The Corner

Politics & Policy

Majority Says Biden Isn’t ‘Mentally Sharp’: Poll

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on evacuation efforts and the ongoing situation in Afghanistan during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 20, 2021. (Ken Cedeno/Reuters)

A majority of Americans now say that President Biden is not “mentally sharp,” according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The survey, which like other polls shows Biden’s overall approval rating sinking, found that just 43 percent said the phrase “mentally sharp” described him either “very well” or “fairly well,” an 11 point drop from the same poll in March, while 56 percent said the phrase describes him “not at all well” or “not too well.” This was his worst showing in any of the personal characteristics surveyed.

This is evidence in support of something I have suspected for weeks, which is that the Afghanistan blunder does not alone explain the collapse of Biden’s approval ratings. That is, people often don’t prioritize foreign policy as an issue, so it was remarkable to witness Biden’s approval nosedive so quickly. As I speculated in an Editors podcast a few weeks back, the dramatic drop in may not have been directly related to the nuances of Afghanistan policy, but to the fact that the crisis showed Biden to be weak, lacking command, kind of out of it, and frankly, too old.

Biden’s botched handling of the crisis drew attention to his lack of mental acuity in ways that previous rehearsed performances did not, and that likely made a lot more people uneasy. Though one poll does not prove anything (nor does it establish a causal relationship) it does at least suggest that his polling issues go beyond merely Afghanistan.

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