Romney Losing Support Among Older Voters?

One of the demographic groups where Mitt Romney has consistently been outperforming the President among voters aged 60 and older. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Romney has remained relatively competitive in states like Florida where older voters make up a substantial part of the population. More importantly, though, older voters have historically been the one voting group that is most likely to turn up at the polls on Election Day. According to a new poll, though, Romney many be losing his advantage among this crucial group:

(Reuters) – Even before his running mate was booed by a lobbying group for older Americans on Friday, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was losing support among such voters, whose backing is crucial to his hopes of winning the November 6 election.

New polling by Reuters/Ipsos indicates that during the past two weeks – since just after the Democratic National Convention – support for Romney among Americans age 60 and older has crumbled, from a 20-point lead over Democratic President Barack Obama to less than 4 points.

Romney’s double-digit advantages among older voters on the issues of healthcare and Medicare – the nation’s health insurance program for those over 65 and the disabled – also have evaporated, and Obama has begun to build an advantage in both areas.

Voting preferences among seniors could change in the final six weeks of the campaign, but the polling suggests that a series of recent episodes favoring Obama and the Democrats could be chipping away at Romney’s support among older Americans.

If this continues, then it will become even more difficult for Romney to turn things around in this race, and states like Florida may end up being put out of his reach. At that point, his ability to get to 270 Electoral Votes would be difficult indeed.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. I think the more serious question is whether Romney has broken the Republican Party.

    See here and here.

    Also a smart contrast between the politics of the 47% and Honey Boo Boo here.

  2. Tano says:

    Honey Boo Boo here.

    Oh jeez, not the first thing Monday morning,,,,please…

  3. @Tano:

    lol, sorry.

  4. It’s kind of early for the post-mortems, but obviously I get a kick out of them:

    With his first term behind him, Obama is poised to be as significant a president as Reagan—tackling the deficit, spearheading immigration reform, and jolting the GOP back to sanity.

    That would be from Andrew Sullivan, who also says:

    If you are a Republican who wants to see your party return to the center, reelecting Obama is the single most effective thing you can do.

  5. Fiona says:

    Older voters are Romney’s base. If he loses them, he’s toast.

    And, John, it does seem like he’s beginning to drag the rest of the party down with him, which should make election night a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. If the Democrats turn out to have a good night, I’ll be tuning in to Fox News to watch their collective head explode.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    If he loses the senior vote he’ll be down to just Mormons, people who own more than six guns, financial market manipulators and Klansmen.

  7. Buffalo Rude says:

    If the GOP keeps this up the only people voting for them in November will be the hardcore 27% rump of the party.

  8. @Fiona:

    I think the 47% thing is hitting its deeper echoes. Gov. Romney said the one thing any Republican, but especially a rich Republican, was never supposed to say out loud: Screw the poor, they aren’t on our side.

    That is reinforced by yesterday’s “news” that Mitt thinks his 15% tax rate is fair, even when asked directly how he feels about paying a lower rate than a someone with $50K income.

    Talk about making the election a referendum on Republican values …

  9. MBunge says:

    “his 15% tax rate is fair, even when asked directly how he feels about paying a lower rate than a someone with $50K income.”

    Some graduate student somewhere really needs to do a paper on how conservatism has adopted so many aspects of communism. For example, what Romney is talking about is only intelligible if you cast entrepreneurs as the new “vanguard of the proletariat”.

    Mike

  10. Herb says:

    Maybe they watched 60 Minutes last night…..

    @john personna: Interesting links, but I’m not sure I’d blame Romney for “breaking the Republican Party.” He doesn’t seem to have many leadership qualities, but he’s a great spokesman. Guys like that get broken….they don’t do the breaking.

    While understandable, I also don’t find this stuff very useful:

    For some, the resulting improvements would be enough to make the GOP preferable to the Democrats.

    As yet, I say to hell with them both.

    Politics are not moved by people who throw their hands up in disgust. They’re moved by people who take the long view, dedicate themselves to hard work, and don’t give up.

  11. @Herb:

    Well, he’s a guy who can’t support either party in current form. He’s calling for what he can support, a reformed conservative movement. It would be wonderful to have that.

  12. sam says:

    He can’t lose what he never had. Polling one senior voter.

  13. Moosebreath says:

    @john personna:

    Since the largest subgroup within the 47% who don’t pay income taxes are senior citizens whose primary income is Social Security, it is hardly surprising that Romney’s support is dropping with seniors. They don’t consider themselves whiny victims who are receiving a handout, but rather people who have worked hard for decades and are enjoying the fruit of their labor. The 47% comment remains the gift that keeps on giving.

  14. stonetools says:

    So seniors are finally figuring out that the main threat to their economic wellbeing is not the black Kenyan usurper with the scary sounding Muslim name, but the team with the nice looking Irishman who actually says he wants to dismantle Social Security and Medicare. Oh well.

  15. @Moosebreath:

    Yeah, folks who paid higher taxes back in their day:

    Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 1958, a reflection of tax cuts and a weak economy, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

  16. Herb says:

    @john personna:

    “a reformed conservative movement. It would be wonderful to have that.”

    Amen to that.

    The problem, as I see it is that when the Little Red Hen says, “Who will help me reform the conservative movement?” Conor and other like-minded folks offer up a chorus of “Not I.” Meanwhile the Grover Norquists and Rush Limbaughs are helping her grind down her grain….

  17. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    I think the more serious question is whether Romney has broken the Republican Party.

    I’d rephrase it another way… Mitt Romney is an expression of a broken Republican Coalition.

  18. A says:

    @Fiona:

    I still remember how amazing it was to turn on Fox in ’08 right before they had to call CA, and it was just silent. They were all just sitting there silently glum faced.

    It was amazing television.

  19. @mattb:

    I’m treating he and the 47% think as a straw to the camel’s back.

  20. Fiona says:

    @A:

    I still remember how amazing it was to turn on Fox in ’08 right before they had to call CA, and it was just silent. They were all just sitting there silently glum faced.

    It was also a kick to watch them in 2006 once it became clear that Democrats were going to take not only the House but also the Senate. Pure gold.

    I suspect the converse was true over at MSNBC in 2010 but they probablybweren’tvquite as incredulous as the Fox team.

  21. Rick Almeida says:

    There is also this very interesting study on the preferences of the “white working class”.

  22. PJ says:

    As I understand it, Doug is a closeted liberal spreading lying liberal polls. The only polls that count are Rasmussen polls.

    Thanks to those two sentences, Smooth Jazz no longer has to comment.

    —-

    BTW, Republicans obviously foresaw this, that’s why they are making sure that the elderly are among those who will have problem voting due to Voter ID laws.

  23. For what it’s worth, I called it as a big moment when Romney abandoned the claim that he and Bain were jobs creators. I saw that as yielding the whole game.

    When Mitt defends his 15% tax rate now, he mumbles “jobs creators,” but it is a hollow echo of what it was. There is no attempt to sell the case.

    Another reason Romney broke the party. He ran as an archetype and failed in that model.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    James–shouldn’t this post be front page? If this holds up, it’s the biggest news of the election cycle.

  25. C. Clavin says:

    Old people have the wisdom of their age…they know a phony when they see one.
    First Romney blasts the 47% as free-loaders. Moochers. People who refuse to take responsibility for themselves.
    Now, last night on 60 Minutes, he explains that we don’t need the PPACA because people can just go to the Emergency Room for care and we’ll take care of them.

    “…We do provide health care for people who don’t have insurance. If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die…we pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care…”

    But in March of ’10 this is what he said:

    “…Look, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to have millions and millions of people who have no health insurance and, yet, who can go to the emergency room and get entirely free care, for which they have no responsibility, particularly, if they’re people who have sufficient means to pay their own way…”

    So Romney is against free-riders, but he’s for free-riders, but he’s against free-riders.
    I mean this has gotten ridiculous. Romney is a clown. He is, as as someone else wrote the other day, an Esher painting of Political Pandering. Just because people are old doesn’t mean they are stupid. They can see that this guy is incompetent. They can see that he is clue-less. They can see that he will say anything to get himself elected.
    Which only begs the question…what’s up with James?

  26. swbarnes2 says:

    @john personna:

    a reformed conservative movement.

    What policies would this reformed conservative party put forth? How will the reformed conservatives championing these reformed policies win elections if those policies disgust the vile 27%?

  27. @swbarnes2:

    It shouldn’t be too much to ask for a party which rationally bargained tax increases in exchange for reduction in spending.

  28. swbarnes2 says:

    @john personna:

    It shouldn’t be too much to ask for a party which rationally bargained tax increases in exchange for reduction in spending.

    Cuts where? Military? Social Security? Medicare? Maybe the FDA or the NIH?

    And tax increases where? Get rid of the mortgage deduction? The EITC?

    Where do these reformed conservatives want to cut and increase? Where is the evidence that large numbers of conservatives will vote for politicians promising to make those cuts?

    If you have some kind of reformed conservative in mind, you must have in mind some specific policies you would like that reformed conservative to hold. What would those be, and where is your evidence that your reform candidate could get enough votes to implement your desired policies?

  29. @swbarnes2:

    Anyone who has worked in any human organization, be that private, public, or religious, knows that programs acquire momentum, become fiefdoms, and compete not so much for solutions but for resources, against their peers.

    What you did with your question, intentionally or not, was set up an extreme vision, in which every long term expansion in the public sector is justified, without error, without overshoot, and without mission creep.

    I think things as disparate as agriculture, defense, and energy policy suffer from all those, and re-factoring all of them for their core mission would yield both cost savings and increased returns.

  30. swbarnes2 says:

    @john personna:

    What you did with your question, intentionally or not, was set up an extreme vision, in which every long term expansion in the public sector is justified, without error, without overshoot, and without mission creep.

    No, I mentioned a few specific organizations that we spend money on today. If you think that we spend too much on the FDA, just say so plainly, don’t dodge with theoretical complaints about what might happen some day.

    I think things as disparate as agriculture, defense, and energy policy suffer from all those, and re-factoring all of them for their core mission would yield both cost savings and increased returns.

    Well, great, then be specific. Social Security has a 1% overhead. How should that be refactored to have more cost savings? Thalidomide was not approved by the FDA in America, so thousands of families were spared the difficulties of raising severely deformed babies. What kind of cost-savings would you implement in the FDA, and how would those savings compare to the savings America accrued by having thousands of healthy babies, instead of thousands of deformed ones?

    These are just two specific examples, but since you seem averse to suggesting your own specifics, you can start with these.

  31. @swbarnes2:

    I really think your argument is wrong-headed. You think that since I’m some guy in a comments thread, I should enunciate a new policy for the GOP, right?

    Seriously?

    Just to make you happy I’ll name some random divisions, all centered around the concept of ROI, that I see. Wind power and desert solar thermal plants are OK. Rooftop photo-voltaic is not good enough for a subsidy. Slow speed rail and 2-way track is good. High speed rail is not. High auto fuel efficiency is good. Car buying credits are not. A 100% tariff on cotton t-shirts and a 10% tariff on cotton (it’s something like that) is distorting and inefficient.

  32. (Man, now that I head the GOP, when do I get my check?)

  33. swbarnes2 says:

    @john personna:

    I really think your argument is wrong-headed. You think that since I’m some guy in a comments thread, I should enunciate a new policy for the GOP, right?

    I think a pragmatic person who wants to see a reformed Republican party should have some idea of what policies they wish those reformed Republicans to espouse. People are saying that Republicans need to drastically change, and I’m just asking “Okay, what policies would this reformed conservative party put forth? How much would they differ from current Republicans? How different would they be from current Democrats? And what % of the total vote could a group espousing these policies expect to get in national elections?’

    I’m just trying to get one conservative to say what policies they want to, or intend to support with their votes. For all the complaining about how awful the current Republicans are, no one seems to be able to say plainly what it is they want instead. If the answer is that you want a party that doesn’t fund the FDA, NIH or NEA, but supports gay marriage and treats contraception and abortion as general health care, then say that plainly. Or if you want a party that would pursue the same voter suppression policies, but you’d just have smarter people who didn’t openly admit they were doing it along partisan lines, then just say that. If it’s some other set of policies, say what that other set is.

    Just to make you happy I’ll name some random divisions, all centered around the concept of ROI, that I see. Wind power and desert solar thermal plants are OK. Rooftop photo-voltaic is not good enough for a subsidy. Slow speed rail and 2-way track is good. High speed rail is not. High auto fuel efficiency is good. Car buying credits are not. A 100% tariff on cotton t-shirts and a 10% tariff on cotton (it’s something like that) is distorting and inefficient.

    Okay, so we scrap all of that. What % of the federal budget does that save? Is cutting some .00001% of the federal budget all it takes to be a fiscal conservative? And if we scrap all that, how much more do we spend on unemployment benefits based on all the jobs that got shed?

  34. @swbarnes2:

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union both parties have moved right. I do think President Obama is pretty far and right, as he governs. But the key is that “as he governs” is not “with everything he could ask for.”

    I do think the “off the top of my head” list totals more like 0.1% of the budget, but that is with huge political restraints in place. It would certainly be bigger and less considered “if everybody became a Democrat.”

    It’s kind of silly to ask if we should cancel departments created or supported by past Republican administrations as well, for that same reason. “The predecessor of the NIH began in 1887 as the Laboratory of Hygiene” etc.