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Bad Chart Thursday: 60 is the New 65

All over the media, people are shaking their virtual fists at kids today for undervoting in the US midterm elections.

Clearly, millennials are too busy taking selfies, texting, and playing on their Ataris or whatever, or they’re just too lazy and self-absorbed to vote. There’s really nothing like an election to bring out the sweet, sweet smell of ageism in the air. It complements the fragrance of the glasses we wear when looking at the past.

As far back as we have reliable statistics on voter turnout, the youngest demographic of eligible voters has always undervoted. Voting rate tends to increase with age. My generation undervoted. Your generation undervoted. Odds are, the next generation will undervote unless we focus on finding the real reasons it happens, which I’m pretty sure have something to do with time traveling clones.

But I’ll get back to that.

First, let’s take a look at exactly how big of a gap we’re talking about, via NBC News.


The chart is based on the NBC News exit polls. Or at least, that’s what they want us to think.

But I’ll get back to that, too.

The chart does not tell us anything about how many people in the population as a whole are in each age group, so we don’t really have a context for what these numbers mean. Even if we had that information, we’d also need to know how many in each age group were eligible voters (e.g., citizens without a felony record).

The chart also compares a set age group covering 12 years (18–29) with an open-ended age group (60 or older) that we can safely assume covers more than 12 years. Perhaps this is to offset how big the millennial generation is because of all the secret cloning experiments conducted in the eighties. Thanks, Reagan.

Regardless, the chart ultimately doesn’t tell us much of anything beyond maybe pointing to an already known trend of people being more likely to vote with increased age. It doesn’t really give us any reliable information about how big that gap is (much less why it exists).

In fact, when I cross-checked this chart against other exit-poll-based charts (such as from the Pew Research Center), I found a much smaller gap (13% of voters were 18–29 and 22% were 65+), but these are not comparable stats because of the difference in defining age groups.

So I decided to look at the NBC data itself, the exit polls the chart was based on, to see if I could find more information to give context to the chart, but every single exit poll broke down the ages with 65 and over being a distinct group. People 60 or older would choose either that group or one of these: 45–64 or 50–64. So where on earth did the 60 or older percentage on the chart come from? It can’t just be a typo for 65 because the percentage is also significantly different from other exit polls, which all seem to come out at 22% for that age group.

The only possible explanation for this is that NBC is counting the votes of millennial clones from three or four decades into the future who are traveling back in time at ages 60–64 to vote in the 2014 US midterm elections. The clones avoided most exit polls for fear of running into a younger version of themselves, but NBC must have known about this whole clone time-traveling scheme and deliberately sent non-millennial or non-clone representatives to the polls.

Or this is just a really bad chart. Created by a clone.

Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer living in a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When not making fun of bad charts or running the Uncensorship Project, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and putting out random dumpster fires. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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  1. Having just stumbled into the swing space (I didn’t intend to, but I wasn’t paying attention and forgot to die in time), I want to know: Is it good or bad that 60 is the new 65? I don’t care about elections, I just want to know how does this affect ME?

    BTW, the most important reason for voting is to prevent your reactionary future clone from going back and voting in elections you missed. If you voted, your name would be checked off and they wouldn’t let the clone vote.

    If you think back and hate your younger self, remember that means your older self hates you too, and your younger self would hate you if they knew you. So it is important to undermine their votes by voting first. This is the origin of the phrase “vote early and often”. If you’ve ever shown up at the polls and discovered they already had you checked off, this means your future clone got there first. Don’t let this happen; he’s an asshole! Did you know that McGovern actually won 39 states in 1972 (and we had decades of peace and prosperity, amnesty, acid and abortion), until the Reaganite clones reversed history?

    1. Holy crap, the clone conspiracy goes deeper than I thought. I am in my forties, so I think I can safely say I don’t have a clone out there, or that if I do, it’s based on early seventies technology and I’ll spot it a mile away by its 8-track player.

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