Just over half of likely U.S. voters believe presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden can handle debating President Donald Trump on the national stage, a new poll showed.
The latest Rasmussen survey, released on Tuesday, July 14, found that 54% of likely U.S. voters think Biden is capable of debating the incumbent president, but 36% disagree and the former vice president is not capable of such a debate. Another 11% are not sure.
The survey was conducted from July 9 to July 12 after the Biden campaign in June refused President Trump’s request to take part in more than three debates ahead of the general election in November.
“Joe Biden looks forward to facing Donald Trump in a multi-debate series that the American people have come to expect from their leaders; we hope that President Trump would not break that tradition or make excuses for a refusal to participate,” Biden Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote in a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates on June 22.
Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columnist, recently urged Biden not to debate President Trump in the fall and the new survey showed that most voters think that’s a bad idea.
Sixty-eight percent of voters think Biden and President Trump should hold one or more televised presidential debates this fall, with 51% saying it’s “Very Important” that these debates should be held.
If Biden refused to debate President Trump, the survey found that 56% believe it would hurt his candidacy, but 9% say it would help him. Meanwhile, 29% of the voters feel no impact on Biden’s bid for the White House if he decides not to debate Trump.
The survey indicated that sizable majorities of voters in most demographic categories consider debates important to the presidential campaign this fall.
Seventy-seven percent of Democrats believe Biden is capable of debating Trump, but 32% of Republicans and 49% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree.
Among his fellow Democrats, 47% feel Biden’s candidacy would be hurt if he refused to debate the president, comparing to 62% of Republicans and 60% of unaffiliated voters.
Another Rasmussen survey released in late June showed that 38% of all U.S. likely voters believe Biden has some form of dementia, and 61% think it is important for him to address that issue publicly.
As of July 15, 48% of likely U.S. voters approve of President Trump’s job performance, while 50% disapprove, the Rasmussen daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows.