Republicans are losing one of their most reliable voting demographics over health care
The one demographic that can always be relied upon to vote in midterms and presidential years and in state and local elections, always, are seniors. They’ve also always voted more for Republicans than Democrats, but 2018 could change that. The issue of health care is dominating with them this year, and is giving Democrats an edge, even on issues not directly related to Medicare.
On each of Medicaid expansion, access to reproductive care, and protecting people with pre-existing conditions, Democrats have a more than 20 point advantage. They have double digit advantages on protecting the health of minority populations and maintaining the Affordable Care Act, and single digit leads on strengthening rural health care and fighting the opioid epidemic. That’s all according to the gold standard for polling health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that health care is going to be the number one thing seniors vote on this year, KFF’s Drew Altman points out. They tend to be more concerned about which party controls Congress (77 percent to 63 percent of younger voters) this year, but could still give Democrats a boost tomorrow.
Arguing in favor of that potential boost, retires have been giving Democrats a fundraising advantage this cycle. The Wall Street Journal reports, “Donors who identify their occupation as “retired” gave 52% of the $326 million they contributed through Oct. 17 to Democrats, compared with 48% to Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.” That’s a direct reversal from the 2014 midterm. Again, it’s a relative modest advantage, but one that could be decisive because they vote. The 65 and older turnout in 2014 was 55 percent.
They’re also not terribly fond of the Republicans right now.
And they are going to vote.