AARP Pennsylvania has released a new election year poll showing that 50+ voters in November elections worry a secure retirement could be out of reach for them. Voters also want candidates to focus on improving financial security, as they believe incomes have not kept up with their cost of living, especially health costs, taxes and retirement security.
50+ Voters’ Financial Outlook: Anxious
The survey’s “Anxiety Index” shows that across party lines, older voters, and particularly those who are not yet retired, feel anxious about their financial security. Voters 50+ worry most about:
• Costs rising faster than incomes (55%)
• Health expenses (47%)
• Paying too much in taxes (61%)
• Not having enough to pay for care for a spouse who needs assistance with daily activities (45%)
• Not having financial security in retirement (45%).
The survey also shows non-retirees, the majority of whom are boomers, are more worried than hopeful about achieving their economic and financial goals (62%), and more than half (57%) say they’ve postponed or will postpone retirement.
“Too many older voters in Pennsylvania worry that a secure future is out of reach for themselves and their families,” said AARP Pennsylvania President Jim Palmquist. “They’ve had enough of political jargon and spin. They want candidates to talk about common sense solutions that will help them take charge of their financial future.”
The poll also looks at voter attitudes toward the 2014 gubernatorial candidates, President Obama’s job performance and key issues of interest to 50+ Pennsylvanians, including affordable utilities, caregiving and state lottery spending.
The cost of utilities is a growing concern for a majority of 50+ voters (55%), and three-fifths (62%) say energy affordability is very important in helping them make a voting decision.
• 62% believe it’s important to have default electric plans for consumers priced at lowest reasonable rate
• More than three-fourths (77%) of 50+ voters favor installing rate caps for electric customers with variable rate plans.
Living independently and Caregiving
Voters overwhelmingly want to live independently as they age and see this as a critical election issue, with 74% wanting elected officials to make availability of at-home care a priority.
• When tasks become too difficult due to age or illness, 50+ voters want to receive care in their homes rather than more costly nursing homes (71%)
• Many voters 50+ have been or are caregivers (56%), or expect to be caregivers in the future (25%).
Voters do not support recent decisions by state officials to shift lottery proceeds away from programs that help seniors remain at home so that more money can be spent on nursing home care.
• There is near universal support (78%) to shift state lottery spending from nursing home to home-based care.
50+ Voters and the 2014 Elections
• When the poll was conducted in June, Challenger Tom Wolf [D] held a 23-point lead (56-33) over incumbent Tom Corbett [R] in the gubernatorial race, with 11% of 50+ voters still undecided.
• Nearly half of undecided voters (49%) say it is hard to find objective and reliable information about candidates running for office this November.
• Just 38% of Pennsylvania’s likely older voters approve of President Obama’s job performance.
Methodology: This was a statewide telephone survey conducted among 800 likely 2014 voters age 50/over (margin of error ±3.5 percentage points) June 10-22, 2014, including 446 retirees (margin of error ±4.6 percentage points), and 354 non-retirees (margin of error ±5.2 percentage points). Respondents were selected at random from a list of registered voters and were reached either on a landline or mobile phone.
The entire poll is available at www.aarp.org/yourvote.