Big youth voter turnout could overturn political status quo

Polls show significant generational gap
Photo: Coastal Elite
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I’ve never been a fan of generational political analysis. And I am on the record that we all spend too much time talking about the horse race aspect of election campaigns. With that throat-clearing out of the way, let’s look at the striking differences in voter intent by age cohort.

Polls show generational gap

A few days ago, a poll from DART & Maru/Blue Voice Canada showed a big swing in the youth vote — with the NDP now leading at 39 per cent support. The latest Ipsos poll shows voting intent for those aged 55 and over as follows:

  • Conservatives: 36 per cent
  • Liberals: 33 per cent
  • NDP: 12 per cent
  • Bloc: 11 per cent (40 per cent in Quebec)
  • Greens: 6 per cent
  • PPC: 1 per cent

And here are the Ipsos results for voters aged 34 and under:

  • NDP: 31 per cent
  • Liberals: 29 per cent
  • Conservatives: 23 per cent
  • Greens: 10 per cent
  • Bloc: 3 per cent
  • PPC: 2 per cent
  • Others: 1 per cent

The Ipsos results for Gen Xers fall somewhere in the middle, with the Conservatives holding a slight lead over the Liberals for first place, with the NDP third at 21 per cent.

But let’s focus on those youth results.

This is the first federal election in which millennials form the largest age-cohort voting block. But we also know that voter turnout rates tend to be lowest for young voters. If that changes, and young voters turn out in greater than usual numbers, all bets are off.

Young Canadians, including for the first time eligible voters born in the 21st century, could transform the politics of this country. And with Election Day less than a week away, that’s reason enough for the old establishment parties to be worried.

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