Millennials and Vote Preference in Canada

Last week, a series of polls from different firms all agreed on one thing: Conservative support is growing and they are getting close to majority territory.  There was less consensus on where the opposition parties stand.  For the record, I trust our numbers   because they were confirmed by Angus Reid (who nailed the 2008 general election prediction) and because none of the other pollsters give us enough information about their weights or demographics to judge what is going on.

For the record, I really don’t like that Ipsos requires us to pay to see detailed tables.  If you release something in the public sphere and the media reports on it, we should be able to see details of the study.

Nonetheless, I digress into what I really wanted to talk about today.

We all know, or we should all know, that young Canadians are less likely to vote in elections.

But even if my generation isn’t voting as much as those, our opinions are still important.  Let’s face it – we’re the future.  And when we become the dominant force in our politics, Canada will look and think differently.

  • We’re the ones who will ultimately decide if we’re going to be willing to pay for our parents’ collective health care expenses.
  • We’re the ones who are more tolerant of people who are different than others
  • We’re the ones who are not just dependent on technology, but have fused our social lives into social media applications (Abacus did some interesting research on this that will be released soon).

So what do those aged 18-29 think about politics?

Well, if 18 to 29 year olds were the only voters, the country Parliament would look a lot different than it does now – assuming of course we’d have proportional representation and our votes really mattered.

For those 18 to 29, voter preference breaks down as follows:

NDP – 26%
Conservative – 24%
Liberal – 23%
Green Party – 16%
BQ – 19%
Other parties – 2%

But what about potential?  We asked respondents whether they would consider or not consider voting for the five main political parties in Canada.

Here’s what we found in December among 18 to 29 year olds.

Conservative – 42% consider
Liberal – 50% consider
NDP – 58% consider
Green – 49% consider
BQ – 61% consider (in Quebec only)

If millennial voting preferences don’t change as they get old (this is unlikely) it seems the NDP has a lot of growth potential while the Conservatives have the smallest pool of potential Gen Y voters.