DELRAY BEACH, Fla.— Ruth Mary Baudhuin watched Lawrence Welk as a young girl, listened to fellow Philadelphian Chubby Checker on the radio and eventually grew into her parents’ Republicanism, an Irish-Catholic conservatism that idealized the nuclear family.
But the 68-year-old retiree, like many older voters, no longer recognizes her party.
The soft-edged promise she recalls of previous nominees—Ronald Reagan’s sunny disposition, John McCain’s undisputed patriotism—have been replaced with what she views as insults and bombast.
So she’s backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, ending her streak of supporting every Republican presidential nominee since Gerald Ford.
“The main thing is I really don’t like the person,” said Baudhuin, now a Florida voter, barely able to speak GOP nominee Donald Trump’s name and relying instead on pronouns. “His attitudes, all the negative things he puts out, I really don’t want a racist to be president,” she said.
Baudhuin’s change of heart isn’t an anomaly when it comes to America’s oldest—and most reliable—voters. Among voters 65 and older, the most recent round of major media polls show Mr. Trump running between 11 and 18 percentage points behind 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney at this same point four years ago.