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Study: Nearly half of Democrats would prefer a 50-something president

50th-birthday celebratory decoration.
Photo: Justlive_STPhotography/Getty Images

A new Pew Research Center study found that Democrats would prefer a president between 40–60 years old, with 47% saying they think a president in their 50s would be ideal.

Why it matters: Age is playing a prominent role in the 2020 election conversation, with Democratic candidates Joe Biden (76) and Bernie Sanders (77) in the running to become the oldest president if elected. Currently, President Trump holds that record. Pete Buttigieg (37), Tulsi Gabbard (38), Eric Swalwell (38) and Seth Moulton (40) could become the youngest person elected to the Oval Office.

Candidates in their 50s include Cory Booker, Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Steve Bullock, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and John Delaney.

  • Pew also found younger Democrats — ages 18–29 (55%) — were more likely to prefer a president in their 30s (13%) or 40s (42%) than older Democratic voters.

Between the lines: Trump has already defended his age this campaign cycle, saying in April that he feels like a "young, vibrant man."

"Well, I think that, I just feel like a young man. I'm so young. I can't believe it. I'm the youngest person. I am a young, vibrant man. I look at Joe — I don't know about him."
— President Trump
  • The president added that his 2020 opponents make him "look very young."

By the numbers: Separately, Pew's study found that a large number of Democrats say race, sexuality or gender do not affect their enthusiasm for a candidate. Of the 10,170 Democrats or left-leaners surveyed, the majority said having a black nominee (75%), female nominee (64%), or gay or bisexual nominee (68%) wouldn't affect their vote.

Nearly one-third of all Democrats —31% — said they would be more interested if the party’s nominee was a woman.

  • 45% of women ages 18–49 reported more enthusiasm than other groups surveyed about a female nominee.
  • Among Democratic men 50 years and older, only 19% said they would be interested in a woman as the nominee.

Go deeper: 2020 presidential election: Track which candidates are in the running