Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pitching To The Young


Justin Trudeau did Q and A sessions recently at the University of British Columbia and at McGill. He knows that there are lots of potential votes on campus. Jeffrey Simpson writes:

Pollster Angus Reid’s latest survey on the matter gives the Liberals 34 per cent of voters in the 18-34 age category, compared to 29 per cent for the New Democrats and just 22 per cent for the Conservatives. Among over-55 voters, the Conservatives lead the Liberals 38 to 32 per cent, with the NDP at 22.

Ipsos Reid has the Liberals seven points ahead of the Conservatives among 18-34-year-olds, but the Conservatives lead by four points among voters over 55. Nanos Research’s “Party Power Index,” which blends voting intentions and prime ministerial preferences, shows the Liberals ahead among 18-to-29-year-olds but trailing among those over 60.

It's not easy to get the young to the polls -- and that fact has worked in Stephen Harper's favour.  But there is another reason Harper doesn't make his pitch to university students:

Liberal supporters have much more formal education than Conservative supporters. Put crudely, the more formal education a voter has, the more likely he or (especially) she will be to vote Liberal.
For example, the latest Ipsos Reid poll has the Liberals leading the Conservatives by 41 to 29 per cent among those with a university education, but trailing 36 to 23 per cent among those with less than a high-school diploma. In the Probe Research survey, Liberals led by 10 points (45 to 35 per cent) among those who had attended university, but trailed by a whopping 37 points (57 to 22 per cent) among those who did not finish high school. Other polls show the same pattern.

Those with university education, especially professional school training, tend to be among the business and intellectual leaders in any society. By income, status and responsibility – and ability to be heard publicly – they are society’s “elites.”

Attacking those “elites” is a staple of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. Polling numbers show why: Fewer of these “elites” favour the Conservatives than the Liberals. Attacking “elites” holds few risks and offers an appeal to the Conservative base, which skews much older and has less formal education. The resulting political divide is a conflict more of culture than of class.

Harper knows who his enemies are. Trudeau's challenge will be to get Harper's enemies -- and the young are among them -- to the polls.


Rural said...

The younger voter has the power to save us from this tyrant, or not, depending upon if they are motivated enough to vote.

Owen Gray said...

If Harper is going to be sent back to Calgary, the young are going to push him out the door of 24 Sussex, Rural.

Their future is at stake in the next election.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget ever that the Harper-cons tried to shutter a University of Guelph ballot box in a federal election:

Nothing is beyond these con crooks under Harper's direction. What would not surprise me is if Harper finds an excuse to cancel the election and name himself emperor of Canada for life...

Mogs Moglio

Anonymous said...

Don't send him back to Calgary he will tarnish her image. Send or exile him to Siberia eh? Him and Putin can share a little Russian vodka together...


Pamela Mac Neil said...

I think there is a change happening with young voters Owen. Trudeau seems to have got their attention. I also think there are alot more young people involved politically than what we assume. I agree with Rural that it is the younger voter who has the power to determine who will win the election. Everyone has to get out to vote, particularly the young. That's all it will take to get Harper out.

Owen Gray said...

If Trudeau -- and others -- manage to mobilize the young, Pam, Harper will be gone.

You can bet that Harper isn't going to take questions from a university audience. He doesn't take questions from anyone.

Owen Gray said...

I doubt that Putin wants to spend much time with Harper, Mogs.

Owen Gray said...

Under the so called Fair Elections Act, it will now be harder to investigate the kinds of transgressions which occurred the last time, Mogs.

Anonymous said...

Trudeau would be smartest to get up in front of the camera in the next couple of months with a pitch of 'Uncle Sam Wants You'- otherwise known as:

"Under 30? - get out and VOTE!"

"Canada needs your voice."

Then again, I'm not a political insider and this would be seen as suicide by some of his handlers, but you know he'd get most of those votes, so go for it.


Owen Gray said...

He's got to convince the young that their votes will count and not be ignored, Anon.

Dana said...

Perhaps you recall the concerted effort in 2011.

We were told the youth were more engaged, more interested and the youth vote would rise.

Well, yes it did.

By 1.8 percent.

Let's imagine this time out we do a lot better. Maybe we do twice as well. 3.6 percent rise to 42.4 percent youth turnout.

We got the youth vote to rise by twice as much as the last time.


If we could get them to turn out to the tune of 60%?

That would matter.

In the meantime there's the rose coloured glasses I found...

See ya.

Owen Gray said...

It would be a mistake to underestimate the challenge, Dana. It's formidable.

I like that word. It works in both French and English.

Dana said...

Yes, it is a good word. And it is a formidable challenge.

But whose challenge is it?

Well, sort of depends on whose lives will be most impacted doesn't it?

I'm much nearer the end than the middle let alone the beginning. As are you from the look of your picture. Probably not many of your commenters or readers are young or like as not they would have spoken up in defence of their cohort at some point in the past.

How the world turns out from this point on is an academic point to most of us - one that concerns us greatly due to the presence of children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews and so on but academic nonetheless in that it will not have a direct effect on the quality of our being no longer on the planet.

Still, I try and do the bits I can do, writing and yelling at shadows.

But in basic fundamental ways it is not my or our challenge.

They appear largely unwilling to defend democracy, for whatever reasons.

Increasingly, we are losing the capacity and energy to do it on their behalf.

The boot stamping on a face forever begins to look like the future they are bequeathing themselves.

Now it may be that Harper will lose the next election (I don't think so but I've been wrong lots). Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But I doubt very strongly that it will have anything whatever to do with the youth vote.

Owen Gray said...

As the father of three sons -- the eldest 35, the youngest 21 -- I have to admit that I m deeply worried about their future, Dana.

The two eldest are not Harper fans. The youngest might vote for him. They are free to vote as they please.

But I insist on one thing. They should vote. I can only hope others will encourage them to do so.

Anonymous said...

Owen: My son and his wife are both born after March 31, 1958 and they are the first group to have to wait until they are 67 to receive Old Age Security benefits. That change will cost them at least $24,000 to their family budget.

However, they are fortunate that they both worked for their respective employers from a young age and with good planning, were able to retire at age 56.

They also raised 3 children: one has a Master's degree, the middle one is looking at a Pharmacy program and the youngest will be going into 3 year of a Commerce degree. They, too, are fortunate as they started working part time at age 15 all the while attending school. Now a days, you have the TFW employee program so it is becoming harder for Canadian high school kids to get these part time jobs in order to help defer the ever rising cost of post-sec ed.

What really blows my mind is that all three grandchildren, when I ask if any of their friends vote, tell me "No, they don't". They don't seem to understand that in order for democracy to survive, it needs nurturing and that includes exercising your right to vote.

It appears that there are many parents who did not have to see the men in their family have to leave them for WWII - many of whom never did come home. What to do?

Owen Gray said...

It's not easy to answer your question, Anon. But your point that others have given their lives for our democracy is seminal, Anon.

My father was a World War II vet who always claimed he survived because of "pure dumb luck." But he left no doubt in my mind that there were hundred of thousands who weren't so lucky.

The sense that good fortune means responsibility for the future seems to have been lost.