Older voters may tip the scales in 2020 

PORTLAND  On Sept. 15, AARP Maine released the full results from their 2020 election survey that shows voters age 65-plus are not a lock for either of Maine’s U.S. Senate candidates. Sara Gideon leads SenSusan Collins among voters 65-plus 51 percent to 45 percent. In the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden (50 percent) leads President Donald Trump (38 percent) among voters 65-plus. 

The survey finds that support for Social Security and Medicare unify voters from both parties. When considering voters age 50 and over, a significant majority of Mainers say that Social Security (84 percent) and Medicare (80 percent) are important issues when deciding their vote for the U.S. Senate. A majority of voters from both parties say that Social Security (88 percent Dem., 79 percent Rep.) and Medicare (88 percent Dem., 71 percent Rep.) are important to their Senate vote and they would also be more likely to vote for a candidate who will stand up for these programs, lower drug costs (91 percent Dem., 87 percent Rep.) and increased access to more affordable long-term care options (91 percent Dem., 73 percent Rep.). 

“Candidates who want to win in 2020 must talk about the issues that matter to voters 50 and over – such as voting safely from home or in person, preventing cuts to Social Security and Medicare and lowering prescription drug prices,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine state director. “Most importantly, many Maine voters are casting their ballots earlier by voting absentee, so candidates need to address their concerns now.” 

The Maine poll findings include: 

  • Voters 65-plus plan to vote by absentee ballot (50 percent) or in-person (47 percent) this year, while voters 50 to 64 plan to vote by absentee ballot (32 percent) or in-person (65 percent). 
  • Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of 65-plus voters worry about themselves or family members contracting coronavirus, while voters 50 to 64 (55 percent) are less concerned. 
  • More than half (57 percent) of voters 65-plus would agree to be vaccinated if an FDA-approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus was available right now at no cost. Voters age 50 to 64 are less likely (43 percent). 
  • 59 percent of voters 65-plus say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who is focused on keeping families healthy and reducing the spread of coronavirus. In comparison, 41 percent of voters age 50 to 64 are more likely to vote for a candidate who is focused on rebuilding the economy by reopening businesses and getting people back to work. 

The full AARP Maine election survey results can be found ataarp.org/election2020polls. 

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