Americans' ideal presidential candidate is a lot younger than Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, or Trump

  • Voters would like an ideal presidential nominee to be 49 years old, according to a new INSIDER poll.
  • Age of an ideal nominee trends higher as respondents’ ages also go up.
  • Democrats prefer a younger presidential nominee than Republicans.
  • The polling could potentially be trouble for Democratic candidates, many of whom are well into their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

The ideal age for a presidential nominee is much younger than President Donald Trump or the handful of top tier Democratic candidates heading into the 2020 presidential election, according to a new poll from INSIDER conducted on SurveyMonkey Audience.

Respondents were asked to select an age over 35 after the prompt “In your view, what’s the ideal age for a major party nominee for president?” Based on both the median and average, the respondents described as their ideal age as 49.


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Among adults who said they were likely to participate in their state’s Republican primary, they preferred a slightly older candidate with the median age indicated being 53. Respondents who said they’d likely be Democratic primary voters wanted a presidential nominee who is 48 years old.

And the median age preference of candidates trends younger with the age of respondents. Voters ages 18 to 29 want a presidential nominee who is 45 years old, voters ages 30 to 44 prefer a 46-year-old nominee, voters ages 45 to 59 want a 50-year-old, and respondents ages 60 and up have an ideal candidate age of 55.

The polling could spell bad news for many candidates, including President Donald Trump’s re-election chances.

To compare, Trump is 72 years old and top-polling Democratic candidates like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden are 77 and 76, respectively.

Many candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination fall within a reasonable range of the ideal age of 49.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is 49, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke is 46, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang is 44. The rest of the field, including California Sen. Kamala Harris (54), Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (58), former Maryland Rep. John Delaney (55), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (52), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (68), and others, all are over the age of 50.

As for the youngest on the spectrum, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard are both 37 years old.

Still, age is far from the primary reason people support one candidate or another. Further polling from INSIDER shows that voters have the most confidence that Biden is best equipped to beat Trump in a head to head matchup, despite being well into his 70s.

Biden also benefits from considerable name recognition, with 82% of Democratic primary or caucus voters having heard of him and 66% expressing they would be comfortable with him as the Democratic nominee.

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,086 respondents collected March 22-23, 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.13 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.

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