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Seniors Turned Out In The Virginia Election — Which Could Be Great News For Democrats


Seniors Turned Out In The Virginia Election — Which Could Be Great News For Democrats


In today’s Wonkblog, Ezra Klein writes that despite Terry McAuliffe’s victory in yesterday’s Virginia gubernatorial election, the exit polls point to a “demographic drift that could help Republicans next year.”

“A Republican looking at these numbers should feel disappointed by last night’s election but hopeful about next year’s,” Klein writes.

Central to his argument is the fact that seniors represented 18 percent of Virginia’s 2013 electorate — up 4 percent from 2012 — and can therefore be expected to make up a larger share of next year’s midterm electorate. While we accept that demographic trends in odd-year elections point to potential shifts in the off-year body of voters, we take issue with the idea — taken as fact by most pundits — that a high vote share among seniors is necessarily bad news for Democrats.

More important than the vote share among seniors was the vote choice among seniors last night. At Democracy Corps, we have been closely examining voting trends among seniors in our polls and noting that they are increasingly supporting Democrats.  But this is not a poll.  This is an actual election that confirms what we have been seeing in our data: Something is, in fact, happening among seniors.

In 2009, seniors voted for Republican Bob McDonnell by a 20-point margin, 40 percent to 60 percent. Four years later, Democrat Terry McAuliffe cut that margin by three quarters (down to just +6 for Ken Cuccinelli).

Virginia Seniors

So, while we accept Ezra Klein’s analysis that we should pay attention to the demographic trends apparent in last night’s election, we reject that these trends point to potentially bad things for Democrats in 2014. A strong turnout among seniors may, in fact, be a good thing for Democrats next year.



  1. Mark Forsyth November 6, 2013

    As long as the GOP/T Party continues to push for cuts to Social Security,Medicare,and other social safety net programs,they will continue to lose senior voters.

    1. Annemb November 7, 2013

      And it can’t be fast enough!


    2. Eleanore Whitaker November 7, 2013

      If I paid for 4 decades for SS and Medicare, how dare any conservative think that’s up for their syrupy grabs?

      1. Mark Forsyth November 7, 2013

        I could not agree with you more Eleanore.When S.S. was set up,it was done so with a mandate that the program never will and never has contributed one red cent to the national debtThose who want to dismantle the program are the same type that opposed it during its implementation during the F.D.R. administration as being a Socialistic program.I say-So what if it is.It works and does what it is supposed to[mostly] It is time to expand S.S. benefits and to schuck the notion of chained CPI as the trash that it is.The idea that S.S. is a Ponzi scheme is a right wing scare tactic fostered by those who either do not understand or choose to ignore the way the program operates They are the same ones who oppose immigration reform and most restorative measures to fix the economy.They are dedicated to the concepts of shortages and not enough.All of it is a lie.
        I hope that you are paying attention and supporting all the good work that Senator Bernie Sanders is doing.He is a real champion in the fight to protect and defend Social Security.

        1. ThomasBonsell November 7, 2013

          Have to correct you on one point; that is Social Security does contribute to the national debt. But not in the way anyone might think.

          It goes like this.

          In 1981 Ronald Reagan and a GOP Senate and conservative House cut taxes across the board.

          In 1982, with deficits exploding, the three rescinded most of those cuts. But not on the aristocracy.

          In 1983 they increased the payroll (Social Security) tax by hundreds of billions of dollars.

          By law, any surplus in SS taxes must go to the Treasury to buy debt instruments rather than sit idle.

          So whenever there was a SS surplus – which was every year until Junior Bush trashed the economy – that surplus was turned into debt. I.E. A $100 billion surplus becomes a $100 billion debt.

          That was illustrated by the Clinton administration when his eight-year run produced about $63 billion surplus. But the debt rose $1.3 trillion because his yearly surpluses were mainly in the SS tax because of creating 23 million new jobs and lowering the poverty rate from the Reagan-Bush 15.1% to 11.3%; the lowest in history.

          That is the Reagan scam, and Americans voted for it even after being told repeatedly that it was “voodoo economics.”

          1. Independent1 November 7, 2013

            Thanks for the uptick. I consider Reagan to be the worst president America has ever had based on the destruction his failed policies and wild notiions have wrought on the American way of life. Failed policies and fantasies which continue to create damage 30 years later because mentally retarded Republicans have the misguided notion he was a great president and continue doing everything they can to perpetuate the income shift to the 1 & 2 percenters because of Reagan’s “trickle-down economics” and “the wealthy are benevolent keepers of the world” fantasies.

            And it looks like from your comments, that Reagan may also be the one that’s responsible for why 20 of the 23 states that have more than 15% of their residents living in poverty are all GOP run states because they are continuing to follow his misguided governing principles.

          2. Mark Forsyth November 8, 2013

            The Social Security Program itself does not contribute to the national debt,however you have illustrated the manipulations that can make it seem that way.
            The reality:The Social Security Trust Fund actually is one of the largest creditors of the U.S.Treasury that, along with China and Japan hold $2.4 trillion in treasury debt.The system was set up this way to ensure that Social Security would be invested “only” in the worlds safe instrument ie paper issued by the U.S.Treasury.
            The special issue Treasury notes are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. This fact alone demonstrates the foolishness and outright stupidity of the attempts to shut down the government and damage national credit ratings.The system works fine when the Treasury has the power to issue debt to fund S.S. bond redemptions.If the government hits the debt ceiling,there’s a viable option for keeping S.S. benefits flowing without affecting the Federal debt situation in any way.
            Social Security trustees can exercise the right to cash in as many S.S.bonds as they need to make payments for the forseeable future.Every dollar of principle [not interest] that the Federal government pays back to Social Security would “reduce” the government’s total indebtedness,making room to borrow more from the general public to fund S.S. redemptions. The total amount of federal debt would be unchanged and would not reduce funds available for other government operations.
            Once again- Social Security Does Not Add To National Debt.

          3. ThomasBonsell November 8, 2013

            My point was that Social Security “CONTRIBUTES” to the national debt – because of Reaganomics – it doesn’t CAUSE the debt. “Contribute” is the word used by the Social Security Trust Fund itself.

            Between the start of SS and Reagan, Congress maintained a balance between payroll tax income and SS payment of benefits so that the law requiring SS surpluses to go into debt instruments did not contribute to the total debt in any significant way. That changed with Reagan, who raised the payroll tax by hundreds of billions so the working middle class paid taxes the aristocracy did not pay and provided funds for the interest payments going to the aristocracy that loaded up on Treasury instruments with the money saved by tax cuts.

            Reagan’s manipulations make SS the largest holder of US debt instruments. My figures are a couple years old but they show that SS holds 19% of the debt ($2.67 trillion) and the Federal Reserve holds 11.3%.($1.63 trillion). China is the largest foreign holder of debt at 8% ($1.16 trillion). That means the whine of China “owning” us a bunch of malarky. The fourth highest holder of debt are US households ($959.4 billion). Those are the aristocrats that I told you loaded up on Treasury instruments after having their taxes slashed by Reagan when the prime rate was in the mid-teens. They have been sponging off the working middle class for three decades. Haven’t found any of them starting a business with the tax-cut savings, therefore putting to bed the right-wing claims that tax cuts create jobs and help the economy.

            Incidentally, Japan holds 6.4%, the fifth-highest total. In all, foreign entities hold only about 30% of the debt. That is the bad part of the debt because it takes billions of dollars from our economy and sends it to other nations’ economies. United States state and local governments are the sixth-highest holders of debt at 3.5% ($506.1 billion).

          4. Mark Forsyth November 8, 2013

            I don’t discount the things you have mentioned but I do think you are dealing with semantics as far as Social Security adding to the national debt and that those factors you mention would be better used to make a different point.If you don’t mind,I don’t care to discuss it further.

          5. ThomasBonsell November 8, 2013

            Here’s how Social Security contributes to the national debt. If the SS trust fund wasn’t there to be raided by the Reaganistas they would have to find another method of financing their pet issues. Perhaps that would be taxing the likes of Mitt Romney more than the 13.9 percent that he actually admitted paying. Perhaps he could pay at a rate similar to that paid by working people.

            Or maybe the Reaganites could end the freeloading they have provided to dozens of corporations that get billions of dollars from contracts with the Pentagon. Or, they could eliminate the act of giving “rebates” to corporations that pay no taxes but get a big, fat check from the Treasury each year.

            Then maybe they could eliminate the tax-free status given to religious organization just for being religious. I read a story several months ago on the San Francisco Chronicle website telling of thousands of small businesses that get tax-free status as nonprofits even though they were profit-making enterprises, created to be profitable businesses.

            If all this were cleaned up, our debt would be about 20 -to-30 percent less than it is now (30% includes counting both SS and the Fed holdings). BecauseSS trust fund was there, it was raided. That is how Social Security contributes to the national debt.

  2. ed horton November 6, 2013

    seems things tightened up with cuccinelli’s media onslaught that this election should be a referendum on obamacare rather than who would make the best governor. weak reasoning. but it seemed to work.

  3. Paul E Cintia Vadas November 6, 2013

    I agree with Carville and Greenberg. As more baby boomers retire and get Medicare with a closing doughnut hole, the Affordable Care Act becomes more popular, and the VA improves its services to veterans, seniors, who tend to be much more aware of health issues than the general population, will see that the party that really pays attention to their concerns is the Democratic Party. When we compare the 2009 election with the 2013 election, in Virginia, In 2009, Deeds got 40% of the senior’s vote while. McAuliffe got 45% in 2013 – a 5% increase for the democratic column. In 2009 McDonnel got 60% while, in 2013, Cuccinelli got 51% – a 9% decrease for the republican column. So, over the years, which party is actually getting more of the senior’s vote and which party is getting less?

    1. CPAinNewYork November 7, 2013

      Actually, going from 40% to 45% is a 12.5% increase.

  4. Kevin Butler November 7, 2013

    I’m a senior and I’m sick of the tired and empty GOP talking points. The Democrats are the party with a conscience and a heart.

    1. Independent1 November 7, 2013

      We have to figure out a way to get that message to more seniors. I’m one too and I am totally baffled that any seniors vote for the GOP at all. Not only does the GOP constantly work to undermine seniors with respect to Social Security, but no senior that has investments in the stock market should ever vote a Republican into the presidency.
      Even Faux News has broadcast the fact that stock market performance during GOP presidents has been a disaster since 1900 – Faux News projects that stock market performance during GOP presidencies since 1900 has been 5% or so, while under Dem presidencies its averaged better than 12%. The New York times claims an even bigger difference. A Times article in 2005 calculated that since 1929, stock market performance during GOP presidencies was less than .5%; whereas it was just under 10% during Dem presidencies. And according to the Times someone who invested $10,000 in 1929 could expect that $10,000 to grow to the meager amout of $11,700 during the 35 years a Republican was in office; whereas the $10,000 would have grown to over $307,000 during the 40 yeas a Democrat was in the presidency.

  5. Florence Levy November 7, 2013

    Senior citizens like me aren’t going to take it anymore; while we are not radical anymore we are fed up with the un-American party called the tea party. Frankly I am fed up. But these young people have their head in the sand they are all to narcissistic to save the world from the Klu, Klux Clan, Hitler regime, namely the tea party really the Koch brother’s the billionaires who want to buy the presidency and deregulate medium wage to the environment so they can trash America and make it unsafe for all Americans

  6. kaliforniaca November 7, 2013

    Seniors (and everyone else) need Healthcare – and don’t believe all the BS Republicans are constantly speaking. They say Obamacare is no good, yet they offer nothing. So all of us are supposed to stay uninsured – while Congress has either private insurance (they can afford it) or lifelong insurance paid by us (taxpayers). The Tea Party will hang themselves due to their arrogance based on stupidity!!

    1. Beaulieu6 November 7, 2013

      I’m a 63 year old senior and I don’t believe in the Republicans lies and I never did it’s not only the Republicans that are spreading lies, but also the media such as Fox news.

    2. Mark Forsyth November 8, 2013

      It can’t happen soon enough!

  7. Eleanore Whitaker November 7, 2013

    What the GOP Shut Down Bois want most is a totally GOP regime and government to do with as they please. Now..we all know what they please is to extract as much of every paycheck’s tax deductions to hand to corporations who neither hire in the US or create jobs in the US.

    See..it’s like this..No matter what the Shut Down bois try to do, they cannot escape their own partisan negligence in coming up with a documentable, died in permanent ink jobs program. They failed, failed, failed, failed…for 5 years to allow this president to do exactly what FDR did when the millions of Americans wandered the streets penniless thanks to Wall Street overspeculation…create jobs. The GOP has to be stopped.

    Do we really want to have the Constitutional right to vote usurped by corporate shills who thug for billionaires who long ago past the test for insanity and are now all chomping at the bit to do what Jay Gould tried to do? “I own the country.” Teddy Roosevelt didn’t seem to think so and found a reason to take Gould down a few pegs and persisted until he found out how Gould got to be so wealth so quickly…Fraud. For which Gould sat his butt end in jail thanks to strict adherence to anti-trust laws.

    What we have today is a GOP House majority using our tax dollars to continue to support ONLY their states. In other words, live off the hard earned dollars all other states pay into the fed plus our own state taxes.

    Take a good look at which idiot state politicians are refusing to set up the ACA mandated healthcare plans and which are refusing to fund Medicaid for the poor and indigent elderly? These neurotically greedy men are village idiots who need to be seen to and altered, severely and politically. Our children’s futures demand it.

    1. diverdown48 November 7, 2013

      Eleanore. You are wrong. These people you slam are not idiots. They are insidiously evil intelligent people. They lead the idiots but they are not. They are greedy self possessed despicable corrupted bigoted jerks but let’s not think they are idiots. Elsewise they will succeed in their efforts to destroy the government which even they are dependent on for their rights to be outspoken advocates for everything that is wrong with this otherwise great nation.

      This country is great because of democrat and even some republican ideas that have helped all Americans.

      Let’s not forget that Teddy Roosevelt(R) created the national parks for all of us to enjoy. Now it is up to Democrats to make sure they are not sold off to land barons, developers and oil, gas and all the mining anti environmental slime.

      Eisenhower(R) started the interstate highway system (copied from a country governed at the time by the worst humans on earth, Nazi’s). Now it is up to the Democrats to repair while creating thousands of jobs the crumbling bridges and the system as a whole.

      Ike also warned us to beware of the military industrial complex which builds tanks to set in the desert or be given to the Egyptians and everyone else willing to accept US military aid to buy our tanks. Or the ships that are being built at the cost of billions of taxpayer dollars that admirals say will be easily sunk by land fired munitions.
      Meanwhile 100,000 US Marines and soldiers are being kicked out of the service. Trained to kill being let go into a job market that is non existent.
      Why not buy one less easily sinkable ship or a couple less super jets that are looking for a place to crash and keep these patriots in a job.

      1. Eleanore Whitaker November 7, 2013

        Of course, I agree with your post 100%. Evil is intelligent in a very peculiar way. It has the ability to make wrong appear to be right. Perhaps, my early studies of the subject of evil were on the mark. It takes a keen sense of well developed goodness to be ever aware of evil all around us.

        I consider Eisenhower and even Stevenson the last of the true conservatives.

        1. diverdown48 November 7, 2013

          Like minds think alike.

  8. Beaulieu6 November 7, 2013

    We must keep the momentum going for Democrats in the 2014 mid-term election as the Koch brothers will spend millions of dollars in T.V. ads for the Republicans, we must remember that it’s the Republicans that has shutdown the Government, as they are the one to held accountable.
    Here in Florida Charlie Crist D- Florida is running against Governor Rick Scott R-Florida in the Governor race in 2014, Governor Scott a Republicans hasen’t focus enough on Florida Middle-Class and he hasen’t create jobs in the private sector, this is why Florida must elect Charlie Crist D-Florida who will fight for Florida Middle-Class, and he will create jobs in Florida private sector.
    The Republicans has failed us to many time in which I believe they must be replace by Democrats in the 2014 mid-term election, Democrats must regain control of Congress and keep the Senate with more seat.
    In 2014 we must go “Forward” like we did in 2008 and 2012 as I’m optimistic, with great confidence in Democrats and I’m hopeful that Democrats can and will control both Congress and the Senate in 2015.
    Together let’s keep the fight and the momentum going ha s we all know that those “OBSTRUCTIONIST” must be replace in November 2014.

  9. Dottiex November 8, 2013

    I am a senior and changed parties some years ago. I am now proudly a Democrat. I could no longer be part of a party that threw everyone under the bus. Safety net programs are important. People are important whether they have money or not. People are important even if they are older or disabled, or brown or black, or red or white. We all have a place in this country. It used to be that Republicans were more moderate. In my opinion, the Tea Party is the worst thing that ever happened to American politics.

    1. Beaulieu6 November 9, 2013

      I’m a 63 year old senior in which your are absolutely right the Republicans are very different than they were in the past, it’s the Tea Party that has changed everything people like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and the other.
      I have supported the Democrats since 1976, as I believe that they favor the Middle-Class 98% percent and the poor living below poverty line, the Republicans never care much about the Middle-Class and the poor living below poverty line, they care more about the wealthiest 2% percent.
      The Republicans must be removed from office in November 2014 and we must get rid of the Tea Party, we must give back Congress to Democrats, and keep the Senates with more seats.

  10. Beaulieu6 November 9, 2013

    My vision for America has 7 basics which are:
    1. Productivity
    2. Economic growth
    3. Working hard
    4. Working Together
    5. Initiative
    6. Incentive
    7. Efficiency

  11. Beaulieu6 November 10, 2013

    The Republicans are responsible and have to be held accountable for the 2007 recession, the 2011 Sequestration, the 2013 government shutdown, and now to have cut $39 billion in Food Stamps, simply because they don’t care about the middle-class 98% percent, the poor living below poverty line, and seniors has they only care about one thing is the wealthiest 2% percent the millionaire and billionaire like the Knoch brothers who will spend million in negative ads for the Republicans election.
    The Republicans have only one agenda in which is to “OBSTRUCT PROGRESS” has they haven’t understood and see the “PROGRESS” that were made since President Obama took office in 2009.
    In the 2014 mid-term election those Republicans that are up for re-election must be replace by Democrats in which we must give back the gavel to Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi D-California and give back Congress to Democrats. Democrats must gain more seats in the Senate and keep the Senate.
    Together let’s go “FORWARD” in keeping the momentum going and let’s stand strong with Democrats has we have their back and they have our back.

  12. RobertCHastings November 10, 2013

    I am a senior. My father was a life-long Republican. I even helped him canvas for Goldwater in 1964, even though I had supported Kennedy and Johnson. Since that time, I have become increasingly alarmed by the right and where they would take this country. The last time I voted anything but a straight Democratic ticket was over 20 years ago, and even considering it upset my father before his passing in 1991. I have over the past two decades come to know several people who have become disillusioned with the Republican party and what it has come to represent.

  13. Beaulieu6 November 14, 2013

    As a factory worker who has worked physically hard on the production line with my collegues at the Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Company from 1976 to 2006, than to retired with great pride and dignity in 2006 I know and understand what it takes to built strong and healthy economic growth.
    The Tea Party Republicans dosen’t know and understand the factory workers those who work physically hard on the production line, Senator Ted Cruz R-Texas has never experience what is like to work physically hard on the production line.
    I stand with Democrats and President Obama in strong support to raise the Minimum wage to $10.00 per hour, in which I believe strongly that the middle-class 98% percent deserve the very best as they are working hard.
    I’m an optimist with great confidence in the middle-class 98% percent and I’m hopeful that in early January 2015 we will reach a lasting prosterity, in which the middle-class will benefit.
    I believe that we can lift the poor living below poverty line out of poverty in moving them into the middle-class, in giving them work with good wages so they can feed themselves and their family.

  14. David Starkey November 19, 2013

    Baby boomers remember Vietnam & as a rule DON’T VOTE FOR NIXON’S PARTY

  15. David Starkey November 19, 2013

    Baby boomers DON’T just PRETEND to give a shit, WE ACTUALLY DO.

  16. David Starkey November 19, 2013


  17. David Starkey November 19, 2013

    Where’s my elephant gun?


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