The Intercept - January 28, 2020
"In a 1995speechon the Senate floor, Biden told his colleagues, “When I argued we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans’ benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government. And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time.” In 2011, Biden led bipartisan negotiations in which he proposed Social Security cuts. The panel of lawmakers was called the Biden Committee."
Amid an ongoing debate over Joe Biden’s record on Social Security, the former vice president’s support among middle-aged and older Americans is eroding, as his chief rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, is seeing the first gains among this demographic since he announced his run for president, according to a review of six recently released surveys.
Voters over the age of 65 have long formed the bulk of Biden’s support, while he has done poorly with voters under the age of 30, who lean toward Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Though Biden continues to be older voters’ candidate of choice, that support is beginning to wane. The most recent Siena College/New York Times survey of likely Iowa caucus-goers found a 17-point swing away from Biden and toward Sanders among those age 45 to 64. Emerson’s survey, meanwhile, found an 11-point swing among voters over 50. The new Fox poll found a 10-point swing nationally to Sanders among voters over 45, and the Monmouth survey found a swing of 9 among voters over 50. WBUR, in New Hampshire, found a 5-point swing toward Sanders with voters over 50 there. A new poll in California, by the LA Times and the University of California, Berkeley, found Biden flat at 22 percent among those 65 and up, but Sanders jumped from 6 to 14 percent since December.
In each individual survey, the sample sizes in such subgroups are small and unreliable, but the consistency and extent of the swings suggests that pollsters are catching something real. The Social Security conversation — in which Biden has repeatedly lied and said that he did not support cuts to the program, despite years of evidence to the contrary — has been so damaging to Biden that his allies in Iowa urged him to move past it at the end of last week. But Biden continued the feud in an interview in New Hampshire this weekend. The New York Times weighed in on Sunday, dubbing Biden’s Social Security claims “false.”
In the Sienna/Times survey, Biden dropped 13 points with voters aged 45 to 64, down to 14 percent from 27 in October. Sanders, meanwhile, climbed from 17 to 21 percent among that age group. Biden, in the poll, remained the most popular candidate among voters over 65, with 31 percent in October and 32 percent this month. Sanders, though, has gained 4 points since October, now with support from 9 percent of voters over 65, while Warren dropped from 13 to 8 percent. (Sen. Amy Klobuchar rose from 8 percent to 13 percent.)
Biden saw a slight drop among likely Iowa caucus-goers over 50 in an Emerson poll released Sunday, dropping to 32 percent from 36 in the same poll in December. Sanders jumped to 18 percent from 11 last month. It was the first Emerson poll in which Biden wasn’t in the lead overall, dropping among all respondents from 23 to 21 percent since last month. Sanders led the field overall at 30 percent, adding 8 points since December. ...
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