LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Candidate Age Factor – More Investigations, Trump’s Taxes

Your Daily Polling Update for Monday, May 6, 2019

Up 1 from Friday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on seven polls, ranging from 39% (Reuters) to 50% (Rasmussen). Without these two extremes, it would also be 45%…. President Trump’s disapproval rating averages 53% today (same as Friday), which is 8 points higher than his approval rating.

Among voters nationwide

% = Horserace 1/Horserace 1A = Combined Estimate 
Biden: 34%/44% = 39%   
Bernie Sanders: 17%/14% = 15.5%   
Kamala Harris: 4%/9% = 6.5%
Beto O’Rourke: 8%/3% = 5.5%    
Hillary Clinton: 6%/NA
Elizabeth Warren: 3%/5% = 4%  
Cory Booker: 5%/3% = 4% 
Pete Buttigieg: 4%/2% = 3%    
Michael Bloomberg: 2%/2% = 2%    
Amy Klobuchar: 1%/2% = 1.5%    
Andrew Yang: 2%/ – = 1%
John Delaney: 1%/1% = 1%
John Hickenlooper: 1%/ – = less than 1%
Tim Ryan: 1%/1% = 1%
Candidates with less than 1% not listed
RON’S COMMENT: There will be a lot of confusing poll numbers coming out during this campaign, and this Harvard-Harris survey is an example. It appears that these numbers were based on a split sample of Democratic voters, which means half of the Democrats interviewed (286) were asked the candidate line-up in Horserace 1 (with Clinton included) and the other half (292) were asked the candidate line-up in Horserace 1A (without Clinton). For example, in Horserace 1, with Clinton in, Biden gets 34%. But in Horserace 1A, with Clinton out, Biden gets 44%…. To provide order out of this somewhat confusing mix of topline results, we’re averaging the two sets of numbers to come up with an estimate of what the two half samples, when combined, might have shown…. Note that neither Buttigieg nor Warren is doing as well as in other recent polls. The previous three polls had Warren averaging 9.7% and Buttigieg averaging 8.3%. Here, they’re at 4% and 3%, respectively. Whether this poll is a trend or an aberration, we will have to wait and see…. Note, also, that Bloomberg is included even though he says he’s not running. He is generally not included in other polls.

Among voters nationwide

Based on what you have read or heard, do you believe that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, or don’t you feel that way? 
Trump should be impeached and removed: 37%
Trump should NOT be impeached and removed: 59%
RON’S COMMENT: By party: 69% of Democrats, 30% of independents and 7% of Republicans favor impeachment and removal…. When nearly 60% of Americans oppose impeachment, it means that Democrats would be taking a dangerous political risk by pushing it…. It should be noted that in September 2018, 47% favored impeachment and removal. Now, according to these new numbers, those supporting impeachment and removal is down to 37%. 
Do you think Democrats in Congress are doing too much, too little, or about the right amount to investigate Donald Trump? 
Too much: 44%
Too little: 25%
The right amount: 28%
RON’S COMMENT: 10% of Democrats, 46% of independents and 84% of Republicans say “too much.”
Do you think Donald Trump should or should not release his tax returns for public review? 
Should release taxes: 66%
Should NOT release taxes: 32%
RON’S COMMENT: 94% of Democrats, 63% of independents and 34% of Republicans say Trump should release his taxes.

by Ron Faucheux

Age is rarely an issue in presidential elections. Most candidates are neither too young nor too old. The average age of the last ten presidents upon taking office was 57.
The 2020 election, however, bristles with age issues: Five candidates will be in their 70s on Election Day, four will be in their 40s and three will be in their 30s.
Donald Trump, at 70, was the oldest candidate to ever win the presidency. If re-elected, he’d leave office at 78, the oldest president ever to serve––beating Ronald Reagan by nearly eight months.
But Trump, now 72, is one of those people who isn’t measured by age––the Dick Clark of politics. He even calls himself a “young, vibrant man.” While that may be something of a fudge, polls do show that Trump is perceived as strong and bold, traits rarely associated with geezers.
Among other septuagenarians running are three Democrats and a Republican. When the new president is elected, Bernie Sanders will be 79, Joe Biden will be 77, Elizabeth Warren will be 71 and Trump’s GOP challenger, William Weld, will be 75.
The political trap for older candidates is not age, in a narrow sense, but more widely, the appearance of generational disconnect. Are they in touch with the modern world? Do they understand the needs of younger generations? Little wonder that 50-year old Bill Clinton’s re-election slogan against 73-year-old Bob Dole was “A Bridge to the 21stCentury.” 
Seventy-two-year-old John McCain lost to 47-year-old Barack Obama in 2008 not so much because of his age, but because the country wanted change, and Obama’s youth perfectly embodied a  “Hope and Change” message.
When candidates are young, on the other hand, the issue becomes experience and maturity of judgment. Have they seen enough of the world to master national leadership? 
Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest U.S. president. At 42, he moved up from the vice presidency when President William McKinley was assassinated. John F. Kennedy was the youngest to be elected, at 43. In one of history’s touching parallels, he replaced the nation’s oldest president at that time, Dwight Eisenhower, who was 70 when he left office.
Kennedy’s entire career symbolized generational renewal, particularly apt in the years after World War II when young veterans were climbing increasingly steep career ladders. Kennedy won his first race for Congress at 29, and campaigned on the slogan ”A New Generation Offers a Leader.” In his inaugural address, he emphasized that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans­­.” 
Besides JFK and TR, America has had five other presidents in their 40s. The first three––Ulysses Grant, James Garfield and Grover Cleveland––were elected within a 16-year period, 1868-1884. The two most recent––Bill Clinton and Barack Obama––also won within 16 years, 1992-2008.
On the Democratic roster this year, five candidates are in their 40s and three are in their 30s. Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke will be 48 by Election Day. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and former mayor and HUD secretary Julian Castro will be 46, entrepreneur Andrew Yang will be 45 and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton will be 42. U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Eric Swalwell will be 39. The youngest candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, will be 38––although he’ll become 39 the day before the next president takes the oath.
To offer perspective: When Buttigieg was born, Biden had already served nine years in the U.S. Senate. When Sanders was born, Franklin Roosevelt was president.
America has never elected a president in his 30s, although Williams Jennings Bryan won the Democratic presidential nomination at the tender age of 36. 
The world has seen old leaders full of experience and wisdom––Winston Churchill was 80 when he retired as British Prime Minister––and young ones brimming with hope and new ideas. Emmanuel Macron was elected President of France at 39. 
Mark Twain once said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” As this campaign plays out, we’ll see about that.
––See New Orleans Advocate

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.

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