New Pew Research Finds Age is Significant Factor in Support for Election Policy Changes

[Image via pewresearch]

A new Pew Research Center poll finds that support for election policy changes varies by many different factors – but especially age, as younger voters of all partisan affiliations report preferences that are occasionally at odds with older voters of the same party. Here is the relevant section of the report:

When it comes to some policies related to making voting easier – automatic voter registration, same-day registration and making Election Day a national holiday – there is generally more support among younger people than older people, and these age differences are much more pronounced among Republicans than Democrats.

For instance, while 76% of Republicans ages 18 to 34 would favor allowing voter registration at the polls on Election Day, support for same-day registration falls to just 22% among Republicans 65 and older.

Similarly, although 74% of Republicans under 35 and 68% of those 35 to 49 favor making Election Day a national holiday, just 43% of those 65 and older say the same.

Republicans under 35 also are 19 points more likely than those 65 and older to favor automatic voter registration (58% vs. 39%). These age gaps are seen both among those identifying as Republican and those who lean to the GOP.

By comparison, there are only modest differences in these views across Democratic age groups, with clear majorities of those in all age groups favoring all three of these policies.

In contrast, views on a photo identification requirement differ little across age groups in either party. Across age groups, roughly nine-in-ten or more Republicans favor requiring voters to show photo identification, while about six-in-ten Democrats say this.

As you can see from the graphic above, partisan differences do still exist – especially on issues like voter ID – but these results suggest that some reforms like automated voter registration (AVR)  or Election Day registration could see an uptick of support as younger voters of all affiliations age and become a larger proportion of the overall electorate. This does assume that these views will remain constant over time, which isn’t always true – but given that reforms, especially AVR, are relatively new it isn’t unreasonable to think that the opposition by older voters is less about policy than unfamiliarity, which could change as more and more states adopt the practice.

There is so, so much more in this poll – and I highly recommend taking some time to read it, given Pew’s typically thorough insights. Kudos to Pew for this report, and thanks to the Democracy Fund for helping to support the underlying effort. Election Day is just one week away … stay tuned!

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