The numbers are in and they prove what had been already suspected: youth turned out in droves to vote in last fall’s federal election.
More than 57% of people under the age of 34 came to the polls.
That’s up from 45% for 25-34-year-olds and a measly 39% of those under 24 in 2011.
UBC Political Science professor Max Cameron says there were many contributing factors, including the fact the race was tight, a concerted effort by groups like LeadNow to engage young people… and perhaps a little but of Trudeaumania.
“We had a youthful leader who made a pretty serious effort to speak to voters, and I think that’s part of the lesson. People are more likely to vote if they feel like politicians are actually talking to them.”
Cameron says while it’s too soon to say if we’re seeing a generational shift, studies have proven that once people vote, they tend to return to the polls the next time.
He says that could have a big effect on policy as politicians recognize they’ve got a new constituency to appeal to. He says it wouldn’t be surprising to see leaders campaigning a little harder on environment or education issues, and a little less on health.
But could the effect spill over to B.C’s 2017 provincial election?
Cameron says there’s no guarantee we’ll see that happen, but he says there’s no doubt party strategists will be looking closely at these numbers.
“As they go into the next election, they might be a little bit careful about making the assumption that young people can be neglected. We might see some attempt to reach out to youth a little bit more on the assumption that it is possible.”
He says if that turns out to be the case, expect to see parties stumping on millennial-focused issues like affordable housing.