Democrats are outperforming their 2018 margins among voters over the age of 65, according to data from the political analytics firm TargetSmart.
Nationally, voters in this age range have also cast more ballots early than they did during the midterm elections in 2018. Voters who are 65 to 74 years of age have already cast nearly 1.6 million more ballots than they did as of this same point before the election in 2018. For voters 75 and up, they’re also 1.6 million ballots ahead of their 2018 total from the same pre-election point. These two age groups are the only age ranges who have cast that many more ballots than they did as of the same point in the 2018 elections, per TargetSmart — and their combined total puts them 3.2 million votes ahead of the same pre-election juncture in 2018, with days left.
Among the voters who are 65 to 74, TargetSmart estimates that 49.2 percent of those who have already cast a ballot were Democratic voters, with Republican voters at just 41.3 percent. Republicans led at this point in early voting in 2018, per the firm’s calculations. Democrats were at just 43.5 percent of the early vote in this age group at that juncture, marking an increase of nearly six percent. (Democrats also grew their share in 2020.) Among voters 75 and up, the Democratic lead is smaller but still present, with Democratic voters at 46 percent of the total and Republicans at 45.6 percent. These figures are estimates, since voters don’t even pre-register with specific political parties in every state, and the numbers don’t reflect the actual contents of votes — just the estimated partisan affiliation (not registration) of who’s casting ballots. The estimates rely on internal modeling from TargetSmart.
During a weekend speech supporting Democrats in Pennsylvania, President Joe Biden discussed some of the potential threats to Medicare and Social Security from Republican control of Congress. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who is running for re-election, has raised the prospect of making the programs subject to annual budget negotiations in Congress, which could potentially pointlessly imperil the initiatives’ funding. “And then along came Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — Senator,” Biden said. “And, by the way, he thinks five years is too long. Not a joke. This almost is so surreal sounding. He thinks Social Security and Medicare should be on the chopping block every single year. If Congress doesn’t vote to keep it for the first time, it goes away. Not a joke. It goes away. It’s not just Social Security and Medicare. He also wants to put veterans’ benefits on the line.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has also raised the prospect of changing the way Congress passes laws, potentially forcing the re-approval of these programs every five years. He made some changes to that broader proposal, and it wasn’t supported by the Senate GOP leader (Mitch McConnell), but that’s where the more Trump-inclined Republicans are at, policy-wise.