Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

The gender gap is not the only promising piece of data contained in the Cook Political Report poll (.pdf) mentioned in the previous post. On the generic congressional ballot question, which showed the Democrats with a respectable 46 percent to 36 percent lead among registered voters, older voters -- those age 65 and above -- favored the Dems by a 12-point margin, an impressive turnaround from the 2004 presidential election when George Bush carried the senior vote by 8 points (note that this group was 60 and above, not 65 and above like in the Cook poll).

The Medicare prescription drug bill was supposed to be the implement with which the Republicans would wrest older voters from the Democratic coalition. Indeed, after the bill was rammed through the Republican Congress but before the plan was implemented, it appeared as though the Republicans would be able to win more votes from older voters. As noted above, President Bush carried the 60 and older vote by a substantial margin in 2004, helping him gain reelection.

But now it looks like older voters are ready to come back home to the Democratic Party -- a very positive development for the Dems given the fact that seniors are more likely than any other age group to turn out in elections, particularly non-presidential year elections. If older voters do vote Democratic this fall at anywhere near the rate where the Cook poll currently finds them, it is not at all inconceivable that we'll be dealing with Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid come January.

Tags: George W. Bush, Medicare, Seniors (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

It depends on which seniors you are talking about, the very old and the old, the older ones have been with the Dem party ever since, but may have broken away in 94.  But the old is still with president.  I think that the veterans are more or less coming back than the elderly, they aren't subject to mortality as much.

by mleflo2 2006-04-16 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

Well didn't Republicans try to privative social security. Beyond the fact that you need a lawyer to navagate Medicare now. And there grand kids are dying over there.

by Joshua Sperati 2006-04-16 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

And we will likely keep those seniors for the long term. It may not come out in time to play a big role in the 2006 mid-terms, but Social Security Solvency will be a political winner for the Democrats.

The message will not primarily be "Social Security is okay so hurrah for FDR", though that message will be in the mix, the real message will be not that Republicans were wrong on this issue but that they were deliberately lying about it. "Lying" is not too strong a word, they have systematically distorted and misprepresented the numbers. You can follow the details of this on the econoblogs, my concern here is with the politics.

Boomers should be furious. Not only have we been the whipping boys for a crisis that has shown to be ficticious, we have been asked to be the ones to take the benefit cuts. Boomers range in age from 42 to 60. Even the youngest Boomers need to be looking at retirement plans, this is imperative for the oldest. When they collectively find out that the Right and the Republican  Party has been using a campaign of fear and deception with the single desire to get Boomers to turn over their retirement security to Wall Street I expect a backlash, one that works to the benefit of the party of FDR.

And the Republicans know it. For the first time in the Bush Administration the Social Security Report did not come out by the statuatory deadline of March 31st. Sure they have an explanation, something about the Public Trustees (who need to sign the Report) needing confirmation by the Senate, but that could be fixed in an instant by a recess appointment. The truth is that these numbers cannot see the light of day without proving they are a set of serial liars on Social Security.

They may be able to finesse this past this election, which is okay by me, this works better in the National context offered by the 2008 cycle anyway. People who have not looked closely at the numbers simply do not believe that they could be so offbase as they are. Surely Privatizers didn't try to swing this swindle with numbers as weak as those? But they did and they are. But the numbers are running against them.

Here is a message that every Boomer needs to take to heart and to the polling booth: The Republican Party is lying to you. Again.

Given Bush's plummeting 'honesty' numbers I really do see using Social Security to back up Iraq as case studies in Republican dishonesty to be an electoral winner.

by Bruce Webb 2006-04-16 08:50AM | 0 recs
Adding some irony

The "New Trustees' Report" referenced in my sig is now offically 1 year and two weeks old. Tick tock.

It will be interesting to see how the Depression/War Babies react to the revelation of the depths of deception that have been deployed over Social Security. On the one hand they have been promised their checks would be honored, on the other hand they have been asked to accept that their children paid in and yet were not projected to get a full payout.

I predict a certain amount of outrage among retirees as the Republican Party starts roasting its elephant on the Third Rail of American Politics, how that compares with the Boomer rage is hard to predict. Certainly this Boomer is mad as hell that they tried and are trying to steal a portion of my retirement.

by Bruce Webb 2006-04-16 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

The word "lie" is not too strong a word.  It is most appropriate here.

I am a Boomer and I am furious about what the right tried to do to Social Security, and the way they painted us.

by Leo 2006-04-16 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

The Republican party has done NOTHING but LIE.  What else is new?

by Leo 2006-04-16 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

Not true! They've been stealing up a storm as well. They can multi-task!

by kitebro 2006-04-16 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

I think this is a very important post, because it reminds us of the limits of online organizing.  16% of 2004 voters were 65+; they don't know what we're doing, and they not share or care for the combativeness we seek in our leaders.  (17% of voters were 18-29.)

We need to remember that they were once our base, and we need them back too.

by Adam B 2006-04-16 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

The New Deal Dems never left--the folks who are in their 80s and 90s.  The folks born in the '30s and '40s are also moving away from Bush.  Both generations are angry that what they built for their children and grandchildren is being systematically dismantled by the likes of Bush and the GOP.  Don't minimize the importance of the fiscal responsibility issue with these folks.  They understand war, and unlike the self-styled libertarians, they believed in and built a civic culture, a strong and vibrant public sector--schools, highways, water projects etc.  They are more communitarian in many ways than the (more indulged) Boomers.

The Boomers will probably go to their graves being grandiose and ideological, fighting and refighting the '60s over and over.

Watch the under 42s.  If not in 2008, at some point they will turn out the Boomers just the way the generation that fought the Civil War turned out the Transcendental generation in the elections of 1868, 1870 and 1872.

by Mimikatz 2006-04-16 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

I would hope that if we take both Houses, it'll be Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Someone Else.

by jgarcia 2006-04-16 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Speaker Hoyer?

Pelosi is about as progressive a person as we are giouing to see as Speaker.  Steny Hoyer is much more conservative and pro-business.  Pelosi has kept the Dems together on the budget votes, performed jujitsu on immigrations and is a good parliamentary strategist.  She doesn't have that good a speaking presence, but she is tough and understands how the House works.  Be careful what you wish for.  If it isn't her it will be someone much more conservative.

by Mimikatz 2006-04-16 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

Some of the elderly are simply unable to comprehend that the Republican party is not the party of progress.

My 86 year old mother is among them.  She really has no idea what is going on in the world.

by Leo 2006-04-16 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

Every time I hear the term "Baby Boomers" I reach for my pistol.

Generational political analysis has always seemed lame and pointless to me.  The baby boomers are typically defined as those born between 1946 and the mid 1960's.  In reality that is two generations, not one.  If you were born in 1946 and had a child in 1964 you would both be "Boomers".  Does that make sense?

To put that massive number of people into one category -- the Boomers-- while ignoring class, racial and religious differences is just astoundingly lazy. And yet I have listened to politicians, pundits and political scientists blather on about this crap my entire life.  Yes, I am 55 and pissed off. I am not a Boomer, I am a human being.

by Gregg 2006-04-16 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

"If you were born in 1946 and had a child in 1964"

Well then on average you would have impregnated or been impregnated before the age of 18. Eighteen years is not two generations, and anyone who suggests that it is needs to take some remedial math or get an older teenager to buy you a condom.

The Baby Boom identified a very real demographic phenomenom. Soldiers and sailors returning home in 1945 and 1946 started turning out kids in large numbers, a trend that peaked in 1957. After 1964 a combination of world events led to a dramatic downturn in average size families. I was born in 1957 and have three brothers. By the early seventies average family size had dropped significantly and marriages started to be significantly delayed among college educated women.

Grab your pistol. Try not to use it on yourself. Because the Boomers are in fact a real deal. There is a reality there and dividing American society by demographic cohorts allows us to catch real trends.

by Bruce Webb 2006-04-16 02:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

Wikipedia baby boomerd, dude.  The birth rate was indeed higher post war, but it was because the birth rate had dropped abnormally low during the depression.  

Baby boom is a silly term.  It should only refer to a ten year period at most.  No one was having babies because of the elation of the war ending in 1960.  C'mon.

by jgarcia 2006-04-16 04:17PM | 0 recs
Boomers

"In reality that is two generations, not one."

Agreed. As one who was born in the late 50's, I would break it down like this.

 1) "Boomers" (1946-1955)

 2) "Leftovers" (1956-1964) These are the people who have been shit upon by the early boomers. We've been left to survive on nothing but their crumbs.

by dabuddy 2006-04-16 03:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold

How about Speaker "Some other Democrat" and Majority leader Reid.  Pelosi should not be given the top job.  

by yitbos96bb 2006-04-17 08:45AM | 0 recs

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