Changing Relationships: Who shellacked the Democrats?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series changing relationships
Men Older Americans Key to GOP Victory Pew

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Political analysts and pundits frantically sift data in the days after every election as they try to explain the outcome. Republicans gave the Democrats what Obama described as a “shellacking.” Who shellacked the Democrats and put Republicans in control of Congress?

How are relationships changing between the electorate and the political parties?

This week, we’ve discussed changing relationships in two different spheres of life—marriage and politics—and the values that influence these relationships. We’ve covered changing values about religion and LGBT communities, whether making marriage a priority is good for society, the rising share of never-married adults, and the prediction of gridlock after this week’s election. Today, we round out the week by talking about changing relationships in the electorate.

Overall, Republicans got 52% of the vote and Democrats got 47%, according to sources cited in the recent Pew Fact Tank. Who gave the edge to Republicans?

Early analysis points to two factors: gender and age.

Gender Divide—Men and women tend to vote differently. Women favor Democrats, men favor Republicans. This was the case this week. Fifty-seven percent of men voted for Republican candidates, 41% voted for Democrats. That’s a whopping 16-percentage-point difference. Women are the reverse. 47% voted for Republicans, 51% voted for Democrats.

Age Divide—Young Americans (ages 18 – 29) favor Democrats; older Americans, especially those 65+, favor Republicans. These generational differences occurred in this week’s elections, as they have in the past, but with one big difference: fewer young Americans chose to show up and vote. More than two of ten voters (22%) in this election were 65 years of age or older. Only 13% were ages 18 – 29.

Writing in the same week about changing relationships in marriage and politics may seem like an odd match. But what they have in common is this—in each sphere we are free to make choices about our relationships, and in each sphere those choices are informed by our values.

Did you vote your values this week?

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  1. Rambling Rob says

    There seems to be not analysis of those who did not vote versus thode who did vote. Why do they not vote, it is an American privalege? The last election was a vote against the President and not necessarily a vote for the Republicans. If we can consider why people do not vote or do not register to vote we may find a better trend to the future of our country. I think a lot goes to trusting your vote will help make progress in Washington, not compete for popularity.