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Poll: Pennsylvanians 50+ to Play Major Role in Nov. Elections

Poll: Pennsylvanians 50+ to Play Major Role in Nov. Elections

by Danielle Smith, Keystone State News Connection

new poll for AARP Pennsylvania revealed candidates must focus on issues critical to voters age 50 and older ahead of the November elections.

The influential voting bloc makes up more than half the state’s electorate, and 85% told pollsters they are “extremely motivated” to cast their ballots.

Bill Johnston-Walsh, state director of AARP Pennsylvania, said voters age 50+ will be key in determining who wins in November.

“Voters age 50+ are the largest voting bloc in Pennsylvania and the country,” Johnston-Walsh explained. “They consistently show up to the polls, and we anticipate that this year will be no different.”

Johnston-Walsh added in the 2020 elections, older voters accounted for 55% of all Pennsylvania voters, and in the 2022 midterms, they made up 62% of the state’s voters. He noted they expect those numbers to grow this year for the general election.

Bob Ward, with the public opinion firm Fabrizio Ward, said voters aged 50+ prioritize economic issues and will back candidates who protect Social Security and support family caregivers.

“When we look at it from an electoral standpoint, it is not surprising that older voters are more likely to vote for the candidates who say they will make sure workers get the Social Security they paid into,” Ward observed. “The big picture here among voters 50+ is that economic issues are paramount.”

Jeffrey Liszt, partner at Impact Research, said Pennsylvania voters, particularly 31% of those ages 50-64, have a high rate of family caregiving responsibilities and voice concerns about services.

“Over 40% of these family caregivers are spending more than 20 hours a week caring for a loved one, which is why it’s such an important issue for them,” Liszt explained. “That’s why more than three-quarters of voters 50-plus say that they will reward candidates who provide more support for family caregivers.”

A significant portion of older voters, 63%, also expressed concerns about their personal financial circumstances, citing the rising costs of food and utilities as reasons for financial strain.