Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Old is as old votes

With the ever-churning Republican primary process ongoing, I guarantee you every media outlet in town is chomping at the bit hoping that the race is still contested by the time the Pennsylvania primary comes around.  A close race means ads, ads, ads... and more ads. Did I mention ads?

Anyway.. the New York Times' 538 blog had this snipped last night: Michigan Republican Electorate skews older.    Few places appreciate what old means for voting as we do.  I doubt they come as close to us in terms of how old their electorate is. If we can get the 538 folks reading here by chance.. Western PA = oldest effective electorate in the nation... or so I hypothesize. Gotta be worth a story.. certainly will be if the parachute folks drop in for the primary coming up. 

I guess I didn't yet get to this, but last fall the general election in Allegheny County had an anemic turnout.   General elections usually get younger voters to come out at rates well above whatever happens in the primary, no matter how determinative the primary is.  But older voters are more consistent and come out in high profile races as much as in races that are not so exciting.  So the variation in turnout is usually reflecting what is going on with younger viters.   In November 239K folks turned out, about as low as it gets for a general election in Allegheny County. 

So below is what I get looking at who actually made it to the polls in November.. Remember this is for a general election which is normally 'younger' than primary elections here. For the mirage of young voters it was worse than ever for a general election.   Yes, the total proportion of all voters under age 30 was just over 5% of all votes cast.  Not under 20... that is not a typo.. under 30!  There were over 4.5 voters age 70 and over for every voter under 30.

Nothing new here at all of course, we've been through this ad nauseum. What I don't quite get is given how determinative the older voter is, why there is not more impact of the anghst of older voters (who are big transit and ACCESS riders) over the big transit cuts. Makes you wonder a bit if they really appreciate the scale of cuts coming down. I don't think anyone really has gone out of their way to tell them from my conversations.. that or they've heard the message but don't believe it because it has been such a repeated story in the past only to have crises averted at the last minute.. or so is the perception.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

I believe you wanted 30-39 in the red slice, not 20-39.

Anyway, just based on my own experience discussing these issues with a variety of people, as of the 2010 general election people were convinced that Corbett, being a Western PA guy, would take care of us on issues like public transit funding. Then a lot of people blamed local officials, rather than the state, for this current crisis, even though it was caused by state funding cuts.

I think the realities of the situation are slowly seeping in, but that misplaced faith in Corbett plus ease of deflecting anger to local officials explains why it has taken so long.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 9:57:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

If Onorato ever did anything to put state legislators in prison, he’d have won easily. On transit, I think the post's mention of people being fatigued by the repeated crisis gets to the problem. The previous couple of years have taught people to ignore the first couple of rounds.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

Or maybe the oldsters aren't riding the bus like they used to? The voting oldsers?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:17:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Or maybe they're too worried about property taxes.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 12:21:00 PM  
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