HARTFORD, CT — The governor’s race is a dead heat among voters over the age of 50, according to a poll released Wednesday by AARP Connecticut.
The survey of 807 voters found that if the election were held today, 34 percent would vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski and 33 percent would vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont. The poll has a 3.5 percent margin of error.
There are still a large number of voters over the age of 50 that have yet to make up their mind about the race. A whopping 26 percent said they don’t know how they will vote on Nov. 6.
Oz Griebel, the former head of the MetroHartford Alliance who petitioned his way onto the ballot, received 4 percent of the vote and Libertarian Party candidate Rod Hanscomb received 2 percent.
The races for attorney general, state comptroller, and state treasurer were also close. The poll found Democratic Attorney General candidate William Tong received 34 percent to Republican Susan Hatfield’s 32 percent.
Shawn Wooden, the Democratic candidate for state treasurer, received 32 percent to Republican Thad Gray’s 29 percent. State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who is one of two incumbents for constitutional office seeking re-election, received 33 percent to Republican Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller’s 28 percent. The poll did not ask about the race for Secretary of the State.
The poll was conducted by Alan Newman Research between Sept. 12-20 and involved live calls to both landlines and cellphones.
Of those polled, 35 percent identified themselves as Democrats, 32 percent unaffiliated, and 25 percent Republicans. Asked which they felt best described their political perspective, 22 percent identified themselves as liberal, 41 percent as moderate, and 28 percent as conservative.
Nora Duncan, AARP’s Connecticut director, said she believes that’s representative of the Connecticut electorate as a whole.
“What’s important to age 50-plus voters in elections is what’s going to decide the election,” Duncan said.
That’s because, historically speaking, older voters show up at the ballot box.
Beyond electoral politics, Duncan said the poll found that voters over the age of 50 overwhelmingly support some very specific policy proposals.
The poll found voters over the age of 50 are concerned about Medicare, Social Security, and retirement security in general.
“The age 50-plus voter is very concerned about not having enough saved for retirement,” Duncan said. “And the Connecticut Retirement Security Program, which passed in 2016, has tremendous support. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed think it’s important for the next administration to implement this program.”
Duncan said the program will help the more than 600,000 Connecticut workers who don’t currently have access to a payroll deduction to set aside money for their retirement.
“Issues matter. Quality of life is multi-faceted. Some may look at this as a one-issue race,” Duncan said. “It is not a one-issue race.”
She said it’s time for politicians to put voters first and get to work. She said this election will be won by the politicians who focus on the “largest and most consistent voting bloc.”
The poll also found 85 percent support providing paid leave to employees who take time off for family caregiving. Half of the respondents said they have provided unpaid care for an adult loved one and 58 percent of these caregivers believe taking time off impacted their ability to save for retirement.
As far as long-term care is concerned 80 percent would choose to receive home care over assisted living or nursing home care if an older loved one needed long-term care and 76 percent support shifting some of the state’s long-term care funds so that more is spent on home care and less on institutional care.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A few readers pointed out to us that we didn’t spell out clearly enough that only people over the age of 50 were surveyed. The story and headline have been edited to specify.