Donald Trump’s problems with senior voters started long before the coronavirus

In recent weeks, reporters and political analysts have centered on the challenge that President Trump currently faces with one particular group of voters: seniors. According to the 2016 National Exit Polls, those voters had favored Trump over Hillary Clinton by a 52-45 margin. But now a number of polls (although not every one) show Trump losing this group to Joe Biden, or at least doing worse than in 2016.

The most common explanation is the coronavirus. As one recent New York Times article argued, “The coronavirus crisis and the administration’s halting response to it have cost President Trump support from one of his most crucial constituencies: America’s seniors.” Polls do show seniors increasingly disapprove of Trump’s handling of the virus.

The Washington Post