Senior citizens – Americans in the 65-year-old and older bracket – have a higher percentage of voters than any other age group according to data accumulated throughout past elections. The good news for GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney is that seniors have overwhelming voted Republican in the last two presidential elections.
Additionally, data shows that – in spite of the media stressing the importance of Medicare and Social Security in getting the older segment of society’s votes – Medicare and Social Security really do not monopolize the voting standards of the senior citizens. Though Medicare and Social Security are important, other factors weigh heavily on seniors’ minds as well.
Of the other items on the older Americans’ minds is a same topic that is on some of the younger Americans’ minds as well – money matters. It has been reported that 70% of older American voters are deeply concerned about taxes and the federal deficit as it currently sits underwater.
Yet, there tends to be a new concern for the Republican challengers in this election because – more than in the past – President Barack Obama has made Medicare, in particular, a talking point that has not held headlines or concern in the past. Somewhat effectively, Obama has made Medicare an issue which is starting to show negative results for Romney and Ryan in two very important swing states – Ohio and Florida. In Ohio, particularly, Obama is leading Romney with big numbers while Florida is much closer at this time.
Romney needs to make the primary concern in Ohio – as well as Florida – the concern that seniors are having throughout the majority of the country, which is the economy in general – the current national debt as well as the debt being accumulated for these seniors’ grandchildren. Romney must stress that voting over concern of Medicare and Social Security doubts is not nearly as important as the overall failing economy – as he seems to be successful in convincing futuristic-thinking economically-minded seniors though most of the country.
Additionally, Romney and Ryan – in particular – are stressing that Medicare and Social Security will not be altered for citizens who are presently 55 years of age or older under their plan for vouchers in the future. This assurance is comforting to many seniors but not to all. Also, most seniors are more concerned about their personal finances as they engage in their non-employment and non-income years. It’s totally logical that they think this way because money lost under Obama’s economic policies has no chance of being replaced by them.
On Romney’s side, of course, are the most elderly Americans who have lived through a depression in the 1930s and fear anything even remotely similar to those years. Maybe Romney and Ryan need to get some of these older Americans on stage with them to convince their co-seniors – as well as younger Americans – that the Obama economy is definitely not working and the results of a totally failed economy would be devastating to the younger generation as well.
Seniors know very well that over-accumulated debt cannot be paid off, and they worry greatly about the nation going further and further in debt – as well as themselves. These voters are pulling for Romney and have good cause to do so.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.