The stereotype of the “greedy geezer” voter, a political bloc of 65-and-older Americans who hate taxes but love their government entitlements, is a figment of the public imagination, according to election data. These older voters do turn out at higher rates — a phenomenon that goes back for only four decades. But election results over time show that older voters’ choices and party affiliations closely mirror those of the rest of the electorate. There’s at least one exception to this pattern, however: Florida retirees, who often sever their community and family ties when they relocate south, and may or may not form new ones after they arrive. Older Americans vote at three times the rate of 18-to-24-year-olds in midterm elections. Even when picking a president, their turnout is about 40 percent higher, said social scientists speaking at Columbia University’s Age Boom Academy, a yearly symposium for journalists who write about generational trends.
“The important thing about that issue is that people concede that midterm elections are going to be more conservative,” on the presumption that people move politically to the right as they age, said Curtis Gans, who directs the Center for the Study of the American electorate. “But this is not the case. People over 65 tend to vote the same way as everybody else.”
In most parts of the country, this is because older voters consider the interests of their adult children and grandchildren as important as their own, if not more so, said James Jackson, director of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
Full Article: Experts see an elder vote evolution | HeraldTribune.com.