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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Project Vote Study: Seniors, Wealthy Surged in Midterms

There are no major surprises in a new study of the midterm elections by Project Vote. Much of the analysis published elsewhere is confirmed in the study, but some interesting trends are highlighted in comparison to the 2006 midterms. Among the findings, which are based on exit poll data and estimates from the U.S. Elections Project and reported here by Steven Thomma and William Douglas of McClatchey News Service:

Senior citizens turned out in force — their turnout was 16 percent higher than in the last midterm election of 2006, and 59 percent of them voted Republican, up 10 percentage points from 2006. While voters 65 and older are 13 percent of the U.S. population, they made up 21 percent of this year’s electorate.[compared to 19 percent in the 2006 midterms] The wealthy voted heavily too. Total ballots cast by people making $200,000 a year or more expanded by 68 percent over 2006, the study found. Those making from $100,000 to $200,000 cast 11 percent more ballots than they did in 2006.

Dems also lost their edge with women voters in 2010, according to the study:

Women voters’ turnout surged significantly over 2006 as well — and the traditional gender gap vanished. In 2006, women voted Democratic by 55 percent to 43 percent for Republicans. This year, women voted 49 percent for Republicans and 48 percent for Democrats.

On a more positive note, the study also confirmed the influence of Latino vote in Democratic victories: “…One striking development helped Democrats in a few races: Hispanic voting surged in several states, helping Democrats win hotly contested Senate races in California, Colorado and Nevada.”

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