AARP Eye Center
En español | More than half of Florida voters age 50 and older are worried about getting the coronavirus, and almost half (48 percent) are concerned they won’t be able to afford the health care that they and their family need, according to a new AARP poll that finds older voters could decide the 2020 elections.
Candidates who support protecting Social Security from benefit cuts, strengthening Medicare and allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices are more likely to attract the support of 88 percent of Florida voters age 50 and older, the poll finds.
The results show that, despite the strong partisan divisions in the country, “there are some foundational programs that cut across these divisions — notably Social Security and Medicare,” says John Hishta, AARP senior vice president for campaigns. “These are areas that 50-plus voters care deeply about, no matter where they stand. And it shows that the candidates should be addressing those issues with these voters.”
The full results of the public opinion survey, released Tuesday, also found that 88 percent of those polled are worried that Congress won’t deal with the problems they face and 87 percent are worried that America is becoming even more divided.
Other key findings:
- 75 percent of 50-plus Florida voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.
- 48 percent are worried they won’t be able to afford the health care that they or they family need.
- 58 percent are worried about getting the coronavirus.
- 82 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
- 83 percent also favor elected officials who will support making available quality, affordable long-term care options, including for home care and nursing homes.
Florida voters were also asked about the job Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing handling the coronavirus pandemic. Among those polls, 54 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved of his management of the crisis.
In the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are locked in a tight contest among likely Florida voters. But while Biden leads Trump 48 percent to 46 percent among all Sunshine State voters, Trump has opened a 50 percent to 47 percent margin over Biden among voters age 50 and older.
Florida is among a group of competitive battleground states where the results of the presidential race could decide the November election.
“We believe 50-plus voters are going to play a critical role in this year’s election,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer. She pointed out that while Americans age 50 and over comprise 45 percent of the voting population, they accounted for 56 percent of the ballots cast in 2016. “They punch above their weight,” she added.
The AARP survey also found that voters 50-plus are split over whether they support the way Trump has managed the coronavirus pandemic. Among all older voters 50 percent support the president’s management of the crisis while 48 percent oppose it.
In addition, fewer than half (46 percent) of Florida’s 50-plus electorate say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, but nearly one in four (24 percent) of all those respondents say they weren’t sure if they would get it.
The survey also found that the majority of Floridians (63 percent) will cast their ballot either by mail or by voting early in person. One-third of those polled said they will go to a polling place on Election Day.
AARP’s Protect Voters 50+ campaign is designed to help make sure that even as America continues to deal with the coronavirus crisis, that all voters get the information they need to safely cast their ballot. AARP is working in every state to educate older voters on voting options.
“One thing we know is that virtually all older voters plan to vote this year,” said LeaMond. “They want to vote; they want their voices heard and they’re going to find a way to do that that’s safe,” she said.
AARP commissioned Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group to conduct telephone surveys in six presidential battleground states, including Florida. The pollsters interviewed 1,600 likely voters in the state between Aug. 28 and Sept. 8. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percent.
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