Senior-Planet-the -Senior-Vote-2012

The Senior Vote: Crunching the Numbers

Election night was a nail-biter, whichever side you were on. And perhaps more than in any other year, the senior vote helped to make the race as close as it could get in key states like Ohio and Florida. That’s because seniors are now a significant chunk of the voting population—21 percent this year, 16 percent four years ago; and because seniors are voting against the tide.

We’ve been pulling up the numbers from the past five elections to chart the direction of the senior vote, and especially the shift from Democrat-leaning in 1996 to Republican -leaning in 2012,  when a full 12 percent divided the Romneyites from the Obamaites among voters 65-plus. The reason for the shift? We’re guessing it wasn’t anything to do with Medicare. Instead, some older voters say they were swayed by their discomfort with the social issues the Dems rallied around—in particular gay rights. Another factor: A new generation of seniors is taking over from the old New Dealers, who grew up politically as Democrats.

Take a look at the numbers, then jump into the fray and take the Senior Planet issues poll, below. (You can find more on political demographics at the Roper Center Public Opinion Archive. Click here to access it.)

2012

Seniors counted for 21% of the electorate (based on 2010 figures)
Barack Obama 44%
Mitt Romney 56%

2008

Seniors counted for 16% of the electorate
Barack Obama 45%
John McCain 53%

2004

Seniors counted for 16% of the electorate
G.W. Bush 52%
John Kerry 47%

2000

Seniors were 14% of the electorate
G.W. Bush 47%
Al Gore 51%

1996

Seniors were 16% of the electorate
Bill Clinton 50%
Bob Dole 44%

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