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Older Americans in AARP survey undecided on candidates ahead of midterms

AP Photo/Eric Gay
A voter registration table is seen at a political event for Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Fredericksburg, Texas.

A slight majority of older Americans say they haven’t yet decided which candidates to support in November’s midterm elections, according to an AARP poll released on Tuesday.

The poll found that among Americans age 50 and older, 49 percent of women and 48 percent of men have decided who to vote for, with the elections less than five weeks away.

About 1 in 5 additional older voters say they will make their decision several weeks before the midterms, while about 1 in 10 said they don’t think they will make a decision until Election Day on Nov. 8.

“Neither party can say they have ‘won’ the votes of women over 50 yet,” Christine Matthews, the president Bellwether Research, one of the groups that conducted the poll, said in a statement.

“Older women are evenly divided on the generic ballot and two-in-five say they will make their final decision in the remaining weeks,” she continued. “They will be watching messaging on Social Security and many will be focused on threats to democracy and gun violence, while others will more closely track inflation and rising prices.”

The poll found that threats to democracy and voting rights topped the list when older women were asked to list the most important issues in the race, with both issues being listed by 48 percent of respondents.

Inflation followed closely behind at 44 percent, trailed by division in the country, Social Security and Medicare.

“Social Security may be a consensus issue with women 50+, yet among Democrats, threats to democracy and voting rights are very much top-tier,” Margie Omero, principal at GBAO, another polling firm, said in a statement. “And across all groups of women 50+, ‘jobs’ are bottom-tier. That’s not surprising given not many women have said they have gone back to work or taken on extra shifts in order to make ends meet.”

Multiple Democrats have targeted their Republican opponents for positions on Social Security and Medicare, claiming the candidates would privatize the entitlement programs or cut funding. 

Some candidates, including Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters, have backed off their previous suggestions of privatization.

“The biggest bloc of swing voters for both parties is women over 50 who are still undecided, frustrated that candidates are not in touch with their lives, and looking to hear that elected officials will protect social security from cuts,” Celinda Lake, founder and president of Lake Research Partners, said in the statement.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 6 and Sept. 13 to voters aged 50 and over. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

Tags 2022 midterms Poll social security

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