Tags: Trump Administration | GOP | older voters | millennials | Pew report

Pew Report: Older Voters More Reliable GOP Supporters

By    |   Wednesday, 08 April 2015 11:34 AM

While the gender gap garners much attention, a new report provides evidence that there is an equally strong divide emerging between younger and older voters, which is potentially good news for Republicans heading into 2016.

On Tuesday, the Pew Research Center released a report which includes data indicating that a growing demographic shift is occurring as voters between the ages of 69 and 86, members of the so-called "Silent Generation," are increasingly voting Republican.

In 1992, the Silent Generation favored or leaned toward the Democratic Party by a 52 percent to 38 percent margin. But in 2014, the Republicans held a 47 percent to 43 percent advantage over Democrats among that group, according to the data gathered from more than 25,000 interviews conducted in 2014.

"Millennials continue to be the most Democratic age cohort; 51 percent identify as Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with 35 percent who identify with the GOP or lean Republican. There are only slight differences in partisan affiliation between older and younger millennials. Republicans have a four-point lead among the Silent Generation (47-43 percent), the most Republican age cohort," says the Pew report.

Two decades after Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush, the trend of older voters supporting Democrats began to shift as they grew more disaffected with politics.

"Thirty percent of them say, 'I'm angry.' If you look at the youngest voters, it's only 13 percent," Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, told National Public Radio in 2012.

"We look at the question of how much thought they've given to the [2012] election. Four years ago only 36 percent of this generation said they were giving a lot of thought; now it's up to 42 percent," said Kohut, referring to Pew's 2012 report, "Generational Politics."

The divide between millennials and the Silent Generation in terms of party affiliation was evident in the 2014 midterm elections.

According to exit polls reported in The New York Times, voters under 30 years of age comprised 13 percent of the electorate, while 22 percent of those who cast ballots in 2014 were 65 and older and favored Republican candidates by a 16-point margin.

That generational gap could prove beneficial for Republicans in 2016.

"Yet everyone seems to agree that the higher turnout of senior voters in an off year election is one of the key advantages favoring Republicans, and has been a growing GOP advantage in recent presidential elections.

"Older voters comprised the greatest increase in Republican voter share between the 2008 and 2012 election. McCain won 65-plus Americans by 8 points, and Romney increased his share to 12 points. If similar rates of increase continued, it would quickly become a dominant factor in elections," wrote Republican strategist Stuart Stevens last year in The Daily Beast.

Democrats, moreover, are suffering from a lack of representation from the younger generation, while Republicans are having more success fielding young, more diverse candidates.

"The political dynamics of the 1980s has created a missing generation of Democratic politicians who, having started at the local level, would now be poised to take the national stage. This is the generational problem that will haunt the party for, well, the next generation," Steven Conn, an Ohio State University professor, writes in The Huffington Post.

Conn says that those "angry old white guys who form the core of the GOP are fast fading away" as Republicans have "elected youngsters — like Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, both 43 — while the party of youth and diversity has put Jerry Brown, 76, in the California governor's office."

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A new Pew Research Center report includes data indicating that voters between the ages of 69 and 86, members of the so-called "Silent Generation," are increasingly voting Republican.
GOP, older voters, millennials, Pew report
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 11:34 AM
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