Three in Ten Americans Think Both Trump and Biden Would Not Make Good Presidents

By: Alex Trent | Published: Apr 03, 2024

A new Gallup poll published Wednesday found that almost 30 percent of Americans say they don’t think Trump or Biden would make a good president if elected.

This number had increased from the previous month when only 25 percent of Americans doubted both Trump and Biden’s ability to lead the country. This poll confirms the feelings of many Americans who feel they have to choose between two candidates they see as unpopular and unlikeable.

Gallup Poll

The Gallup poll found that 29% of respondents said that both Trump and Biden would not perform well if elected to the office of President. Slightly more respondents thought that Trump would do a better job than Biden.

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The White House seen in front of a green lawn and by green trees.

Source: René DeAnda/Unsplash

35% of those polled said Trump would do a good job, while only 30% said Biden would be good as president.

Poll Methodology

This poll surveyed approximately 1,000 people over the month of March. It has a margin of error of four percentage points.

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A man with his back to the camera on a phone call. He is holding the phone to his ear.

Source: Hassan Ouajbir/Unsplash

Gallup says the “Results are based on telephone interviews conducted March 1-20, 2024, with a random sample of –1,016—adults, ages 18+, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on this sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.”

Poll Question

This poll asked a question and compared the results between what respondents said in 2020 versus what they said in 2024. 

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Official White House photograph of President Joe Biden/Official White House photograph of former president Donald Trump

Source: White House/Wikipedia

The question was “Which best describes your view of Donald Trump and Joe Biden — both would be a good president, neither would be a good president, only Donald Trump would be a good president, or only Joe Biden would be a good president?”

Comparing Results Between Candidates

Poll respondents who answered “only Biden” represented 36% of the people in 2020. This number is now down to 30% in March 2024, a negative six-point swing.

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Joe Biden and Donald Trump are pictured. Both men have served as US presidents.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

By comparison, 33% of respondents answered “only Trump” in 2020, which is now up to 35% in 2024. By this metric, Trump did better than Biden in the poll.

People Voting Neither Increased

The number of people who said the “neither” option has increased by four points since July/August 2020. In 2020, 25% of the respondents voted neither, which is now 29% as of the March 2024 results.

Close-up of two hands, one holding an envelope-style ballot, about to insert it into a slot on a metal ballot box

Source: Arnaud Jaegers/Unsplash

These poll results show that Americans continue to be divided on their views of Biden and Trump, and there is an increasing number of people who are dissatisfied with both options.

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Incumbent Comparison

Gallup said that in years when incumbent presidents were running, notably in 2004 and 2012, between 8% and 17% of US adults said that they thought both candidates wouldn’t make good presidents.

Current president Joe Biden sits in front of a dark background and an American flag while wearing a blue suit jacket and a white and blue striped tie

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Compared to today, significantly more people are skeptical of the nominees for both Republicans and Democrats during an incumbent general election year.

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Partisanship is Strong

One result that has not changed significantly is the belief among Americans that their party’s candidate is the only one who would make a good president. 71% of Democrats think only Biden would be a good president, while 77% of Republicans think the same of Trump.

The logos of Republicans and Democrats against a black background.

Source: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

This speaks to the solid division in American politics, where voters see themselves as members of a team pitted against the other party in opposition.

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What About Independents?

Among independents, the number of people who think neither Trump nor Biden would make a good president is slightly higher. The poll found that 42% of independents would not trust the leadership of either candidate.

A blue door opens to the world outside.

Source: Jan Tinneberg/Unsplash

Independents are now the largest political bloc in the United States, with 43% of US adults now identifying as independents.

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Doubters on Third-Party Candidates

People who voted “neither” on whether they think Trump or Biden would make good presidents were more likely to vote for a third-party candidate.

Independent presidential candidate RFK Jr speaks in 2023.

Source: Tom Williams/Wikimedia

When Gallup asked “neither” respondents their voting intentions for the November general election, 46% said they would be likely to vote for a third-party candidate. 17% said they would not vote for president, while another 33% said they would vote for one of the major candidates.

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Unpopular Candidates

Polls have shown that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are some of the most unfavorable and unlikable candidates in US history.

Trump, Biden, and Obama all meet at an inauguration in 2017.

Source: Cristian L. Ricardo/Wikimedia

Historically this has not been the case for major party nominees to be this unpopular, and usually not both of the candidates are this unpopular. Since 1980 only seven out of 22 candidates have had net negative favorability ratings.

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On the Wrong Track

In November an ABC News/Ipsos poll found that an overwhelming 76% of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. This poll also found that both Democratic and Republican candidates were viewed broadly negatively.

An empty train station platform during the daytime. The sky is clear and blue. There are no trains or people on the platform, which features yellow safety lines

Source: Wikimedia Commons

95% of Republicans polled thought the country was headed in the wrong direction, with 76% of independents agreeing; along with a 54% majority of Democrats.

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