Biden’s Age,Trump’s Criminal Indictments Raise ‘Serious Doubts’ for Majority of Voters

A new Emerson College Polling national survey on the potential 2024 presidential election reveals a tight race between former President Donald Trump and current President Biden, with 45% of voters favoring Trump, 44% supporting Biden, and 11% undecided. Support for both candidates has decreased by one point since the last national poll in January. In other hypothetical matchups, Trump leads with 46% against Vice President Kamala Harris’s 43% and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 36%. Against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Trump maintains a lead with 45% compared to Whitmer’s 33%, with 22% undecided.

Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, noted: “There is a stark divide in 2024 support among voters with and without a college degree: voters without a college degree break for Trump 48% to 39%, whereas voters with a college degree break for Biden 52% to 39%. 

With third-party candidates Robert Kennnedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein added to the hypothetical ballot, Trump leads Biden 40% to 38%, while 7% support Kennedy Jr., and 1% support Stein and West respectively. The number of undecided voters increases by two points to 13%.

Voters were asked if President Biden’s age raises serious doubts about voting for him in 2024, and separately if former President Donald Trump’s criminal indictments raise serious concerns about voting for him. Voters are nearly equally concerned: 58% say Biden’s age raises serious doubts in their minds about voting for the president and 42% say it is not a serious consideration of theirs, while 57% say Trump’s criminal indictments raise serious doubts in the mind about voting for Trump and 43% say it is not a serious consideration of theirs. 

  • Among independent voters, 54% say Biden’s age raises serious doubts for them, while 61% say Trump’s criminal indictment raises serious doubts. 
  • Within the candidates’ own parties, 45% of Democrats say Biden’s age raises doubts, while 30% of Republicans say the same of Trump’s indictments. 

In the Republican Presidential Primary, 77% support Trump, while 13% support Nikki Haley, and 10% are undecided. Fifty-six percent of Republican Primary voters think Haley should drop out, while 31% think she should stay in the race, 13% are unsure or have no opinion on the matter. 

President Biden’s job approval remained steady at 42%, unchanged since last month. Forty-seven percent disapprove of the job Biden is doing in office. Within the Democratic Primary, 74% support him as the nominee, while 9% support Dean Phillips and 17% are undecided. 

“While the President’s approval has remained the same since last month, it has decreased a few points among independent voters, from 37% to 34%, reflecting a drop in a number that was trending upward for the president since November 2023.”

The economy is the top issue facing the country for 30% of voters, followed by immigration (21%), threats to democracy (14%), healthcare (11%), education (6%), crime (6%), and abortion access (5%). 

“Male voters are most concerned about immigration at 28%, compared to 15% of women, whereas women voters are most concerned about the economy at 35% compared to 26% of men.”

In August of 2023, the Emerson national poll asked voters if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Taylor Swift. In August, 43% of voters had a favorable view of Swift, 38% neutral, and 19% unfavorable. Swift’s favorability among U.S. voters has remained relatively unchanged, with 40% favorable, 42% neutral, and 18% unfavorable. 

The National Football League (NFL)’s favorability was also tested in the August poll, at 53% favorable, 30% neutral, and 18% unfavorable. Six months later, its favorability remains at 53%, 32% neutral, and 15% unfavorable. One in five voters (20%) say they placed bets on the Super Bowl this year, 69% of whom say they won their bets. Back in August, 21% of voters say they planned on betting on NFL games this season. 


The Emerson College Polling national survey was conducted February 13-14, 2024. The sample of registered voters, n=1,225, has a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE), of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, education, race, age, party affiliation, and region based on 2024 registration modeling. Turnout modeling is based on U.S. Census parameters, and voter registration data. 

It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.

Data was collected by contacting an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and a consumer list of emails (both provided by Aristotle), and an online panel of voters provided by Alchemer.

All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results, demographics, and cross tabulations can be found under Full Results. This survey was funded by Emerson College.