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A Changing Political Landscape As One Generation Replaces Another

In less than seven years (2011), the first boomers will reach the  retirement age of 65 years. In essence, boomers will start to  take the place of their parents and grandparents in the political  spectrum as well as other areas. Given that boomers have changed  every sector of life they have touched, how will this generation  of the U.S. electorate sculpt our political landscape in the  future? Also, how will any political changes or activism  initiated by boomers compare to that of their elders?

In January 2004, AARP commissioned NOP World, a national survey  research firm, to field a random telephone survey designed to  provide a comprehensive look at the political behavior, values  and interests of baby boomers (ages 40 to 57), their parents and  grandparents of the Silent generation (ages 58 to 69), and the GI  generation (ages 70+). The survey was conducted nationally among  a total of 1,804 adults: 603 boomers, 600 silents and 601 GIs.

The findings suggest boomers will assuredly redefine political  activism and possibly the political landscape of the future.  Regardless of how boomers accomplish this, once the youngest  segment of boomers reach the age of 65, the boomer population at  large will represent approximately 25 percent of the U.S.  electorate. The political clout of 77 million boomers or more is  hard to ignore. Future political candidates would be foolish to  pursue a politics-as-usual course to reach such a self-directed,  issues-oriented, entitlement-seeking group. For further information, contact Jeffrey Love at 202-434-6279. (18 pages)