The real up-and-coming force driving Election 2010? Seniors.
Seniors have always been among America's most committed voters. But starting in Election 2010, and continuing for two decades, their political power is expected to reach new heights.
Sherman Oaks, Calif.
At a recent, community-wide congressional debate in the high school cafeteria here, journalists were scouring the crowd looking for younger voters, the demographic that burst onto the political scene in 2008 and helped put Barack Obama in the White House.Skip to next paragraph
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They couldn’t find any.
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Mr. Potter says most seniors he knows are energized by this election because they are “scared” about issues such as health care, taxes, social security, and education. He represents a voter demographic that is growing, unifying, and – according to several analysts – likely to wield more power in this midterm election than at any time in decades.
Seniors and baby boomers are more engaged in the election and more excited about voting than any preelection polling has found since 1994, according to the Pew Research Center. While it was considered to be youth that ushered in the Obama revolution, it is the older generation that is wielding more power now.
'Freight train coming'
“This is a very important story that is being overlooked by the press,” says Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and author of “You Call This An Election? America’s Peculiar Democracy.”
“This is a freight train coming at 100 miles per hour, it’s going to be huge,” adds Fred Lynch, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif., and author of “The Fight for Medicare, Social Security and the American Future.”
He and others say Tuesday’s election is the starting point of a phenomenon that will really accelerate from January 2011 through 2030, when boomers will turn 65 at the rate of one every 10 seconds for nearly two straight decades.
According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, those 65 and older account for about 12.5 percent of eligible voters, but could reach close to 30 percent of voters on Tuesday. “New Seniors are enormously important, especially in midterm elections,” Mr. Rasmussen said in an interview with NewSeniors.com. “They vote more than their numbers in every election cycle, but in midterms the numbers go up dramatically.”