Obama and the Age Gap

>> Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The biggest problem that Obama has in this election is the age issue. He has consistently been behind McCain among the oldest voters. This is a problem because these people always vote. Besides looking at party ID in the cross tabs of polls you should check out the age break down to see the movement there. For instance the most recent Gallup Tracking Poll where McCain has a 5 point lead.

Date Barack Obama John McCain
Sept 1-7 -- --
18-29 60 32
30-49 46 46
50-64 45 48
65+ 41 49

As compared to the previous poll

Date Barack Obama John McCain
Aug 25-31 -- --
18-29 54 37
30-49 48 45
50-64 49 42
65+ 44 43

take a look at the McCain gains among the most elderly of the population. He picked up 6 points in 65+ and another 6+ in the 50-64 range. There is your McCain lead right there. This is not a new phenomenon as Obama has consistently struggled with older voters.

This age gap has been a feature during the entire Obama campaign. It seems like older people are just not as drawn to Obama as the younger voters are. What can Obama do about this? Targeted outreach to Seniors in some way is my guess. It is not like the campaign will not have seen these numbers, they must have some idea about what to do about this.

This is also an interesting observation because it could poke a whole in the media's Palin love idea. Unless you think that older voters are the ones drawn to Palin. It is possible as there was a shift in the support of women. Previously Obama had been up in the category 51-39 and it fell to 49-42. So if you give that all to palin and you assume that those women are all older than yes, palin is the reason McCain has seen a bump.

Digging deeper though you find that the biggest change was not among whites but a big 7 point increase in the Hispanic vote for McCain as Obama saw a 4 point dip. McCain also showed a greater improvement among AA voters than he did among whites 4%-3%.

Maybe i am getting too deep in the weeds here but i just wanted to make the point that it was the older voters moving away from Obama that had the big impact on McCain. The question then becomes, will they move back? If they do move back then i think the bounce deflates very quickly. If Obama can reach the older voters and move them firmly into his camp then McCain has no chance.


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