among viewers, 61% say their opinion of Biden worsened as a result of the debate. Among those who didn’t watch, many fewer say so — 34%.

Stay or go

Majorities across most groups say Biden should step aside, albeit to varying degrees. It’s lowest, 49%, among Black people, including 32% among Black people age 50 and older, an especially strong group for Biden.

Fifty-six percent of Democrats say Biden should withdraw, rising to 72% of independents and a nearly identical share of Republicans, 73%. Six in 10 liberals say so, as do about 7 in 10 moderates and conservatives. It’s also about 7 in 10 among both white and Hispanic people. Even among people who have a favorable opinion of Biden personally, 55% say he should step aside, as do 77% of those who see him unfavorably.

Vote choice

Like the Biden-Trump horse race overall, preferences among groups are very similar to what they were in April. It’s 39-53%, Biden-Trump, among white people, for example, 49-42% among Hispanic people and 77-17% among Black people.

His debate performance notwithstanding, Democrats stick with Biden, 91-5%; Republicans with Trump, 94-4%; and independents, often swing voters in national elections, split 40-44% (Biden-Trump), not a significant difference.

There are some differences in Harris’ support against Trump compared with Biden’s, though not enough to make that race anything but another dead heat. Harris does better against Trump with women, 52-44%, compared with 47-46% for Biden-Trump among women.

Further, Harris has a significant lead over Trump among Hispanic people, 56-40%, while Biden does not. And Harris does 8 points better than Biden with urban women, 61% versus 53%. Harris’s 82% support among Black people, and 86% among Black women, are not significantly different from Biden’s results in these groups.

Another test, including Biden, Trump and third-party or independent candidates, again finds no meaningful change from April, with 41% for Biden, 42% for Trump, 10% for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and 2% apiece for Cornel West and Jill Stein.

Attributes

As noted, even after the debate Biden carries a comparative advantage in one key measure of goodwill. He’s 8 points underwater on personal favorability, seen favorably by 42% of the public, unfavorably by 50%. Trump, by contrast, is 25 points underwater on this score, 34%-59%.

These favorability ratings are essentially unchanged since April, with no debate impact apparent. That’s even while, among people who see Biden favorably overall, nearly 4 in 10 (37%) also say they see him less favorably than previously because of the debate.

Personal Favorability

ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll

A question ahead is what candidate attributes matter most to the public. That includes, for example, how much juice Biden gets from his clear advantage on honesty and trustworthiness, or his smaller, single-digit leads as the candidate who “represents your personal values” and “will protect American democracy.” He and Trump run essentially evenly in another, historically important attribute, understanding “the problems of people like you.”

That said, the hit to Biden on his perceived mental acuity and physical health are real. In April he trailed Trump on mental sharpness by 19 points; today, as mentioned, it’s 30 points. And Biden’s 22-point deficit on physical health in the spring is 31 points now.

Personal Attributes

ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll

Trump, moreover, betters Biden in terms of job approval. With 36% approving versus 57% disapproving, Biden is 21 points underwater on this score. Thinking back to Trump’s presidency, 43% approve of his job performance, 52% disapprove, a narrower 9-point gap. Biden’s job rating has been essentially steady for more than a year, and negative for three years.

Plan B

As to possible successors, 67% of Black people — an overwhelmingly Democratic group — would be satisfied with Harris, the first Black person and first woman to serve as vice president, taking over from Biden. Fewer Hispanic people (51%) or white people (38%) would be satisfied, at least in part reflecting their differing partisan preferences.

Satisfaction with a Harris nomination is about the same among Black women (70%) and Black men (64%; the 6-point difference isn’t significant given sample sizes). Similarly, there’s no difference between men and women overall in their views on Harris as the nominee.

In the open-ended question among Democrats and Democratic leaners, Harris leads in preference to replace Biden across groups — named, for example, by 27% to 34% of men, women, Black people, Hispanic people and white people alike.

As many skipped or declined the question as picked Harris. Distantly following her, 7% named California Gov. Gavin Newsom as a preferred stand-in; 4%, former first lady Michelle Obama; 3% each, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; 2%, independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; and 1%, eight other political figures from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Others showed up with less than half a percent.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos poll was conducted online via the probability-based Ipsos KnowledgePanel® July 5-9, 2024, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 2,431 adults. Partisan divisions are 32%-29%-27%, Democrats-Republicans-independents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 2 percentage points, including the design effect, for the full sample. Sampling error is not the only source of differences in polls.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, with sampling and data collection by Ipsos. See details on ABC News survey methodology here.



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