Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A GOP strategy that asks seniors to sacrifice themselves for the economy may, in electoral terms, have a subtle flaw

You know that horribly overused news genre of voters supporting positions that hurt their own interests? This isn't one of those stories.

Josh Kraushaar writing for the National Journal:
Going against the tide of public opinion carries serious political consequences. This column has pointed out the downward trajectory of Trump’s approval ratings as he struggles to demonstrate competence in this crisis while failing to offer clarity about the path forward. But he risks doing greater damage by going against the interests of his own voters.

For a preview on how things could get worse for the president, look at the evolving political views of seniors, one of Trump’s most supportive constituencies in the previous election. They are also the most concerned about the coronavirus, given they have a much greater risk of dying if they become infected.

The latest Morning Consult poll found that 65-and-older voters prioritized defeating the coronavirus over healing the economy by nearly a 6-to-1 ratio. And over the past month, they’ve become the group most disenchanted with Trump’s handling of the crisis. In mid-March, seniors were more supportive of Trump than any other age group (plus-19 net approval). Now, their net approval of the president has dropped 20 points and is lower than any age group outside of the youngest Americans.

Those findings were matched by a new NBC/WSJ poll, which tested the presidential matchup between Trump and Joe Biden. Among seniors 65 and older, Biden led Trump by 9 points, 52 to 43 percent. That’s a dramatic 16-point swing from Hillary Clinton’s showing in the 2016 election; she lost seniors by 7 points to Trump (52-45 percent).

Seniors are among the most engaged voters in the country (71 percent went to the polls in 2016), and were critical to Trump’s victory. They’ve remained supportive of him for much of his presidency. And they’re counting on the president to protect them at a particularly precarious moment. If Trump’s desire to quickly reopen the economy ends up backfiring, they’ll be the first to abandon him and deal his reelection prospects a crippling blow.

No comments:

Post a Comment