01 February 2012

Age And Political Preferences In the Florida GOP Primary

Seth notes exit poll results from the GOP primary showing that 71% of those voters were 50 years old or older (36% were sixty-five or older), while just 15% were under 40 years old (just 6% were under thirty).

Romney won in every Republican demographic in Florida, and Gingrich came in second place in every Republican demographic in Florida. Their relative support showed little statistically significant trends. But, support for the other two candidates showed an interesting, age related trend.

The under thirty sample was too small to break out by political preference, but those voters in their thirties disproportionately favored Ron Paul (18%) and Rick Santorum (17%). In contrast, just 3% of senior citizens gave their votes to Paul and just 9% voted for Santorum.

Ron Paul is liberal leaning on social issues, but favors small government and free trade by and large. The youth vote for Paul fits the narrative that younger voters are more libertarian than their elders, even within Republican and conservative circles. In races relatively open to unaffiliated voters, Paul has brought many new young voters who don't usually vote in Republican primaries at all, into the process, particularly on the strength of his socially liberal and militarily isolationst stances.

But, what is that narrative to make of strong support for Rick Santorum, a big government, mechantalist social conservative, who is the polar opposite of Ron Paul within the Republican party ideology spectrum? Is this simply a product of young voters being more willing to experiment with something different than the narrow Republican party line?

1 comment:

Michael Malak said...

Ron Paul is not socially liberal.

Abortion: He has sponsored "Life Begins at Conception" bills more than once, and advocates nullifying Roe v Wade by removing it from the purview of the federal courts.

Marriage: He advocates getting government "out of the business of marriage". While this would move homosexual unions out of the purview of government and into the purview of religion, it would do the same for heterosexual unions. In my opinion, the strength of the family (a socially conservative ideal) has more to gain from the ending of government-defined no-fault divorce (and forcing everyone to write their own marriage contracts) than it does by keeping marriage a government-sanctioned activity and simultaneously excluding homosexuals from it.

Drugs: Legalizing would, counterintuitively, reduce usage and crime, and would follow the model of Portugal, hardly the bastion of social liberalism.