Feb 15, 2024 - Politics

Trump leads with Metro Detroit swing voters who say Biden's too old

President Joe Biden speaks on the Senate's recent passage of the National Security Supplemental Bill, which provides military aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 13, 2024

President Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House this week. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's age was a big problem for swing voters in Metro Detroit participating in focus groups on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Voters have concerns about Biden's age and fitness, but none who participated in the focus group are concerned he's a threat to democracy.

  • While seven of 14 voters said they would describe former President Trump as a threat to democracy, 10 out of 14 also said they would take the twice-impeached president back over voting for Biden again in 2024.

The big picture: Almost all of the respondents said they believe Biden is showing signs of mental decline.

  • The economy, abortion rights and foreign policy are on the minds of the swing voters who raised concerns over Biden's age more than they did Trump's legal baggage.

The intrigue: Axios sat in on two Engagious/Sago online focus groups Tuesday night with 14 Michiganders who voted for Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020.

  • Eight are independents and six are Republicans. Most are from cities across Metro Detroit and two are from Holland and Jackson.
  • While a focus group is not a statistically significant sample like a poll, the responses show how some voters feel about current events.

State of play: A potential felony conviction didn't stop most in the focus group from saying they would vote for Trump again.

  • None said they were upset over special prosecutor Robert Hur's decision not to bring charges following his investigation into Biden's handling of classified documents, despite the report released last week that the president's actions presented "serious risks to national security."
  • The president rejected accusations of memory problems during a press conference after the investigation was released last week.

What they're saying: "For most of the Michigan swing voters who would take Trump back in November, his receiving a possible felony conviction before the election would barely register as a speed bump," said Rich Thau, president of Engagious, who moderated the focus groups.

Meanwhile, voters in and outside of Arab American communities said that Biden has lost voters who supported him in 2020 over his handling of the war in Gaza.

  • Half of the participants said they've heard from Arab or Muslim friends that "they're not going to support him."
  • "They're going more toward Trump than they are toward Biden," Ann N., a 68-year-old woman from Novi who identified as Arab American, told the group.
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