Democrats Post Gains in Affiliation Across Age Cohorts

  • October 31, 2008

The proportion of voters identifying with the Democratic Party has grown significantly since the 2004 election, and the shift has been particularly dramatic among younger voters. Fully 61% of voters ages 18 to 29 identify or lean Democratic and a comparable percentage supports Barack Obama. But Democratic gains in party affiliation among older voters since 2004 have been much more modest. Moreover, support for Obama among voters ages 50 and older is slightly lower than the share of this cohort that identifies with the Democratic Party.

In Pew Research Center surveys conducted since August of this year, 51% of all voters say they think of themselves as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party, up five points from 46% during the same period in 2004. Meanwhile, the number identifying with or leaning toward the Republican Party has fallen from 45% to 41%. In this cycle, the Democratic Party enjoys a 10-point advantage in party identification, compared with a one-point edge in the fall of 2004.

The greatest gains for the Democratic Party have come among younger voters. The percentage of voters ages 18 to 29 identifying with the Democratic Party has increased from 48% in the fall of 2004 to 61% currently. Democrats now outnumber Republicans by a margin of nearly two-to-one (61% to 32%) in this age group, up from only a seven-point advantage in 2004.

Read the full report Democrats Post Gains in Affiliation Across Age Cohorts on the Pew Research Center Web site.