Politics

Biden’s old man advantage with older voters

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Both surveys underscored an inside-out crosstab phenomenon that has appeared in many recent public surveys — but not all: voters in older age groups approve of Biden’s professional performance in greater numbers than those in older age groups. younger groups.

In recent decades, this has been unusual for presidents of Biden’s party. The splits are more like polls from Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, who retained a higher number of seniors and voters just before retirement age than among the younger half of the nation. electorate.

The enduring popularity with older voters could be a major boon for Biden in his just-announced re-election campaign. Although no Democratic presidential candidate has carried seniors — those 65 and older — since Al Gore in 2000, Biden has limited his losses among that cohort, losing them by a single-digit margin in 2020, according to exit polls. (In contrast, Republicans won the senior vote by about twice that margin — 10 or 12 points, depending on the voter survey, in the 2022 midterm elections.)

Biden, 80, is the oldest person to serve as president. And there’s a debate about whether the attacks on him from some Republicans — remember Trump’s nickname ‘Sleepy Joe’ during the last campaign — backfire on voters of the same age or off. rapidly approaching.

Seniors have become the most reliable voters in every presidential election since 1996, according to Census Bureau data. Seventy-two percent of voters 65 and older turned out in the 2020 presidential election, a higher rate than voters ages 45-64 (66%), 25-44 (55%) and under 25 (48%).

Most public surveys show that older voters are more likely to approve of Biden’s job performance than younger voters. In the Fox News poll, Biden’s approval rating was on the right side with seniors, 49% approving versus 47% disapproving – but 8 points under water among voters under 45.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College poll released Tuesday also showed Biden’s approval was lowest among Americans ages 18-29 (27%) and highest among those 60 and older (49%). ). And while a large-scale Pew Research Center poll in late March and early April showed a smaller age disparity, the trend was the same: Biden’s net approval rating was lowest among Americans. aged 18 to 29 (-32) and highest among seniors aged 65 and over (-20).

Not all polls show the same pattern. An Economist/YouGov poll this week showed Biden had a much higher approval rating among Americans aged 18-29: 61%. Biden’s approval rating among seniors was just 38%.

That’s much closer to what one would expect for a Democratic president, but it also represents an increase in approval among younger voters in their polls, as G. Elliott Morris of The Economist explains. wrote on Twitter this week.

Whether it’s an outlier, a more accurate reflection of public opinion, or the start of a new trend, it could have significant implications for the next election. Whether Biden, 80, is mostly unpopular among younger voters, or tying his best approval rating with them could reshape his 2024 coalition.

Democratic presidential candidates have won the under-30 vote in each of the last eight presidential elections. But dating back to 1976, only three Democratic presidential candidates have won the senior vote, according to exit polls: Bill Clinton in his decisive victories in 1992 and 1996, and Gore in 2000.

In 2020, Trump edged Biden among older voters by a narrow margin: The traditional network exit poll gave the then-president a 7-point advantage among voters 65 and older, while AP VoteCast, another survey of actual voters, only had Trump in the lead by 3 points. Biden, meanwhile, won voters under 30 by a margin of more than 20 points.

As Americans are living longer, the elderly are also increasing as a share of the electorate. Americans 65 and older made up 17% of all US residents in the 2020 census, up from just 13% a decade earlier. And those numbers underestimate their share of the electorate, given that older Americans are more likely to be citizens, more likely to be registered to vote and more likely to turn out than younger people.

Older voters are pushing their weight even further in the Republican primaries — which could explain why Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have been squabbling over the future of Medicare and Social Security in recent weeks.

Biden also points to the problem. About 35 seconds into the announcement video produced by his campaign announcing he is running for a second term, Biden begins to denounce ‘MAGA extremists’ who are ‘lining up to take away’ ‘fundamental freedoms’ Americans.

His first example? “The cut in Social Security you’ve paid for all your life.”



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