In the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump each have the support of 48 percent of likely North Carolina voters as well as voters age 50 and older, a new AARP public opinion survey finds.
More than half (55 percent) of North Carolina voters age 50 and older are worried about getting the coronavirus, and almost half (46 percent) are concerned they won’t be able to afford the health care that they or their family need, according to a new AARP poll that finds older voters could decide the 2020 elections.
The poll also shows that 88 percent of older North Carolinians are more likely to vote for candidates who support strengthening Medicare, and 87 percent are more likely to support nominees who promise to protect Social Security from benefit cuts
These 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 88 percent are concerned that America is becoming even more divided.
Other key findings in the poll:
- 76 percent of 50-plus North Carolina voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.
- 86 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices on prescription medicines.
- 81 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.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Cal Cunningham, a former state senator, leads Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, 42 percent to 39 percent among all voters. Tillis is seeking a second six-year term. Cunningham leads 44-41 percent among voters 50-plus.
North Carolina is among a group of competitive battleground states where this fall’s results could decide the presidency and help determine whether the GOP maintains control of the U.S. Senate or Democrats gain the majority.
“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 older voters, 48 percent support the president’s management of the crisis while 51 do not.
In addition, fewer than half (42 percent) of North Carolina’s 50-plus electorate say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine and 28 percent of all respondents say they weren’t sure if they would get it.
The survey also found that the majority of North Carolinians (61 percent) plan to 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.”
AARP commissioned Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group to conduct telephone surveys in six presidential battleground states, including North Carolina. 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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