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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Retirees Favor Clinton Over Older Rival

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- U.S. senior citizens are swinging behind "young fellow" Bill Clinton in his White House re-election bid, turning their backs one of their own generation, Republican Bob Dole.

Dole, 73, has lost the faith of many of his own generation, whose votes will go a long way in deciding the Nov. 5 presidential election.

According to a recent poll, only 34 percent of those over 60 said they would vote for Dole, with 54 percent supporting Democratic incumbent Clinton, 50.

In Florida, where retirees make up 40 percent of the population and will determine the outcome of the election, half of them back Clinton and only 40 percent support Dole.

Carole Welch, 73, lives in Sun City Center, a seafront retirement village that is off-limits to children. The average age of the 14,000 residents is 55. Along with other residents, Welch, a Republican Party supporter, fears Dole's plans to cap social spending and the growth of Medicare, the health care plan for the aged, will undercut her living standard.

"Bob Dole wants to cut our social security and our Medicare," said Welch. "We defend ourselves but also our children and grandchildren. What will they have left?"

"I've always been a Republican, but I really don't know what to do," she added. "The young fellow [Clinton] has done a lot of good, the economy is fine and he wants to save Medicare."

Such comments will delight the Clinton campaign, which has focused on fears over the future of Medicare, which retirees count on.

Many retirees are also unhappy at Dole's opposition to abortion, and others link him closely to Newt Gingrich, the U.S House of Representatives speaker and leader of the "Republican revolution" of conservative lawmakers.

None of the retirees broached the subject of Dole's promise of a 15-percent tax reduction, and few seemed to believe in it when asked.

One of Dole's other key campaign planks, family values, has had little impact on the senior citizens.

Said Vera Forcier, 83, "It is important, but it's more important to run the government properly."