As Houstonians head to the polls to elect a new mayor and representatives to city council, a new poll from AARP suggests mayoral candidates need to pay attention to the needs of older voters who are particularly concerned about public safety and the rising cost of city services.
“Crime and safety are the number one issue,” Shondra Wygal, with AARP Texas, told Houston Fox affiliate, KRIV-TV, on Monday morning, adding that Nine out of every ten voters say addressing this issue is “very important to them,” while nearly half of voters surveyed (44%) have considered moving out of Houston because of a perceived increase in violent crime.
“50-plus is the most reliable voting bloc,” Wygal told the station. With more than 200,000 voters in this age group, their decision will have a big impact on who is chosen to lead the city. The survey of more than 800 registered voters, conducted during August, found eight out of ten voters 50 and up plan to vote in Tuesday’s municipal election.
”Kitchen table” issues including inflation, jobs and the economy, and the cost of city services are also important to these voters. According to the survey, a little more than half of these voters (52%) are concerned enough about the cost of utilities that they are “much more likely” to vote for a candidate who will work to lower their bills.
Tuesday’s election will decide who will replace outgoing mayor Sylvester Turner, who is term-limited and cannot run again. In addition to mayor, voters will decide who will represent them on city council – all 10 council districts and 5 At-Large seats are on the ballot – as well as the City Controller. There are also a number of state and local propositions and ballot measures to decide. If no candidate garners more than 50-percent of the vote, the top two candidates for each office will advance to a runoff election in December.