Society

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 504–511

Is There an Emerging Age Gap in US Politics?

Symposium: Domestic Reform or Social Revolution?
  • 430 Downloads

Abstract

There is evidence of a realignment among voters entering the electorate in recent years, with younger voters deviating from older voters in their ideological and partisan preferences. Younger voters today tend to be more liberal and more supportive of Democratic candidates than other age groups. Younger Americans are generally favor a more activist government, as demonstrated by their views on equality, the role of government, health care, and spending for public schools and child care. The leftward movement of younger Americans ideologically is also the result of the increasing political emphasis on cultural issues. Younger Americans as a group are less religious and less conservative on social issues than other age cohorts. They put less emphasis on traditional values and are more tolerant than other age groups on social issues such as gay rights. Older voters, on the other hand, tend to be more conservative on policy issues and less supportive of Democrats than they used to be. At the state level, the partisan polarization in the United States is even greater among younger Americans than it is for the nation as a whole. This suggests that if younger Americans follow other generations in keeping the same partisan voting patterns throughout their life, the blue states will become bluer and the red states redder.

Keywords

Age gap US politics Republican Democratic 

Further Reading

  1. Almond, G., & Verba, S. 1965. The civic culture. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  2. Berkman, M. B., & Plutzer, E. 2004. Gray peril or loyal support? The effects of the elderly on educational expenditures. Social Science Quarterly, 85, 1178–1192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Binstock, R. H. 2006. Older voters and the 2004 election. Gerontologist, 46, 382–384.Google Scholar
  4. Button, J. 1992. A sign of generational conflict: the impact of Florida’s aging voters on local school and tax referenda. Social Science Quarterly, 73, 786–797.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, D. E. 2002. The young and the realigning. Public Opinion Quarterly, 66, 209–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cook, E., Jelen, T., & Wilcox, C. 1993. Generational differences in attitudes toward abortion. American Political Quarterly, 21, 31–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dalton, R. J. 2008. The good citizen: How a younger generation is reshaping American politics. Washington: CQ.Google Scholar
  8. Greenberg, S. 2005. The Two Americas. New York: Thomas Dunne.Google Scholar
  9. Henn, M., Weinstein, M., & Forrest, S. 2005. Uninterested youth? Young people’s attitudes toward party politics in Britain. Political Studies, 53, 556–578.Google Scholar
  10. Inglehart, R. 1990. Cultural shift in advanced industrial societies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Layman, G. 1997. Religion and political behavior in the United States. Public Opinion Quarterly, 61, 288–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Poterba, J. 1997. Demographic structure and the political economy of public education. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 16, 48–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Schatz, S. 2002. Age cohort voting effects in the breakdown of single-party rule. Journal of Aging Studies, 16, 199–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Smidt, C. 1987. Evangelicals and the 1984 election. American Politics Quarterly, 15, 419–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Street, D., & Cossman, J. S. 2006. Greatest generation or greedy geezers?: Social spending preferences and the elderly. Social Problems, 53, 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceSeton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA

Personalised recommendations