Do we become more conservative as we age? If so, why?

We tend to think that older people are wiser, after all they’ve been there and done that. But does that necessarily mean they are more conservative than younger people? Logically just because someone is older doesn’t mean that their political views alter. If you’re a Labor voter, you vote Labor. Right?

Wrong. There’s a famous quote attributed to Winston Churchill and assorted others on this subject: “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”

The Conversation reports that in Britain research has found age is a strong predictor of how someone will vote in an election.

Older people are more supportive of the Conservatives, while younger people more supportive of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and more recently, the Greens. Older people are always more likely to support the Conservatives.

But the question remains: why is it so?

Ad. Article continues below.

The Conversation says one possibility is that the ageing process makes people more conservative, or have different lifestyles than when they were younger, hence different priority when voting.

However, it could also because of which generation they belong to, and what their particular generation went through.

Newer generations, for instance, have a higher percentage of people who have attended university and higher education tends to make people more liberal on issues like crime.

Back when we baby boomers were children, for instance, openly racist attitudes were still widely held, although enlightenment was beginning to dawn.

Evidence also suggests that it is the direct psychological processes of ageing that tend to make people more resistant to change, which, in turn, makes people opt for parties that defend the status quo.

Ad. Article continues below.

So there you have it, many of us do get more conservative as we get older, but not just because of our age.

Let’s talk: What is your own experience? Are you more conservative than when you were young? Or do you still vote the same way you always have?