Secretary of State Data Shows Older Wyomingites Likely to Decide 2024 Elections

Jan 2, 2024 | Politics

Cheyenne, WY (RELEASE) January 2nd, 2024 — Wyomingites aged 50 and over had the state’s highest voter turnout during the 2022 election according to data provided by the Secretary of State, and if trends continue as they have since 2008, this age group is likely to decide the 2024 election in the Cowboy State.

In all, 132,366 voters over the age of 50 and over voted accounted for more than two-thirds of the 198,089 voters in Wyoming’s 2022 mid-term election. 

While overall voter turnout was down for the 2022 mid-term election from the 2020 presidential election, the state’s older adults voted in high numbers. Over 74% of Wyomingites aged 70-79 went to the polls, accounting for better than 36,000 votes. That made Wyomingites in the 70-79 age band the most likely to vote. The age group with the second highest percentage of voters going to the polls was the age 80-85 (65%), followed by 60-69 (63.9%). 

By comparison, just 13% of 18-24 year old voters went to the polls, 19% of 25-29 year olds hit the polls. The numbers were slightly higher for those 30-39 (29%) and 40-49 (40.8%).

According to AARP polling from this summer, 46% of older adults surveyed said they prefer to vote at their polling place in-person, another 19% prefer voting by mail, and 12% prefer to vote early at a polling site. Over 88% of those surveyed believe voting in Wyoming is currently very accessible.

“No one shows up to the polls like older voters,” says AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway. “Secretary of State numbers tell us better than 66% of Wyoming’s voters in 2022 were over the age of 50, with the bulk of them being over age 60. We expect similar numbers in 2024, meaning it is a good time for sitting lawmakers or those considering a run to understand the needs of this demographic.”

Issues Important to the Demographic

This summer, AARP Wyoming produced the Vital Voices Survey of 700 Wyomingites, age 45 and over. This was a survey that asked respondents a series of questions to get opinions of older Wyomingites on everything from the economy to candidate preference.

“A few things really stood out in the survey,” says Shumway. “First, our members are very supportive of candidates who support home and community based services such as the Wyoming Home Services Program, or other efforts to help them age in-place. Really anything from expanded transportation options to access to senior services will be supported by voters.”

When surveyors asked Wyomingites if they would be more or less likely to vote for a candidate in Wyoming who advocated for a specific position, 84% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate advocating expanding access to quality, affordable long-term care for the elderly from home care to nursing home. That was the highest-ranking category reported by the survey, ranking higher than protecting residents from scams and fraud (83%); increased opportunities for Medicare savings (81%); lower property taxes (80%); and increased access to affordable housing (72%).

“Concerns around inflation and utility increases seem to be powering greater concern about paying for the basic costs of living,” adds Shumway. “We also noted a very large increase in the area of fraud prevention. For the first time that we have seen in Wyoming, there is an appetite for lawmakers to do something about it.”

Economic and Financial Issues

Wyomingites seem to be more concerned about the economy than they were in 2020, according to the survey, which saw large increases in the number of older Wyomingites who are concerned with being able to afford groceries or other household necessities (93% found it extremely or very important, compared to 89% in 2020); having enough income or savings to retire (92%), having affordable utilities (89%, up from 83% in 2020); having adequate social security (89%), and protecting yourself against consumer fraud (85% up from 78% in 2020). 

Property Tax

Wyomingites age 45+ show mixed levels of concern around the ability to afford property tax, based on the AARP survey.

  • 41% of those surveyed are not very or not concerned at all when it comes to being able to afford property tax over the next five years.
  • 36% of those surveyed are extremely or very concerned;
  • 21% are somewhat concerned.

Healthcare Findings

Wyomingites showed to have very strong feelings about healthcare. Staying mentally sharp was far and away the most important healthcare issue for those surveyed, as 95% said staying mentally sharp was either extremely or very important to them. Staying physically healthy was extremely or very important to 91% of those surveyed, 

Affordable healthcare close to home was also on the minds of survey respondents, perhaps best illustrated by the fact 89% of those surveyed felt it was extremely or very important to be able to afford healthcare expenses, including premiums and copays. Other healthcare findings from survey include:

  • 88% of those surveyed felt it was extremely or very important to afford adequate health insurance coverage.
  • 88% of those surveyed felt having health care services in their community, as well as access to high-quality hospital care was extremely or very important.
  • 88% felt having Medicare benefits available in the future were extremely or very important.
  • 85% felt being able to pay for prescription drugs was extremely or very important. That was a 10% increase over 2020 numbers.

About the Vital Voices Survey

AARP Vital Voices Research enables AARP state offices to gauge local opinions on a range of topics through regular surveys. Offered every three years, the surveys are a collaborative effort between AARP researchers and state office staff. The timing of the online phone surveys, along with the content, is customized to reflect the needs of each state.

AARP engaged ANR Market Research Consultants to reach out to Wyomingites to perform the Vital Voices Survey among Wyoming adults aged 45 and over. The calls were made in June and July of 2023 with those responding offering a mix of landline, cell phone, online, and text-to-web methodology. 

About those surveyed

o    93% of those called voted in November 2022 election

o    51% female

o    66% married; 12% widowed

o    48% consider themselves conservative; 31% moderate; 12% liberal

o    58% are Republican; 19% independent; 16% Democrat

o    19% have a household income between $50-75K; 16% were between $25-50K; 14% between $75-100K; 14% between $100-150K

o    77% have a smartphone 

o    15% had served in the military; 47% had a family member who had

o    44% were retired; 26% working full-time; 12% self-employed working full time

o    21% were ages 60-64; 15% were 50-54; 14% were 65-60