ICYMI: Across The Battlegrounds, Seniors Continue Souring On Trump

After winning the senior vote by nearly 10 points in 2016, Donald Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus and his threats to seniors’ retirement security are proving toxic with this critical voting bloc across the battlegrounds. New reporting this weekend highlights this growing trend in Arizona and Florida, where seniors are turning to Vice President Joe Biden in significant numbers. Read more below:

Associated Press: A senior warning sign for Trump: ‘Go Biden’ cry at Villages.

By Tamara Lush

October 11, 2020

Key Points:

  • “Older voters helped propel [Trump] to the White House — the Pew Research Center estimates Trump led among voters 65 and older by 9 percentage points in 2016 — and his campaign hoped they would be a bulwark to cement a second term … but his campaign has seen a drop-off in its internal research, according to campaign aides, and some public polls suggest Democrat Joe Biden is running ahead or just even with Trump.”

  • “Mostly, it seems, older voters have been put off by Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, which affects these voters more acutely than others. They were particularly alarmed by Trump’s performances at daily task force briefings in the spring because his remarks showed an uneven handling of the crisis and inspired little confidence.”

  • “In few places could any significant drop-off spell doom more profoundly than Florida, a state Trump almost certainly must win. Older adults historically are the most reliable voters, and Florida is infamous for its tight races. So even a modest drop in support could send Trump back to private life.”

Miami Herald: Florida’s seniors, the state’s most reliable voters, are shifting away from Trump.

By Mary Ellen Klas

October 10, 2020

Key Points:

  • “Stephen Staruch is exactly the kind of voter that gave Donald Trump a 17-point advantage over Hillary Clinton in exit polling among older voters in Florida four years ago … Now, Staruch, 67, is voting for Biden ‘to get democracy back and the rule of law,’ and he’s speaking out about it to anyone who will listen. ‘I feel that same sense of obligation that I did when I was 17 and joined the military during Vietnam. It’s like, that’s what people do because this is our country.’”

  • “Polls now show that because of voters like Staruch, Florida’s seniors who traditionally vote at higher rates than any other age group, have shifted in significant numbers away from President Donald Trump to former Vice President Joe Biden.”

  • “‘Senior citizens are a very high-risk group,’ [Michael] Binder of UNF said. ‘They are some of the most vulnerable in our whole country. And when you have somebody not necessarily taking it as seriously as they should, flouting their own advice from their own CDC, it’s pretty clear, some of those folks that are concerned about this — maybe they’ve lost friends and loved ones and things of that nature.’”

Arizona Republic: Here’s why some older Arizona voters are trading Trump for Biden.

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

October 11, 2020

Key Points:

  • “While the president for months downplayed the seriousness of the virus and flouted public health mask recommendations as he traveled around the nation for campaign rallies — eventually Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized  — [Republican Ann] Whitmire struggled at home in Phoenix to recover from the illness. She missed work and important family milestones. She’s just starting to feel more like herself again.”

  • “If Whitmire finds herself adjusting to a new reality, the same can be said for Trump and Republicans. Senior voters like her are breaking from years of loyalty to the Republican Party, polling suggests, giving Democrat Joe Biden even consideration among one of the most critical voting blocs in America.”

  • “Asked for their views of Trump, 52% of older voters said they viewed the president unfavorably, while 45% viewed him favorably. Four percent had no opinion. Bob McGinnis sure does. The Chandler Republican, who served in the U.S. Navy in the 1950s, voted for Trump in 2016. He won’t again, citing Trump’s personal integrity and overall performance, including his handling of COVID-19 and ‘putting down the scientists who were saying what’s really going on.’”

  • “Dana Kennedy, state director of AARP, said some senior voters are moving away from Trump because of deep anxiety over their health and financial situation. They’re also worried about the solvency of Social Security and Medicare, she said.”