“The bulk of the media’s attention has been on younger voters, not older; but older are the high turnout voters,” says Susan MacManus, a political scientist at the University of South Florida in Tampa. “Some feel like their concerns have not been addressed by the candidates.”
In Florida, Obama is up by an average of five points – by no means an insurmountable lead, but if McCain loses Florida, he loses the election. Pollster Brad Coker says white seniors are McCain’s strongest group in Florida, aside from registered Republicans, as of Oct. 6. And he needs them to counteract the other demographics that are leaning toward Obama. Mr. Coker, the Jacksonville, Fla.-based president of Mason-Dixon Polling, agrees that McCain needs a clear, simple plan to offer voters that he can lay out concisely.
“He needs something comprehensive and coherent that he can explain in 15 or 20 seconds,” says Coker.
In Pennsylvania, another key state with a large population of seniors, Obama now enjoys a solid double-digit lead. And the fact that McCain is doubling down on winning the support of seniors is a sign that he’s waging a battle in his own backyard.