Damn, Florida’s Electorate is Old (and a lot older than the Exit Polls suggest)!

Just finished cranking out some crosstabs for my coauthor Seth McKee at Texas Tech, and thought I’d share the actual age breakdown of the 2014 Florida electorate. Let’s just say Florida’s voters were A LOT older than the official exit poll suggests.  Here’s CNN’s exit poll estimates for voters, by age, in the 2014 General Election:


The exit poll is WAY off with regard to the estimate of younger voters turning out in 2014. According the Florida voter file, of the 6 million or so who turned out to vote, just over 8% were between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, a far cry from the 14% estimate of the exit poll.  Roughly 16% of actual voters who turned out were 30-44 years old, again, considerably less than the exit poll estimate of 19%.

So, does the exit poll over-estimate the turnout of 45-64 year olds? Actually, no.  According to the official voter file, less than 40% of the actual Florida electorate was in that age bracket, less than the exit poll estimate of 42%.

How is this possible?

The exit poll severely under-estimated the percentage of the electorate that was 65 and over. According to the exit poll, one quarter of the electorate in 2014 was 65 years old or older, when in fact the statewide voter file indicates that nearly 36% of the electorate was 65 or older.

The  generation gap is alive and well in Florida, especially with regard to turnout in midterm elections, a fact missed by the 2014 General Election exit poll.