Sep 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Over 75% of voters want maximum age limit for elected officials, poll shows

President Biden speaks at a press conference Sunday. Photo: Nhac Nguyen/AFP via Getty Images

Over three-fourths of Americans think there should be a maximum age limit for elected officials, according to a CBS News/YouGov survey.

Why it matters: The poll comes as attention toward the age of politicians has been in the spotlight after several incidents, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) freezing in front of reporters and ongoing concerns about President Biden's age.

By the numbers: 77% of those surveyed said there should be "maximum age limits for elected officials," meaning "after they reach a certain age, they are not permitted to hold office any longer."

  • The concern proved to be bipartisan, with 76% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans calling for maximum age limits for elected officials.
  • 45% of respondents said the maximum age limit for elected officials should be 70.
  • A combined 30% of respondents said either 50 or 60 should be the maximum age.
  • Only 18% said 80 should be the maximum age limit for elected officials.

Between the lines: Over half think the job of the president is "too demanding for someone over the age of 75," though 38% said "it depends."

  • 78% "mostly agree" with the statement that most legislators and elected officials over the age of 75 "[r]aise concerns about [an elected official's] ability to perform their job," compared to 22% who "mostly disagree."
  • 80% said they "mostly agree" that a legislator or an elected official over 75 would "[r]isk being out of touch with the times," but 20% said they "mostly disagree."

Worth noting: The median age of the Senate is 65, according to Pew Research. The House of Representatives' median age is 57.

  • Sixteen senators are 75 or older, and 18 are between 74 and 70.
  • In the House, 43 U.S. Representatives are 75 or older, and 42 are between 74 and 70.

Zoom out: Biden is not the only elected official who has been part of the conversation on age limits for politicians.

  • A recent Economist/YouGov poll found that a majority of likely voters think McConnell's age and health "severely limit his job abilities" after the 81-year-old had his second apparent freeze-up in as many months in August.
  • A May 2023 poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that two-thirds of California voters felt Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), 90, was "no longer fit for office," though respondents were not asked if her age was a factor in their answer.
  • And in this new poll, over half think the job of U.S. senator is, "too demanding" for someone over the age of 75.

Methodology: The poll surveyed 2,335 adults between Sept. 5-8 and has a margin of error of ±2.7 points.

Go deeper