Poll: With Florida Vote in Play, Nearly Half of Voters Haven’t Heard Enough from Presidential Candidates on Key Issues of Social Security and Medicare

Posted on 10/15/20 by Dave Bruns

In a Divided Nation, Social Security and Medicare Remain
Top Priorities Across Age, Gender, Race, Party Affiliation

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St. Petersburg, Fla. – With only 2 percent of the Florida vote separating the 2020 presidential candidates, nearly half of likely Sunshine State voters say they haven’t heard enough from the presidential candidates on plans for the future of Social Security and Medicare, according to a new AARP Florida/Florida Politics poll released today

The poll also showed near-unanimity among Florida voters on the importance of Social Security and Medicare to their future, across lines of age, ethnicity, race, gender and partisan affiliation. For example, nearly 94 percent of likely voters age 18-29 said Social Security and Medicare were extremely or very important to their future, compared to 94.7 percent of likely voters age 70 or older.  By similar margins, voters agreed across all dividing lines that Medicare was extremely or very important to their future.

Yet 46 percent of those surveyed said they hadn’t heard enough from candidates about their plans for the future of Social Security, and 47.6 percent said they hadn’t heard enough about candidates’ plans for the future of Medicare, the poll showed.

“It’s remarkable that after all the campaign ads, news coverage and effort that’s gone into the 2020 campaign, nearly half of Florida voters still haven’t heard enough from the presidential candidates on two issues they overwhelmingly agree are important – the future of Social Security and Medicare,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director.  “If candidates want to win Florida voters over in this election, those two issues could be the key to winning the Sunshine State.  Candidates also need to better explain their plan to bring down the high cost of prescription drugs, another issue that voters of all ages and backgrounds consider important.”

The survey showed former Vice President Joe Biden Jr. narrowly leading President Donald Trump 49.2 percent to 47.2 percent, within the survey’s 2.1 percent margin for error. 

“Water is wet and the presidential race in Florida is razor-close. Neither is surprising. What is interesting is how desperate Florida voters are for more information from the candidates about big-ticket policies,” said Peter Schorsch, publisher of FloridaPolitics.com. “Joe Biden or Donald Trump could win the Sunshine State, not with rallies or TV ads, but by wonking out on the issues.”

The AARP/Florida Politics poll, conducted Oct. 11 to 12, showed that about 34 percent of those surveyed had already voted.  Just under 16 percent of those surveyed said they planned to vote by mail, about 28 percent said they planned to vote during the early voting period (Oct. 19 to Nov. 1 in most counties), and 22 percent planned to vote on Election Day, Nov. 3.   

Some 2,215 likely voters were surveyed.  Pollsters excluded from their survey those who said they were unlikely to vote. The poll was conducted by St. Pete Polls on behalf of AARP Florida and the Florida Politics online news organization.  The poll sample included 856 Democrats, 859 Republicans and 500 independents.   

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About AARP:
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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