Primaries 2008: In Florida, it's the Older Generations, Stupid!

While much attention has focused on getting out the youth vote - especially in places like Iowa and Michigan -, in the upcoming Florida primary, the focus of the candidates needs to embrace and understand older Americans, according to Ann A. Fishman, an expert on the habits of different generations.

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Each generation is molded by the world events that occurred during its formative years. Older voters lived through the Great Depression and they have been marked by that experience ... they tend to be thrifty. Likewise, voters who lived through the Vietnam War era will have a view of the role of authority much different from the younger generations

New York (PRWEB) January 28, 2008

While much attention has focused on getting out the youth vote - especially in places like Iowa and Michigan -, in the upcoming Florida primary, the focus of the candidates needs to embrace and understand older Americans, according to Ann A. Fishman, an expert on the habits of different generations.

While the younger generations played a key role in the first three primaries, candidates must now appeal to the different generational mindsets and feelings of America's three older generations - the G.I. Generation (1901-1924), the Silent Generation (1925-1942) and Baby Boomers (1943-1960).

According to the 2000 Census, Florida ranks second among all states, in terms of population of age 65 and older.

"Each generation is molded by the world events that occurred during its formative years. Older voters lived through the Great Depression and they have been marked by that experience ... they tend to be thrifty. Likewise, voters who lived through the Vietnam War era will have a view of the role of authority much different from the younger generations," said Fishman    
She offers the following tips to help candidates understand the feelings and behaviors of the older generations:

G.I. Generation (1901-1924)

Accentuate the Positive

Accenting the positive is critical in appealing to the G.I. Generation.
Says Fishman, "They may not be as 'hardy' as they used to be, but they are tough. They did not make it through the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression and World War II by dwelling on negatives."
Candidates need to formulate and communicate positive, sensible positions to appeal to this voter.

Mind your Manners

The G.I. Generation expects civility.

Fishman says, "They remember back to a time when people treated each other with common courtesy. They'll respond to candidates who show respect by being on time for events; who go out of their way to talk about the needs and frustrations of older Americans; who take time to answer hard questions."

Hard-fisted tearing down of opponents may not be the best way to win G.I. Generation voters.

Silent Generation (1925-1942)

Lend a Helping Hand    
"The Silent Generation is a generation of helpers," says Fishman. "It did not produce a U.S. President (McCain would be the first), but it did produce every great Civil Rights leader and almost every leader in the Women's Movement. The major contribution of the Silent Generation was to humanize their world and now, they want to help ensure a safe world for their grandchildren."
So, tip for the candidate: Speak to issues that appeal to the Silent Generation tendency to want help and fix society.

Silents have re-defined age.

"Silents see themselves as vital and active people in the prime of life, about 15 years younger than their chronological age," says Fishman.
She continued, "They alone have pioneered the way Americans view aging today: if '50 is the new 30,' then Silents see 65 as the new 50!"
In other words: they see themselves as vital and active people in the prime of life. .
Lesson to candidates: Since Silents respond to candidates who speak generally and positively to them about life stages, and "don't make it about age!"

Experience and expertise count.

The Silent Generation had super-heroes for role models: Presidents FDR and Harry Truman; and, they had war heroes like Generals Eisenhower and Patton. As a result, they respond to the experience and great accomplishments of a candidate.
"They want the candidates to talk about what they can do best ... be it economics, military matters, crisis control, management or education for the young," says Fishman.
For Silents, keep some focus on your achievements.

The Baby Boomers (1943-1960)

Save the planet.

Boomers care about the environment, globally and at home.
"After all, they began the outdoor movement in the 60's and they continue to exhibit their concern for the planet," Fishman says "On their watch, clean air is in and smoking is out; green is in and gas-guzzling is out, and concern about global warming is in, pollution is out."
In wooing Boomers, remember to save the planet.

Cherchez la femme.

"Boomer women are the first generation of American women who, in large numbers, have made their own money," states Fishman.
For that reason, "Politicians need to acknowledge the values, attitudes and lifestyles of women. Few corporations get it and even fewer politicians get it. Women want the focus on issues that matter to women - at home and on the job."
"I'd like to teach the world to sing."

Boomers are idealists.

"Because they are the first American generation to value the desires of the individual over the good of the group, their causes are legion, they see candidates through their own personal lens ... whether it's anti-war, anti-abortion/pro-choice or feminist issues. They see their vote as a way of furthering their causes."

Fishman says: To win Boomers, appeal to their ideals.

"Show me the money."

Boomers are in their peak earning years, but they have been better at spending money than saving money.

Says Fishman, "They now face retirement and haven't saved enough for it; nor have they faced up to the problems of their future Social Security benefits and Medicare entitlements."    
Fishman believes that candidates who address these issues productively will have an attentive audience!    

About the Generational Approach

Based on Fishman's research into the habits and values of America's six living generations - the G.I. Generation, the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation 9/11, each generation brings a distinctive set of traits, habits and characteristics. These are important as keys to understanding political dynamics and voting patterns in elections.

About Ann Fishman and Generational Targeted-Marketing
More information on Ann Fishman's generational expertise can be found at http://www.annfishman.com. Fishman's company, Generational-Targeted Marketing Corp. (GTM), specializes in generational information that provides insight into consumer preferences, buying habits, workplace issues and trends affecting the America's generations. As GTM's president, Fishman has served as a consultant to numerous corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations on generational issues and also serves as a member of the Adjunct Faculty at New York University. For further information on GTM, call 1-504-813-7890.

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