An underappreciated fact about the 2016 election: The massive generation gap

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tags: Hillary Clinton, election 2016



Since the election last month, we have seen a parade of analyses examining how Clinton supporters differ from Trump supporters by race, education and geographic residence. The persistence of partisan differences by age in American elections, however, has received somewhat less attention.

Younger voters, who first demonstrated a notable relative preference for the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, swung even further toward the Democrats in the two Obama elections. Obama carried the under-30 vote by 34 percentage points in 2008 and by 23 points in 2012, according to the national exit polls. At the same time, voters over the age of 50 collectively preferred Republican nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney to Obama in both of his successful national campaigns.

Hillary Clinton may have lacked Obama’s (and Bernie Sanders’s) personal appeal among younger voters, but she still carried the under-30 vote by an 18-point margin over Trump, according to the 2016 exit polls, while voters over the age of 45 opted for Trump by nine points — confirming that the contemporary political generation gap will outlast the Obama era.




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