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Congressional Candidates Step Up Appeals to Older Voters

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Just weeks before the midterm elections, congressional candidates across the nation are stepping up their efforts to woo older voters by zeroing in on the issues of Social Security and Medicare, especially in their campaign advertising, the New York Times reports .

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“The number of television ads mentioning Social Security and Medicare in places with close congressional races testifies to the battle for retirement-age voters,” its story says, noting that older voters make up “a disproportionately large share of the midterm electorate.”

In recent weeks, according to the Times, 1 in 5 Democratic ads dealt with Social Security or Medicare, compared with 1 in 10 Republican ads.

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While a New York Times/CBS News Battleground Tracker  poll of all Senate contests conducted from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 showed many Republican candidates with a double-digit lead among older voters, the story cites recent polls suggesting that Democrats have narrowed the gap. They include a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which asked registered voters their congressional preference in the November election, and a Kaiser Health tracking poll of likely voters’ views of partisan control of the Senate. Both showed a GOP lead of 5 percentage points.

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In a Sept. 22 election briefing, Charlie Cook’s team of nonpartisan political analysts told a Washington audience that Democratic candidates have placed 72 percent of Social Security-related campaign ads and 62 percent of Medicare ads. But they said it’s unclear whether the ads could become “the saving grace for Democrats.”

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