Forget Students and the Youth Vote: AARP Went Big For Obama

Older voters were the core of Obama's coalition, the group says.

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All the post-election talk about how students and younger voters went for President-elect Barack Obama can't hide this fact from their elders: The AARP vote was Obama's biggest. "Contrary to what many may believe, an analysis of exit polling shows that 50+ voters were the core of Obama's winning coalition, delivering more votes for the president-elect than any other age demographic," AARP told us this morning. Below is their memo on the exit polling, but here are some highlights:

- Voters ages 50+ contributed to Obama's victory in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

- In Colorado, 50+ voters preferred Obama by 18 percentage points, providing Obama's entire 7 point margin of victory.

- 50+ voters comprised 40 percent (25 million) of votes cast for Obama compared with 23 percent (less than 14.5 million) from 18 to 29 year olds, 19 percent (12 million) from 30 to 39 year olds, and 20 percent (13 million) from 40 to 49 year olds.

- Over 51 million voters 50+ participated in the presidential election; 43 percent of the total electorate.

Here's the full memo:

Analysis of 2008 Presidential Election and 50+ Voters

Quick reviews of the exit polls can be misleading and disconnected from the political reality of how Barack Obama assembled a sweeping Electoral College victory. For example, a simplistic reading of the national exit polls may lead some to infer that 50+ voters were not critical to Obama's win. In fact, 50+ voters were the core of the Obama coalition, delivering more votes than any other age demographic. The importance of 50+ voters to Obama's win is especially pronounced in the battleground states.

50+ Voters Form the Bulk of Obama's Winning Coalition

  • Over 25 million 50+ Americans voted for Obama compared to fewer than 14.5 million 18-29 year olds, 12 million 30-39 year olds, and 13 million 40-49 year olds.
  • 40 percent of votes cast for Obama were from voters 50+ compared to 23 percent from 18-29 year olds, 19 percent from 30-39 year olds, and 20 percent from 40-49 year olds.
  • 48 percent of Obama voters in Florida were 50+, 45 percent in Colorado and New Hampshire, and 44 percent in Iowa.

50+ Voters Key to Obama's Battleground State Wins

  • Voters aged 50+ contributed to Obama's victory in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
  • In Colorado, 50+ voters preferred Obama by 18 percentage points, providing Obama's entire 7 point margin of victory.
  • In the battleground states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, WI), the age group least favorable to Obama was 40-49 year olds. Obama carried that age group in only Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
  • Older voters provided 25 percent or more of Obama's margin of victory in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Size of 50+ Electorate

  • Over 51 million 50+ Americans participated in the Presidential election. 50+ voters have the highest turnout rate of any age group. 50+voters made up 43 percent of the total electorate.
  • 50+ voters exceeded the total number of voters under 40 by over 8 million. As a bloc, 50+ voters were nearly 2.4 times larger than the number of voters ages 18-29.
  • In the battleground states, 50+ voters exceeded 40 percent of the total electorate in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.