Biden AdministrationUkraine InvasionInflationEnergyCybersecurity

Voters Over the Age of 65 Remember Nixon—and Want to Impeach Donald Trump

October 28, 2019, 5:41 PM UTC

Two new polls show that President Donald Trump is losing the support of the key demographic groups that propelled him to the White House in 2016: suburban woman, white Americans without college degrees, and now voters over the age of 65. 

A new Quinnipiac poll found the majority of older voters support impeaching and removing Trump from office, the highest support of any age group. The results indicate that the president may be losing the backing of a group that has long been essential to the success of the Republican party. 

According to the survey, 51% of voters over the age of 65 believe that Trump should be “impeached and removed from office,” compared with 47% of 18 to 34 year-olds. Nearly six in ten voters over the age of 65 support the ongoing impeachment inquiry in general. 

“Americans over 65 were all around when Nixon got impeached. They know what the process is. It’s not unfamiliar to them,” said Robert Shrum, Director of the Center for the Political Future and the Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.

A New York Times/Siena College poll out last week found that Americans above the age of 65 were the most likely age group to say they were following the discussion around impeachment very closely. They were also the most likely demographic, at 36%, to say they strongly support impeaching and removing the president from office. 

“These are a group of people who predominantly lived through Watergate and the Clinton impeachment. They’ve seen this before and they have a more historic view,” said Joe Trippi, a political strategist who ran campaigns for Alabama Senator Doug Jones and 2004 presidential hopeful Howard Dean. “They have more of a sense of history.”

Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist, agreed that older voters have an institutional memory of the Nixon and Clinton impeachment inquiries and therefore have more trouble buying the president’s “witch hunt” defense. But he also sees a larger trend away from the Republican party. 

In the 2012 general election, the 65-plus crowd voted for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over former President Barack Obama by 12 points, but in the 2016 election they voted for Trump over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by just seven points. By the 2018 midterms, that cohort was still more likely to vote Republican over Democrat, but by only four points, marking a steady decline.

The narrowing gap spells trouble for the GOP as older voters are far more likely to turnout to the polls than younger Americans and thus hold outsized power on election day. Voter turnout amongst those over the age of 65 in the 2016 election far outweighed any other age group, at nearly 71%. In midterm years, when overall turnout tends to be lower, the group carries even more influence. In 2018, voter turnout was 36% among 18- to 29-year-olds; for 65 and up it was 66.1%.

“This is a huge problem for Trump,” said Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist who previously worked as press secretary and senior spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. “The last bastion of support for him was among these older voters and as they start to walk away from him there’s not much left.” 

Older voters were initially attracted to Trump because of his branding as the “law and order” president, said Ferguson. “That’s why these scandals where he’s abusing power are so problematic for those very voters. The reason they were willing to trust him turns out to be one of his biggest failings.” 

If support amongst this group for the GOP erodes any further, the ramifications could endure for an entire generation, said Ferguson. 

“If things get worse, they’ve really got problems. This is a group that is looking askance on how far Republicans are willing to go to support the president during the impeachment inquiry,” said Trippi. “This is a long game, it’s not just about 2020. The GOP could face a real reckoning in 2022.”

The change in voting also also comes as the Republican party has suggested making changes to Medicare to offset the costs of recent tax breaks for the wealthy. 

“The more the Trump administration and Republicans talk about cutting back on Medicare, the more you’re going to see the percentage of people over 65 drift away from Trump,” said Shrum. 

About 43% of older Americans view the Affordable Care Act favorably, and Republican assaults on the program could also contribute to the change. “We’ve seen that because of assaults on Obamacare and rising drug prices a steady erosion of elderly support for Republicans in the last few years,” added Ferguson. “That erosion has been supercharged by the last three years of Donald Trump.”

The president’s strategy doesn’t appear to have changed. His 2020 campaign has focused nearly half of its $13.6 million year-to-date Facebook ad spend on senior citizens, according to Bully Pulpit Interactive research first obtained by Axios.

“If Republicans can’t count on their most friendly set of voters to protect them, then who can they count on?” asked Ferguson.  

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—This often-accurate election model predicts Trump will win re-election in a landslide
Support for impeachment inquiry surges as key Republicans distance themselves from Trump
—How Mitch McConnell could use impeachment to scramble the Democratic primary
—House Republicans successfully distract from impeachment hearings with new strategy: riot
Guns came to school nearly 400 times last year. What experts say we should do
Get up to speed on your morning commute with Fortune’s CEO Daily newsletter.