On behalf of AARP, Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research conducted telephone polling among voters age 50 and over in June and July 2014, in eight states: Arkansas (both for the senate and governor's races), Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Research yielded rich results regarding older voters’ concerns about their financial futures, their preferences for aging in place, the emerging caregiving constituency, and the importance of Medicare and Social Security in their vote. These voters clearly indicate that they want to hear more from elected officials and challengers about their plans to improve individual financial security, strengthen Medicare and Social Security, and provide supports for caregivers and independent living. Candidates who speak to these issues will connect with this critical voting bloc.
Medicare and Social Security are critical issues for 50+ voters, with large majorities reporting that a candidate’s view on these programs will be an important deciding factor in their vote. Voters favor policies that strengthen Medicare financing by reducing drug costs and cutting down on unnecessary tests and procedures, and oppose policies that ask current or future retirees to pay more for care. They also express strong opposition to candidates who would support a reduction in Social Security benefits as part of a budget deficit deal.
The majority of 50+ voters report that their Social Security benefits or incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living, creating real anxiety about their ability to pay taxes and bills, as well as ensure their financial security in retirement. This is particularly acute among non-retirees. The Economic Anxiety Index, which calculates voters’ concern on five key indicators, shows this increased concern among non-retirees.
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