New Poll Shows AARP Doesn’t Speak for Older Americans

I’ve been reporting on AARP’s cozy relationship with the Obama administration, particularly on health care. While the group insists that it hasn’t endorsed a specific bill yet, it has been echoing White House talking points on just about every aspect of the health care debate. And just this Tuesday, the group, which purports to represent older Americans, hosted a staged “townhall” meeting with pre-screened questions allowing President Obama to promote his health care proposals. But a new Pew poll, which is bad for Obama in general, highlights just how out of touch AARP is with its own membership on the health care issue. Taking a look at the full report shows strong opposition to health care plans currently being discussed in Congress among the 50-plus crowd, which is AARP’s membership base. While Pew found that within the 50 to 64 age group, a slim plurality of 45 percent supported the current proposals compared to 41 percent who opposed them, among the over-65 set, just 29 percent were supporters, compared to 48 percent opposed. In fact, those above retirement age were more opposed to current health care proposals and less supportive than any other age group. The bottom line is that AARP’s full-throated support for the Democratic health care agenda stands in stark contrast to the actual sentiments of older Americans, which range from tepid support to fierce opposition.