2024 battleground state likely to be influenced by senior voters: AARP

Older voters in the battleground state of Pennsylvania are poised to make their presence — and preferences — felt in the upcoming fall elections that will determine control of the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Chief on their minds are issues that include Social Security and aging in place.

This is according to a poll of voters within the state conducted by AARP Research, which tabulated survey data from voters ages 50 and older. The organization enlisted a “bipartisan polling team” from Fabrizio Ward (described as a Republican pollster) and Impact Research (described as Democratic) and got perspectives from roughly 1,400 voters across the state.

This included “a statewide representative sample of 600 likely voters, with an oversample of 470 likely voters 50-plus and an additional oversample of 328 Black likely voters 50-plus, between April 24–30, 2024,” AARP Research explained.

In addition to the insights into issues driving older voters’ preferences, AARP Research also found that “Pennsylvania voters 50 and older are the most committed age group for voting in the 2024 election and appear to be on track to be deciders” in the contest, according to the organization.

The top six issues isolated to voters 50 and older include Social Security (79%); Medicare (73%), aging in place (or “policies to help seniors live independently at home as they age, 68%); utility costs (67%) and housing (59%).

For those that named aging in place as a concern, 37% of respondents described it as “extremely important,” while 34% said it was “very important.” That’s only 2% to 3% lower than the split for the Medicare issue, according to the survey.

Sixty-three percent of older voters also said they were “very worried” about their own personal financial situation, with older women (69%) more concerned than older men (59%). Republican voters found themselves more worried (73%) about it than Democratic voters (51%).

In terms of candidate preferences, voters in Pennsylvania stated they are more likely to support former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden on both a full ballot that includes certain third-party candidates (46% to 41%) and on a direct two-way ballot (49% to 45%).

“Trump is ahead in large part due to more consolidated support from Republicans than Biden is getting from Democrats, while Trump also has a slight edge with Independents,” the report explains. “There are large gender, race, education, and regional differences in [the] planned 2024 vote for president.”

According to research from Penn State Harrisburg released in 2017, “the elderly population’s (age 65 and over) growth occurred at [a] rate over 20 times that of the state’s general population — an increase by 16.3 percent from 2010 to 2017.”

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