Seniors Coming Back to the Democratic Fold
by Jonathan Singer, Sun Apr 16, 2006 at 08:07:56 AM EDT
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.