Why Pa. women aged 50-plus are in the drivers seat in 2022 | Thursday Morning Coffee

They’re ‘extremely motivated’ to vote in November, and economic issues top their priorities list, according to an AARP poll

July 21, 2022 7:21 am

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Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

It’s already well-established that Pennsylvania is one of the oldest states, by age of its population, in the nation. It’s also well established that older voters wield some pretty significant electoral clout.

So that makes some recent AARP polling data focusing on Pennsylvania and other 2022 battleground states worthy of your consideration on this penultimate day of the working week.

AARP, through a team of bipartisan pollsters, sampled the opinions of at least 1,200 respondents in at least 10 battleground states, including Pennsylvania. All respondents were likely voters aged 18 and older, though the poll oversampled among voters aged 50 and older for a more thorough analysis, AARP said in a statement.

The bottom line: Pennsylvania women aged 50-plus are a force to be reckoned with this midterm cycle. They account for nearly a third (32 percent) of all likely voters, and more than half (53 percent) of likely voters aged 50 and older.

They’re motivated: Nearly nine in 10 voters (87 percent) in this influential bloc are “extremely motivated” to vote in Pennsylvania’s nationally watched races for U.S. Senate and the Governor’s Office.

They are not amused: Nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) say the country is on the wrong track.

It’s still the economy: Nearly half (49 percent) put gas prices and the cost of food (27 percent) at the top of their priorities list. And with an eye on the future, more than nine in 10 (93 percent) rate Social Security and Medicare (83 percent) as very or extremely important to them.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman (L) and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro (R)
Campaign file photos

Zooming in for a head-to-head look in the key contests. 

Governor: Among all voters, Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s elected attorney general, is in a dead heat, 48-47 percent against Republican nominee Sen. Doug Mastriano, according to the AARP poll.

Women aged 50-plus favor Shapiro 55-41 percent over Mastriano, while men aged 50-plus break 54-40 percent to Mastriano, the poll showed.

Overall, Shapiro’s favorables (47-34 percent) are stronger than Mastriano’s (37-44 percent)

Shapiro is currently ahead thanks to having stronger support from Democrats than Mastriano receives from Republicans,” according to the AARP‘s analysis. “All indications point to this race being competitive in November, with 50+ voters, who make up 61 percent of the likely voting electorate, poised to make the difference.”

U.S. Senate: Among all voters, Fetterman, the current lieutenant governor, holds a narrow 49-46 percent lead over his GOP challenger, television doctor Mehmet Oz, according to the poll

Women aged 50-plus favor Fetterman 56-40 percent, while men favored Oz 54-42 percent, the poll showed.

Overall, Fetterman’s public image is stronger (46-35 percent favorable) than Oz’s (30-63 percent).

“A sizable gender gap exists, with women putting Fetterman in the lead, but men, especially those 50+, keeping Oz competitive,” according to the AARP’s analysis.

It’s Complicated: “Although the Democratic candidates have stronger images than their GOP opponents and are ahead on the ballots, a challenging political environment exists for Democrats in the Keystone State,” according to the AARP analysis. “Republicans hold a slight 47- 45 percent edge on the generic Congressional ballot, while President [Joe] Biden’s job approval is significantly underwater (36 percent approve/61 percent disapprove)

Election Day is Nov. 8.

State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny (Photo via The Pittsburgh Current/Twitter)

Our Stuff.
The criticism Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Austin Davis received over tweets he posted when he was in college could increasingly become a feature of political campaigns as digital natives begin to run for higher office, social media experts say. Peter Hall has the story.

State officials and lawmakers gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday to celebrate the launch of 988, a national suicide and crisis helpline that went live on Saturday, July 16, Cassie Miller reports.

Since suffering a stroke and undergoing a surgical procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator in May, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman — the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania — will return to the campaign trail this weekMarley Parish has the details.

With U.S. Senate negotiations over climate funding stalled, President Joe Biden on Wednesday directed additional spending to help states and cities manage climate disasters — resisting calls from many congressional Democrats to take more aggressive executive action like a declaration of a national climate emergency, Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jacob Fischler writes.

Allegheny County Council has overridden County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s veto of a bill that bans future fracking projects in public parks, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.

On our Commentary Page this morning: What the Bible actually says about abortion may surprise youMelanie A. Howard, an associate professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Fresno Pacific University, writes. And the rightwing assault hits close to homeRuth Conniff, the editor of our sibling site, the Wisconsin Examiner, writes.

District Attorney Larry Krasner (Jared Piper/Philadelphia City Council/City & State Pa.).

The state Supreme Court has dealt a defeat to Philly DA Larry Krasner in a murder case involving a former city cop, the Inquirer reports.

In his first interview, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman talks to the Post-Gazette about his stroke and his return to the campaign trail.

Fetterman’s Republican rival, Mehmet Oz, meanwhile, has gone on the attack about the Democrat’s absence from the campaign trail.

Two, new Lancaster County judges took the oath of office on WednesdayLancasterOnline reports.

A controversy over York Mayor Michael Helfrich’s oath of office is headed to state Superior Court, the York Daily Record reports.

Legal language that was set to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into property tax relief was ‘quietly eliminated’ during budget talks, leaving some lawmakers feeling blindsided, the Morning Call reports.

The Citizens’ Voice previews President Joe Biden’s visit to Luzerne County today.

WHYY-FM explains what a heat emergency means to Philadelphia residents.

State officials have finally certified the primary election results in all but three of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties — BerksLancaster, and Fayette counties, where there’s still pending litigation — the Associated Press reports (via WITF-FM).

GoErie explains how Erie County officials spent $6.3M in American Rescue Plan funds.

PoliticsPA runs down the fundraising in the 8th Congressional District race between Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright and GOP challenger Jim Bognet.

City & State Pa. runs down five state Senate races to watch this campaign cycle.

Republicans sketched out their plans for immigration reform if they recapture the House in November. Roll Call has the details.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:


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What Goes On
10 a.m., 333 Market St., Harrisburg: Independent Regulatory Review Commission

Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

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Here’s one from The Record Company for your Thursday morning. It’s ‘Off the Ground.’

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The Guardian runs down the biggest transfer moves across the European mens leagues so far this summer.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.