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Happy birthday, Joe? Biden turns 81 amid unprecedented drop in popularity

The latest NBC News poll reveals that the president has the lowest approval rating of his term, with young people flocking to Trump.

Imagen de archivo del presidente Joe Biden en el Salón Oval.

(Cordon Press)

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Joe Biden will blow out the candles on his 81st birthday in a discreet celebration, according to various reports, due to the concern generated by his fall in the polls and rumors about the state of his health.

A recent NBC News poll places the president's approval rating at 40%, the lowest of his term, with 19% who "strongly approve" and 21% who "somewhat approve." On the contrary, the president's disapproval rating stands at 57%, with 48% who "strongly disapprove" and 9% who "somewhat disapprove."

The survey also reveals that, unlike past polls and elections, young Americans prefer Donald Trump, the favorite in the GOP primaries, over Biden. In fact, 46% of voters between 18 and 34 years old lean towards the former Republican president, while 42% opt for the Democrat. It should be noted that the difference falls within the margin of error.

Young people in the Democratic Party, many aligned with the most far-left factions, also point out their discontent with Biden as a result of his administration's support for Israel in the war against Hamas. Among 18-34 year olds, 70% of respondents disapprove of his management of the war. Over the weekend, a group of activists stormed the California Democratic Convention to call for a ceasefire chanting "in November we'll remember."

The poll also projects a victory for Trump in 2024 for the first time since NBC began tracking this data. The former president obtained 46% support, while Biden had just 44%. Once again, the difference does not exceed the margin of error. These results are consistent with other recent polls that predict a Republican victory.

Pro-Biden Democrats are publicly dismissive of the polls, pointing out that there is a long way to go until the election. One of them was former Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina:

Vice President Kamala Harris, who seeks to repeat her term with Biden in 2024, spoke about the drop in the polls in an interview with CNN on Sunday: "We’re going to have to earn our re-elect, there’s no doubt about it."

Asked about the youth vote, she highlighted the government's achievements on issues such as climate change and reproductive rights. Asked why young voters should want to be represented by a president who is old enough to be their grandfather, Harris responded that they will be the ones who benefit if Biden wins.

The age problem

Biden's birthday this Monday may be more reason for concern than celebration when looking at the polls. Even before he turned 81, polls showed that most Americans believe the president's age and health limit his ability to govern the country.

Some 74% of voters said they were "concerned" about his state of health and that he did not have the "necessary physical and mental health" for a second term, which Biden would complete at the age of 86. This was revealed by an NBC News survey last month, thus supporting the results of a previous poll by The Economist/YouGov in which 45% of respondents said the president was "severely" inhibited by his age, while 34% thought that it complicated his job only "a little."

Doubts about Biden's age are reinforced with each new public lapse, such as the one he made on Veterans Day when he got lost during the ceremony and incorrectly pronounced the acronym "LGBTQ." This joined a long list of gaffes since his presidency began.

Age is also one of the biggest talking points for Biden's critics, both inside and outside the Democratic Party.

Marianne Williamson, who is running for the Democratic nomination, said in an interview with Newsweek that Biden was "selfish" to seek re-election at his age. Republican candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis assured in recent hours that the presidency was "not not a job for an 80-year-old," also referencing Trump.

One of the questions that the president's age has raised during the current campaign is who Americans that opt for a Biden-Harris ticket will really be voting for. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are among those who have come out to say that in a possible second term for Biden, he would have to leave office before his four years are up. Voting for Biden, then, would essentially be electing Harris as president.