Older voters are hot commodities as both parties gear up for next year's mid-term elections. After all, they tend to vote in disproportionately higher numbers, especially in midterm elections.
Though traditionally identified as Democratic, the group voted heavily Republican in the 2010 midterm and, to a lesser extent, in 2012.
But recent surveys by a Democratic polling firm might show early signs of the pendulum swinging back, political analyst Charlie Cook writes for the National Journal. In the most recent survey (see graph on page 31), older voters likely to cast ballots next year showed half the margin they gave Republicans in 2012 and a quarter of the margin they gave the GOP in 2010.
Slideshow: Power of the 50-Plus Voters: Who Are They?
"The possibility of a shift among older voters is something to be watched carefully," Cook writes. "Exit polls show that in the 2010 GOP wave election, seniors voted by a 21-point margin in favor of Republicans for Congress, 59 percent to 38 percent; in 2012, a better year for Democrats, seniors voted Republican by just a 12-point margin, 56 percent to 44 percent. ... It's far too early to point to some seismic shift among older voters, but this is something that should be watched over the next 15 months."
Why the change? Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida at Tampa political scientist who studies the voting patterns of older Americans, has a guess. She says the erosion of GOP support is probably among what she terms "young-old" women who are disappointed by GOP stances on such social issues as abortion and gay rights.
Photo by Rama via Wikimedia
Also of Interest
- Age Divide Narrows on Hot-Button Social Issues
- D.C. Lobbyist: One Job Where It Pays to Be in Your 60s
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