President Donald Trump captured the votes of senior Americans in 2016, but their support for his reelection may be declining, Slate reports.
According to exit polls in 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton in support from voters 45 and older by 8 points. A Pew Research Center study of the electorate indicated that voters 65 and older were Trump’s strongest overall age demographic. The study showed he beat Clinton by 9 points among those voters.
But his support from the over 65 crowd may be slipping. Trump has kept his advantage among voters ages 50-64, according to recent polls.
According to a Monmouth University poll released last month, Biden was leading in support from registered voters over 65 by 17 points. A Quinnipiac national poll from mid-July also indicated Biden had a double-digit lead of 14 points among the 65-plus voters.
More recently, a CNN poll conducted in early September showed Biden leading with seniors by 17 points.
The shift in support for Biden is helping him maintain the lead in some swing states, according to Slate. The battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all have disproportionately higher shares of the senior electorate, according to Slate.
An early September Quinnipiac poll of Florida reported Biden led overall by 3 points. Among the senior vote, he had a 10-point lead. A Monmouth poll of Pennsylvania voters noted Biden had an overall edge of 4 points with an 11-point advantage from seniors.
“Seniors were a strength group for Trump in 2016. They were a strength group in 2018. Given the challenges we have with other voter groups, we’ve got to work to bring them back into the fold,” Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, a top Republican pollster and strategist, told Slate.
Slate reports the last time the Democrats won the senior vote was in 2000. In 1992, the senior vote helped Bill Clinton clinch the presidency and his reelection. According to Slate, more seniors identified as Democrats than Republicans between 1992 and 2010. During Obama’s presidency, seniors switched parties.
Democrat strategist Tad Devine told Slate that older voters are “most concerned about the way [Trump] comports himself as president.”
“I think there’s also a comfort factor with Biden that perhaps they didn’t have with Clinton as much,” Devine said. “He’s someone that they know, and I think they’re very comfortable with him, the way he comports himself, the kind of person he is.”
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