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The Voting Behavior of Older Voters in the 2008 General Election and Prior Congressional Elections: Implications for November 2010

If current voter turnout trends continue, more than two-thirds of voters in the 2010 Congressional election will be over age 45.  AARP collected data in order to assess the turnout patterns of voters age 45 and older (“older voters”) in General and Congressional Elections.

 Chief findings include:

  •  More 45+ voters turned out in the 2008 General Elections (about 69%) than the sum of voters in all remaining age groups (57%).
  • In Congressional Elections, the propensity to vote increases with each successive age cohort: 20% or fewer of those age 18 to 24 and 60% or greater of those 65 and older had voted in prior Congressional Elections.
  • The overrepresentation of older voters in Congressional Elections has increased consistently over time. In 1994, 56% of those voting in Congressional Elections were 45 and older. By 2006, older voters represented 65% of those voting.

This report presents secondary analyses of official population, voter registration and voter turnout statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.  The report was written by Gerard Rainville and Mary Ann Nguyen of AARP Research & Strategic Analysis. All media inquiries about this report should be directed to (202) 434-2560. For all other questions, contact Gerard Rainville at (202) 434-6295.

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