Trump and Biden
Donald Trump and Joe Biden AFP

The mental acuity of presidential candidates Joe Biden and Donald Trump is having a central role in the campaign, with many voters citing this as a factor related to their discontent over one or both of them.

A new poll by CBS News and YouGov showed the magnitude off the apprehension, with at least half of registered voters saying neither is mentally fit to serve as head of state. The figure is higher for Biden: 65% of all respondents gave that answer about him, compared to 50% for Trump.

Predictably, assessments vary depending on voters' political affiliation: over seven in ten registered Democrats said Biden is fit, but the figure drops sharply among independents (28%) and Republicans (7%).

In contrast, only 17% of Democrats say Trump is mentally fit to serve, compared to 47% of independents and 87% of Republicans.

Looking at all voters (that is, registered and not), almost a quarter (23%) said neither Trump nor Biden are qualified to be president as of 2025. More people do believe they are, but disparities remain and concerns are higher about Biden. 27% of respondents said only Biden is mentally fit, the figure rising to 42% for those who said only Trump has the necessary cognitive health to serve.

Another part of the poll focused on Latinos' views of the candidates, showing that many may actually be more open to voting for Biden, not because they like his policies and agree with his ideas, but merely to prevent the presumptive GOP nominee from being reelected.

The survey found that Biden's voters have become increasingly centered around anti-Trump sentiment more so than affinity for Biden himself. In fact, most respondents say their main rationale for voting for Biden is opposing Trump.

In the study, views of the national economy continue to be a salient issue for voters, and perspectives are more negative today than they were in March, the survey says. This leads Biden to not have a meaningful advantage among Hispanics, a group he won handily in 2020. Conversely, more Hispanic voters think they will be financially better off if Trump wins than if Biden does.

When asked about Biden's recently announced executive order that shuts down the southern border after a daily threshold of 2,500 has been met, around 70% of respondents agreed with the policy.

Nevertheless, voters believe Trump's policies if he were reelected would improve the situation in the southern border. 49% of respondents said Biden policies would increase border crossings, compared to 5% of Trump's; 30% said Biden's policies would have no effect on border crossings, compared to Trump's 24%; and only 20% believed Biden's policies would actually decrease border crossings compared to Trump's 70%.

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