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Women Voters Speak Out

This survey of likely women voters ages 50+ across 15 battleground states examines women’s economic anxieties,  their views on the future of Social Security, their experiences with family caregiving, and their opinions of the presidential candidates.

Key findings include:

Economic Anxieties

  • The majority of women voters ages 50+ across these 15 states worry about pocketbook issues such as prices rising faster than their income (61%) and having to pay too much in taxes (54%). Four in ten (41%) worry about having prescription drug expenses they cannot afford. Women with lower household incomes are especially likely to worry about these pocketbook issues.

  • Many women also worry about retirement security, including their ability to care for themselves as they age (45%), not having financial security in retirement (41%), and whether Social Security will be there when they retire (38%). These retirement-related issues are of particular concern to women with lower household incomes.

Social Security

  • The vast majority of women voters ages 50+ (72%) say that the next president and Congress should address Social Security immediately. 

  • Most women (67%) favor giving a caregiver credit in calculating Social Security benefits to people who take time off from work to care for loved ones.

  • Few women say that they have heard about the candidates’ plans for Social Security. About one in three (34%) say they have seen or heard anything from Hillary Clinton, and even fewer (20%) say that they have seen or heard anything from Donald Trump.

  • Most women (53%) say that the nearly 25% cut in Social Security benefits that would result from inaction on Social Security would impact them, including 32% who say it would impact them “a lot.”

Caregiving

  • More than eight in ten (85%) women voters ages 50+ think it is important for the presidential candidates to talk about how they would support family caregivers who provide unpaid care to aging parents or spouses or other adult family members.

  • A majority of women (54%) are currently, or have been, a family caregiver providing unpaid care to an adult loved one.

  • Four in ten (41%) women are not confident that they will be able to cover the cost of care for an aging or elderly parent, spouse, or other family member.

Presidential Candidates

  • Heading into this year’s presidential election, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among women voters ages 50+ across the 15 battleground states (48% say they are inclined to vote for Clinton; 33% are inclined to vote for Trump).
  • When asked who would do a better job addressing Social Security and keeping it strong, the majority of women (52%) say that Hillary Clinton would do a better job.  Only 34% think that Donald Trump would do a better job.

  • A majority of women also believe that Hillary Clinton would do a better job addressing other issues, including family caregiving (57% Clinton, 27% Trump), education (56%, 31%), the environment (55%, 29%), and health care (53%, 35%). 

This survey of 1,500 registered women voters ages 50+ who are likely to vote in the November 2016 election was conducted by telephone, via landline and cell phones, for AARP by Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint from August 1, 2016 through August 7, 2016.  The survey reached a total of 1,500 women ages 50+ across 15 key battleground states (AZ, CO, FL, GA, IA, MI, MN, NC, NH, NM, NV, OH, PA, VA, and WI), with oversamples of Hispanics and African Americans/Blacks across all 15 battleground states. Additionally, women in Florida and Ohio were also oversampled.

All media inquiries about this report should be directed to (202) 434-2560.  For all other questions, contact S. Kathi Brown, AARP Research at SKBrown@aarp.org.

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