Friday, August 28, 2009

On the DPJ's youth

When the campaign officially began, I noted that the difference in the average age of LDP candidates (55.5) versus DPJ candidates (49.4) was one of several significant features separating the parties.

I was curious, however, about the median age of DPJ candidates, which I think says more about the youth of the party than the average age, useful as the above-mentioned figure is.

This is perhaps a bit imprecise: I looked only at the DPJ's SMD candidates and because the LDP gives its candidates' birth dates by reign year (and I don't have an unlimited amount of time to calculate their ages), I cannot provide similar data for the LDP's candidates for comparison.

Nevertheless, it is worth reporting that the median age of DPJ SMD candidates is 47 years old, slightly less than the average. Also worth reporting is the mode, 38 years old. Finally, I think the chart of DPJ candidates grouped by five-year cohorts shows just how young the party's candidates are. Candidate fifty and under constitute nearly two-thirds of the DPJ's SMD candidates, with the single largest cohort being candidates between thirty-six and forty years old, followed closely by candidates in their late forties.

After my trip to Kagawa and Okayama last weekend, where I saw the energy conveyed by young candidates (and their even younger volunteers), I am convinced that the youth of DPJ candidates will be a factor in a DPJ victory. Not the main factor, of course, but in close races the fact that DPJ candidates look and sound fresh, the fact that they are young and largely not hereditary, has helped reinforce the party's message that it represents meaningful change from the LDP.

It will be interesting to see whether the DPJ caucus in the new House of Representatives winds up being as skewed towards the young as the party's candidates are.

1 comment:

Noah said...

One might argue that one of the primary benefits of democracy, as a system, is that it encourages rule by young and dynamic individuals who can win elections, whereas oligarchy/autocracy give power to those old fossils who have built up the largest patronage networks...