Commentary: Importance of USPS to seniors, vets cited in poll

By Fredric Rolando

An overwhelming majority of registered voters ages 60 or above support federal financial assistance for the U.S. Postal Service in the next round of financial relief legislation, to allow the Postal Service to survive the effects of the pandemic. Military veterans of the same age concur, at even higher rates.

Fredric Rolando

Both groups, furthermore, say that their votes in the fall election will be strongly influenced by whether their elected representatives help provide the Postal Service with the same support provided to other sectors of the economy.

Of those surveyed, 89% support congressional assistance; the figure is 90% among veterans. The support cuts across party lines, with 83% of Republicans, 89% of Independents and 97% of Democrats agreeing. It also transcends geographic regions (Heartland voters lead with 93% support). On support for the Postal Service, there also are no rural-suburban-urban divisions.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they would be less likely to vote for lawmakers who oppose federal support for the Postal Service, a figure that rises to 70% among veterans 60 or above.

What makes the findings particularly noteworthy is that voters ages 60 and above lean conservative, compared to the general electorate. They voted for President Donald Trump by a 52%-42% margin in 2016, for example (for veterans, the margin was 57%-39%) and describe themselves as conservative rather than liberal by a 41%-20% margin.

Underlying these sentiments is the nearly unanimous agreement that the Postal Service is important to their lives and well-being — a view shared by 96% of those polled and an extraordinary 99% of veterans — reflecting in part the fact that the Postal Service is the country’s largest civilian employer of military veterans and that millions of veterans get their Veterans Affairs medications and other important deliveries through the Postal Service. Ninety-seven percent of rural voters and 94% of Republican voters agree.

The poll shows overwhelming preference for financial assistance for USPS as opposed to other options, including raising rates or federal loans.

Thus far during the pandemic, Congress has not passed any direct funding relief for the Postal Service, despite calls from stakeholders. The House approved $25 billion in the Heroes Act, but the Senate did not act.

The poll of 1,200 registered voters ages 60 or older, which included a substantial subset of 336 veterans, was conducted online from July 9-15 by Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research and was commissioned by the National Association of Letter Carriers. It has a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points.

Fredric Rolando is president of National Association of Letter Carriers, Washington, D.C.