Released: May 8, 2008
The Widening Gap
by Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center
Special to the New York Times
The phrase “generation gap” came into vogue in the 1960s as a way of describing the wide gulf in values, beliefs and lifestyles that emerged between baby boomers and their parents and grandparents. Indeed, this difference between younger and older people played out sometimes turbulently in the ’60s in virtually all aspects of life, including the ballot box. Unlike in previous elections, from 1968 to 1980 young voters gave much stronger support to Democratic presidential candidates than did their elders.
But by 1984 those baby boomers were not so young and their ideas were not so different. And until very recently, a political generation gap between younger and older voters was not so great.