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New AARP Poll: Shapiro Leads Governor Race in Pennsylvania, U.S. Senate Race Tightening

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 19, 2022

National media contact: Emily Pickren, epickren@aarp.org, 202-431-7752

Pennsylvania media contact: TJ Thiessen, Tthiessen@aarp.org, 202-374-8033

New AARP Poll: Shapiro Leads Governor Race in Pennsylvania, U.S. Senate Race Tightening

Voters 50+ may tip the scales in midterm election.

HARRISBURG, Pa.—With Election Day just three weeks away, Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) appears to be widening his lead over State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) in the race for Governor. In contrast, Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s (D) lead over Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) in the U.S. Senate race has narrowed, according to a new AARP survey of likely Pennsylvania voters. The top issues for voters 50+ in the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races are inflation, Social Security and Medicare.

Pennsylvanians 50+ will be key in determining who wins in November. This bloc of voters regularly plays a crucial role in Pennsylvania elections and comprises an outsized portion of the electorate. In the 2018 mid-term elections, they made up nearly 61% of all Pennsylvania voters. In addition, 85% of respondents in this age group say they are “extremely motivated” to vote in this election.

Attorney General Shapiro leads State Sen. Mastriano 53% - 42%, an eight-point swing toward Attorney General Shapiro since AARP polled likely Pennsylvania voters in June. Among voters 50+, Attorney General Shapiro holds a ten-point lead (53% - 43%). Lt. Governor Fetterman leads Dr. Oz 48% - 46%, a four-point swing toward Dr. Oz since June; Lt. Governor Fetterman leads by an identical 2% margin among voters 50+.

“The message from voters 50-plus is clear,” said Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director. “They vote and they take the time to find out where candidates stand on the issues that shape their lives.  From inflation and rising costs of necessities, like food and utilities, to protecting Social Security and Medicare, Pennsylvanians want to make sure that the candidates they are voting for will represent them and take action on their priorities and concerns.”

Four other key takeaways from the new poll:

  • Social Security and Medicare remain top-of-mind for the 50+. Eleven percent of voters 50+ consider Social Security and Medicare their most important issue, up from 7% in June. Among voters 50+, 81% consider Social Security “Extremely” or “Very” important when deciding their November vote, and Social Security and Medicare is the top issue among voters 50+ who are persuadable in the race for Senate.
  • Inflation continues to be a top worry among the state’s voters 50+. Inflation is the most critical issue for voters overall in deciding their choice for both Governor and U.S. Senator in Pennsylvania. Voters said the prices of food, gasoline and healthcare/prescription drugs give them the most concern.
  • Pennsylvanians think both the country and the state are on the wrong track but are not as negative as in June. While 75% of Pennsylvanians think the country is headed in the wrong direction, and 63% believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, these numbers are improvements from AARP’s June poll of Pennsylvania voters.
  • Pennsylvanians don’t think their leaders are listening to them. When asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “Members of Congress don’t listen to people like me,” 83% of respondents agreed, including 81% of 50+ voters.

AARP commissioned the bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research to conduct a survey. The firms interviewed 1,377 likely Pennsylvania voters, which includes a statewide representative sample of 500 likely voters, with an oversample of 550 likely voters age 50 and older and an additional oversample of 327 Black likely voters age 50 and older, between October 4-12, 2022. The interviews were conducted via landline, cellphone, and SMS-to-web. The margin of sampling error for the 500 statewide sample is ±4.4%; for the 855 total sample of voters 50+ is ±3.4%; for the 400 total sample of Black voters 50+ is ±4.9%.

For more information on how, when and where to vote in Pennsylvania, visit aarp.org/PAVotes.

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About AARP 

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.orgwww.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP@AARPenEspanol @AARPadvocates and @AliadosAdelante on social media.

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