Friday, November 20, 2009

NC Democrats' Senior Problem

A majority of voters under the age of 65 in North Carolina like the job Barack Obama's doing as President. They say they'll vote for an unnamed Democrat by a 42-41 margin over Richard Burr, plan to support Democrats by a 47-41 spread for the legislature and also plan to go Democratic 47-42 for Congress.

Despite all that Obama's overall approval rating is only 47%, and voters in the state (albeit by a close margin) are currently planning to reelect Burr and vote Republican for both the legislature and Congress.

Why the disconnect? Democrats in the state are currently having a huge senior problem. 57% of them disapprove of Obama with only 35% giving him good reviews. They plan to reelect Burr by a 55-31 margin and they plan to vote 56-33 GOP for the legislature and 56-32 for Congress.

It's not unusual for older voters in North Carolina to vote more conservative than the state as a whole- they gave John McCain his largest amount of support last year- but this is an unusually large disconnect.

Health care definitely seems to be the driving force on this. 65% of seniors in North Carolina say they're opposed to Obama on the issue with just 26% supportive.

What makes this a particularly acute problem for Democrats is that voters over 65 are likely to make up a much larger portion of the electorate in 2010 than they did in 2008. Seniors vote more consistently than younger voters, and early indications from races in New Jersey and Virginia this year are that the Obama wave voters can't be counted on to come back out for an off year election. Democrats in North Carolina next year are going to have to find a better way to get those newer voters out to the polls than their peers in other states- but they're also going to have to find a better way to connect with older voters if they're going to keep what they have. This is going to be one of the biggest trends to watch in North Carolina next year.


Unknown said...

I'm starting to think it may be better for Reid to get just 59 votes tomorrow night--but pivot right away to a jobs bill.

I think the Dem's senior problem (both NC and nationally) wouldn't be as bad if health care reform were limited to just eliminating recission, portability, and pre-existing conditions and eliminating the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies. Baby steps would have been much less threateneing.

Anonymous said...

Tom & Dean,

There is one potential big Senate Race which hasn't been polled very often;

and that is a ND Senate Match-Up between Dorgan and Hoeven.

There is growing speculation that Hoeven might announce a Senate Candidacy in January 2010.

Web Statistics