The Rundown

Voters older than 50 outpace younger voters, become ‘major deciders’ in general elections, study says

By: - November 8, 2022 4:40 am

DUBLIN, OH — MAY 03: Voting Location Manager Deputy Jamal Naiyer says goodbye to a voter during the Ohio primary election, May 3, 2022, at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original story.)

Elections have seen more total voting done by voters older than 50 than younger voters, especially in midterm elections like this year’s, despite voter registrations showing a near even split.

A study commissioned by the AARP Ohio showed in primary elections and  midterms, 50+ voters “comprised the preponderance of all voters in each election,” including the 2019 and 2021 elections and the Congressional election of 2018.

“The 50+ will be the deciders in Tuesday’s election, and they are informed, consistent voting bloc who understand much is at stake in the 2022 mid-term elections,” AARP Ohio state director Holly Holtzen stated in an announcement of the study.

Source: AARP Ohio

The study looked at data from Ohio elections officials as of Oct. 11, and included both active voters and voters “requiring confirmation,” but not those who had been inactive or marked as “purged” from the database. The data set amounts to more than 8 million voters.

Even in the 2020 presidential year, 55% of total voters were older than age 50.

“Simply stated, voters age 50+ are the most reliable voting group measured across all party and non-partisan election types,” the study concluded. “They are the major deciders in local, special and primary races that determine who is on the ballot in large statewide elections.”

The August 2022 special primary saw 83% of the overall vote from 50+ voters, 86% of which were Republican voters, and 77% Democrats, the study said.

More than 69% of registered voters in Ohio were found to be unaffiliated, meaning they did not vote in a party primary, it added.

Younger voters, and those who claim no political affiliation, “tend to vote only in the presidential or congressional races based on candidates that have been largely chosen by those in the 50+ group,” the AARP study found.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow (KY) Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.