AARP Poll Shows Close Race Between Donnelly, Braun
By Eddie Drews
INDIANAPOLIS—Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly holds a slight lead over his Republican rival Mike Braun in a poll of Hoosiers over age 50 conducted by the AARP, the organization announced Wednesday.
The poll, conducted from Aug. 17 to Aug. 28, showed that 38 percent of voters said they would vote for Donnelly while 35 percent said they preferred Braun. But nearly one in four of Hoosiers polled said they were still undecided.
The poll of 807 Hoosiers has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, which means the race continues to be close as the candidates hammer each other in television ads that saturate local airwaves.
Another recent poll conduct by NBC/Marist also showed the contest to be tight. In that one, Donnelly held a lead of 48 to 42 percent over Braun. Support for Donnelly dropped to 40 percent when the Libertarian, Lucy Brenton, was included.
The AARP poll is part of the nonpartisan organization’s efforts to turn out the vote in the 2018 mid-term elections. The group’s polling found that 50 percent of older Hoosiers polled said they believe President Trump is doing a good job, while the president’s overall approval rating has hovered in the high 30-percent range.
The poll also found that health issues are a concern of the overwhelming majority—93 percent say Medicare is important and 92 percent say Congress should make sure the program can support seniors beyond 2029.
The contest between Donnelly and Braun could help decide which party, Democrat or Republican, controls the U.S. Senate after the election. Donnelly has been considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents.
Both have made an issue of outsourcing jobs overseas, with Braun blasting Donnelly for a family business that moved some jobs to Mexico. Donnelly has countered Braun with accusations that his business is built on products made in China and then sold in the U.S.
Donnelly serves on the Senate Aging committee where he discusses options for the elderly across party lines because he believes “retirement and aging are not partisan issues,” according to his website. He has said he supports keeping Medicare in place because he thinks it is a system that has worked since its beginning.
Braun wishes to rid Hoosier families of Obamacare and completely repeal and replace the regulations set in place for healthcare. According to Braun’s website, Hoosiers should be able to purchase insurance across state lines for more affordable care.
“Both Senator Donnelly and Mr. Braun understand the importance of the 50-plus voter and they were able to hear directly from those voters during our recent tele-town halls,” said AARP Indiana State Director Sarah Waddle in a news release.
“This poll highlights yet again what was discussed in those forums – Social Security, Medicare, and rising prescription drug costs are critical issues that need to be addressed by whoever is elected in November.”
Census data from 2017 showed that older Americans tend to vote at higher rates than younger ones. In the 2016 election, almost 71 percent of people age 65 and older voted and almost 67 percent of people age 45-to-64 cast ballots. Fewer than 60 percent of people in other age groups voted the same data showed.
FOOTNOTE: Eddie Drews is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.