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Americans over the age of 50 show up more often to vote compared to younger voters

This week, AARP Maine announced the results of their 2018 Survey Insights from Maine’s Voters Age 50+.

By Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director

MAINE — This week, AARP Maine announced the results of their 2018 Survey Insights from Maine’s Voters Age 50+.  Representing a membership of 230,000 in Maine, AARP, the leading non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to the needs and desires of all Americans as they age, commissioned the survey to gather opinions on issues of importance to older Mainers during the 2018 mid-term elections.

The survey collected the opinions of 804 registered Maine voters age 50 and older on the issues that matter to them which include healthcare, economic security, prescription drug costs and their frustration with political divisiveness.  29% identified as Democrat, 34% as Independent and 30% as Republican.

Americans over the age of 50 consistently show up more often to vote compared to younger voters. Given the influence this powerful voting bloc will likely have on the 2018 mid-term elections, AARP Maine’s survey, conducted August 16-26, 2018, helps to assess what will be on voters’ minds when they cast their ballots this fall and which candidates they will be backing.

Lori Parham

Interestingly, when asked if the elections for governor, US Senate and Congress were “held today,” respondents who reported being undecided ranged from 12-16% across the races.  Such high percentages of undecided voters illustrate a need for the candidates to be transparent on their positions. The full candidate results are attached and will be available here.

“The survey revealed that Mainers 50-plus are deeply concerned about retirement security, healthcare and maintaining their independence as they grow older,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director.  “In fact, an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that candidates’ positions on these issues will help them make their voting decisions in November.”

Regarding healthcare, respondents overwhelmingly think that Medicare is very important for people’s health in retirement (95%) and that Congress should make changes to ensure the program can continue to cover hospital benefits as it does now beyond 2029 (97%). Over half of survey respondents (52%) report being worried they will not be able to afford the healthcare they need with 98% saying that lowering healthcare costs will influence their voting decisions. Additionally, respondents feel that Social Security is very important (90%) to people’s financial security in retirement.  Of note is the fact that in Maine, over one-third of Social Security beneficiaries age 65-plus have no other source of income.

In addition, most voters age 50-plus (77%) feel that candidates’ plans to address rising prescription drug costs are very important to them and 75% think drug companies have a lot of influence over Members of Congress.

The 2018 AARP Maine survey clearly demonstrates a deep concern regarding retirement security. 66% of survey respondents worry that prices are rising faster than their income and 38% worry they will not be able to retire when they want to due to financial reasons.  In addition, 94% feel that the candidates’ position on helping older people live independently will impact their voting decisions this year.

“AARP hopes that this survey will serve as a catalyst to substantive discussions among the 2018 candidates on all of these issues which are clearly of paramount importance to the health and financial well-being of Maine residents 50-plus,” said Parham.  “AARP Maine stands ready to work with current and future lawmakers to find viable long-term solutions that make sense for Mainers and their families. As the oldest state per capita, the issues pertinent to Maine’s older and most active voting demographic should be a top priority in the 2018 elections. Mainers will be counting on leadership in both Augusta and in Washington to address these very pressing concerns, but first, we need to hear where the candidates stand.”

AARP Maine is co-sponsoring televised debates in October and November with the gubernatorial and US Senate candidates. In addition, voter engagement community conversations are being held across Maine starting this month. 

AARP’s Be The Difference. Vote. campaign encourages all Mainers to make their voices heard on Election Day, and to hold politicians accountable regarding the issues that matter to them and to their families.

The complete 2018Insights from Maine’s Voters Age 50+Survey, Methodology Report and Summary Report are attached.  These same documents can be found by clicking here.

Follow AARP Maine on Facebook and Twitter @aarpmaine.

Full methodology report and questionnaire at aarp.org/2018StateVoterSurveys

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