Older Voters Still Dominate Gulf Coast Politics



While Florida has seen a surge in registration among younger voters this year, the electorate in Sarasota and Manatee counties remains largely older voters, according to a Where The Votes Are analysis released by SRQ Media Group on Thursday.

SRQ has hosted voter analysis workshops for nearly 10 years, and local political leaders gathered in the company headquarters on Pineappple Avenue for the event Thursday morning.

Voter turnout remained a little more than 9 percent among voters in their 20s in the region, with about 2800 Sarasota County 20-somethings voting in the Aug. 28 primary this year and just over 2,400 doing so in Manatee County. The region hosts around 56,600 voters in their 20s.

Comparatively, the two-county region hosts more than 100,500 voters in their 70s. Those voters also participate at a much higher rate, with more than 48.54 percent of them voting in the primary. That included almost 61,000 70-something voters in Sarasota and about 40,000 more in Manatee. In both counties, the nearly half of 70-something voters would have outnumbered 20-somethings voting even if 100 percent of the younger set turned out.

Participation rates varied by district. In District 70, a Democratic district stretching from north Sarasota through Palmetto and into Pinellas County, saw almost an 11 percent turnout among 20-somethings. Turnout among that set was almost as high in Sarasota-centered District 72. But in participation by older voters also was strikingly higher in those districts, with more than 52 percent of 70-somethings in 72 turning out, and a stunning 64 percent doing so in 70. The only age demographic to outperform 70-somethings in 70 was 80-somethings in 70, with almost 65 percent coming out.

Graphic by SRQ political guru Jacob Ogles shows participation in Sarasota and Manatee counties in the Aug. 28, 2018 primary election.

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