Trump Faces Mounting Defections From a Once-Loyal Group: Older White Voters

Ms. Gamble said she was planning to support Mr. Trump in the election all the same, describing Mr. Biden as too old and too compromised on matters related to China. But Ms. Gamble, who said she has a “severe lung problem,” expressed hope that Mr. Trump would change his approach to the pandemic.

“We can’t blame him for this — how many presidents could really do any better than what he’s done?” Ms. Gamble said, before adding: “I just wish he wouldn’t let the country open up as much as it has. I see all these teens and young people at the beach, and I fear for them because now they’re getting sick.”

In Tucson, Gerald Lankin, a more forceful Trump supporter, said he would back the president mainly as a vote “against the Democrats.” Mr. Lankin, 77, said he found Mr. Trump’s personal manner offensive but agreed with him on most issues and saw Democrats as “much, much, much, much too far to the left.”

“He hasn’t really done anything that I can say I’m against,” Mr. Lankin said of Mr. Trump. “I think what he’s doing is the best he can. But, boy, he is tough to take. He is a tough guy to take.”

There may be time for Mr. Trump to regain his footing with seniors, along with several other right-leaning groups that have drifted away during the bleakest months of his presidency. His ability to do so could have far-reaching implications not just for his chances of winning a second term, but also his party’s ability to keep its hold on the Senate.

At the moment, Mr. Trump’s unpopularity with older voters appears to be hindering other Republicans in states including Arizona and Michigan.

Gayle Craven, 80, of High Point, N.C., said that while she was a registered Republican, she had not voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and would reject him again this year. She said she saw Mr. Biden as an “honest man.”

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