Democrats scored a huge coup tonight in Indiana, picking up a U.S. Senate seat in a reliably red state. But it was despite — not because of — the preferences of older voters in the state.
Democrat Joe Donnelly beat Tea Party Republican Richard Mourdock, giving Democrats a needed pickup to keep their Senate majority. But 50- to 64-year-olds, who represent 29 percent of the state’s electorate, narrowly went for Mourdock, going for the Republican 48-47 percent. Among 65-and-older voters, Donnelly fared even worse, capturing just 42 percent of that vote, compared with 55 percent for Mourdock, according to exit polls. The retirement-age group accounts for 14 percent of the electorate in Indiana. President Obama racked up similar numbers among 50+ voters, taking 47 percent of the 50- to 64-year-old age bracket (against 51 percent for Republican Mitt Romney), and earning 44 percent of the 65-and-older vote, compared with 51 percent for Romney.
During the campaign, Donnelly hammered Mourdock for his commitment to retirement programs, citing an earlier speech when Mourdock suggested Social Security and Medicare were unconstitutional. Mourdock said his comments were taken out of context.