Surveys show the president’s standing with seniors, the group most vulnerable to the coronavirus, has fallen as he pushes to reopen the country.Officials said they attributed the shifting views of older voters at least in part to President Trump’s coronavirus briefings.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesMay 9, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ETFor years, Republicans and Mr. Trump have relied on older Americans, the country’s largest voting bloc, to offset a huge advantage Democrats enjoy with younger voters. In critical states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, all of which have large older populations, Mr. Trump’s advantage with older voters has been essential to his political success; in 2016, he won voters over the age of 65 by seven percentage points, according to national exit poll data.But seniors are also the most vulnerable to the global pandemic, and the campaign’s internal polls, people familiar with the numbers said, show Mr. Trump’s support among voters over the age of 65 softening to a concerning degree, as he pushes to reopen the country’s economy at the expense of stopping a virus that puts them at the greatest risk.A recent Morning Consult poll found that Mr. Trump’s approval rating on the handling of the coronavirus was lower with seniors than with any other group other than young voters. And Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, in recent polls held a 10-point advantage over Mr. Trump among voters who are 65 and older. A poll commissioned by the campaign showed a similar double-digit gap.The falloff in support comes as Mr. Trump has grown increasingly anxious about his re-election prospects, with a series of national surveys, as well as internal polling, showing him trailing in key states. The president has all but moved on from a focus on controlling the pandemic and is now pushing his agenda to restore the country, and the economy, to a place that will lift his campaign.“Trump has suffered a double whammy with seniors from the coronavirus crisis, both in terms of a dislike for his personal demeanor and disapproval of his policy priorities,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic
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