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The Power of 50+ Voters: How Do They Vote?

Explore how older voters affect presidential elections

The Power of 50+ Voters

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 2012, 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 2012.”

In 2012, 62 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 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 those 65 and older.


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

With the aging of the U.S. population, older voters now make 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: U.S. Census Bureau, “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 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.

Since 1994, the Pew Research Center has used a 10-question scale to measure the extent to which people have mostly liberal or mostly conservative views. Its most recent report fins that the older you are, the more likely you are to identify with conservative positions on such diverse issues as the social safety net, the environment, immigration, government regulation and military strength.

Source: "Political Polarization in the American Public," Detailed Tables (Table
1.1: Ideological Consistency), Pew Research Center, June 2014.

More Slideshows

Part 1: Who Are They?

Part 3: Their Political Activities & Attitudes

Part 4: On the Issues

 

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