On Friday, we explored whether or not young people vote using data provided to the Post by California political firm Political Data. The upshot: Younger voters are among those with the lowest turnout -- except for 18 year-olds. We speculated on why that might be, which you're invited to read.
But Political Data also gave us a pretty unique set of numbers: Turnout in November 2014 in California by age. Which allowed us to make this remarkable graph, showing how many voters at each individual age actually showed up to vote.
First, notice that 18 and 19 year-olds do vote more than the next age groups. That it's those two ages bolsters one of our theories from yesterday: The allure of voting in your first federal election spurs more engagement. (Nineteen year-olds, of course, have to wait a year for that privilege.)
What struck us about this graph, though, was how regular it was, a smooth upward incline into the late 70s, at which point it tails off.
Earlier this month, we noted research showing that economically insecure people vote less frequently. There's clearly overlap between that group and younger people; a common explanation for the high turnout of older voters is that they're more likely to be economically secure and less likely to move frequently. This graph is a graph of age. Perhaps it's a graph of other things, too.
If you dive into the demographics a bit, the trends are mostly the same as above. But we thought this chart, showing racial demographics, was worth breaking out.
White voters voted far more heavily than other groups. In part, that's a function of the makeup of the electorate; Republicans also turned out more heavily. Turnout among other groups is interesting, though. The increase in turnout among black voters over 60 is much sharper than for younger age groups. (The see-saw section of that line is a function of our rounding turnouts to the nearest digit.)
Again, this is only California -- but California is certainly large and diverse enough to offer some broader lessons. Among them: newly eligible voters are more likely to vote (as are newly registered ones, as we found last year). And: Turnout increases steadily with age. Good news for whichever party does the best job appealing to older voters. Which, of course, is the one that cleaned up last November.