Candidates who support the issues most important to Americans ages 50-plus can improve their margin significantly in close 2024 races, according to a new AARP poll.
The poll, which surveyed likely voters from the 40 most competitive congressional districts, found caregiving to be a pivotal top issue for voters 50 and over. Americans 50 and over are the largest—and perhaps the most crucial—voting bloc, said AARP.
While the poll shows that voters 50-plus say candidates’ stances on Social Security and Medicare are very important factors impacting their vote next November (81 percent and 77 percent, respectively), 70 percent of these voters want candidates to support policies to help older adults live independently at home as they age.
Thirty-eight percent of voters are currently caregivers, a number that doubles when those who have been one in the past or expect to be one in the future are included. Democrats have an advantage over Republicans among voters 50-plus on caregiving (44 to 38 percent), but in a generic congressional ballot, more caregivers today vote Republican over Democrat (49 to 38 percent). Over two-thirds (67 percent) of voters 50-plus also rate the cost of prescription drugs as a very important issue, with Democrats leading by just three points (42-39 percent) on their perceived handling of this issue.
“Caregiving and the cost of prescription drugs could very likely be the most important issues of the upcoming election cycle,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer. “Candidates can’t afford to ignore the issues that matter to the 50-plus—who will likely be the decisive voting bloc in 2024—especially in an election cycle where control of Congress and the White House are both up for grabs.”
In the 2018 and 2022 mid-term elections, the share of voters 50-plus was approximately four times that of voters under 30, (56-15 percent and 59-12 percent, respectively). In the 2020 presidential election, the share of voters 50-plus was nearly three times that of voters under 30 (53 percent-18 percent).
Not only will older voters likely continue to make up a larger share of the electorate in 2024, AARP’s new poll shows that they are also much more motivated to vote. Eighty-five percent of voters 50-plus say they are extremely motivated to vote in 2024, compared to just 67 percent of younger voters.
In these 40 competitive districts, the parties are tied on a generic congressional ballot. Among voters 50-plus, the 50-64 age group strongly favors the GOP (52 -35 percent), while those age 65 and older lean Democratic (46-43 percent). Women age 50-plus favor the GOP by just one point over Democrats (44-43 percent), while men age 50-plus show much stronger Republican support (52-38 percent).
AARP commissioned the bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research to conduct a survey. The firms interviewed 1,752 likely voters in 40 of the U.S. House districts that Cook Political Report rated as “lean” or “toss up” as of July 5.
This includes a sample of 1,200 likely voters distributed across the districts, with an oversample up to 1,200 likely voters age 50 and older distributed across the districts, between July 5-11. The interviews were conducted via landline, cellphone, and SMS-to-web. The margin of sampling error for the 1,200 likely voter and 50-plus likely voter samples is plus-or-minus 2.83. Interviews were offered in English and Spanish.