Election 2024

Support Us

AARP poll finds Trump leading Biden in Nevada; older voters more motivated to turn out

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) holds a 5-point lead on Sam Brown, despite Trump’s strength.
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Election 2024ElectionsPolls

A new poll of likely Nevada voters commissioned by the AARP finds former President Donald Trump with a 3-percentage-point lead over President Joe Biden.

In a full ballot test including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and other third-party candidates, Trump’s lead over Biden expands to 7 percentage points.

And yet, like other polls this cycle, the AARP poll finds Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) leading Republican Sam Brown, suggesting a significant amount of ticket-splitting. Rosen, who holds a 5-percentage-point lead over Brown, significantly outperforms Biden with independents and young voters.

In the generic ballot test for Congress, the poll found Republicans and Democrats tied at 46 percent each.

The poll was conducted between June 12 and June 18 with 600 likely voters over 18, and has a margin of error of 4 percent. AARP also polled 800 voters over 50 and 400 Hispanic voters over 50. 

Two firms that collaborated on the poll — Republican-aligned Fabrizio Ward and Democrat-aligned Impact Research — interviewed respondents in both English and Spanish. Poll respondents were 37 percent registered Democrat, 35 percent registered Republican and 26 percent registered nonpartisan. Pollsters decided on that breakdown in an acknowledgment that despite being the largest group among registered voters, independents are less likely to vote.

Pollsters said that identifying persuadable voters — such as the nearly quarter of voters over 50 who indicated they will split their ticket — and appealing to their issues will be key for the campaigns.

“We know they're going to vote,” Democratic pollster Jeffrey Liszt said of older swing voters. “And there are enough of them to decide these races.”

In the presidential race, women preferred Biden by 6 percentage points in a head-to-head contest, while Trump won men by 14 percentage points. The poll finds Biden winning voters under 34 and close to capturing voters over 65, but getting blown out among middle-aged voters.

In the full ballot that includes third party candidates, Biden’s lead with young voters dwindles from 18 percentage points to just 6 points. Nearly 40 percent of voters under 34 selected a third-party candidate when given the opportunity.

The poll finds Kennedy earning 10 percent of the vote, although his ballot access has not been secured. The independent candidate is fighting the Nevada secretary of state in court over his access to the ballot; meanwhile, Nevada Democrats are suing to keep him from the ballot over alleged violations of electoral law governing independent candidates.

Both pollsters agreed that Biden’s weakness relative to Rosen and the generic Democrat indicate dissatisfaction with the president from voter blocs he and Democrats have been able to turn out in the past.

“What you're seeing in the disparity between the presidential vote and the Senate vote isn't so much Rosen-Trump voters,” Republican pollster Bob Ward said in an interview. “It's more of an erosion of Biden voters on the Democratic side, and they're going to Robert Kennedy.” 

Biden’s approval rating remains significantly underwater — and worse in Nevada than it is nationally. The poll found that Biden’s approval rating is 37 percent, while 58 percent of voters disapprove  — a 21-point gap, compared with his national 15-percentage-point underwater gap.

Trump’s approval rating is also underwater, but only by 5 percentage points.

Rosen gets much better marks. The poll found her with a 9 percent net approval rating. She is outpacing Biden by 18 percentage points with independents, 19 points with voters under 34 and even registered Republicans by 11 points.

Ward said with the economy being a top focus for voters of all ages, it stands to reason that though Biden and Rosen are both incumbents, voters would blame the president more for their cost of living struggles.

“Senators typically don't get tagged for a bad economy — [the] president does,” Ward said. “I think that is what you're seeing here.”

With its focus on older voters, the poll found that Trump leads Biden by 12 percentage points among voters over 50 in the full ballot test, while Biden leads with Hispanics over 50 by 9 percentage points.

But Trump’s strength with older voters did not trickle down to Brown — who had only a 5-percentage-point advantage with all voters over 50, and Rosen winning by 19 percentage points among older Hispanic voters.

Ward said voters over 65 — whom Rosen is currently winning by a small margin — should be the Brown campaign’s top target. 

“I would absolutely be leaning into them on an economic message, but an economic message tailored to where that sweet spot is with those voters — which will include a strong defense of Social Security,” Ward said. 

The poll suggests that both Rosen and Brown have work to do to build up their name identification — and an opportunity to negatively define their opponent. While Rosen’s favorability rating was 6 percentage points above water to Brown’s 1 percent, 15 percent of voters had never heard of her while an additional 19 percent had no opinion of her. 

This phenomenon was even more pronounced for Brown — 23 percent of voters have not heard of him while 20 percent have no opinion.

Additionally, the poll found that older voters are more motivated to turn out come the fall. Eighty-five percent of voters over 50 rated themselves a 10 out of 10 on a voting motivation scale, compared with 60 percent of voters 49 and under. Republicans were more motivated to vote than Democrats by 11 percentage points. 

That could spell trouble for Biden and Democrats.

On issues, the AARP found that voters over 50 are most concerned about “immigration and border security” and “inflation and rising prices” — two issues that play into Republicans’ hands.

But the poll suggested that Democrats might be able to make up ground by emphasizing Social Security and Medicare. Seventy-eight percent of voters over 50 said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who pledged to protect Social Security from cuts used to reduce the deficit, a typical Democratic campaign promise. 

And in the congressional ballot, 54 percent of all voters indicated that they would be less likely to support a candidate who would overturn the portion of the Inflation Reduction Act allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices for seniors — a law passed exclusively by Democrats.

Because the poll found that older voters are more motivated to turn out, Liszt said Democratic campaigns should both be using a Social Security and family caregiving-based argument to persuade those voters while also working to turn out skeptical young voters who are interested in third-party candidates. 

“It's absolutely a challenge for Biden to fight the couch as well as fighting Trump,” Liszt said. “Part of the question is just whether or not those younger voters end up showing up.”


Get more election coverage

Click to view our election page

Featured Videos