During the Democratic Party's presidential primaries, former Vice President Joe Biden struggled with younger voters, most of whom backed his main competitor in the race, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. But Biden enjoyed unprecedented support among older voters, which was enough to carry him to victory.
According to a new report from The Hill, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's campaign plans on repeating this strategy in the 2020 presidential election against President Donald Trump. General election polls suggest that this would be a smart tactic, given that Biden is beating Trump among seniors.
In 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lost to Trump by seven points among voters older than 65, according to exit polls. But polling suggests Trump's support has since eroded, with a recent CNN survey showing that Biden leads Trump among seniors by 13 points.
According to a Biden aide, "seniors are now going to be a problem" for Trump.
"Regardless of which poll you believe, he is doing much better with seniors than [Clinton] which is a big deal and a big part of a winning coalition," the aide said, suggesting that the Biden campaign is confident about the strategy.
Even some Republican strategists acknowledged that the loss of support among those 65 and older could spell trouble for Trump.
"The more unsteadiness Trump shows coupled with his disregard from norms and institutions, the more I believe he pushes this group into Biden's corner," Shermichael Singleton said.
The GOP strategist acknowledged Biden's strength with older voters, pointing out that they are more likely to show up at the polls come November than any other group.
"Biden has performed exceptionally well with older voters in the Democratic primary and I expect that trend would continue with older independent voters and older moderate Republican voters," he said.
According to Democratic strategist Eddie Vale, proposed cuts to programs seniors rely on -- such as Medicare and Social Security -- could also hurt Trump's chances against Biden. In March, the president openly suggested that he plans on cutting the popular programs, which White House officials later denied.The coronavirus pandemic is guaranteed to shape the election in multiple ways. Uniquely vulnerable to the novel virus, senior citizens will be paying close attention to the federal government's response to the outbreak. Furthermore, the pandemic is causing a major economic recession, which could also hurt Trump's chances.
According to Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak, if the country recovers by November, "Trump will gain among all groups, but specifically among seniors." If not, it is Biden's race to lose.
According to a Fox News poll released earlier this week, the presidential race has tightened, with both Biden and Trump polling at 42 percent.