Not a surprise, as the public polling shows the same thing. But this trend is noteworthy given the outsized repercussions it would have on the election if senior citizens flipped from red to blue this fall. It’s probably overstating it to say “game over for Trump” if this happens, as there’s always a chance that the youth vote or the Latino vote will desert Biden to such a ruinous extent that it’ll more than offset any gains he gets from winning seniors.
But it’s close to being game over for Trump if oldies go Democratic. Moving early to address the problem is smart thinking by him and his aides. There’s not a moment to spare.
It’s also worth taking stock of this trend at a moment when we’re shifting from phase one of the coronavirus pandemic to phase two, as that might influence seniors’ opinions. Phase one was the lockdown era, the underwhelming initial attempt to mitigate the spread; it cost us 75,000 Americans, many of them aged 65 and over. Phase two is the reopening of the country, an attempt to rebuild some economic normalcy. If that goes well, seniors might start to brighten on Trump. But not necessarily: Some may have durably soured on him because of how palpably more interested he is in the economic component of the crisis than the containment part. Seniors know which demographic group is destined to take the brunt of the death toll as commerce resumes and the disease begins to spread more rapidly. Do they share the president’s priorities or do they not? The polling later this summer will tell us.