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Poll: Pennsylvanians Over 50 Will Play Major Role in Mayoral Primary

by Danielle Smith, Keystone State News Connection

Poll: Pennsylvanians Over 50 Will Play Major Role in Mayoral Primary

With fewer than 60 days until the May 16 mayoral primary election, a new survey by AARP Pennsylvania shows what key issues voters over the age of 50 are thinking about.

Bill Johnston-Walsh, state director of AARP Pennsylvania said Philadelphia’s voters over 50 are a historically large voting bloc. In the 2019 primary, 61% voted.

He added that before voters cast their ballots they want to be heard by the candidates.

“They’re concerned about safety,” said Johnston-Walsh. “They’re concerned about the crime rate. They’re concerned about housing, and transportation. These are key issues that are impacting them on their day-to-day life. And they need to be able to have the new mayor really focusing on these issues.”

Johnston-Walsh said the survey reached 826 voters who reported they disapprove of the job the current mayor and city council are doing.

He noted that AARP has over 300,000 members in Philadelphia and they are reminding them where, when, and how to vote in the upcoming primary.

Johnston-Walsh added that the survey found 52% of Philadelphia voters 50-plus have considered leaving their neighborhood in the past year due to personal security concerns.

“They want to feel safe in their own homes in their communities,” said Johnston-Walsh. “They want to be able to go out and enjoy their community without worrying about being attacked or being part of some type of crime problem and that’s key right now. Safety is the biggest concern.”

He emphasized that Pennsylvania voters polled say due to the inflation rates and the cost of living, the economy isn’t working well for them and some say they can’t afford to retire yet.

Other important voter issues include lower utility costs, property tax relief, affordable health care, and supportive services, as well as walkable neighborhoods and better transportation options.