In a speech Friday in Fort Myers, Florida, President Donald Trump promised seniors that his administration would give them free coronavirus vaccines and that they would be “first in line” to get the vaccines because they are impacted most seriously by the coronavirus.
“I am deeply aware that America’s 54 million seniors have borne the heaviest burden of the China virus,” Trump told a crowd of a few hundred people at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center & Amphitheater. “Many older Americans have endured months of isolation, missing weddings, birthdays, graduations, church and family reunions.”
“My message to America’s seniors today is one of optimism, confidence and hope. Your sacrifice has not been in vain. The light at the need of the tunnel is near. We are rounding the turn,” he said.
The vast majority of the 215,000 people health officials have said died from the coronavirus have been over age 65, and many of them have been in nursing care and assisted living facilities.
Older voters wary of Trump’s coronavirus response
Trump’s mixed messaging on the importance of social distancing and wearing masks has impacted his support from seniors, normally a strong Republican voting block.
Many seniors seem to see Trump’s optimism and assurances about the virus being on its way out as a failed response, and are understandably more worried than other age groups about being exposed to or infected with the virus.
Despite Trump’s early travel bans and recent efforts to make known theraputics more available, the Democrats have sought to blame all coronavirus deaths on Trump and imply that none of the 215,000 would now be dead if Trump had a better response.
Such a viewpoint is patently ridiculous, and in fact, Trump moved very quickly to counter the virus when it began to take hold in the U.S., which kept death tolls magnitudes lower than the 2.2 million one early model predicted.
Trump losing senior vote?
Seniors have historically voted conservative, and Trump won the senior vote by 7% in 2016. But Democrats are touting a CNN poll showing Biden getting 60% of the senior vote amid pandemic fear and fault-finding, saying that shows Biden can win the state.
A CBS poll taken at the end of September still had Trump ahead of Biden with seniors, however, so it’s difficult to know whether CNN’s poll is just biased or whether there is any true movement toward Biden.
Trump is pulling out all the stops to shore up support in this demographic, however; beside the vaccine partnership with Walgreens and CVS, his campaign launched an 8-figure ad buy for the final weeks before the election targeted at seniors, according to the Hill.
It’s a demographic he really can’t afford to lose, but the polls seem so skewed that it’s hard to tell how much chance there is of it actually happening.