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Never before were the old voters so powerful

Monday, September 11th, 2017 | World News

Half of the electorate is 52 years old and older – a new peak. Electoral participation, political agenda, outcome of the election: what influence does the growing age of the electorate have?

The electors were never so old at a Bundestag election. Half of them are older than 52 years. This has been calculated by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB). The experts describe the median age, not the average age. In other words, the value mentioned divides the population in a certain way in the middle: one half is older, one is younger than the median, which is an important value for research on society. This year, the median age of the electorate breached for the first time the 52 years, explains the BiB.

At the beginning of the 1990s the median age of the electorate was still around 46 years. What does that mean? That the electoral population is getting older? And what does it mean for September 24, 2017?

  At first, the electoral participation could rise. The fact is: Older ones are pro rata. From the middle of 20 onwards the electoral participation steadily increases and reaches the highest value in the group of 60- to 69-year-olds, before it decreases again a little. The electoral participation in the previous election was four years ago at 72.4 percent. This was the second lowest value since reunification.

The elders go to choose the most frequently
"Altogether older people have a higher political interest than younger ones," says Andrea Wolf from the Research Group for Elections, which produces the "Politbarometer". This is not a question of the generation, but of the life cycle, which is also shown by the statistics of the federal election leader. That people "in their sixties" most frequently to the urn, is a well-known phenomenon and in many elections in the past to observe, says Wolf.

 Other figures illustrate the power relationship: the generation over 60 represents more than every third party with voting rights, the generation below 30 is just under a sixth. The fact that the SPD places the pension at the center of its electoral campaign, that the Union wants to set up a pension commission, the Greens want a stronger legal pension as a guarantee for the guarantee, and the link section 1050 Euro minimum rents can be seen as signs that the older parties are the focus of the parties.

Are there ditches between young and old? Rather not. The population saw much more conflict potential in the relationship between rich and poor, foreigners and Germans or workers and employers. Then the "Politbarometer" asked in early 2016.

"There are not so many differences between generations on the important topics," says Wolf, with a view to the election. Older people are more interested in the topics of retirement than younger people, while education policy plays a greater role, especially for middle age groups. Which topic is most important, the old and the young agree: refugees, integration and asylum, according to Wolf.

The SPD and the Union could benefit from the high age
The two major parties could benefit from the new age. "They are rather supported by the older ones," says Wolf, pointing to the recent Bundestag election. There the over 60-year-olds have often voted Union or SPD.

At the next Bundestag election in 2021, the electorate would be even older, the Federal Institute predicts. "We expect a further increase in the median age of the electorate over the next ten years," says BiB researcher Tim Aevermann.

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