The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has released a 105-page report, The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election: Angry Silents, Disengaged Millennials

The report indicates the biggest divider among voters in the upcoming election is not race, religion or class, but generation. It includes 110 infographics illustrating answers to questions about several hot issues including China, Afghanistan, Iraq, abortion, capital punishment, energy policy, environmental policy, gay marriage, religion and civil liberties.

Also, according to the report, based on exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups while older voters have voted more Republican.

I took a quick peek at all 110 of them and have posted some of the ones that interested me the most.

The majority of Gen Xers voted Democrat in four of the five previous election seasons. 

11-3-11 #12

Gen Xers make up 26 percent of registered voters. Gen Y makes up 17 percent, for a combined total of 42 percent. Baby Boomers make up 37 percent of registered voters and the Silent Generation accounts for 17 percent.

11-3-11 #10

For Gen Xers, Clinton did the best job.

11-3-11 #13

Are you there, church? It’s me, generation. I go to church almost every Sunday, but I totally get why someone would never want to go.

11-3-11 #22

For Gen Xers, the most important issue is jobs.

11-3-11 #33

This seems like a wide gap between Gen Xers and Gen Y to me.

11-3-11 #46

I need someone to explain this next one to me.

11-3-11 #49

If you support the theory of generational cycles explained in Neil Howe’s Fourth Turning, then this next infographic makes complete sense. Generations X and Y remain hopeful about the future. According to Howe, Gen Xers will experience their high in old age.

11-3-11 #50

Retirement? What’s that?

11-3-11 #60

This totally sucks especially since Gen Xers parent more than 50 percent of the kids in this nation under 18.

11-3-11 #61

The majority of Gen Xers believe Social Security and Medicare have been good for the country.

11-3-11 #65

This next infographic surprised me the most. Gen Xers ranked higher than both Boomers and Silents in their belief that government should look out for older people.

11-3-11 #77

Here’s a question on 9/11 that makes an important distinction between Gen Y and the other three generations. They report not being as emotionally impacted by the attack as the rest of us. This is probably because they were still pretty young.

11-3-11 #97


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  1. yogiabb says

    Interesting. It strikes me of the fondness for Reagan and Bill Clinton across all the generations. Cool though that a majority still see America’s best days lay ahead. I kind of wonder how the aggressive Christian politics have caused more religiously unaffiliated people. Also interesting that people across the generations support entitlement programs. All in all it doesn’t look to me hat the Tea Party has much of a future based on my interpretation of the infographs you show. 

  2. says

    Thanks for these fascinating statistics, Jen. Regarding the graph you wondered about – on life in the US changing for the better or for the worse? I wonder if for some Xers the recession was a mixed blessing; this is what I have heard from people I know. In some cases losing a job you hate might not seem so bad; Gen Xers are idealistic – maybe having no money and no house may seem better than selling out or working to the bone in a system which feels like it has been set up to make Xers lose.

    I wondered if you had a comment on a topic another Gen X blogger and I were discussing: the statistic that 43% of university-educated GenX women are unmarried and have no children, while the number is in the 30 per cent range for men (googling it brings up the stats). I would maintain that parenthood with car, stable job and house (the classic 50s picture) is sadly not the norm at all for many Gen Xers now. This other Xer blogger and I felt that Boomer campaigns for cultural and gender equality seriously fell short in anticipating broader consequences, created a weird perpetual adolescence among males and a misleading ‘you have all the time in the world’ credo among females.–Why.html

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