Do we become more conservative as we age? If so, why? 99

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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?

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.

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? 


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  1. I’ve been a working class Labor voter for ever. I saw the ‘ Tampa’ crisis as the perfect opportunity for Labor to stand up and be counted. They didn’t, and I’ve voted Green ever since. I’ve become even more subversive and EXTREME left as I’ve moved from my 50’s to 60’s.

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  2. I don’t think so. When I was young -er, I voted for one party because that’s the way it had been with my family for generations. As I got older, I listened, I weighed it all up and then voted. I still do, but I am certainly not conservative – about anything!

  3. Me too. As I have got older I have become even more of a ‘leftie’. I pay a lot more attention, read a lot more and understand a lot more than I ever did when I was young .

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    • I wasn’t particularly dyed in the wool anything but being made redundant has left me with much more time to read and investigate and watch “question time” and be horrified to hear a non caring Joe Hockey dare the car industry to close down and put thousands out of work. That made me determined never to vote Liberal. Tony “no cuts” Abbott was the icing on that cake.

  4. I don’t know about anyone else but at the moment not voting at all is looking attractive. They’re all tarred with the same brush including the independents. Never been so fed up with the lot of them in my life.

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    • I have to agree with you Sue, if it wasn’t compulsory I wouldn’t bother, I couldn’t be more disgusted with our Politicians and the lack of actual good policies.

    • I can understand how you feel. My friend in UK never voted (as it’s not compulsory) but she moaned and whinged all the time about those in power. At least if we try and put the best of a bad lot into power, then we can moan and whinge all we want. I told my friend “Every vote counts so don’t whinge if you can’t be bothered to vote for anyone.”

    • I’ve always voted but at the moment it feels like a choice of dumb, dumber or dumbest. Or who do we think will rip us off the least.

    • I really can’t believe that anyone would consider not voting. I agree that a lot of politicians and their policies are not very appealing but not voting is like sticking your head in the sand. We all have the right to change the way Australia is and personally I would not give up that right willingly. Even if things may not go the way I want them to, please don’t give up that right to vote. In some countries in the world you have no say at all in what happens.

    • It’s not that I can’t be bothered Christa, I don’t believe we have any Politicians at the moment worthy of the job.

    • That’s how I feel at the moment Trish! Like to sack the whole lot and tell them to try again with people who care about this country and its inhabitants instead of caring about lining their own pockets and disagreeing with everyone else just for the sake of it.

    • I feel the same way Trish and Sue but we have a duty to vote since it’s mandatory, and think how we fought to get a vote in the first place. Hopefully by the time the Election comes around we will all have a clearer picture of who to vote for.

  5. My grandfather taught me “if your working class you vote labour and if you work for a living you are working class”.

  6. I think being conservative and voting conservative don’t necessarily go hand in hand. I dress conservatively, but I don’t live that way. When it comes to voting I weigh up what the political party’s policies are, decide what/who I believe and vote accordingly. I despise those who vote for a particular party because “I have voted X all my life and so did my parents” or those who vote for the leader of a party instead of the party’s policies.

  7. I’ve not radically changed my political leanings over the years, but I have changed the way I vote. I always vote differently for the upper and lower house. I could never be classed a Conservative and I am even less likely to become one now with the erosion of aged services under the current government and continual talk of reducing access to the age pension further.

  8. I was prepared to retire and leave the world to the younger ones… But now I find my way of life, my living standards, my children’s future in a country that won’t acknowledge climate change, threatened! Everything I believed was good with my world has been turned upside down with this current LNP govt! I now have less conservative views than I ever had! Maybe the writer of this article only follows Murdoch rags!

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