For the first time in more than a century, U.S. voters will decide between two candidates who have already gone head-to-head in a presidential election. And they have some concerns.

But worries about the potential reelection of President Joe Biden or his immediate predecessor, former President Donald Trump, have almost nothing in common, according to a new Deseret News/HarrisX poll.

Voters worry a second term in office for Biden would be dominated by his growing frailty and an inability to address the issues of immigration and inflation, the poll found. The prospect of a Trump reelection, on the other hand, provokes uneasiness about his impact on essential institutions and his ongoing legal fights.

More so than past presidential showdowns, which often focused on candidates’ responses to economic concerns or foreign wars, the 2024 contest seems to center on the individual characteristics of the nation’s 45th and 46th presidents, said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Full poll results

“These are not issue heavy responses,” Kondik said of the poll results. “It’s more about a lack of faith in the personal attributes of the candidates. I think for Trump it’s behavior, for Biden it’s competence.”

When asked to rank their biggest concerns about Biden getting reelected as president in 2024, over a third, 34%, of poll respondents picked Biden’s mental acuity. The next most common concerns were the president’s immigration policies, which 29% of respondents selected. A similar number, 28%, picked Biden’s age, 26% picked the rising cost of living and inflation and 18% picked his potential inability to finish a second term.

For Trump, the biggest concerns focused exclusively on his court cases and misuse of presidential authority. Almost a quarter, 24%, of respondents said Trump’s legal issues were one of their biggest concerns about him getting reelected. Another quarter, 23%, worry about worsening division in the country during a second Trump term, while 22% have concerns about excessive uses of executive power, and 19% fear threats to U.S. democracy and increased corruption.

The poll was conducted Feb. 26-27 among 1,007 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX, said voters are sending a clear message about their dissatisfaction with “Biden’s age and policy decisions and Trump’s divisive personality.”

“They’re communicating strongly that they do not want the choice in 2024 to be one between geritol and vitriol, and between failed policies and autocratic solutions,” he said.

Voters’ concerns cross partisan boundaries. Over a third, 34%, of Republicans are very concerned about a repeat Trump presidency posing a threat to democracy, the poll found, while 29% list corruption and 26% worsening division in the country as one of their biggest concerns.

According to the poll, Democrats consider Biden’s age an even bigger concern than Republicans do, with 33% listing it in their top three compared to 23% of Republicans. The same goes for Biden not being able to complete a second term, with 23% of Democrats elevating this worry to their top three compared to 14% of Republicans.

Independents were more concerned than members of either party by Trump’s legal woes.

These concerns will likely be reflected heavily in the campaign strategies of the respective candidates, Kondik said, with Trump focusing on Biden’s old age, immigration and inflation, and Biden focusing on Trump’s threat to democracy.

Kondik predicts Democratic concerns about Biden’s age will fade as the election nears and that fear of Trump will be a powerful motivating force for getting the party’s base out to vote.

“I think there’s a large group of voters, particularly on the Democratic side, who are going to be motivated to come out just to vote against Trump,” he said.

However, as opposed to Democrats voting for Biden out of fear of Trump, Republican voters appear more likely to vote in favor of their preferred candidate because they view him positively, Kondik said.

The “positive nature” of this vote may be more persuasive to swing voters, Kondik said, than a begrudging vote for Biden to avoid a Trump administration 2.0.

An average of recent polls shows both Biden and Trump have negative favorable ratings, with both candidates consistently 10 or more points underwater. But Trump consistently leads Biden in national polls by 1-4 percentage points.