There may be no group with a more direct interest in the financial crisis and a Wall Street bailout than retirees. People over age 60 own nearly half of all U.S. equities.
What's more, senior citizens vote at a much higher rate than younger people — which makes Florida especially key on Election Day this November. Nearly a third of Florida's registered voters are over 60. And in Palm Beach County, it's even higher: 40 percent of voters are at or approaching retirement age.
Bailout Talk In Boca
At the Boca Diner in Boca Raton, the current financial crisis is one of the main topics of conversation.
Russ Poltan, 72, says the precipitous market drop this week cost him some of his retirement money.
"It's a depressing thing," he says.
Like many Americans, Poltan says his first reaction to the proposed $700 billion financial bailout was anger. "Those fat cats made their money. Why should we have to make up for problems they caused? It's a 24-hour opinion [and] after that, I thought, 'Bite the bullet. We've got to do it,'" he said.
Dolores Weisenberger, who is having a late breakfast with two friends, is another retiree who supports the bailout. She and her friends support Republican presidential candidate John McCain, citing his experience, military career and history as a POW. Weisenberger also gives the Arizona senator high marks for suspending his campaign to participate in bailout talks in Washington.
"He's taking a chance on that to run there and help out. And what's more important than this crisis that we're in right now?" Weisenberger says.
It probably shouldn't be a surprise that many of the older voters at the Boca Diner were well-informed about the bailout and lawmakers' struggle to pass it.
Bob Trinket, 77, lives off his investments and Social Security. He is adamantly opposed to any version of a Wall Street bailout.
"The market is going to survive," he says. "I don't believe in selling out [stocks holdings] right now."
A McCain supporter and a tried-and-true Republican, Trinket says he won't be swayed by the financial crisis.
Thinking About Obama
David White, 62, is also a Republican. But recent events have deepened his skepticism about politics and the nation's leaders.
"Is anything ever changed, no matter who you put in there, is anything ever changed?" White asks. "I've always voted Republican, but ... I'm thinking about voting for Obama."
Polls indicate that in Florida and across the nation, White has a lot of company. Over the past month in the Sunshine State, McCain has lost what once was a significant lead. A Quinnipiac survey released this week shows him trailing Obama in Florida by 8 points. And the newest poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found the Illinois senator has taken a significant lead over his Republican rival, thanks partly to voter confidence in Obama's ability to deal with the financial crisis.
There's another group of voters in Florida who are moving toward Obama because of the economy: Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton in the Florida primary.
Democrats Selma and Howard Menkes both supported Clinton. And they're quick to say that, because of the tough economic times, they won't vote for McCain.
Although it takes some prodding to get them to say who they plan to vote for, Howard Menkes says that he is "more or less leaning toward Obama."