Seniors: Republican or Democratic?
Posted on November 02, 2016
We often tie political ideas to certain ages. For
example, it’s a commonly held belief that seniors always vote for the
Republican party. However, this isn’t the case.
have voted both Republican and Democratic. There
is the occasional sway to one side, but senior voting dynamics often
shift. In this article, we cover the topics that
influence senior voters for each party.
Seniors That Vote Republican
There are several factors that contribute to the high
volume of seniors that vote Republican. These factors include the voting time
period, race, and sense of patriotism:
1993, 39% of middle aged adults and seniors voted for the Republican party. In
2003, this number rose to 45%. The increase is likely a result of 9/11. In
2001, the events that occurred on 9/11 caused terrorism to be an imminent
concern for the senior population. Because the Republican party placed greater
emphasis on combatting terrorism, this won over many votes.
In 2013, data showed that 48% of seniors voted for the
Republican party. Over the course of Obama’s time in office, many seniors felt
let down by the Democratic party. This increase is likely due to the change in
seniors’ attitudes towards Obama’s administration.
- Race. Race seems to play a large role in party affiliation. In 2013, studies
showed that 53% of non-Hispanic Caucasian voters ages 65 and older voted Republican.
In contrast, only 18% of non-Caucasian voters ages 65 and older voted Republican.
A large number of these non-Hispanic Caucasian voters
were also avid church-goers. They tended to vote Republican because the
Republican platform aligns closely with their religious values. The Republican
party and many churches are against abortion and gay rights.
- Patriotism. The Republican party focuses
on issues such as gun laws, terrorism, national debt, and the military—which
resonates strongly with many seniors. Most of these seniors grew up during World
War II and have a strong sense of patriotism. These patriotic seniors associate
the Republican party with American pride.
Seniors That Vote Democratic
Factors that deterred Republican votes may inversely encourage
votes for the Democratic party.
period. In 1993,
51% of middle aged adults and seniors leaned towards the Democratic party. At
this time, popularity for the Democratic party was highly correlated to Bill
Clinton’s popularity with seniors. However, in 2003, that number dropped to
47%. At this time, George Bush, a Republican, was favored by seniors.
In 2013, the number of seniors aligned with the
Democratic party dropped to 45%. In
2012, many seniors preferred Mitt Romney, a Republican, due to his stance on
healthcare. This could explain the slight dip in the amount of voters aligned
with the Democratic party.
- Race. Race largely affects seniors
that choose the Democratic party. Data from 2013 shows that 40% of non-Hispanic
Caucasian voters ages 65 and older preferred the Democratic party. 76% of non-Caucasian
voters had a Democratic preference.
A large number of these non-Caucasian seniors were a
part of minority races. They voiced that they preferred the Democratic party
mainly because they felt the Republican party did not strive for equal rights.
This explains the high contribution to non-Caucasian seniors who are Democratic.
Safety Net. Seniors
who vote Democratic strongly identify with having a senior safety net and Social
Security. Many Republican advocates want to eliminate Obamacare. However, the
Democratic party plans to expand Social Security to widows and caregivers. This
plan won over a majority of seniors.
Which Party Do Seniors Favor?
The answer is: neither. The number of Republic and
Democratic seniors have always been fairly close.
Seniors won’t always vote solely because of their party
preference. Sometimes, the nominee is the most significant factor for seniors. This
causes cross-party voting.
One example of this is when Bill Clinton was elected
into office in 1992. Clinton was a Democratic nominee. However, the
majority of his senior voters were considered Republicans. When polled, it
showed that many seniors believed that Clinton was not your typical Democratic
nominee. This reinforces the idea
that although political parties are important, they won’t determine the outcome
of an election.
The 2016 election is just days away. Seniors
are the most reliable voters and the
presidential candidates know how important it is to secure their votes. Here
are the ways each political party nominee is attempting to appeal to senior
voters this election:
The Democratic Nominee: Hillary Clinton
common ground. One
of the ways that Clinton establishes credibility with older voters is through
senior volunteers. Clinton has senior volunteers speak with other senior
citizens to encourage them to vote. This helps confirm votes for Clinton
because senior volunteers can relate to seniors’ struggles.
her grandma status. Aside
from potentially being the first female president, Clinton would be the first
president to be a grandma. Clinton speaks at public events about the joys of
being a grandma and how she aspires to make the world better for her
granddaughter. These speeches resonate strongly with the senior population.
The Republican Nominee: Donald Trump
to seniors’ sense of patriotism. To
appeal to the older population, Trump caters to their sense of patriotism. His campaign
slogan “Make America Great Again” resonates with senior citizens. His strategy for obtaining the senior
citizen vote is to target seniors who feel the country has failed them.
Obama’s administration. In the 2012 election, Obama had very
few senior supporters due to his proposal of Medicare cuts. Through critiquing
Obama and his administration, Trump has earned the support of anti-Obama
seniors. They believe that Trump will bring to the table what Obama wasn’t able
Choose Who’s Right for You
It’s a societal assumption that seniors
generally vote for the Republican party. However, many seniors also choose to vote for
the Democratic party.
Seniors shouldn’t feel obligated to honor their party affiliations
when they cast their vote. Some may classify themselves as Republican and
others as Democratic. However, these are just titles –not a commitment to vote
for a specific party. At the end of the day, it’s simply about choosing the
best person for the job.
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