Press release no. 39/19 of 2. Oktober 2019

2019 European Election: 60-plus generation has gained influence

Press conference in Berlin: Federal Returning Officer presents representative electoral statistics

WIESBADEN/BERLIN – Voter turnout in the 2019 European Election was 61.4% in Germany, which is a new record high since 1989. However, representative electoral statistics show large differences between age groups. Voter turnout among first-time voters and young voters up to the age of 24 was below average at 57.0%. The lowest figure across all age groups was 54.0%, for the 25 to 29-year-olds. Voter turnout was highest among the 60 to 69-year-olds (66.4%) and also above average among eligible voters over 70 years of age (64.1%). “Owing to these differences in voter turnout and the demographic trend, the 60-plus generation has an increasing influence on the election result,” said Dr. Georg Thiel, Federal Returning Officer and President of the Federal Statistical Office on 2 October in Berlin when he presented the results of the representative electoral statistics.

The fact that voter turnout is higher among those over 60 than among younger age groups has been observed since 2004. In addition, roughly 23.3 million or more than one third (37.9%) of those entitled to vote belonged to the 60-plus generation in the 2019 European Election. That is almost thrice the number of eligible voters of the younger generation under 30 years of age, which accounted for less than one seventh (14.0%) or 8.6 million. The high voter turnout among older people and the fact that they are a large group within the electorate had the effect of increasing the influence of the older generation on the election result and further decreasing the influence of the younger generation.

Differences in voting behaviour by age group and sex

An above average share of the votes won by the CDU, CSU and SPD in the 2019 European Election came from the 60-plus generation, and that share is rising. The CDU got 54.5% of its votes from voters aged 60 or over, the CSU 53.6% and the SPD 53.5%. The 45 to 59-year olds are the core constituency of the GRÜNE. The age structure of DIE LINKE voters was the most similar to the age structure of the electorate as a whole. The same holds for the AfD voters, though the 45 to 59-year-olds were overrepresented in terms of their share of the electorate, and voters until the age of 24 were underrepresented.

While the voting differences between men and women were rather small among SPD voters and there were hardly any such differences among CSU and FREIE WÄHLER voters, the GRÜNE won much more female votes (23.2%) than male votes (17.7%). Actually, the gap between the sexes has broadened further (after amounting to only 3.3 percentage points in the 2014 European Election), which makes the GRÜNE a party for which more women cast their ballot. This is something the party has in common with the CDU, although that gap has been narrowing lately. In contrast, both the FDP (men: 6.1%, women 4.8%) and DIE LINKE (men: 5.7%, women: 5.3%) received more support from male voters. The difference between the percentage shares of male and female votes is particularly large when it comes to the AfD (men: 14.6%, women: 7.6%) and Die PARTEI (men: 3.3%, women: 1.5%). Twice as many men as women voted for these two parties.

Postal voting reaches 28.4%

In the 2019 European Election, 28.4% of voters cast their votes by post in Germany. The share of postal votes is 3.1 percentage points higher than in the 2014 European Election and 0.2 percentage points lower than in the 2017 Bundestag Election. It is striking that in some instances the share of postal votes was much lower in the new Länder than in the Länder of the former territory of the Federal Republic. In the eastern part of Germany (excluding Berlin) they ranged from 17.7% in Sachsen-Anhalt to 22.6% in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In the western part, they ranged from 19.3% in Niedersachsen to 44.2% in Rheinland-Pfalz.

Post-election survey of the European Parliament: environmental protection as a reason for voting

At the press conference on representative electoral statistics, the European Parliament also released selected results of its representative post-election survey. According to the survey, 51% of voters in Germany stated that “combating climate change and protecting the environment” was one of the issues on the basis of which they chose who to vote for in the 2019 European Election. It was thus named most frequently by respondents as an issue that had been essential for their decision. ”Promoting human rights and democracy” and “the way the EU should be working in the future” were both regarded as important issues by 42% of the voters surveyed. 39% said that the “immigration” issue had been central to their decision, 36% named “economy and growth”.

For further information:

Office of the Federal Returning Officer
tel: +49 611 75-4863