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AARP Poll: Voters 50+ Favor Republicans in 2024 Congressional Elections

Survey of most competitive districts also has DeSantis doing better against Biden than Trump

spinner image three hands putting ballots in a box marked twenty twenty four
Getty Images/AARP

If the 2024 congressional elections were held this summer, more 50-plus voters would be casting their ballots for a Republican than a Democrat, according to the results of a new AARP poll of likely voters in 40 of the most competitive districts. However, when it comes to voters of all ages, they’re deadlocked over which party they want to be in the majority in Congress.

Overall, among likely voters 18 and older, 44 percent say they would support a Democrat for Congress and 44 percent say they plan to vote for a Republican. 

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But among 50-plus voters, 48 percent say they would vote for the GOP candidate, while 40 percent say they favor a Democrat. Voters between the ages of 50 and 64 are even more likely to vote Republican (52 percent to 35 percent), while voters 65 and older prefer a Democrat (46 percent to 43 percent).  

spinner image of voters polled age fifty and up forty eight percent said they favor republicans for congress while forty percent favor democrats

Among 50-plus voters, 11 percent say they are undecided on which party they favor in the 2024 congressional election. Of those older voters polled, 38 percent identified themselves as Republican, 33 percent as Democrats and 25 percent as independents. 

“We know that voters age 50-plus will make up the majority of the electorate in 2024,” says Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer. “The fact that this group is divided shows that no one running for office should take them for granted or write them off. Candidates who want to win need to connect with them and address their concerns.”  

Two years ago, congressional races in most of these districts were decided by less than 5 percentage points, says Tony Fabrizio, a veteran Republican strategist at Fabrizio Ward. “So, you are dealing with a razor’s-edge situation here. The Democrats don’t need a lot of seats to take control [of the U.S. House of Representatives], and Republicans don’t need a lot of seats to bolster their majority.”

The AARP poll surveyed 1,752 likely 2024 general election voters in 40 U.S. House of Representatives districts considered to be among the most competitive in the country. A bipartisan team of pollsters — Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research — conducted the survey via landline, cellphone and online between July 5 and July 11. The team polled an oversample of 50-plus voters, bringing to 1,200 the number of older voters interviewed. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percent.

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Presidential race up for grabs

In the 2024 presidential race, the AARP poll found that voters 50-plus are almost evenly split between reelecting President Joe Biden or giving former President Donald Trump another four years in the White House. The survey also gives Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis an edge over Biden among these voters, should he be the Republican nominee in next fall's election. 

spinner image among polled voters aged fifty plus in two matchups forty five percent prefer biden to forty six percent trump and then forty three percent chose biden while forty eight percent chose desantis

Overall, voters 18 and older surveyed give Biden a 4-percentage point edge (47 percent to 43 percent) over Trump. The poll has Biden and DeSantis, who national surveys show is the former president’s closest competition thus far for the GOP nomination, tied in a hypothetical matchup. But among the nation’s older voters, Biden and Trump are virtually tied (45 percent for Biden, 46 percent for Trump), while DeSantis outpolls Biden (48 percent to 43 percent).

Fabrizio suggested that voters take these results with a grain of salt. Of the 40 districts surveyed, he says, only seven are in what would be considered the swing states that are likely to decide the 2024 presidential contest. John Anzalone, a veteran Democratic pollster from Impact Research, says the presidential and congressional preferences in this poll “show that we’re still a dead-even country.”

Older voters likely key 

Voters 50-plus are much more motivated to vote next fall than their younger counterparts, the AARP poll shows. Historically, older voters have cast ballots in greater numbers than any other age group. The new survey shows that 85 percent of respondents 50 and older say they are “extremely motivated” to vote, compared with 67 percent of voters ages 18 to 49.

“Voters 50-plus are the key to winning and losing elections — and they show up,” Anzalone says. “If you are a campaign, you should be looking at this poll and knowing that older voters are the most important voters.”

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