Barack Obama surged to power in 2008 mainly on the enthusiasm of younger voters. He may find his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill swept out of power by the other end of the demographic spectrum. McClatchy reports that a new George Washington University Battleground poll shows that seniors will charge to the polls on Election Day, and that’s bad news for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid:
Democrats have glimpsed their biggest threat this fall, and she is Grandma.
One reason President Barack Obama and other party leaders are rolling out campaigns this week to energize young and minority voters for November’s elections is that they’ve seen the polling data on senior citizens, and it’s ugly.
Democrats once counted on voters older than 65, but many seniors’ loyalties changed in the past decade. That’s partly because of the parties’ stands on policy such as fiscal and personal responsibility, and partly, experts said, because the demographic changed. Many of today’s seniors started voting in the 1950s, when Republican Dwight Eisenhower was president. The number of seniors whom FDR converted to Democrats in the ’30s is shrinking fast. …
A George Washington University Battleground Poll this month found that only 36 percent of likely voters who were 65 and older approved of the health care legislation, which expands and mandates health insurance coverage. That was the lowest approval rating of any voter age group.
For November’s congressional elections, the poll found that seniors are far more inclined to vote for Republicans than for Democrats, by 48 percent to 33 percent.
Building a power base on younger voters is akin to building a house on sand. It might work well because there’s just so much sand, but the next wave carries a good portion of it out. Reigniting the enthusiasm of younger voters will be harder this year, mainly because there will be no Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. Instead, younger voters will see choices of eminences grises and wonder what happened to the Hope and Change.
For older voters, the rapid and radical shift to the Left has them worried. McClatchy tries its best to chalk it up to dastardly Republican “myths” about ObamaCare, but the 25% of them who relied on Medicare Advantage know that the cuts to the program were no ghost story. These seniors have seen their life savings dwindle during the economic collapse and bailouts, and the lack of larger-scale economic growth in the normal recovery period has to have them anxious about their ability to keep pace with their fixed and sudden costs. Couple that with the coming burdens on energy prices from cap-and-trade, and those living on fixed incomes have plenty of reason to dump Democrats.