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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Biden’s Widening Lead Among Senior Voters

At CNN Politics, Harry Enten explains “How Trump’s losing among seniors at a historic rate“:

Biden’s well on his way to doing better with seniors than any Democratic nominee in at least 24 years.

Take a look at our latest CNN/SSRS poll. Biden’s up by 21 points among voters 65 and older. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out over the weekend put him up by 27 points with seniors…These are, to put it mildly, massive differences from 2016. In the final average of registered-voter polls, Trump led Clinton by 5 points among seniors. His advantage was 6 points among likely voters. These polls are suggesting something along the lines of 25- to 30-point shifts in Biden’s direction.

Enten adds, “Since the conventions in August, the average of live-interview polls that meet CNN standards have Biden up by an average of 8 points with seniors. Even if these polls aren’t as emphatic for him, that still means a movement of nearly 15 points from where Clinton stood in the final polls of 2016.”  Regarding the swing state with the most electoral votes, Enten notes, “In Florida, for instance, where seniors make up around 30% of voters, Biden’s winning with voters 65 and older. Last time around, Clinton lost those voters by nearly 10 points in the final preelection polls.”

As for the reasons for Biden’s growing lead, Enten writes, “Coronavirus may be responsible for some of the tremendous advantages Biden got in the CNN and NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls, though I’m not sure it is the root cause…As I pointed out previously, Biden’s been doing better with seniors than Clinton since before the pandemic hit earlier this year. A year ago, he was up 11 points over Trump in a CNN poll.”

Enten doesn’t explore other possibilities, which could include concerns about Trump and Republicans undermining Social Security and Medicare, or ‘Trump fatigue’ – senior voters disgusted with Trump’s relentless anger, whining and divisive rants. Trump’s screwing around with the post office and his stated refusal to support the principle of a peaceful transition if he loses may also hurt him, even with conservative seniors.

“Whatever the root cause,” Enten concludes, “losing seniors is one big reason that Trump is a significant underdog at this point. They’re about 25% of the electorate. When you’re doing 15 points or more worse with a quarter of voters, you’ll likely be in big trouble. And so it is for Trump.”

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