How Solid Is The Senior Vote?

Aug 14 2012 @ 2:01pm

by Patrick Appel

Nate Cohn notes that "Romney’s road to the White House runs through seniors" and that "to win in 2012, he’ll need to do even better than McCain":

With Obama just south of 50 percent, Romney needs to consolidate undecided voters with reservations about Obama’s performance. But by creating additional routes for Obama to reach 50 percent, the Romney campaign is taking a colossal risk. Romney posses no credible route to the presidency without a double-digit victory among voters older than 65 years old, but history, the polls, and conventional wisdom all suggest that a prolonged debate about changes to Medicare could put such a margin in jeopardy. Whether the Romney campaign has an effective response remains to be seen, but if they don't, they've probably lost.

Despite potential loses among seniors, Cohn argues in a later post that Romney hasn't suddenly lost Florida:

It turns out that Florida isn’t a giant retirement community worth 29 electoral votes: 78 percent of Florida voters were younger than age 65 in 2008. That’s surely older than the country and the other battlegrounds—but perhaps not by as much as you might think. Seniors were 16 percent of the electorate nationally in 2008, so seniors were a 37 percent larger share of Florida the electorate than they were nationally. That is a meaningful difference, but it’s not such a large difference that we would expect Florida to move from, say, a toss-up to lean-Obama while all the other states remained locked in their prior positions.

An earlier look at Medicare politics here.