More than half (53 percent) of Wisconsin voters age 50 and older are worried about getting the coronavirus, and 41 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 89 percent of older Wisconsin voters are more likely to vote for candidates who support allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription drug prices, and 88 percent are more likely to support nominees who favor strengthening Medicare.
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 89 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:
- 87 percent of 50-plus Wisconsin voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports protecting Social Security from benefit cuts.
- 71 percent are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.
- 79 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
- 81 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 presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump 50 percent to 45 percent among likely Wisconsin voters, the survey finds. The former vice president also leads the incumbent 50 percent to 46 percent among voters age 50 and over.
Wisconsin is among six competitive battleground states whose results could decide the November presidential 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 by 52 percent to 48 percent, Wisconsin voters do not approve of the way Trump has managed the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, more than half (53 percent) of Wisconsin’s 50-plus electorate say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine while 1 in 5 (20 percent) of all those respondents say they weren’t sure if they would agree to be vaccinated.
The survey also found that the majority of Wisconsin 50-plus voters plan to vote in person, with 17 percent saying they plan to cast their ballots during the early voting period and 45 percent saying they will vote at their local 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, 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 Wisconsin. The pollsters interviewed 1,200 likely voters in the state between Aug. 28 and Sept. 8. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.
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