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Power of the 50-Plus Voters: How Do They Vote?

Explore how older voters affect presidential elections

The Power of the 50+ Voter

Part 2: How Do They Vote?


Don’t miss below —

Part 1: Who Are They?

Part 3: Their Political Activities & Attitudes

Part 4: On the Issues

In 2008, 71 percent of all voting-age citizens nationwide were registered to vote. As a rule, as this chart shows, the older you are the more likely you are to be registered to vote. (As illness and disability take a toll, there’s a slight drop-off in the oldest age bracket.)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008, July 2012"

In 2008, 64 percent of all voting-age citizens nationwide voted. As a rule, the older you are, the more likely you are to vote. (As illness and disability take a toll, there’s a slight drop-off in the 75-and-older age bracket.)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008, July 2012."

Many young people are “too busy” to vote, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; older people, on the other hand, either have the time — or find the time — to vote. And while we often hear that transportation problems keep older people from the polls, in truth it’s much more frequently illness or disability — especially among people 65 and older.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008, May 2010."

With the aging of the U.S. population, older voters have been moving closer and closer to making up the majority in presidential elections. But while older Americans may represent a tantalizing target for politicians and political parties, they are anything but monolithic in their voting patterns.

Source: “Power of 50,” AARP Bulletin, May 2012."

The percentage of Americans who identify themselves as political independents is directly related to age. (The older you are, in fact, the less likely you are to consider yourself an independent.) More than a third of the youngest adults identify themselves as independents, a percentage that drops steadily as the population ages, reaching a low of around 20 percent among those 80 and older.

Source: “Democrats Do Best Among Generation Y and Baby Boomers,” Gallup Poll May 8, 2009."

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News for the 50+ voter

AARP's political bloggers keep tabs on the upcoming election and the hot issues for older Americans.