AARP Pennsylvania Poll: Black Voters Say Inflation Is Most Important to Them

AARP PA VoterImage via AARP Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, PA — In the race for Governor and U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, candidates should pay close attention to the concerns of Black Pennsylvanians age 50 and over, according to a new survey from AARP Pennsylvania. The poll found that issues such as inflation and rising prices, gun control/gun rights, and voting rights are of greatest concern to voters in this demographic.

A recent survey of Black voters aged 50 and above shows that they are largely supportive of Democratic candidates for Governor and Senate in the upcoming 2022 general election. Attorney General Josh Shapiro leads State Senator Doug Mastriano by a margin of 78% to 17%, and John Fetterman holds a similar lead over Mehmet Oz, 76% to 16%. Black voters are worried about key pocketbook issues heading into the election, and they believe that the Democratic candidates are better positioned to improve the economy and create jobs. With less than two years to go until the election, it will be interesting to see if these numbers hold steady or if they begin to shift in response to campaign messaging and developments on key issues. Whatever the case may be, it is clear that Black voters will be an important voting bloc in the 2022 election.

According to Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP Pennsylvania State Director, Black voters are a key voting demographic that candidates need to pay attention to as election season ramps up. Black voters have consistently shown up to the polls in recent years, and their vote is not guaranteed for any one party. With the cost of necessities like groceries, gas, and prescription drugs rising, Black voters in Pennsylvania are concerned about these issues and want to see elected officials provide solutions. Candidates who fail to address the concerns of Black voters may find themselves at a disadvantage come election day.

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According to the latest poll, Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) narrowly leads State Senator Doug Mastriano (R) among all voters, 49% to 46%. John Fetterman (D), the lieutenant governor, also holds a narrow lead over Mehmet Oz (R) in the open race for U.S. Senate, 50% to 44%. Both Democratic candidates are being propelled by support from older Black voters. In the attorney general’s race, Shapiro has a 14-point lead over Mastriano among Black voters aged 60 and older, while in the Senate race, Fetterman has a 22-point lead over Oz among the same demographic. With the presidential election just around the corner, it remains to be seen whether these Democrats can maintain their slim leads through November.

The survey also found that the top of mind issues for 50+ Black voters in the state include gun control/gun rights (23%), voting rights (12%), and inflation and rising costs (11%); of rising costs, 88% say that gas, food, and housing are most concerning; 90% say Social Security is either “Extremely important” or “Very Important” to them when deciding their vote this November; 92% are more likely to vote for a senate candidate who supports allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices; and 91% are more likely to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who supports protecting low-income older Pennsylvanians from property tax increases. These results come from AARP The Magazine’s October/November 2018 50+ Voter Issues Poll, which surveyed 1,214 African American adults age 50+. This is the first time AARP has polled specifically on the issues impacting Black voters 50 and over in Pennsylvania.

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AARP has long been a trusted voice for Americans as they age. So when they commission a survey, people listen. AARP commissioned Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research to conduct the survey of likely Pennsylvania voters. The firms interviewed 1,382 likely voters, which included a statewide representative sample of 500 likely voters, with an oversample of up to 550 likely voters age 50 and older, and an oversample of up to 332 African-American/Black likely voters age 50 and older. The survey was conducted between June 12-19 via landline, cellphone, and SMS-to-web. The margin of error for the 500 statewide sample is ±4.4%; for the 855 total sample of voters 50+ it is ±3.3%. The results of the survey are sure to have a significant impact on the upcoming election. View the full survey results here.

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