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August 10, 2009 at 11:40 AM

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Will older voters once again decide the primary?

Posted by Jim Brunner

Forget kissing babies. Politicians who want to get past the Aug. 18 primary had better be kissing up to grandma and grandpa.

The old wisdom that elderly voters are the most reliable is even more true in a non-presidential year primary.

In 2007 more than a third of the primary ballots in King County were cast by people 65 or older.

Here is a chart I made with data provided by David Motz of the Washington Secretary of State's office. (The figures are for King County only.)

As you can see, younger voters haven't been much of a factor, except for the 2008 presidential election, when they came out in historic numbers.

Keep these numbers in mind when viewing tracking polls, some of which oversample younger voters, as I mentioned in this post last week.

In the mayor's race, incidentally, Joe Mallahan may be the big beneficiary of the elderly electorate. Polls show he's fared better than any other candidate with seniors.

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Jim Brunner
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