Nov. 3, 2011

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006. The latest […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 8: Domestic and Foreign Policy Views

Generations Divide on Some—Not All—Social Issues As discussed in Sections 1 and 4, different generations of Americans have starkly different views on some of the social changes occurring in the country today. That’s particularly the case when it comes to trends related to diversity, homosexuality, and secularism. While Millennials tend to take a more liberal […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 7: Views of Government

For most of their adult lives, members of the Silent generation have been one of the more conservative generations with respect to their view of the role of government. At least as far back as 1980, when Silents were between the ages of 35 and 52, and in the years since, they have generally been […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 6: Generations and Entitlements

The policy debates over Social Security and Medicare are potentially cross-cutting issues for older generations. Silents, as well as many Boomers, place a high priority on these issues politically and are generally more resistant to major changes or reforms than are younger Americans. As a result, while Silents favor the GOP by wide margins on […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 5: Generations and the Great Recession

The nation’s worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression has had a disproportionate impact across generations. While Americans of all ages have felt the effects of the recession, Millennials have been hit harder on the job front, and Boomers and Generation Xers have suffered the greatest losses in terms of home values, household finances, and […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 4: Views of the Nation

The last 50 years have seen dramatic demographic, social and technological changes in this country, and different generations of Americans have their own distinct reactions to these changes. The racial and ethnic makeup of the country has been transformed. The 1950s-era nuclear family is now just one of a growing variety of family arrangements. And […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 3: Views of Obama and the Political Parties

Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 in large part because of the overwhelming support he received from young people. And in early 2012 matchups, Obama holds substantial leads among Millennials over both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. However, since early in his presidency, Obama’s job approval rating has fallen substantially across all age cohorts, […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 2: Generations and the 2012 Election

The age gap in voting, which began to open in the 2004 election and became a major factor in Barack Obama’s 2008 victory over John McCain, is not the political norm. In fact, for most of the past four decades, there was little difference in the voting preferences of younger and older Americans. As recently […]

Nov. 3, 2011

Section 1: How Generations Have Changed

The age differences in political attitudes and voting choices in the past three election cycles have been driven by three broad social and political trends. The first is the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the country, reflected in the rising percentage of non-whites among younger age cohorts. Non-whites have been far more supportive of […]