AARP Polls Reveal Top Concerns for Voters 50 and Older


More than half of voters 50-years and older in crucial battleground states are worried about contracting the novel coronavirus.

At the same time, African Americans are particularly opposed to how President Donald Trump has handled the pandemic, according to extensive polling commissioned by AARP.

AARP launched the poll on Tuesday, Sept. 15, one week before National Voter Education Day which falls on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Officials said AARP’s robust Protect Voters 50+ campaign is designed to reach these voters in each state to make sure they know how to cast a safe and secure ballot.

Even though 90 percent of older Americans believe that the country has become too divided, AARP’s battleground state polls show that the support of voters age 65-plus is very much up for grabs.

For the polling, voters were asked where they stand on a range of concerns — from the coronavirus to the U.S. Postal Service and cuts to Social Security, to the debate over racial justice and law-andorder priorities.

More than 80 percent of voters in all six states declared that they would more likely vote for a candidate who increased protections for nursing home residents during the pandemic.

The poll also revealed that African Americans are standing firmly behind Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, whom many Black voters said they oppose how the Republican president has managed the coronavirus pandemic. A majority said they’d still refuse to accept a vaccine shot even if offered free of charge.

With the continued debate over voter protections, those in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, and Montana are divided between those who believe votes that are cast in person at a polling place and those that are mailed will all be counted accurately. Voters also have varying views on whether the expansion of mail voting will lead to voter fraud.

For example, in Georgia, 61 percent of voters 50-plus believe more mail voting will mean more fraud, while voters in Maine are evenly split — 50 percent to 50 percent — on that question.

Black Americans expressed concern about the U.S. Postal Service and that the reduction of funding would prevent election ballots from being counted.

While African Americans were also troubled by the prospects of in-person voting and wary of early voting, they were less bothered by potential voter fraud, according to the poll.

By overwhelming margins, older voters in 11 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) with competitive races for president and the U.S. Senate declared that they are more likely to vote for candidates who promise to protect Social Security benefits and strengthen Medicare.

With President Trump declaring a platform of law and order, voters in five key states — Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine and Montana – were asked whether they were more likely to vote for a candidate focused on maintaining law and order and preventing looting and rioting in America’s cities, or a nominee who is focused on increasing racial justice and reducing police violence against unarmed African Americans.

In four of the five states, more than 50 percent were more concerned with maintaining law in order.

In Maine, 46 percent would support a candidate focused on law and order, while 44 percent prefer a candidate focused on racial justice.

In the six battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the presidential race is tight among voters 50 and older.

Biden holds leads in Arizona (49 percent to 48 percent), Pennsylvania (50 percent to 46 percent), and Wisconsin (50 percent to 46 percent). While Trump has the edge in Florida (50 percent to 47 percent), the two are in a dead heat in North Carolina, tied at 48 percent.

Biden does enjoy a commanding lead in Michigan by a margin of 54 percent to 40 percent.

In all those states, the presidential race is within the surveys’ margins of error.

“Now more than ever, there are critical issues on the line in this election and AARP is working hard to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” stated Shani Hosten, AARP’s vice president of Multicultural Leadership.

“Our campaign is providing trusted information to African American voters through our communications channels, including our website, publications, media outreach and advertising to ensure the African American Community knows their voting options and where candidates stand on the issues we care about.”

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