Battleground States Voters Age 50 and Over Still Closely Divided on Election

September 10, 2020 by Reece Nations
American democracy on display in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Two sets of public opinion surveys commissioned by AARP across 11 key battleground states found a majority of likely voters aged 50 and older plan to cast their ballots either absentee or during the early voting period this election cycle.

AARP’s poll also found similar levels of support among likely voters in the 50-plus demographic for the candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump. The voters were contacted and surveyed “in the days leading up to and after Labor Day” and asked “who they would select for president if the election were held then.”

Voters were surveyed by AARP in the following states: Arizona; Colorado; Georgia; Florida; Iowa; Maine; Michigan; Montana; North Carolina; Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Most likely voters in all 11 of the states indicated they were not planning on casting their ballot on election day. Respondents said they “plan to vote either via absentee ballot or in person during the early voting period” 75% of the time in Arizona, 61% in Florida and North Carolina, and 59% in Michigan.

Concerns regarding reductions to U.S. Postal Service operations persist among a majority of voters in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine and Montana. The respondents indicated they worried USPS service reductions might “prevent their votes from being counted in November.”

“If you look at historical trends, this is a big shift in how people are going to vote,” John Hishta, AARP’s senior vice president of campaigns, said in a statement. “When candidates address constituencies like ours, they need to do it now because people are already starting to vote.”

Biden is ahead of Trump 50% to 46%, respectively, among voters over age 50 in Pennsylvania, according to AARP. President Trump leads among voters aged 50 and older in Florida by a margin of 50% to 47%, 48% to 46% in Iowa, and 48% to 47% in Montana.

Biden’s lead margins were highest among Colorado and Maine voters, at 50% to 40% and 54% to 40%, respectively. Biden also leads in the 50-plus demographic 50% to 46% in Wisconsin, a key battleground state won by Trump in 2016.

Trump’s largest lead margin among all likely voters was 50% to 43% in Montana, according to the poll. Biden and Trump are virtually tied among all likely voters in North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona.

“The election will be decided in a handful of battleground states, and AARP’s survey results show that either candidate can win,” Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, said in a statement. “One thing that isn’t in doubt is that 50+ voters will cast the majority of ballots. So, candidates need to address their concerns if they want to get across the goal line.”

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