Elder Vote Shifts to Bush with Rest of U.S

Aging Today, November/December 2004 | Go to article overview
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Elder Vote Shifts to Bush with Rest of U.S


One age group departed significantly from other demographic segments of the U.S. electorate on November 2. Young voters, those ages 18-29, preferred Sen. John F. Kerry by a 54% to 45% margin. But the 17% of voters in that group were outweighed by their elders from middle to older ages, who handed George W. Bush a second term in the White House by an overall margin of 51 % for Bush to 48% for the senator from Massachusetts. Voters age 60 or more cast 54% of their votes for President Bush.

AARP policy director John Rother said his office is searching election data to divine significant differences between what older voters told the organization in preelection surveys and what they were saying in exit polls on election day. "The concerns we know were most important to older people were not among the reasons for the election outcome," he said. Before the election, elders said their most important issues were the economy and the cost of healthcare, with Social Security as an important secondary issue. These issues, however, did not surface in the campaign as the election "became a referendum on war, terrorism and moral issues," the concerns older people mentioned to exit pollsters. Rother added, "The senior vote was split, but that may be because they didn't hear anyone speaking to their particular concerns as such."

In the coming months, Rother speculated that President Bush will take advantage of the traditional "six-month legislative window" to focus on making his tax cut permanent.

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Elder Vote Shifts to Bush with Rest of U.S
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