In the 2016 presidential election, the voting bloc that propelled Donald Trump to a win the Electoral College was voters age 65 and older, who voted for Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by a margin of 52-45 percent, according to the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.
Senior citizens are one of the most important segments of the American electorate for a couple of reasons:
- They almost always vote, no matter the election or who’s running
- Because of their enormous numbers — at least 47 million seniors live in the U.S. — they have enormous political clout
The Trump 2020 campaign is counting on seniors to propel the president to a second term in office, but as new polling data indicates, it doesn’t appear he’ll be able to count on their ballots.
Greg Sargent of The Washington Post has written a fascinating op-ed in which he points to new polls which suggest the coronavirus pandemic — and Trump’s reaction to the disease — may have changed the paradigm when it comes to senior voters:
“Is President Trump seeing an erosion of support among seniors, a constituency that’s absolutely critical to his reelection hopes?
Josh Kraushaar of National Journal takes a look at recent polls and concludes the answer may be yes. Notably, Kraushaar finds, enormous percentages of them disagree with Trump’s priorities in combating the novel coronavirus and have turned on his management of the crisis.”
A closer look at those poll numbers indicates that voters 65+ have indeed soured on Trump:
“The latest Morning Consult poll found that 65-and-older voters prioritized defeating the coronavirus over healing the economy by nearly a 6-to-1 ratio. And over the past month, they’ve become the group most disenchanted with Trump’s handling of the crisis. In mid-March, seniors were more supportive of Trump than any other age group (plus-19 net approval). Now, their net approval of the president has dropped 20 points and is lower than any age group outside of the youngest Americans.”
“Those findings were matched by a new NBC/WSJ poll, which tested the presidential matchup between Trump and Joe Biden. Among seniors 65 and older, Biden led Trump by 9 points, 52 to 43 percent. That’s a dramatic 16-point swing from Hillary Clinton’s showing in the 2016 election; she lost seniors by 7 points to Trump (52-45 percent).”
A 16-point swing in the key senior citizen demographic would all but guarantee Biden wins, especially in battleground states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Florida is especially important to Trump. If he loses it, he will almost certainly lose the election. And right now Florida is leaning in Biden’s direction.
If Trump continues to lose favor with senior citizens and this current trend is maintained, the incumbent is probably going to be swept away in a wave election. All because he failed to pay attention to the voting bloc that put him where he is in the first place.
How’s that for perfect irony?