If a new AARP poll foreshadows the results to come, the U.S. Senate race for Michigan could be tight when it comes to older voters.
The newest poll, released this morning, had Democratic nominee Gary PETERS and Republican Terri Lynn LAND locked in a dead heat 36 percent tie among 801 likely 2014 voters age 50 and older.
And the post-50 voting bloc is a fierce political power to contend with when it comes to general elections: they made up 55 percent of the 2012 general electorate, an AARP release notes.
But in this particular Senate race, 28 percent are still undecided. And as all the political wonks out there know, the real ammunition for both parties will likely be spent trying to sway the undecided, which makes up roughly 224 voters in the AARP pool.
The fact that 60 percent of the undecided say they “had difficulty finding objective and reliable information about the record and positions of candidates running for office this November” can’t be making that any easier.
But Rebecca MARK, one of the pollsters hired by AARP and an analyst for Hart Research Associates, said she thinks the number of undecided voters might be different at this point in the race. They conducted the poll in June.
“They tend to be … undecided for longer than the rest of the population,” she said.
One thing that really stood out to her was the striking number of people who said they want the government to provide more resources for in-home care rather than nursing homes.
“I can’t emphasize enough how much that jumped out as a sleeper issue,” she said.
Lisa Dedden COOPER, the Michigan manager of advocacy legislation for AARP, and others on the press call this morning, said older voters are still worried about the economic future of the country.
A majority said the cost of living is climbing faster than their income, many worry about health expenses and most say they’re paying too much in taxes (57 percent).
According to the poll, Social Security is still a huge issue for the elderly voting bloc as well. Add Medicare and age discrimination to the list too.
“On paper it looks like the economy is improving,” said Nancy LEAMOND, executive vice president at AARP. But she said many say their income isn’t climbing with the GDP, and more are worrying they’ll have to postpone retirement.
“They’ve had enough of political jargon and spin,” LeaMond said in a statement. “They want candidates to talk about commonsense solutions that will help them take charge of their financial future.”
Some 77 percent say they oppose candidates who would support cutting Social Security to reduce the deficit, and the same percentage say candidates need to better explain their position on Social Security.
Seventy-five percent of Medicare recipients say they want drug costs to drop, while 59 percent want “improving care coordination” and 56 percent urge the state to crack down on unnecessary tests and procedures.
Those issues may unfold more in the campaigning to come.
Peters and Land were tied in an earlier CBS News and New York Times Battleground Tracker poll as well, 48 to 47 percent.
CBS News then confidently stated that the GOP is likely going to take the Senate, “with a likely 51-49 seat edge if the November election were held right now.”
But what seems all-but-fated on a Monday can and often does take a 180-degree shift by a Wednesday. Especially when it comes to politics.
CBS called the Republican lead “politically tenuous and statistically narrow,” stating that “it’s based on a string of razor-tight races that are all-but tossups, notably one-point race estimates that narrowly favor the GOP in Louisiana, North Carolina, Iowa and Michigan.”
And there’s Michigan’s senior voting pool to contend with.
Prior to that poll, Peters flaunted a five-point lead over Land, 43 to 38 percent with 19 percent undecided in one from Real Clear Politics. They looked at a pool of 600 likely voters.