Sunday, August 24, 2008

Voter Turnout By Age

Interesting graphic above showing voter turnout by age (click to enlarge), from Political Arithmetik. Note that voter turnout for the 60-70 year old group (about 70%) is about twice the 35-40% turnout for the 25-30 year old group.

The reason that might be important? The most recent Gallup weekly estimate shows Obama leading 60%-33% among 18-29 year olds (very low voter turnout), while McCain leads 46%-38% among those 65 and older (very high voter turnout).

HT: Ben Cunningham


At 8/24/2008 10:55 PM, Blogger Scott Kerr said...

Mostly just because I am curious - It appears on the graph that the older population has less overall numbers than the younger age brackets. Percentage wise, McCain has a huge advantage but it seems the raw numbers are likely to be less dramatic. Am I reading it correctly?

At 8/24/2008 11:55 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Don't forget, in 2004, they had a massive campaign to "Rock the Vote", too, so it's improbable, given the poor response even then, that it's going to be any better now, without any comparable effort. In other words, the kids aren't voting, and they aren't going to. Voter turnout among 18-25 hasn't been any higher since 1972 than it was in 1972... even with "Rock the Vote".

And that's probably a good thing. Too few people under 30 who have the savvy to exercise franchise correctly. Too few over 30, too, but at least they have sufficient experience with history to even that out a bit.

At 8/25/2008 1:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, and don't forget that Obama gets nearly all of the college faculty vote.

At 8/25/2008 9:39 AM, Blogger spencer said...

Remember all the polls may very strong assumptions about turnout in reporting their results. So if turnout turns out to be different than the historic norms the polls become useless.

At 8/25/2008 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ annonymous -

Every single one of my Econ and Foreign Policy professors at GWU has been a conservative I'm happy to see, thus they will probably vote for McCain. They also all do a remarkably good job at hiding it (aside from my History of Foreign Policy Professor Richard Thornton, who loved to rail on Jimmy Carter nearly losing the Cold War).

It's been all my English/Religion/InsertOtherUselessSubject that have been the die hard liberals who wear their socialism on their sleeve.

At 8/25/2008 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pardon me, gentlemen, for digressing.


Have been away for several days and did not have a chance to respond to your posts regarding homeschooling. Would offer two items for your consideration:

Total number of students in 2003 49.5 million

Total number of homeschooled students in 2003 under 1.1 million

The above numbers seem to support the assertion that the majority of parents choose an educational facility over homeschooling. Whatever your opinion of the public system, people are choosing some form of professionally delivered education over doing the job themselves.

With regard to the free market, I was merely acknowledging the most obvious argument so that the discussion did not end up down a rat hole. My point concerned the assertion of aggregate wisdom. Markets are an aggregate of millions of individuals so the analogy to a small minority of parents who homeschool was not a very apt comparison.

I agree that vouchers would be better than the present system. I agree that there is a certain element of indoctrination although attendees at the Democratic National Convention in Denver would likely disagree with that assertion given their agreement with the doctrine being inculcated.

The fact that the discussion ended up being about creationism and homeschooling rather than market economics tends to suggest that Sowell's piece did not illuminate its intended subject. We all got hung up on the headline and the sensational comparison.

When Sowell produces the amateur with his steak knife outperforming a trained surgeon, I may just buy his argument. The use of outlandish comparisons is a form of argumentation that I don't really take very seriously.

At 8/26/2008 11:04 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Whatever your opinion of the public system, people are choosing some form of professionally delivered education over doing the job themselves

You're assuming a preference for quality as the motivating factor.

a) they already pay for the public schools, regardless of whether they take advantage of them. This is far from a trivial motivating factor

b) If they either homeschool or private school their child, that is an extra expense in the multi-thousands of dollars a year, either in direct costs (private school) or hidden/opportunity costs (the educational spouse's work and earnings are necessarily diminished substantially, if not completely, short of some work-at-home options)

Neither of these are trivial factors and both almost certainly weigh heavily into the choice made, and both are of sufficient significance that I do not believe you can rationally claim that it's a preference for public schools which lead to people making that choice.

> I agree that there is a certain element of indoctrination

LOL. Back in the mid-60s, the admins asked my mother if I (then ca. 6 or 7 years old) were allowed to choose my own clothes. She said yes, and asked why they asked. It seems it wasn't me making odd choices or anything, it was that it contributed to my independence and faith in my own choices... "I needed to learn to follow, like the other children." When she asked them where tomorrow's leaders were supposed to come from, they were left rather speechless, I gather.

Now, do you really, really imagine it's gotten any better than that in 40+ years?

The system is designed to produce good Nazi citizens. "Don't ask questions. Follow orders. Always obey the authorities"

> tends to suggest that Sowell's piece did not illuminate its intended subject.

I believe your interpretation is inaccurate. The piece in question was hijacked into that direction due to an outrageous assertion by d4 that equated home schooling with religious zealotry. The assertion is fairly ludicrous but had adequate potential for disinformation so as to require visible demolition.

> When Sowell produces the amateur with his steak knife outperforming a trained surgeon

That's an inapt assertion. I believe the sort of individuals who often wind up getting education degrees speak highly of how little it is worth. The fact that homeschooled kids, usually taught by parents with no knowledge of educational techniques, consistently outperform public school children on most measures says a lot about the ability of amateurs to do at least some things better than so-called "professionals". That it does not apply to EVERY human endeavor does not invalidate the notion. It's a general assertion (i.e., that not all professions are particularly better performed by "professionals"), not a rule. It does not get invalidated by the existence of exceptions by any means. Training is usually valid and useful. It's not the only thing, by any means.

The assertion that it's not fair to compare a 1-1 teaching scenario with a 20-1 or 30-1 scenario is also unsupported by historical data. Historical class sizes 60 to 100 years ago often were in the 40s, not the "20-30 range". Despite that, teachers managed to teach kids far better than they do now. High schools often required Latin, and, going back to the turn of the last century, often also expected students to learn Greek, as well. Part of that is a different high-school student (fewer low-class families, whose kids were destined for farm work), but it still represents a massive difference in what was expected of teachers, as well.

I'm not saying we should work teachers as hard as we did in those days, but clearly it's possible to expect them to do their jobs a heeck of a lot BETTER and to have a notion of a minimum standard of teaching. 10-20% of all students are going to have their parents failing badly enough at their jobs that a teacher can't make a difference, but one thing that has been demonstrated time and again, it's that, when parents are allowed to be involved in their child's education, they generally tend to step up to the job. This has been demonstrated in inner-city schools, not just in posh white suburban charter schools.


At 8/26/2008 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with many of your assertions:

1. Teachers should be held accountable for student performance and losy teachers should be fired
2. There is far too much socialist indoctrination in the school system which continues well into the post-secondary system
3. Not all homeschoolers are wingnut creationists (the percentage of Americans 45-47% that believe in creationism; creationists make up a significant share of the U.S. population)
4. Throwing public funds at the school system has not improved student performance; teaching in classical mathematics produced significantly better results than present teaching methods
5. Parents should be able to get a voucher for the money they pay into the public system and use it anywhere they damn well please
6. Parent involvement contributes significantly to childhood development
7. There are significant costs associated with homeschooling & private schooling which does influence the choice made

It is easier to change schools than it is to become your own school. Many parents look very carefully at schools when they buy a home. Despite the cost, the percentage of students attending private schools is several times the number of those being homeschooled.

Percentage of students in private school is 11% vs. 2.2% for homeschooling as per links provided yesterday (less than 1.1 million of 49.5 million students).

Enjoyed the story about your mom's dealings with the school system. Glad they did not succeed :)

Six months ago, I would have bought Sowell's piece and engaged in bashing the school system. Today, I am starting to question these slam dunk arguments where one does not really know what the evidence is. Unless one has downloaded the studies, we are really just taking someone's word for what they contain. We base our view on how much we trust Mr. Sowell.

What is the difference between indoctrination of the right and that of the school system?

When one starts reading studies, it is very quickly apparent that the methodology can skew the results particularly where a researcher has a pre-conceived idea of what he/she should find. These reports are routinely provided by organizations that are actively promoting homeschooling.

We both seem to have learned to ask questions.

At 8/26/2008 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is one decidedly interesting article in Wikipedia that you cited.

One notes that definitions for homeschooling differ widely and that mandatory testing of homeschooled students is not required under No Child Left Behind. Some states require testing while others allow parents to choose the tests their child will take creating selection bias.

Lawrence Rudner's study indicate parents with higher education levels and higher income levels than the U.S. average while the Barna study found the exact opposite. A great deal of the research referenced was done by strong advocates like the Moore's.

There appears to be very minimal testing data, potential for selection bias and a lack of objectivity. The perfect combination to produce
skewed research..

At 8/27/2008 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And that's probably a good thing. Too few people under 30 who have the savvy to exercise franchise correctly. Too few over 30, too, but at least they have sufficient experience with history to even that out a bit."

Yeah? But they have the experience to go die for you in Iraq and Afghanistan? To operate the most powerful weapon systems on earth?


Post a Comment

<< Home