Average Voters Are NOT Average Americans

Average Voters Are NOT Average Americans

According to an article in New Strategist Publications, by Cheryl Russell, editorial director, politicians are trying to portray themselves as in touch with the average American. In truth, she says, they are courting the average voter, whom she describes as:

- A woman. Fifty-one percent of the nation's 294 million people are female. Among voters, the female share is a larger 53 percent. In the 2000 presidential election, women cast nearly 8 million more votes than men.

- 46 years old, while the average American is 37. Voters are older than average because young adults are least likely to vote. In the 2000 presidential election, only 27 percent of 18-year-olds went to the polls (the smallest voter turnout by age). In contrast, fully 73 percent of 67- and 68-year-olds voted (the highest turnout).

- as racially diverse as the states of Michigan and Ohio. While 68 percent of the U.S. population is non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic whites cast 81 percent of the votes in the presidential election of 2000

- married. Fifty-six percent of people aged 18 or older are currently married. Among voters, the proportion is an even greater 64 percent.

- an empty nester. Among average Americans (37-year-olds), 67 percent have children under age 18 living with them. Among average voters (46-year-olds), only 45 percent have children under age 18 at home.

- a homeowner. Sixty-eight percent of the nation's households are homeowners, but 81 percent of voters are homeowners.

- having college experience. Fifty-two percent Americans aged 25 or older have been to college for at least a year. Among voters aged 25 or older, 61 percent have college experience.

- employed. Among voters in 2000, 68 percent were in the labor force.

- richer than the average American. Median family income stood at $68,236 among voters in 2000, 32 percent greater than the $51,680 median of all families in 2003.

- religious. Fully 59 percent of the public say religion is "very important" in their life, according to the Gallup Organization. The figure is higher among voters because the groups dominating the electorate (women and older Americans) are even more likely to embrace religion (65 to 73 percent say it is "very important").

Russell concludes that "the demographics of voters explain many of the antics of the Silly Season."

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