The Census also has voter participation data broken down by age or race, but not both.
This chart shows us what everyone knows: Old people are more likely to vote. This chart also explains why social security reform is not likely to happen, as old people won’t vote to give away their benefits and they may even vote against other reforms that only affect the young out of paranoia. The same could be said about programs that might have knock-on effects to Medicare down the road.
A little bit more surprising is the contrast between turnout in presidential election years and congressional election years:
I repeated the study using age based voter turn out numbers from the last two years as a guide, also adjusting the Hispanic voting population down by one third to adjust for the illegal immigrants who are unable to vote. One surprising effect was that the slightly lower age of the growing minorities was not enough to affect the general thrust of the voting pattern.
Next I looked at the race based voter turnout.
And again, I compared it presidential election turnout with turnout from the previous year:
The results were rather extreme, showing how off year elections had a much bigger impact when voting by race was taken into account than when voting by age was taken into account. This is because more whites vote during off years, with their off year voting at 75% of presidential election voters while only 66% of minority voters in presidential elections decide to vote during off years.
No model is ever truly complete, and this model is still lacking in numerous ways.
- The predilection for the youth to vote for democrats has not been taken into account. An older population might be more conservative in nature, which would be a boon to the republicans.
- Secondly, the recent data on black voter turnout was driven upwards by Obama’s election and it remains to be seen whether or not this recent shift will revert to the mean.
- Gerrymandering and state based Electoral College make national projections of the total popular vote less important than close analysis of swing states.
- Short term economic fluctuations and personality politics means that the above charts are at best vague projections to show the direction of things to come where the emergence of a larger minority population makes republicans fall behind by an average of 0.1% or 0.2% of the population each year.
Furthermore, this analysis assumes no large shifts in party politics that might change racial voting preferences. It does suggest that any big move towards the center is likely to be made by the republicans and not the democrats, as the democrats are riding a trend towards more power and while they may occasionally get ahead of themselves as they have with the healthcare legislation, the voting population is drifting further left every year.