Congress

Only 3 percent of Democratic voters want a president in their 70s, survey finds

Pew found that the age of presidential candidates is important to potential voters, and they prefer younger candidates

Former Vice President Joe Biden would be 78 on Inauguration Day 2021. While he’s the current front-runner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, a recent poll finds the party’s voters largely prefer their presidents younger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, will be inching toward their 80th birthdays come Election Day.

Though Biden and Sanders are polling well among Democratic voters, their success belies what voters told the Pew Research Center in a new poll on how they see the age of candidates.

[ANALYSIS: Age, change and the Democrats’ challenge]

Pew, a nonpartisan arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts that conducts research and polls, found that the age of presidential candidates is important to potential Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters and that they prefer their candidates younger, specifically in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

The Pew survey, conducted early last month, found that 47 percent of Democratic voters say the best age for presidents is their 50s. If he were to win next year, Biden would be 78 upon taking office in 2021. Sanders would be 79.

The percentage of Democratic or likely Democratic voters who said the optimal age for a president is someone in their 70s: 3 percent.

Younger Democrats were more likely than their elders to prefer younger candidates. Of Democrats between 18 and 29 years of age, 55 percent said they’d favor a candidate in his or her 30s or 40s. Among Democrats 50 and older, only 12 percent viewed the 30-40 age range to be ideal for a president.

18PRESIDENTIALAGES

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.