Voters List 'Old' and 'Lie' Among Top Words Associated With Biden, Trump Ahead of First Debate: Survey

As U.S. voters prepare to watch Tuesday's presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, many Americans say the words "old," "lie" and "peaceful transition" are among their most recent associations with both candidates.

Major news topics including Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, the coronavirus pandemic and health care top the list of words and phrases dominating the minds of many voters ahead of the contest's first debate. A CNN weekly polling project of 1,000 voters created a top 20 list of phrases Americans recall hearing, reading or being exposed to in connection to both Trump and Biden. Several quirky—and often critical—words emerged about each candidate including "bad person" in reference to the president and "old" tied to Biden.

The word "lie" is one of the few phrases used in reference to each candidate.

The "Breakthrough" survey respondents were asked to describe all the information they soaked in or were exposed to about the candidates between Tuesday and Sunday last week. Then researchers from Georgetown University, the University of Michigan and SSRS Omnibus Surveys culled through the most common associations.

The Supreme Court justice nomination process, COVID-19 and the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg were mentioned in reference to both, but each were also tied to some of their most recent controversial remarks. Two phrases lingering at the top of Trump's list included "peaceful transition" and "transition of power." The president has sparked speculation among many of his critics that he may refuse to leave the White House even if he loses the election on November 3.

In regards to Biden, words including "dementia" and "speech" and "old" were among the top associations as the Trump campaign continues to claim the 77-year-old Democratic nominee suffers from mental health and awareness issues. Trump has stated for weeks he wants drug tests conducted on both Biden and himself prior to the debate in order to ensure no performance-enhancing chemicals have been ingested by either.

The presidential debate Tuesday evening in Cleveland, Ohio, marks the first time the two have met on the campaign trail. While Trump has held several large campaign rallies throughout the country amid the pandemic, Biden has largely remained behind-the-scenes until recent weeks. Variations of "debate" show up in Biden's associations, perhaps as a result of speculation earlier this month that he would not attend.

But while "debate" is not seen prevalently in reference to Trump, the "election" is clearly mentioned alongside his name.

Newsweek reached out to both campaigns for any reaction or commentary Tuesday afternoon.

The CNN-led polling project speaks with 1,000 Americans each week across the country to get a feel for what information has stuck with them the most. The "Breakthrough" word association surveys began on June 29 and will run through Election Day.

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In this photo illustration a pencil lies on a U.S. presidential election mail-in ballot received by a U.S. citizen living abroad that shows current U.S. Republican President Donald Trump and his main contender, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, among the choices on September 21, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Thousands of U.S. citizens living abroad received their mail-in ballots via e-mail over the weekend. SEAN GALLUP / Staff/Getty Images