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Women Age 50+ are the Voters to Watch in Arizona

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With less than five months to go until Election Day, political candidates and pundits are keeping a close eye on battleground states like Arizona that will determine the presidency and balance of power in Congress. With so much at stake, campaigns looking for victory in the Grand Canyon State should pay particularly close attention to Arizonans 50+ who historically make up the majority of the state’s electorate. AARP’s latest survey points to that trend continuing with more than 8 in 10 (86%) older Arizona voters age 50+ rating themselves as a 10 out of 10 in motivation to vote compared to 66% of those age 18-49.

Digging deeper, the key deciders will very likely be older WOMEN. They are a large group, accounting for 30% of likely voters overall, and 54% of likely voters age 50+ and they are more evenly divided politically than their male counterparts.

While Republicans enjoy a narrow 3-point registration advantage with this group, in our polling older women voters give President Biden a 2 point edge over former President Trump (48% - 46%). And, they prefer the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Ruben Gallego, by double digits over Republican Kari Lake. Meanwhile, men 50+ identify much more strongly as Republicans (+22) and heavily favor both President Trump (+22) and Lake (+15).

Looking at what might be driving their vote, kitchen table economics and retirement security are certainly top of mind, with 61% of Arizona women 50+ saying they are worried about their personal financial situation and 52% picking at least one of a suite of personal economic matters – inflation, the economy/jobs, and Social Security – as in their top two most important issues for this election cycle. Additionally, more than 8 in 10 older women across party lines say that Social Security (83%) is extremely or very important to their vote, including more than 78% of women age 50- 64.

This really underscores the concerns that pre- and post-retirement age women have about their finances and the importance they put on preserving and protecting Social Security as the bedrock of their retirement security. While a strong majority of men 50+ also say it is important in deciding their vote, the intensity is a good bit lower at 72%. Notably, older women voters are also more likely than older men to prioritize the cost of housing (72% vs. 56%), utilities (70% vs. 59%), and prescription drugs (67% vs. 56%) in their voting decisions.

All this said, older women are not a monolith, and many of their issue concerns vary significantly by factors like political party. For example, immigration and border security is far and away the number one issue for Republican women 50+, followed by inflation and rising prices. In contrast, Democratic women 50+ prioritize abortion and threats to democracy, while Independent women 50+ are focused fairly evenly on all four of those issues.

So, what’s the best path for candidates looking to connect with this important segment of the electorate?

Beyond the more hot button issues of the day, candidates have a real opportunity to speak to everyday concerns that cut across ideology, race, and education. Overwhelming majorities of women 50+ say they are more likely to vote for candidates that make sure that workers get the Social Security they paid into and earned. There is also significant support across the board for candidates who say they want to do more to support for family caregivers who help loved ones live independently in their homes.

These are two priorities that AARP is actively raising with candidates for federal office in Arizona and around the country. Throughout this election season, we’ll be continuing to highlight these issues and urge candidates to address the priorities and concerns of older voters across Arizona.

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