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Election Politics

Early voting, Day 6: Democratic voters are older than Republicans, but don’t read too much into that

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Early voting in the March 3 Texas primary elections is underway and continues through Feb. 28. El Paso Matters is tracking the demographic profile of El Paso voters and will update the turnout details as data become available each day. If you have a question about turnout demographics, email bmoore@elpasomatters.org. Here’s how things look after six days of early voting. (Correction: this story has been corrected with new numbers on Republican turnout by age group.)

Age

In previous days, we’ve looked at turnout by age group. Another way to look at the age of the electorate is median age, meaning half of voters in any group are older and half are younger.

The median age of all primary voters so far is 18 years older than the median age of registered voters. That shows that older voters are turning out proportionately at much higher levels than younger voters. That’s not new, though the age gap is fairly large.

One other thing that immediate pops out is that the median age of Republican voters is 20 years younger than the median for Democrats. Nationally, the median age of Republicans is about four years older than Democrats.

One factor driving the age gap is that Democrats have run a much more successful mail ballot effort. Through Saturday, the last day the mail arrived at the County Courthouse, Democrats had sent 2,134 mail ballots vs. 388 for Republicans. Texas tightly restricts mail ballot eligibility, so the vast majority of mail ballots come from people over 65.

Although Republican voters are collectively younger than Democrats, they still trail Democrats in turnout in every age group. It’s just that the gap is smaller among younger voters The Democrats’ biggest advantage over Republicans is in voters over age 50. The relative Republican strength in voters 18-24 is worth noting. However, those younger voters aren’t yet turning out, for either party, in numbers representative of their possible strength.

Sex

As is traditional in El Paso elections, more women than men are voting. But there’s a clear gender gap between parties.

Women make up 52 percent of Democratic voters so far, but just 46 percent of Republicans. Put another way, 79 percent of women voters so far have cast Democratic ballots; for men it’s 75 percent. That gender gap has long been present nationally.

Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on border issues by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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