New York's 50+ Set to Dominate Elections

4 out of 10 Empire State Voters Likely 50+, Prez Candidates Can Expect to Find Tough Issues on Group's Mind in Upcoming NY Debates

NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In just a few short days the presidential candidates will take to New York's Long Island for their second debate. Today, AARP is reminding the candidates of the power of the 50-plus vote in the Empire State and some of the critical issues on this voting group's mind: Social Security and Medicare.

"People age 50 and older, across New York State and the nation take voting, and the issues they care about, very seriously, and will likely bring those issues into the voting booth with them," said David McNally, Manager of Government Affairs for AARP in New York. "One thing is clear as we travel New York and discuss key election year issues with our members and the public, they are anxious about the economy; concerned about the future of Social Security and Medicare, and want to be sure the candidates are listening to them."

Based on exit polling from the last two Presidential elections, four out of every ten votes cast in New York in the upcoming elections will most likely come from a 50-plus voter, and voters between the ages of 50-64 account for nearly one third of all votes cast in New York in Presidential election years, the highest voting percentage of any age group in the state.

50+ vote in New York State Presidential Elections by the numbers:

  • 2004: the state's 50-plus vote made up 41% of the electorate.
  • 2008: 50-plus voters made up 38% of all votes cast.
  • 50-64 year olds cast 29% of all votes in 2004 (18-24 were 10% of all voters; 25-29%: 8%; 30-39: 18%; 40-49: 23%; and 65- plus: 12%).
  • In 2008, New York's 50-64 vote made up 27% of the electorate (18-24 year olds: 12%; 25-29: 10%; 30-39: 17%; 40-49: 22%; and 65-plus: 11%).

The powerhouse voting group has some tough issues on their minds. According to a new AARP report (based on unscientific results of questionnaires filled out by over 100,000 New Yorkers), the majority believe changes need to be made now to Social Security (73%) and Medicare (67%). Most say a balanced approach is needed to ensure the programs are there for future retirees (for Social Security: 67% and for Medicare: 61%). The nationwide You've Earned a Say report with New York results can be found at

"New York's 50-plus voters are looking for more than a 30-second sound bite from the candidates on Social Security and Medicare," added McNally.

To drive the issues home, this week AARP's You've Earned a Say Tourmobile is crisscrossing New York State before stopping at the Presidential Debates on Long Island next week. On the tour, the Association is engaging the public in conversations about the future of Social Security and Medicare, the pros and the cons of policy options being discussed in Washington and on the campaign trail, and allowing them to send a message to the candidates. The tour is stopping in Binghamton (10/11), Geneseo (10/12), Syracuse ((10/13), Queensbury (10/14), Harlem (10/15) and Long Island at the Presidential Debates (10/16).

AARP is also serving as the prime sponsor of Issue Alley at the Oct. 16th Presidential Debate in New York, an area which has mobile campaign exhibitions hosted by CNN, C-SPAN, Rock the Vote and other nonpartisan groups, where they will each make their case to voters on what should be the most important issues in the debates and elections.

AARP has over 2.7 million members in New York.

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About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for Americans 50+ and the world's largest-circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for the 50+ audience; AARP VIVA, a bilingual lifestyle multimedia platform addressing the interests and needs of Hispanic Americans; and national television and radio programming including My Generation and Inside E Street. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at