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Economic Worries Number One Issue for Most Active NC Voters

PHOTO: Baby boomers worry they will have to delay retirement or never quit working at all.   2010 Microsoft Corporation
PHOTO: Baby boomers worry they will have to delay retirement or never quit working at all. 2010 Microsoft Corporation
August 9, 2012

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina is a known swing state in the 2012 presidential election, and political experts say senior citizens could swing the vote in the Tar Heel State.

A study released this week found that economic anxieties are the top issue for non-retired baby boomers, with 75 percent of respondents saying it's a top concern.

Bob Hall, executive director for Democracy North Carolina, says seniors are looking for candidates to support issues important to them.

"Seniors are the most active voters. Seniors are up for grabs, really. So, how they're going to behave in this election will be crucial."

The survey, conducted by AARP, found that concerns for seniors go far beyond just job creation. Respondents indicated concern about general financial security. Cutting across party lines, 91 percent of respondents said the next president and Congress need to strengthen Social Security.

Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president for social impact, says its research also points to the fact that seniors are among those paying the closest attention to a candidate's message, and therefore may be the most willing to change their vote based on the issues.

"They show up on Election Day, and they also care a lot about being well educated on where candidates stand. We think that candidates ignore the 50-plus vote to their peril."

According to the Washington Post, presidential candidates have spent at least $31 million so far on television campaigns in North Carolina, with more expected in the weeks leading up to the election. LeaMond says its research shows future ads that focus on issues facing seniors will give candidates the most bang for their buck.

The full study is online at aarp.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC