On Monday, The Washington Post examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older voters’ politics, and in particular how it is hurting President Donald Trump with the critical demographic in Florida — a state that is almost mandatory for the president to win for a second term.
“While Democrats have worried about Biden’s struggles to excite younger voters, older voters who are upset with the president are poised to be potentially more influential in November, especially in swing states whose populations skew their way, like Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin,” reported Jenna Johnson and Lori Rozsa. “In Florida, more than 20 percent of those who voted in the 2016 election were over age 65, according to exit polls. In 2016, Trump won the Florida senior vote by a 17-point margin over Clinton, according to exit polls. The state ranks as one Trump must almost certainly win to insure his victory, while Biden has other paths to the White House.”
“Yet for months, Biden has been more popular than Trump with seniors,” continued the report. “A national poll of registered voters released by Quinnipiac University last week shows Biden leading by 10 points among voters over 65. A Quinnipiac poll in late April found 52 percent of Florida seniors supporting Biden to 42 percent for Trump, while a Fox News poll around the same time found Biden narrowly ahead.”
“The skepticism toward the president among some seniors comes as their lives have been drastically altered by the coronavirus, which has swept through nursing homes and retirement communities across the country,” said the report. “In Florida, more than 80 percent of the 2,000-plus people killed by the virus have been over age 65, according to an analysis by the Tampa Bay Times. Even as the state has begun to reopen, most seniors have remained hidden in their homes at the urging of their doctors or their adult children and grandchildren. Most no longer gather with others to dine, play cards, enjoy golf or the pool, or discuss politics.”
One of the elderly voters profiled was Allen Lehner, a longtime Republican who didn’t vote in 2016 but who intends to vote for Biden this year.
“Lehner, who now considers himself an independent, says he is frightened by the president’s lack of leadership and maturity amid the nation’s health and economic crisis,” said the report. “Several people in his gated community in Delray Beach, Fla., have gotten sick; at least one has died. He worries about his own health — he has an autoimmune disease — and also about his adult children, including a daughter who has gone back to work and a son whose pay has been cut.”
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