Seniors Backed Bush in Florida Vote, New York Times Reports
While many pundits considered Florida "unassailable Republican territory," Vice President Al Gore still may win the coveted Sunshine State and its 25 electoral votes, but with no thanks to seniors, the New York Times reports. In a result that many analysts "cannot fathom," despite Gore's "relentless" stumping on Medicare and prescription drug costs, the vice president only mustered 47% of the vote from residents aged 60 and older -- losing the voting bloc that he "courted most assiduously." Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) grabbed 51% of the senior vote. "That is the strangest result I've seen in this state in 30 years. All the issues favored Gore with the seniors," Jim Kane, director of the Florida Voter Poll, said. Kane suggested that the "latest wave of retirees," many of them "Reagan Democrats," has brought a more conservative brand of politics to Florida. According to analysts, Republican ads casting Gore as a "big spender" and his Medicare plan as a "government HMO" resonated among Florida's seniors. However, seniors only comprised 27% of the electorate -- down from 31% in 1996 -- the "saving grace" for Gore. African-American voters, who constituted 15% of the electorate, turned out for Gore in "immense" numbers, with 93% supporting the vice president. Analysts contend that black voters "flooded the polls" to express their "antipathy" toward Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Bush's brother, for ending the state's affirmative action programs (Sack, New York Times, 11/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.