Young, old split on politics

With all due respect to the middle-aged folks reading this column, if you really want to have some fun, take a dive into the latest polling data on the extreme ends of the age spectrum — i.e., young voters vs. older voters.

Fasten your seat belts, ’cause the much-celebrated generation gap is profound as it relates to how those groups play politics.

For openers, seniors play way more than their younger counterparts, with 78% of those older than 65 registered to vote, while the younger folks clock in at 49%.

Who actually votes?

Not even close.

Young voters: 48%. Seniors: 72%.

A popular theory to explain that wide gap may be linked to the fact that many of those older citizens fought in two world wars to protect the right to vote, while the only veterans in the younger ranks are those who volunteered to serve their country.

In the current Michigan presidential race, the difference of opinion again is stark.

Seniors pick the current president over the former president by an 11-point margin, 50% to 39%, with 11% on the fence.

Eighteen- to 34-year-olds are pumped for Donald Trump, with 46% vs. 37% for Joe Biden, with 17% on the fence.

That later finding from EPIC-MRA veteran pollster Bernie Porn is interesting in that newer voters helped Biden win, as 12% more of them voted for him in 2020 than voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and one source notes “they played a decisive role in Biden’s victory.”

However, that unanimity on how they would vote breaks down if Trump is convicted on any number of the 91 felony counts pending against him and he ends up in jail.

If that happens, the senior vote is 57% to 37% to vote against Trump and 56% to 35% for the younger kids, but the generation gap is decidedly different when it comes to a possible conviction with no time in the slammer. In that case, it’s older folks 54% to 37% against Trump, but look at the 43% to 44% split on the other side.

The Biden team is concerned about the youth vote, as the harsh reality is that, if they stiff him now, it could actually cost him reelection if their anger/fervor over the Biden policy on the Gaza war does not cool down. To make his reelection hopes dim even more are the Arab-American and Muslim voters, as well, a good chunk of whom live in Michigan and could help to vote him out of office, even though Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has warned both groups that Donald Trump would be “bad” for everyone.

On the war, the two voting categories actually have something in common. A plurality want a ceasefire, with 47% of the seniors favoring a ceasefire and 37% not, while 63% of the 18 to 34 group want an end to the war yesterday.

Regarding the right track/wrong track question on the state of the economy, young and old agree again.

Twenty-nine percent of those 65 and older think the economy will get better, vs. 22% who fear it will get worse, with 40% thinking it will stay the same. The 18- to 34-year-olds are also at 29% to improve, 18% get worse, and 42% status quo.

While seniors may look aghast at the younger generation’s “addiction” to social media and cell phones, the older folks do need their counterparts to keep working for another “social” issue: social security.

And the younger voters, some say, should show a little respect for their elders, who laid the foundation for many of the positive aspects of the life they enjoy now.

Is it too trite to say that they both need each other, despite their political differences outlined here?


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