When Barbara Paulding was 44 years old, Joe Biden had been a member of the United States Senate from Delaware for more than a decade — and Pete Buttigieg was about to be born.
Despite being only 37 years old, the latter — a gay, veteran mayor from South Bend, Indiana, who is running for president in 2020 — wowed the now 81-year-old Paulding after he spoke in a low-slung union hall here in Des Moines.
Paulding represents a growing number of senior citizens who have rallied around Buttigieg because of — not in spite of — his age. And she said after Buttigieg’s speech that her support of the millennial mayor over the 76-year-old former vice president Biden or 77-year-old Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders does not feel abnormal.
A recent CNN poll found that 22% of people 65 and older have a favorable opinion of Buttigieg, compared to 16% for voters under 34.