Rasmussen reports a New York Times columnist has urged likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden not to debate President Trump in the fall. Most voters think that’s a bad idea, although only just over half believe Biden is even up to debating Trump given ongoing questions about his mental health.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters think Biden is capable of debating the president. Thirty-six percent (36%) disagree and say he is not capable of such a debate. Another 11% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But then 38% of all voters, including 20% of Democrats, believe Biden is suffering from some form of dementia. Sixty-one percent (61%) think it is important for him to address the dementia issue publicly.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters think it is important for Biden and Trump to hold one or more televised presidential debates this fall, with 51% who say it’s Very Important.
Fifty-six percent (56%) believe it would hurt Biden’s candidacy if he refused to debate Trump. Only nine percent (9%) say it would help him, while 29% feel a failure to debate would have no impact on Biden’s bid for the White House.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted July 9 and 12, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Sizable majorities of voters in most demographic categories consider debates important to the presidential campaign this fall.
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.