Men and Older Voters Fueled GOP Victory

An analysis of exit polls from last week's midterms showed male and older voters drove the GOP to big wins.

The Pew Research Center says nationally 52% of voters cast ballots for Republican candidates in the House, which is similar to their performance in 2010. Drilling down, we find that 57% of men voted for Republicans while 51% of women voted for Democrats.

Broken down by age, 53% of voters between the age of 45 and 64 voted for the GOP while 57% of voters over the age of 65 voted that way.

Men favored Republicans by a 16-point margin (57% voted for the GOP, 41% for Democrats) yesterday, while women voted for Democratic candidates by a four-point margin (51% to 47%). This gender gap is at least as large as in 2010: In that election men voted for Republicans by a 14-point margin while women were nearly evenly split, opting for GOP candidates by a one-point margin.

Older voters also made up a larger portion of the electorate this year as younger voters stayed away from the polls.. 22% of voters were age 65 and older this year. 

Even though Democratic candidates won the 18- to 29- year-old vote by an 11-point margin, 54% to 43%, this group didn’t carry the same weight as it did two years ago when Barack Obama was re-elected. They made up a much smaller share of the electorate than in 2012, and the Democratic margins among this group also were not as large as in 2012.

According to the exit polls, voters younger than 30 were just 13% of those who showed up at the polls. Though this is little different than the 12% they represented in 2010, younger voters accounted for a larger share (19%) of the 2012 electorate.