A recent AARP poll of Mainers shows the U.S. Senate race too close to call among older voters.

 

The results of a recent AARP poll find that 67% of voters 50 and older believe the country is on the wrong track, while 25% say it is moving in the right direction.

Eighty-five percent say jobs and the economy and Social Security are their top issues, followed by 83% who cite health care. Older voters worry most about the coronavirus (59%), having to pay too much in taxes (56%) and prices rising faster than their incomes (55%).

Aside from the issues, the survey of Maine voters shows the race for the U.S. Senate seat is neck and neck among older voters.

The poll taken between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5 shows incumbent Susan Collins leading challenger Sara Gideon 49% to 47% among likely voters older than 50.

Each has a favorable rating of 49%, but Collins’ unfavorable rating is higher, 46% compared to Gideon’s 38%.

Twelve-hundred likely voters older than 18 were polled on the “horse races,” AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham said in a phone interview.

AARP Maine State Director Lori Parham

She said an “oversample” of 400 likely voters age 50 or older also was taken.

Those results show 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, leading Republican challenger Dale Crafts 59% to 35%.

They also show Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by 13 points — 54% to 41% — in the presidential race.

Older voters in the oversample also were polled on issues.

“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,” Parham said.

“Most importantly, many Maine voters (will be) casting their ballots earlier by voting absentee, so candidates need to address their concerns now.”

The survey, taken by the bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward & Hart Research, was conducted in five states with key U.S. Senate races, including Maine. The other states were Georgia, Iowa, Colorado and Montana.

“(Pollsters) saw in battleground states that voters 65 and older really could be a factor in the election,” Parham said.

Results show 52% of older Maine voters are more likely to support a candidate interested in reducing the spread of COVID-19 than in rebuilding the economy.

Forty-one percent were more interested in candidates focused on the economy.

The poll broke along party and gender lines, with 79% of Democrats and 58% of women supporting health over economy.

Seventy percent of Republicans and 49% of men were more interested in getting people back to work.

“Democrats, women and voters age 50 and older drive support for a candidate when it comes to keeping families healthy and reducing the spread of COVID-19 in their communities,” Parham said.

She said the polls are used to “be in touch with what’s top of mind for members during the election cycle. We see it as a way to showcase candidates.”

AARP does not endorse candidates, nor does it contribute money to campaigns, Parham said.

The agency hosts telephone town halls with members and candidates to ensure candidates show how they plan to address the key issues of the 50-or-older constituency, she said.

“What’s different this year is that beyond the issues, especially in light of COVID, is that we are really working to make sure members feel safe no matter how they choose to vote,” she said.


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