Subscribe to
Posts
Comments

In America older people tend to vote more conservatively than the rest of the population. Apparently, the French are no different. According to this article in the in The Independent (h/t tompeters! and the Brussels’s Journal) Sarkozy would not have won the recent election in France if it were not for the over 60 crowd. As they put it…

Mme Royal, the Socialist candidate, dismissed by the Right as the candidate of the past, scored heavily among the young and the middle-aged (with the exception of those aged 25 to 34). In an election restricted to French voters aged 18 to 59, Mme Royal would have won handsomely. M. Sarkozy owes his victory to a “wrinkly” landslide with an overwhelming triumph among French voters in their sixties (61 per cent of the vote) and a jackpot among the over-seventies (68 per cent).

But I wonder, is the conservative nature of the elderly a reflection of their age or a reflection of the values prevalent in their formative years?

My gut reaction is to say that the answer is a little bit of both. It seems likely that people place a higher value on order as they get older. And order tends to be associated with conservative parties in most countries.

On the other hand, old people are the mainstay of the communist party’s support in Russia. That is surely a reflection of the values that those people were raised on in their younger days and not a reflection of natural progression towards communistic values as people age. This principle might also explain some of the conservative beliefs of the older population in this country.

Another thing I wonder is to what extent does immigration play a role in sharpening the divide in political ideology between the age groups. It seems obvious (though I am too lazy to look up any statistics) that the older demographics would be composed of a larger percentage of “natives” than the younger demographic set.

Since immigration is just beginning to change European demographics, would it be reasonable to assume that politics in Europe is going to move towards a more confrontational style? Could it be that the unusually divisive Royal/Sarkozy contest heralds the start of a new trend in Europe?

And what does this mean for America? The older age groups in this country are ¾ white whereas the younger generation is more like 50/50. What does this mean for the future of US politics?

But we should not get carried away here. Even though Royal would have won had the voting in France been confined to under 59’s, she still would not have carried all age groups. Quoting from the same story in The Independent ….

The “internet” generation of 18- to 24-year-olds voted 58 per cent for Mme Royal. The 25- to 34-year-olds voted 57 per cent for M. Sarkozy. The “May 1968”- Mitterrand generation of 45- to 59-year-olds voted 55 per cent for Mme Royal. The 35 to 44 generation split 50-50.

Why did a majority of 18-24 year olds vote for Royal and a majority of 25-34 year olds vote for Sarkozy? Even more confusingly, why does the trend go against Sarkozy after that?

My guess is that the 25-32 year olds have gotten tired of having such a hard time getting a job and starting a career. Thus they are ready for the economic system in France to be shaken up. But I will bet that that those older than them feel protected by France’s current labor regulations and are not interested in making it easier for their younger compatriots to compete with them.

I am sure that this is greatly oversimplifying things. Life is just not that simple. But I think that the differing economic interests of the various age groups is going to produce increasing political competition amongst the various age groups. This is a natural result of the welfare state and the breakdown of the extended family.

One Response to “Does the growing demographic divide favor the right?”

  1. […] _uacct = “UA-1202685-1”; urchinTracker(); Map of the Ethereal Land The Ethereal Voice Front Page – Politics – Money – Knowledge – Art – Food – Fun Masthead About Does the growing demographic divide favor the right? By Ape Man | May 10, 2007 – 9:13 pm Posted in Category: Front Page, Politics In America older people tend to vote more conservatively than the rest of the population. Apparently, the French are no different. According to this article in the in The Independent (h/t tompeters! and the Brussels’s Journal) Sarkozy would not have won the recent election in France if it were not for the over 60 crowd. Click Here to continue reading. […]

Leave a Reply