By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent 

More than half of voters 50-years and older in crucial battleground states are worried about contracting the novel coronavirus. 

At the same time, African Americans are particularly opposed to how President Donald Trump has handled the pandemic, according to extensive polling commissioned by AARP. 

In Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group surveyed 1,200 to 1,600 likely voters from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 by landline and cellphone.  

The margin of error for each was between plus or minus 2.5 percent and 2.8 percent. 

In Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, and Montana, the bipartisan polling firms of Fabrizio Ward and Hart Research did telephone interviews by landline and cellphone of likely voters from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5.  

The firms surveyed 800 likely voters, oversampling voters 50-plus in each state. The error margin varied among the states, but each was less than plus or minus 4 percent.  

AARP launched the poll on Tuesday, Sept. 15, one week before National Voter Education Day which falls on Tuesday, Sept. 22.  

Officials said AARP’s robust Protect Voters 50+ campaign is designed to reach these voters in each state to make sure they know how to cast a safe and secure ballot. 

Even though 90 percent of older Americans believe that the country has become too divided, AARP’s battleground state polls show that the support of voters age 65-plus is very much up for grabs. 

For the polling, voters were asked where they stand on a range of concerns — from the coronavirus to the U.S. Postal Service and cuts to Social Security, to the debate over racial justice and law-and-order priorities. 

The most significant concern expressed by voters about the virus was from Florida and Michigan, where 58 percent of respondents said they were worried about contracting the coronavirus. 

Fifty-five percent of voters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina noted that they were concerned about catching the illness, and 54 percent of those in Arizona and 53 percent of individuals in Wisconsin voiced the same worry. 

More than 80 percent of voters in all six states declared that they would more likely vote for a candidate who increased protections for nursing home residents during the pandemic. 

The poll also revealed that African Americans are standing firmly behind Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden over President Donald Trump, whom many Black voters said they oppose how the Republican president has managed the coronavirus pandemic.  

Many African Americans expressed that they were more likely to have known someone who died from the virus. 

Black respondents relayed concerns that they would catch the virus and related severe reservations about a potential vaccine. 

A majority said they’d still refuse to accept a vaccine shot even if offered free of charge.  

With the continued debate over voter protections, those in Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, and Montana are divided between those who believe votes that are cast in person at a polling place and those that are mailed will all be counted accurately, according to the poll.  

For example, while 51 percent of voters in Georgia believe the count of votes cast in person will be more accurate, 48 percent of voters in Colorado and Montana say mail and in-person ballots will be counted accurately. 

Voters also have varying views on whether the expansion of mail voting will lead to voter fraud. 

For example, in Georgia, 61 percent of voters 50-plus believe more mail voting will mean more fraud, while voters in Maine are evenly split — 50 percent to 50 percent — on that question. 

Black Americans expressed concern about the U.S. Postal Service and that the reduction of funding would prevent election ballots from being counted.  

While African Americans were also troubled by the prospects of in-person voting and wary of early voting, they were less bothered by potential voter fraud, according to the poll. 

By overwhelming margins, older voters in 11 states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin) with competitive races for president and the U.S. Senate declared that they are more likely to vote for candidates who promise to protect Social Security benefits and strengthen Medicare.   

With President Trump declaring a platform of law and order, voters in five key states — Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine and Montana – were asked whether they were more likely to vote for a candidate focused on maintaining law and order and preventing looting and rioting in America’s cities, or a nominee who is focused on increasing racial justice and reducing police violence against unarmed African Americans.  

In four of the five states, more than 50 percent were more concerned with maintaining law in order. 

In Maine, 46 percent would support a candidate focused on law and order, while 44 percent prefer a candidate focused on racial justice. 

In the six battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the presidential race is tight among voters 50 and older. 

Biden holds leads in Arizona (49 percent to 48 percent), Pennsylvania (50 percent to 46 percent), and Wisconsin (50 percent to 46 percent). While Trump has the edge in Florida (50 percent to 47 percent), the two are in a dead heat in North Carolina, tied at 48 percent. 

Biden does enjoy a commanding lead in Michigan by a margin of 54 percent to 40 percent.

In all those states, the presidential race is within the surveys’ margins of error. 

“Now more than ever, there are critical issues on the line in this election and AARP is working hard to make sure everyone’s voice is heard,” stated Shani Hosten, AARP’s vice president of Multicultural Leadership. 

“Our campaign is providing trusted information to African American voters through our communications channels, including our website, publications, media outreach and advertising to ensure the African American Community knows their voting options and where candidates stand on the issues we care about.”

Battleground states highlights from AARP Polls

Arizona:

The poll also shows that 90 percent of older Arizonans are more likely to vote for candidates who support protecting Social Security from benefit cuts and that 88 percent are more likely to favor candidates who support strengthening Medicare.

• 72 percent of 50-plus Arizona voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.

• 72 percent of 50-plus Arizona voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.

• 88 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices.

• 82 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

• 82 percent also favor elected officials who will support making available quality, affordable long-term care options, including for home care and nursing homes.

 Florida:

Candidates who support protecting Social Security from benefit cuts, strengthening Medicare and allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices are more likely to attract the support of 88 percent of Florida voters age 50 and older, the poll finds.

• 75 percent of 50-plus Florida voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.

• 48 percent are worried they won’t be able to afford the health care that they or they family need.

• 58 percent are worried about getting the coronavirus.

• 82 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

• 83 percent also favor elected officials who will support making available quality, affordable long-term care options, including for home care and nursing homes.

Michigan:

The poll also shows that 87 percent of older Michiganders are more likely to vote for candidates who support protecting Social Security from benefit cuts, and 87 percent are more likely to favor candidates who support allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription drug prices.

• 76 percent of 50-plus Michigan voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.

• 86 percent said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports strengthening Medicare.

• 81 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

• 83 percent also favor elected officials who will support making available quality, affordable long-term care options, including for home care and nursing homes.

 North Carolina:

More than half (55 percent) of North Carolina voters age 50 and older are worried about getting the coronavirus, and almost half (46 percent) are concerned they won’t be able to afford the health care that they or their family need, according to a new AARP poll that finds older voters could decide the 2020 elections.

• 76 percent of 50-plus North Carolina voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.

• 86 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices on prescription medicines.

• 81 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

• 83 percent also favor elected officials who will support making available quality, affordable long-term care options, including for home care and nursing homes.

Pennsylvania:

The poll also shows that 90 percent of older Pennsylvanians are more likely to vote for candidates who support allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription drug prices, and 88 percent are more likely to support nominees who promise to protect Social Security from benefit cuts.

• 75 percent of 50-plus Pennsylvania voters are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.

• 88 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports strengthening Medicare.

• 82 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

• 82 percent also favor elected officials who will support making available quality, affordable long-term care options, including for home care and nursing homes.

Wisconsin:

The poll also shows that 89 percent of older Wisconsin voters are more likely to vote for candidates who support allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription drug prices, and 88 percent are more likely to support nominees who favor strengthening Medicare.

• 87 percent of 50-plus Wisconsin voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports protecting Social Security from benefit cuts.

• 71 percent are worried there will be cuts to Social Security to pay for new spending and the budget crisis.

• 79 percent will support candidates who favor increasing protections on nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

• 81 percent also favor elected officials who will support making available quality, affordable long-term care options, including for home care and nursing homes.