For Immediate Release:
October 10, 2018

Contacts:
Cathy MacCaul / 206-218-5915
Jason Erskine / 206-604-7085

AARP Poll: 50-plus voters in Washington’s 8th Congressional District are United in Concern Over Health Care and Financial Security  
Findings among historically powerful voting bloc predict close race between candidates Dino Rossi (R) and Kim Schrier (D) 

Washington – In a newly released AARP poll, voters age 50 and over in Washington’s 8th Congressional District are united in their concern over health care and personal finance issues. The poll found that health care and Social Security are critically important issues to 50-plus voters as they cast their ballots this fall, and a strong majority (80 percent) believe it is unfair to deny coverage or make those with pre-existing conditions pay more for their health care. The survey is part of AARP’s “Be the Difference. Vote™” campaign and continues AARP’s long tradition of nonpartisan voter engagement.

“With less than 30 days to go before Election Day, candidates would be wise to listen to the state’s most powerful voting group: 50-plus voters,” said AARP State Director Doug Shadel. “History shows older voters turn out in force and AARP wants to ensure issues of particular importance to older voters are front and center – issues like Medicare, Social Security, prescription drug costs, and family caregiving.”

Political divisiveness is a top concern with voters age 50-plus (51 percent), and many disapprove of the job performances of both Republicans (57 percent) and Democrats (49 percent) in Congress. While voters age 50-plus generally see the U.S. economy getting stronger, this optimism is not reflected in their own financial security with significant majorities feeling like they are not getting ahead (74 percent).

At least half of voters age 50-plus in the 8th Congressional District indicated that candidates’ positions on lowering health care costs, strengthening and reforming Social Security and Medicare, addressing rising prescription drug costs, jobs and the economy, and helping older people live independently were very important to them.

The poll findings also point to a close race between candidates Dino Rossi (R) and Kim Schrier (D). Of the 616 people polled, 37 percent said they would vote for Dino Rossi (R) if the election were held today while 45 percent said they would vote for Kim Schrier (D). Twelve percent of older voters are undecided. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

AARP is the lead sponsor of a debate between Rossi and Schrier to be hosted by the Washington State Debate Coalition on October 17 at Central Washington University.  The debate begins at 7:00 p.m. and will air live on KING-5 TV.

“Americans 50 and older are the nation’s most powerful voting bloc,” said Shadel.  “And there’s only one way politicians will work on the issues that matter to us – we have to speak up and make them do it.”

AARP is urging voters to submit their own questions for the candidates for possible debate selection at bit.ly/WA-CD8Debate

Voters age 50-plus in the 8th Congressional District say candidate positions on health care costs and Social Security will be very important to their voting decisions. The poll found:

• 91 percent of voters age 50-plus think Medicare is very important for people’s health in retirement, and 82 percent agree Congress should make changes to ensure the program can continue to cover hospital benefits, as it does now, beyond 2029.
• 80 percent believe it is unfair to deny coverage or make those with pre-existing conditions pay more for their health care.
• 80 percent do not agree with allowing insurance companies to charge older people up to five times more for health insurance.
• 72 percent feel that candidates’ positions on rising prescription drug costs are very important to them, and 70 percent believe drug companies have a lot of influence over members of Congress.
• 86 percent support importation of prescription drugs.
• 81 percent say Social Security is very important for financial security in retirement, and 71 percent believe the government should do something immediately to strengthen Social Security.
• 86 percent support providing an income tax credit to family caregivers.

The survey is part of AARP’s “Be the Difference. Vote” campaign designed to encourage older Americans to make their voices heard at the ballot box this fall. For more information on AARP’s “Be The Difference. Vote,” campaign and to pledge to vote in this year’s elections, go to www.aarp.org/vote.

AARP does not endorse candidates, have a political action committee (PAC), or make contributions to political parties, political campaigns or candidates.

The poll, conducted by Alan Newman Research, surveyed 616 voters 50 and older in Washington’s 8th Congressional District between September 7 and September 19, 2018 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points. View full survey results here.

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With nearly one-million members in Washington State, AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members nationwide and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.