Continuing on from yesterdays post about the historical voting patters of four generations of Australians (Pre-War, Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y) – Kymbos asked in comments about generational voting power. If we use the ABS data for historical population estimates by age, we can figure out the proportion of the electorate (those aged 18 and over) that each of these generations represent – effectively giving us a measure of their electoral power and how it’s changed over the years.
First up, we need to define when the generations start and finish. I’ve used the pre-War Gen Blue as being born in 1945 or earlier, the Boomers as being born between 1946 and 1964, Gen X being born between 1965 and 1980 while Gen Y why comes in as being born in 1981 or later.
Once we tally up all the numbers and break them down into proportions for elections years corresponding to the primary vote data of yesterday’s post, this is what the generational voting power looks like – with a projection for 2010 (click to expand).
You can really see how the premium vote the Coalition receives from the pre-war generation is getting quickly washed out of the system and replaced with a generation that votes much more heavily toward Labor. Effectively, a generation of voters that votes 60/40 for the Coalition is being gradually substituted for one that votes 60/40 the other way. The practical political problem for the Coalition is that it’s difficult for them to move away from that older generation politically and pivot towards a much younger demographic, as the majority of party’s membership base is over 60.
Think of the vast generation gap that exists between the youngest and oldest cohorts of the electoral roll on climate change, same sex marriage, censorship laws, asylum seekers, immigration policy and general technology issues – how will the Libs pivot towards Gen Y when on any of these issues the views of the party’s older membership base is incompatible with the majority view of Gen Y, a generation whose vote the Libs will increasingly need to be electorally competitive?