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Michigan Voters 50+ United on Protecting Social Security, Medicare

Voters age 50 and older accounted for 56% of the ballots cast in the 2016 election. (Adobe Stock)
Voters age 50 and older accounted for 56% of the ballots cast in the 2016 election. (Adobe Stock)
September 16, 2020

LANSING, Mich. -- With the nation heading into an especially divisive election, there are some key matters older Michiganders care about that transcend partisan politics.

In a new AARP election survey of Michigan voters age 50-plus, 54% said they support Joe Biden and 40% support Donald Trump. However, they are united in some other areas.

Mark Hornbeck, associate state director for communications at
AARP Michigan, said a majority of older voters would favor candidates who will protect Social Security, strengthen Medicare and lower prescription drug prices. He said a majority also say more needs to be done to protect the health of people living in nursing homes.

"Eighty-three percent said they're more likely to back candidates who come up with some kind of a program to protect nursing home residents," he said, "because as everyone knows, folks who live in nursing homes have been especially hard-hit by COVID-19."

While voters 50-plus make up a crucial voting population, Hornbeck said, 88% of those polled in Michigan said they're concerned that Congress won't address the problems they face, and 90% are worried that the nation is becoming even more divided.

Hornbeck said older Michiganders also are somewhat divided when it comes to voting by mail.

"More than half of the voters who are 50 and older plan to vote by absentee this cycle," he said, "but the mailbox 'goes partisan' as Biden voters are more than twice as likely as Trump voters to use the absentee ballots."

The poll asked about COVID-19, with 58% of respondents saying they're worried about contracting the virus. Hornbeck said the data puts in stark relief how much the virus has disproportionately affected African-Americans.

"Sixty-five percent of Black voters reported they know someone personally who has died of COVID," he said, "compared to 17% of White voters 50 and older."

The poll is online at

Disclosure: AARP Michigan contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI