There’s a lot riding on the upcoming midterms, chiefly control of Congress and statehouses across the country. And that control could lie squarely in your hands and mine.
That’s because as older Americans, we tend to dominate the polls. In the last midterms, those over 60 represented 39.4 percent of all voters, which was the single largest voting bloc. And that trend appears to be holding fast for the current midterms, with a September NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reporting that 73 percent of seniors have the most interest in the midterms, which is higher than any other demographic.
Why do seniors show up at the polls more than other demographics?
First and foremost, seniors view voting as a responsibility that’s integral to the democratic process. That solemn responsibility has been preached to us and ingrained in us from the time we turned 18, and we take it very seriously.
Then there are the issues, like Medicare, prescription drug costs and Social Security, which hit us where we live. Several polls indicate that seniors are chomping at the bit to express their opinions on these fronts. But our interests are far broader than simply what affects us personally. Because we’re a community-minded generation, we’re concerned about a breadth of issues that impact everyone and everything from our grandchildren to our roads to the small business down the street.
So, how are seniors planning to vote in these elections?
In a July AARP poll, voters over 50 seemed disenchanted with both parties. However, when it comes to who we plan to cast our ballots for, a CNN poll found that older Americans are favoring Democratic Congressional candidates. That’s a major shift from recent elections when the GOP was our party of choice.
Bottom line: Be sure to cast your ballot. But also, strongly encourage younger folks, like your family, neighbors and even the guy in line at the grocery store, to vote too. We don’t want to be the last generation who takes this responsibility seriously!