According to a report from the New York Times, support for Donald Trump among older voters is collapsing as voters are increasingly repelled by his bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic where he keeps upping the number of possible dead — and then calling his efforts a success.
The report, by the Times’ Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni notes that Republicans and Trump have been counting on seniors as a voting bloc to secure his re-election, but now see those same voters slipping away.
“In critical states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, all of which have large older populations, Mr. Trump’s advantage with older voters has been essential to his political success; in 2016, he won voters over the age of 65 by seven percentage points, according to national exit poll data.” the report states. “But seniors are also the most vulnerable to the global pandemic, and the campaign’s internal polls, people familiar with the numbers said, show Mr. Trump’s support among voters over the age of 65 softening to a concerning degree, as he pushes to reopen the country’s economy at the expense of stopping a virus that puts them at the greatest risk.”
The report goes on to note that a recent poll shows that “Trump’s approval rating on the handling of the coronavirus was lower with seniors than with any other group other than young voters. And Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, in recent polls held a 10-point advantage over Mr. Trump among voters who are 65 and older.”
According to Geoff Garin, a Democratic strategist, “Trump has suffered a double whammy with seniors from the coronavirus crisis, both in terms of a dislike for his personal demeanor and disapproval of his policy priorities. If there’s a durable change with older voters, it could well cost Trump the election.”
“Among the aides who have warned the president of a softening with older voters is Kellyanne Conway, his 2016 campaign manager and a senior adviser, people familiar with the discussions said. White House officials aware of the problem have started to stage events and initiatives designed to highlight work the administration has done that will appeal to seniors,” Haberman and Karni added.
According to the report, Trump campaign officials have tried to downplay the president’s collapse among older voters saying they have long bristled at his demeanor.
“In the past, however, support from older voters would return when they were reminded of Mr. Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration and his vow to protect Social Security and other safety-net programs, policy positions they often agreed with, officials said.” the report states. “Their hope, they said, is that support from older voters will return now that Mr. Trump has phased out his self-congratulatory version of a fireside chat, where he excoriated reporters and Democrats and at one point suggested that disinfectants could potentially be used to treat coronavirus patients.
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