a1 University of Waterloo
a2 University of Waterloo
A common finding in cross-sectional survey studies of adult political activity in the US and several other democratic states is a curvilinear or approximate normal curve relationship between age and voting and political interest: young adults are less likely to turn out to vote and be interested in politics, middle-aged persons (in their late forties and early fifties) are more likely to vote and report election interest, and elderly persons are less likely to show involvement on either count (though they are often reported to be as active as young adults). This is a rather widely cited phenomenon in prepositional inventories by political scientists, political sociologists, and social gerontologists. These age relationships have been interpreted as support for the idea that voting activity and interest in elections generally increase from young adulthood through middle age and then decrease for those past middle age, though perhaps not to the level characteristic of very young adults.
* We wish to give special thanks to John Meisel, Queen's University, for making his national election survey data available for our secondary analyses. R.D. Lambert wishes to thank the Canada Council for a Leave Fellowship which provided some of the time necessary to prepare this article.