How gender and age affected voting

So as predicted, Republicans won in yesterday’s elections, even bigger than expected. It had all the hallmarks of a wave election, with Democrats who had were favored in polls struggling to hold on to seats while Republicans cruised to easy victories. When the dust finally settles, the Senate may have as many as 54 Republicans.

According to exit polls, men and older people voted in larger numbers for the Republicans while women and younger voters went for the Democrats.

Republicans had a 56-42% advantage of men while Democrats had a smaller 52-47% advantage with women.

When it came to age, Republicans won the 65+ group by 57-42% and the 45-64 group by 53-45%. Democrats won the 18-29 group by 54-43% and the 30-44 group by 50-48%.

The Democratic advantage among women was clearly not enough to counteract the male dominance of Republicans. And younger people tend to be less likely to vote than older people. In yesterday’s election, “37% of voters are over the age of 60 but only 12% of are under 30 years old. This 25 point difference is larger than the 16 to 20 point age gap seen in the last three midterms.”

The article goes on to say that the young and old age cohorts tended to vote similarly until the 2004 election when there was a sudden divergence, with younger moving Democratic and older moving Republican

While this is a wave election in terms of the results, I am not sure if one can draw major conclusions from it. There are still no results on how other variables such as ethnicity/race and income affected voting to see if the Republicans won largely on the backs of richer, older, white, male, voters, as has been the trend. If that is the case, then what this election represents is that that group is more committed than the others to voting, not that the Republican party is necessarily broadening its appeal.

But the Democrats need to look long and hard as to why those who might favor them are less than enthusiastic about voting for them.


Ed Kilgore provides some further breakdowns in the voting.

Republicans boosted their percentage among African-Americans from 6 percent won by Romney to 10 percent yesterday; from 27 percent to 35 percent among Latinos; and from 26 percent to 49 percent among Asians. It’s likely the age demographics had some impact on Republican minority performance, particularly among Latinos, given the relatively strong attachment of young Latinos to the Democratic Party. And in general, it’s probable more conservative minority voters were more likely to vote.

What would be interesting to see if the increases in these groups were due to them being a reflection of the same older, male preference for Republicans or were across the board.


  1. md says

    Married women were a third of the electorate and went for Republicans 54%.

    Also, Asians voted for Republicans 46% last night. That surprises me. Democrats cannot afford to lose that demographic which is rapidly growing in size, money, and political confidence.

  2. Katydid says

    This married woman voted Democrat, and can’t understand how any woman could support the extreme misogyny of the Republican party.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    Also, Asians voted for Republicans 46% last night. That surprises me.

    “Asian” is a very broad swath of people to make generalizations about, but I’d bet at lot of this GOP support is also due to the age dynamic of mid-term voters. Many older Asian-Americans came here fleeing communist regimes, and/or are strong Christian believers, so the GOP platform of God, guns, and gays probably resonates with many of them. Younger Asian-Americans are more in line with other young Americans, in my experience.

  4. moarscienceplz says

    “37% of voters are over the age of 60 but only 12% of are under 30 years old.

    That is really sad.
    I wonder if the sheer size of the ballot intimidated them? I know my heart always sinks when I get 1/2 a pound of official election material in the mail, and that doesn’t even count the blizzard of campaign flyers. I think maybe we need to remind people that they can leave blanks on their ballots. Just vote on those people and issues that you know about and care about.

  5. brucegee1962 says

    I think that younger voters are more likely to be affected by negative campaigning, to the tune of “they’re both jerks, I won’t vote for either of them.” It’s possible that this may be one of the reasons Republicans like to go negative — they aren’t hoping to obtain your vote, they’re hoping to disgust you with both sides so you stay home.

  6. Sean (I am not an imposter) says

    They voted for the brazen right wing over the equivocal right wing. Everyone else stayed home. No point arguing over demographics. Liberals and leftists have nothing to vote for.

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