In the middle of a federal election, young voters are a potentially huge cohort of voters who need to understand the potential impacts of strategic voting.
The NDP is engaging young voters on TikTok, with videos dedicated to supporting the party and encouraging them to vote, but it is unclear if young Canadians are aware of the implications of their vote.
Typically, there is a significant gap between the younger and older demographics when it comes to voter turnout. In 2015, the participation of young voters was more than 20 percentage points lower than that of people between 65 and 74 years old, according to Elections Canada. Younger voters could become a decisive group in elections, and the impacts could be significant, for better or for worse.
Lack of commitment is not the only obstacle for young people. It is also understanding the importance of your vote, especially if one of the NDP candidates increases the odds of a conservative government that does not necessarily share the party’s priorities, such as taxing the rich and the pharmaceutical industry.
What is strategic voting?
Canadians have used strategic voting in past elections, although for many, with such a close race between liberals and conservatives, the stakes seem higher this time.
Voters do not always choose their preferred candidate on Election Day. Sometimes they use their vote to prevent a certain party from winning. In the case of NDP supporters, it has meant that some liberals vote to stop the Conservatives win.
With two major progressive parties in Canada, votes on the left can often be split between the two parties, while many supporters on the right tend to remain loyal to the conservatives. Splitting the vote could result in a conservative victory, something left-wing voters would not find ideal.
With major issues on the line like abortion rights and access, climate change, and COVID-19 vaccine mandates, federal parties differ on their platforms and promises to voters.
Strategic voting has the potential to decide this choice. If left-wing voters are interested in stopping a Conservative government by changing their NDP vote less likely to win (the party has 19.4 percent support and Liberals 31.9 percent, if you follow the polls), the Liberals could outperform the Conservatives.
This is what Leger, the largest Canadian property survey firm, found in a web survey of 2,001 Canadians over the age of 18 did so with The Canadian Press – more than a fifth of those surveyed said that if the race between Liberals and Conservatives was close, they would be more likely to switch their vote to Liberals.
The NDP is engaging young voters on TikTok, with videos dedicated to supporting the party and encouraging them to vote, but do young voters know how much power they wield in this election? ask @CamillaBains
Almost one in three voters Those who said they plan to vote for the NDP said a close race could convince them to vote for the Liberals rather than stop a Conservative majority.
“People are taking more time to make a decision … In 2019, 10 percent of voters confirmed their final choice in the voting booth,” says Leger’s founding president. Jean-marc leger in an interview with National Observer of Canada.
What do the polls say?
Current polls (as of press time) estimate that the race between Liberals and Conservatives is head-to-head, and Liberals have a very narrow lead.
Young voters have taken to Twitter to express their views on strategic voting.
@BraccoCallaghan told his supporters: “A vote for the NDP is a vote for Len Webber,” urging other voters to vote strategically. Webber is the Conservative running for his Calgary Confederation leadership seat.
It is noteworthy that strategic voting is not a foolproof plan, but with more than one federal party on the left, splitting the vote and getting a government on the right is something that many progressives would not like.
Camellia Wong, director of communications for Future majority, says young people will come forward to vote when there are issues on the table that really matter to them.
Future Majority is a Toronto-based initiative with the goal of mobilizing young voters in elections. Wong says the group is focused on getting young people involved, aware of their voting options and going to the polls, with issues like strategic voting taking a backseat.
“I would say that young people are 100 percent engaged in these elections,” says Wong. “What happened with the young people is that we have realized that there are so many things in this country that need to be fixed. There are two major issues that young Canadians go to the polls for and want to see action on: climate change and job instability.
“We want to make sure that politicians understand that young people have power in these elections,” says Wong. “Encouraging young people to vote is really fundamental in this election. We know the stakes are high so we’re excited to see how Monday goes. “
– With files from Nora Legrand.
To contact Camilla Bains regarding ideas and leads for stories, please email [email protected]