Seniors gave President Donald Trump an edge over his opponent despite fevered speculation in the mainstream media that he might lose their support due, at least in part, to the Chinese coronavirus, exit poll data from NBC News revealed.
“Trump is leading in the senior vote by roughly 3 points, 51 percent to 48 percent, which is a narrower margin than recent elections,” NBC News noted in a report updated Wednesday.
In 2016, Trump won a similar portion of the senior vote, which was key to his victory. Trump led with the group by seven points in the NBC News exit poll for 2016 — 52 percent to 45 percent — and by even higher margins in other surveys.
Most seniors (53 percent), historically the country’s largest voting bloc, reportedly told the pollsters Trump is better suited to handle the economy than Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden (43 percent).
In battleground Florida, home to a large concentration of seniors, Trump did even better with 56 percent of seniors saying they believed the president would better handle the economy.
The virus has disproportionately taken a toll on seniors. Still, the vast majority (94.6 percent) of seniors who contract the virus survive, according to the federal data.
Several mainstream media organizations indicated that the virus would fuel defections among seniors who supported Trump during the last election cycle.
However, in Florida alone, 52 percent of voters 65 and older said they felt Trump would better handle the pandemic, NBC News noted.
Older voters across the country reported that the economy was more important in their presidential race decision than the pandemic.
“Thirty-one percent of adults 65 and older said the economy was the most important issue affecting their vote, while 24 percent said the same of the coronavirus,” NBC News reported.
Still, “[A]bout 2 out of 3 voters 65 and older reported that the coronavirus was an important factor in their presidential vote,” NBC News reported.
NBC News acknowledged that “older voters were … evenly divided on who they thought would better handle the coronavirus, narrowly choosing Biden (48 percent) over Trump (45 percent),” NBC News added.
Citing polls, several mainstream media outlets speculated that senior voters would abandon Trump.
Citing the network’s very own “poll of polls,” CNN’s Harry Enten penned an analysis in early October headlined, “How Trump’s losing among seniors at a historic rate.”
“Biden’s well on his way to doing better with seniors than any Democratic nominee in at least 24 years,” Enten wrote.
Errors are plaguing the polls again this election cycle, with Trump winning states where Biden had a healthy lead.
Despite the commanding leads in national polling, Biden and Trump are in a tight race with no clear indication of when Americans will find out who won.
For its exit poll, NBC News surveyed up to 100,000 voters as they left polling sites across the U.S. on Election Day and, to help account for the high number of early and absentee voters, at early in-person voting places and through telephone interviews.