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Almost Half Colorado Voters Under 40 Are Neither Democrat Nor Republican

Students registering to vote on a college campus.

When it comes to Colorado voters, odds are that the older you are, you're a Republican, and the younger, a Democrat. Of course, that’s not always the case, but it is one of the trends about age and generation that reporter Nick Coltrain uncovered in a USA Today story for KUNC News' election partner, the Fort Collins Coloradoan

Coltrain analyzed voter registrations from the Secretary of State’s Office. He looked at three (loosely categorized) generations. They included people 61 and older (includes many Baby Boomers), people 41 to 60 (includes Generation Xers) and those who are 40 or under (including Millennials). Coltrain said limitations in the data prevented a more specific breakdown of the generations (for instance, Millennials are 35 and younger), but that the breakdown still illuminated some interesting trends based on the age groups.

Voters under 40 aren't Democrat or Republican

“Close to half of them are unaffiliated voters and one of the things that a lot of political science experts that I’ve spoken with, they say that points to a general malaise with the system, or just generally not feeling very plugged into the traditional party system. A lot of the actual Millennials [born between 1984 and 2004] I spoke to are just dissatisfied with the two-party system... You look at the poll numbers, you’re seeing historic un-favorables from both Donald Trump, the Repbulican nominee, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. It’s not as bad when you go down to the Millennial level for Hillary Clinton. I think she’s at 40 percent unfavorable, which is still pretty eye-popping, but when you look at the Millennials and their thoughts on Donald Trump, according to some national polls, it’s upwards of 60 percent.”

Where conservative Millennials are looking

“I certainly don’t want to speak for all conservative Millennials, but the ones I spoke to – even the more socially conservative ones or just generally Libertarian ones – they were hesitant about Donald Trump. Again, just with the caveat that these are the ones I spoke to, up in the Fort Collins area. I spoke to one gentleman who was Libertarian-leaning and he said he voted for Mitt Romney [the Republican nominee for president in 2012], but right now it’s coming down to Hillary Clinton or Gary Johnson ]the 2016 Libertarian candidate for president].”

On voters older than 61 politically

“They are getting more politically conservative. I think when you look at voter registration data, as you get to those older generations, you definitely start to see it trend more toward Republican registrations, and of course, using Republican registration as a proxy for conservatism.”

What are the political divisions between voters 41-60 

“The Gen Xers are following the more traditional Colorado route: you see them at about a third unaffiliated, a third Democratic and a third Republican.”

How Larimer County is a barometer for presidential elections

“Since 1980, Larimer County has voted the same way the country has... that one exception being 1996, when Larimer County and the state of Colorado voted for Bob Dole, the Republican [presidential] nominee at the time. And one other, just kind of fun tidbit, Larimer County has voted the same way the state eventually has every presidential year since the 1960s."

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