It’s not exactly news that older voters make up a larger percentage of the electorate than younger voters, but the difference between the two age groups in Tuesday’s election was more extreme than usual.
Voters 60 or more years old made up about 37 percent of the electorate and voters under 30 made up just 12 percent this year, according to exit poll data from NBC News. In the 2012 presidential election, 25 percent of voters were 60 or older and 19 percent were under 30. And in 2004, older voters made up 24 percent of the electorate and younger voters made up 17 percent.
Because younger voters tend to lean Democratic, this low turnout definitely hurt candidates on the left this election. If Democrats can keep the turnout in the age groups closer, around five or six percent, they win.
Democrats have to do a better job not just getting millennials to vote, but convincing them that midterm elections are just as, if not sometimes more, important than presidential elections. Republicans do a great job of getting their old, white supporters to the polls (and lately they’ve been doing equally as well at disenfranchising anyone who isn’t their target demographic), and now they control both houses of Congress.
If Democrats ever expect to take back control and fix the problems the GOP has created for the country, they have to get younger voters to actually vote.