Age, not Race, Beat Barack in Pennsylvania

With 40% of voters over 60, the 'Grandma Bloc' made Hillary's win
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2008 4:39 PM CDT
Supporters reacting to meeting Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – The best explanation for Hillary Clinton's big win in Pennsylvania was not race but age, Jonathan Alter argues in Newsweek. A remarkable 40% of the voters in Tuesday’s primary were over 60, and Barack Obama’s 41-59% defeat in the demographic was the killer. Pennsylvania is second only to Florida in average age, and Obama's showing among seniors there was actually markedly improved from his 28-69% thumping in that demo in Ohio.

Obama knows there's an issue—“our problem has less to do with white working-class voters [than] with older voters”—but if he can outlast Clinton, there's reason to hope that AARP-ready John McCain won’t trounce him in his age group. The Republican's support for privatizing Social Security is anathema to seniors, which chould help Obama bring the retirement set back.