With escalating global tensions inching the world ever closer to the brink of nuclear war, American voters are desperate for leadership that can bring them safely through such a crisis—and according to the latest polls, the public does not expect to find that leadership in incumbent President Joe Biden. First reported by The Daily Mail, a poll from J.L. Partners found that, in the unlikely event of a nuclear emergency, more than half of US voters would prefer that former President Donald Trump be the one answering the call in the Oval Office.

According to a survey of 1,005 likely voters, the impending 2024 rematch between the two oldest presidential candidates in US history has given the public cause for concern. As the Mail reported, both men have been criticized for “botching names, misremembering key details, and garbling speech lines.” However, respondents clearly indicated that Biden, 81, is plagued by far more issues than his 77-year-old Republican counterpart.

When asked about their confidence in each candidate’s ability to navigate a nuclear emergency, 56 percent of poll takers indicated that Trump could handle the situation, compared to just 45 who said the same for Biden.

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Other survey questions assessed public perceptions of both men’s cognitive abilities and leadership qualities—and Trump led by a wide margin across all categories.

Nearly two-thirds said that Trump could make it through a one-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and 43 percent said Biden could do likewise.

Trump was also rated more likely to remember the names of key staffers by a margin of 15 points, and more likely to remember the names of world leaders by 13 points.

(Source: J.L. Partners/ The Daily Mail)

The results of the poll varied based on respondent’s party affiliation, but Independents produced the greatest amount of variation. For example, only 37 percent of Independents believe Biden can hold his own against Putin.

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Across the whole survey, Biden failed to crack even 50 percent confidence in any metric. While his age may be a contributing factor, James Johnson, co-founder of J.L. Partners, said that other notable issues played a part as well.

“Though Trump is only three years Biden’s junior, they think he is up to the job and will be able to manage the pressures of the office,” Johnson explained. “A lot of this is due to Trump’s presentation, frenetic activity, and regular stump speeches. He is also resting on his political reputation for strength: voters say strength is Trump’s biggest asset, and that he is more physically strong and able to get things done than Biden.”

However, the numbers do not reflect particularly well on Trump either, with the former president scoring a maximum of 65 percent in a single category. These poll numbers come at a time of significant international tension, with multiple regional wars threatening to pull the United States into direct conflict.

“An ambitious but anxious China, a confrontational Russia, some regional powers, such as Iran, and more capable non-state actors are challenging longstanding rules of the international system as well as US primacy within it,” the country’s spy agencies said in their 2024 Annual Threat Assessment released earlier this month.

Above all, as the poll reflects, looms the threat of Russia, which has intensified its war with US-backed Ukraine. With that war grinding to a standstill in recent months, Putin has indicated that the nuclear option is not off the table for ending the war.

During his latest state of the nation address, the Russian president suggested that Russia’s “strategic nuclear forces are in a state of full readiness,” and he threatened fiery retaliation if Western nations committed troops to Ukraine. According to Russian news agency Tass, pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk who was exiled to Russia in 2022 predicted that a nuclear strike will “most likely” be coming as the West continues to “assert its right to global dominance.”

“The likelihood that we could find ourselves embroiled in a major conflict is greater now, arguably, than at any point since the Berlin Wall fell, and the scenarios in which a commander in chief is going to be called upon to make split second decisions is greater now than at any point in the last several decades,” said Brett Bruen, president of the Global Situation Room and a former US diplomat.

“If it comes down to a decision between slow and stupid,” he said, “I’ll take slow.”


Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Valuetainment.com. Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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