Seniors will largely decide the outcome of the next US election. Exactly the same proportion of seniors are in favor of Donald Trump or Joe Biden. The big difference between the two groups is early voting and postal voting.
Trump supporters tend to vote in person, while Biden’s supporters vote more by mail or in advance. This explains the relentlessness of Republicans to sabotage the mail-in vote.
1. Who are the elderly in the United States?
Seniors are on the rise in the United States. In 2010, according to the Pew Research Center, they made up only 13% of the population. In 2020, they are nearly 17%. They vote more than all the other groups. People 65 and over make up 27% of all voters who vote. Elderly people are also very active in the polling stations. People 71 and over make up 27% of all election workers. Those aged 61 and over account for 31% of them. These figures, as well as the pandemic, explain the problems of recruiting polling stations for this election.
2. Will the elderly go to vote despite the pandemic?
Seniors say they are very motivated to vote, 80% more than any other group. But those who vote for Joe Biden are very numerous to have already voted or to vote by mail (62%). Those who vote for Trump are less likely in this situation (32%). Overall, Biden voters are twice as likely as Trump’s voters to vote at the advance poll or by mail.
3. What is the concern of the older electorate?
The economy, Supreme Court appointments, foreign policy, violent crime and medical coverage worry more than 70% of older people. In contrast, climate change, abortion and economic inequalities worry only 40% to 50% of them.
4. Has the pandemic changed anything about voting for the elderly?
In the United States, older people follow news about COVID-19 the most. They are not only the best informed, but also the most worried about the disease. But Trump has shown a nonchalant attitude throughout the pandemic. Thursday, at the debate, he refused to recommend the wearing of the mask. Biden, on the contrary, praised it. Faced with the pandemic, Biden projects a reassuring image.
5. Are the presidential candidates a reflection of the aging of the population?
Not necessarily. The median age in the United States is 41. However, medical advancements have allowed Americans to live longer and healthier lives. Decision-makers therefore tend to hold on to power longer. Review The Atlantic reveals that the age of the boards of the largest US corporations has risen by 14 over the past 14 years. Another problem is that people 55 and over make up only a third of the population, but they hold 2/3 of the wealth. It is therefore normal that this generation, which most of the time has finished raising their children and no longer has to work as much, turns to other activities such as politics. Still, gerontocracies have a bad reputation.