It’s a midterm election year and primary elections are underway. In the U.S., the general election will take place on November 8. Many things have changed over the years when it comes to technology and elections. Whether or not you follow or participate in elections, it’s something many are talking about and for some, they are tracking election odds.
We wanted to learn how voting status, habits, and opinions on elections vary among the different generations. We surveyed more than 1,000 Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z to find out.
Who Is Registered To Vote In America?
In order to cast your ballot, you have to be registered to vote. 95% of Baby Boomers and Gen X report being registered. Slightly less Millennials (92%) and Gen Zers (93%) are currently registered.
In 1971, the U.S. lowered the voting age to 18, and the majority of Americans seem to have registered around that age. 79% of Gen Z, 68% of Millennials, 65% of Gen X, and 54% of Baby Boomers report registering to vote at 18-years-old. Overall, the average age each generation first registered to vote are as follows:
- Gen Z: 18
- Millennials: 20
- Gen X: 22
- Baby Boomers: 23
Voting is a constitutional right which many Americans take part in doing, some more than others. 73% try to vote in every election. Broken down, 60% of Gen Z, 68% of Millennials, 80% of Gen X, and 86% of Baby Boomers try to cast their ballot whenever they can. Trying though, is not the same as doing, and 80% of Americans report skipping voting in an election. The majority of Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X haven’t voted since 2020.
The top reasons for not heading to the ballot box include not having enough time to research candidates, forgetting about the election, and not liking any of the candidates.
Voting Habits Across Different Generations
Nearly 3 in 4 Americans (72%) believe their vote makes a difference. Baby Boomers share the sentiment the most with 77% saying their vote matters. They’re followed by Gen X (75%), Gen Z (69%), and Millennials (66%).
While many may like heading to the polls on Election Day, others choose to vote ahead of time by mail. More than half (51%) of Americans have voted by mail and, among those who have, 58% prefer it.
Why Americans Vote For Certain Candidates
When it comes to voting, nearly 1 in 5 (18%) Millennials report voting for someone solely based on whose name they liked better. Additionally, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) Baby Boomers have voted for someone solely based on their gender.
77% of Americans report voting for someone solely based on their political party. It’s something the majority of Baby Boomers (82%), Gen X (78%), Millennials (79%), and Gen Z (69%) have done. Additionally, the majority of Baby Boomers (58%) and Gen X (59%) have voted for someone of a party they usually don’t support. The majority of respondents report voting for a candidate of another party most often in local and state elections.
Although all Americans are encouraged to vote and use their constitutional right, some are not putting in much effort before casting their ballots. 60% of people have voted for someone without knowing where they stand on policies. The generation that has done this the most? Gen X at 64%.
Voting On National Versus Local Elections
Despite many people focusing on presidential elections, local and state races are also very important and voters track midterm election odds as well. Baby Boomers report voting the most in local elections at 84%. Following that, 81% of Gen X, 71% of Millennials, and 56% of Gen Z have voted in a local election.
The main reason Americans don’t vote in local elections is because they don’t know enough about the candidates to vote. The majority of Americans surveyed report voting in a presidential election. 98% of Baby Boomers, 96% of Gen X, 92% of Millennials, and 81% of Gen Z have all voted for who they want to be president.
The main reason Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers don’t vote in Presidential elections is because they feel their vote won’t matter. Millennials who don’t vote in Presidential elections say the main reason is because they don’t like politics.
When it comes to betting on elections, although not legal in any state in the U.S., people do tend to bet offshore or make friendly wagers with friends and family. Millennials are betting and winning the most money compared to the other generations. On average, among those who have bet on elections, Millennials have won $330, followed by Gen X winning $73, Baby Boomers cashing in at $37, and Gen Z winning $10. The most common race to bet on? Presidential.
Although there are many different views and opinions when it comes to politics, there are also many similarities between the generations on elections and voting. Many don’t vote because they don’t feel like their vote matters, but remember not every country has the freedom and ability to vote like Americans do. We encourage you to register if you’re not, and exercise your right to vote. It really does make a difference!
In September 2022, we surveyed 1,000 Americans (250 Baby Boomers, 250 Gen X, 250 Millennials, and 250 Gen Z) to get their feedback on voting and elections. Gen Z (aged 18-25), Millennials (aged 26-41), Gen X (aged 42-57), and Baby Boomers (aged 58-70). Respondents were 49% male, 49% female, and 2% non-binary/transgender.
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