Nearly 3 in 4 Americans Support Age Limits for Politicians — but What Should the Maximum Age Be?

CNN reported last year that the average age of a U.S. senator is roughly 64, while the average age of a House member is approximately 58

President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol House Chamber on March 1, 2022 in Washington, DC. In his first State of the Union address, Biden spoke on his administration’s efforts to lead a global response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, work to curb inflation, and bring the country out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State of the Union 2022. Photo: Shawn Thew - Pool/Getty

The vast majority of Americans — across all political parties and age groups — favor a maximum age limit for elected officials, according to a new opinion poll by CBS News/YouGov in which 73% of people surveyed supported the idea.

When respondents were asked what the maximum age should be and given a list of options to choose from, 70 years old was the most popular response, receiving 40% of the votes.

Twenty-six percent of respondents said the maximum age to hold public office should be 60 years old, followed by 18% who said 80 years old.

CNN reported last year that the average age of a U.S. senator is roughly 64, while the average age of a House member is approximately 58. CBS News notes that a third of sitting U.S. senators are 70 years of age or older.

Various earlier polls have also demonstrated that age was a concern among many voters in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump and his allies often used his opponent's age as a weapon, claiming that Joe Biden was too enfeebled to take office. Some even suggested that Biden suffered from dementia (which there is no evidence of).

Biden was 78 at his inaugural ceremony, making him the oldest person to be sworn in as commander-in-chief in U.S. history. Trump was previously the oldest-ever president to take office, and was 70 at his 2017 inauguration.

Former President Jimmy Carter, the oldest living president at 97, said in 2019 that he supported an age limit for those in the White House, though he didn't mention anyone by name.

"I hope there's an age limit," Carter, who was 52 when he took office, said in September 2019. "If I were just 80 years old, if I was 15 years younger, I don't believe I could undertake the duties I experienced when I was president."

The question of Biden's age — he'll be 81 at the time of the 2024 election — has led to speculation regarding whether he'll run for a second term.

Asked in an August debate whether now-79-year-old Biden should seek reelection, New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney shrugged aside the question by responding, "I don't believe he's running for reelection."

Maloney later clarified those comments, but remained tight-lipped on her feelings about another Biden campaign. As of now, the White House maintains that Biden plans to run again.

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"I think he's done an incredible job and is giving us a record to run on in the 2022 election, let's get to the 2022 election before we get to '24," Maloney said when speaking about her earlier remarks.

She continued: "Mr. President, I apologize. I want you to run. I happen to think you won't be running, but when you run or if you run, I will be there 100%."

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