Report Shows Generational Shift Among 2016 Voters

REUTERS/David Becker

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Millennials and Generation X cast 69.9% of the 137.5 million total votes in the 2016 election, reports Pew Research Center. This leaves prior generations, including baby boomers, at a voter minority.

The slight lead taken by the younger generations combined, specifically those that are ages 18-51, indicate a political demographic shift that could dramatically influence incoming election years.

In 2016, over half of Millennials identified as Democrats or Democratic leaning independents, and a small 33% identified as Republicans or Republican leaning independents. 49% of Generation Xers identified as Democrats or Democrat leaning independents.

When looking at the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers, there were less than 50% that identified with or leaned Democratic.

Additionally, Millennials take more liberal positions on issues such as the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage than older generations.

Naturally, the younger generations will start to outvote the older ones. But what Pew Research Center discovered about the 2016 election that helps to explain why the Baby Boomer Generation was outvoted, has to do with more than things like death or emigration.

Not only were there more individuals eligible to vote, due to an increase in naturalizations, but the voter turnout for Generation X peaked in 2016.  They cast 35.7 million votes, the most ever made by their generation.

Moving into the 2020 election, Pew Research Center predicts that Millennials will actually surpass Generation X in the amount of votes cast. The generation is larger (absolute size and span of years), but similar to Generation X, they are experiencing an increase of eligible voters due to immigration.