A massive shift in younger and older voters is roiling the presidential race, according to new data from the Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll concluded October 28-29. Younger voters — under 45 — once Barack Obama's base, now are evenly divided between the two candidates. But voters over 65 have shifted sharply to the Democrat in the past week.
Voters under 45 supported Obama by 52-38 in the Fox News poll of October 21-22. But this week's survey indicates that they now break evenly with 45% supporting Obama and 46% backing John McCain. On the other hand, voters 65 and over, who had backed Obama by 46-42 last week have now shifted decisively in his favor and he now leads McCain among seniors by 54-39. Middle aged voters — aged 45-64 — are largely unchanged in their views. Last week they backed Obama by 48-40 and this week they still support him by 48-43.
Overall, the Fox News survey shows McCain narrowing Obama's lead from 49-40 (9 points) to 47-44 (3 points) over the past week.
The shift in the attitudes of young people may be directly related to the tax issue, brought home by a McCain advertisement featuring Joe the Plumber. Younger voters, trying to make their way in their careers, are more sensitive to changes in taxes than older people, many of whom has retired from the labor force. By attacking Obama for wanting to "spread the wealth around", the McCain camp seems to have struck a nerve among those who are entering the most productive years of their employment history.
On the other hand, seniors may be more comfortable with Obama than they have been previously and might be more accepting of his candidacy. Obama's attacks on McCain over Social Security, always a sensitive topic for the elderly may also be hitting home driving seniors into the Democratic column.
The Fox News/Opinion Dynamics survey was conducted on October 28-29 and surveyed 924 likely voters nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points.
© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann