Conservatives joke a lot about Joe Biden’s perceived mental issues. It’s the low-hanging fruit of this election cycle. The verbal gaffes and the confusion that Biden exhibits could be signs of dementia or other problems that go along with aging, but it’s not just fodder for comedy.
Rasmussen has released a poll that shows that concerns over Biden’s mental fitness are genuine — and that both sides of the aisle have their worries.
In response to a recent Thomas Friedman column at the New York Times suggesting that Biden should avoid debating President Donald Trump without certain conditions, the polling organization asked 1,000 likely voters about Biden’s condition and the possibility of debates taking place.
According to the poll, only 54% of voters think that Biden is fit to debate Trump, with 36% believing that the former vice president isn’t capable of handling a debate. Then again, a poll in late June showed that 38% of voters think that Biden has some form of dementia.
Just over two-thirds of those surveyed think that debates need to take place, while 56% believe that it will hurt Biden’s candidacy if he declines to debate Trump.
How do these results break down along party lines?
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Democrats believe Biden is capable of debating Trump, but only 32% of Republicans and 49% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree.
Even among his fellow Democrats, a plurality (47%) feels Biden’s candidacy would be hurt if he refused to debate the president. Of course, that compares to 62% of Republicans and 60% of unaffiliated voters.
Voters who don’t think Biden is capable of debating Trump place a lot more importance on debates this fall than do those who feel he’s up to the challenge.
It’s hard to imagine that Biden’s camp would refuse to engage in debates without calling his mental capacity into further question. If Biden truly is incapable of handling a debate, it’s a losing proposition no matter what he does.
Either way, it’s obvious that the Biden campaign needs to address questions of the candidate’s fitness for office and do it quickly. If voters put him into office and he’s not up for the job, it would be a story the likes of which we’ve never seen in American history.
The prospect of a president with serious mental issues and a radical vice president waiting in the wings is a scary thought. We need to get these questions answered — and fast.