An analysis of recent polling found that Trump has lost 17.5 points of support with seniors since 2016 as his rhetoric is pushing them away.
The pandemic has killed some 190,000 Americans, and 8 in 10 of the deaths reported have been among those 65 or over. President Trump’s delayed and fractured response to the outbreak appears to have reshaped the political dynamics for older Americans. Four years ago, he won voters 65 or over by a margin of 13.3 percentage points. But looking at an average of the nine most recent national polls, voters age 65 or over1 favored Biden to Trump by 49.5 percent to 45.7 percent.
Who are the older voters abandoning Trump? A look at the polls from 2016 to 2020 shows movement mostly among white voters. But why are they increasingly abandoning him? There’s the pandemic, of course, but I’m not sure that explains everything. An average of six national polls from May — before the beginning of widespread protests against police violence that would come to dominate the news over the summer — showed Trump and Biden tied among voters 65 or over. Perhaps this other national crisis is driving away older Americans. Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about race and crime could be alienating them as well.
The pandemic is part of the problem, but the other issue that his rhetoric on crime and race appear to be pushing away seniors, especially suburban seniors from supporting him. Trump is hurting himself by adding to the anxiety of a group voters who are already anxious. Instead of reassuring seniors that he can handle the crisis in the nation, Trump is fanning the flames and pushing older voters who supporterd him in 2016 toward Joe Biden, because they want the nation’s problems to solved.
Like everyone else, older voters appear to want the chaos to stop, so Trump doubling down on division is only helping Joe Biden.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association