Millennials were crucial in electing Justin Trudeau in 2015. In fact, well over half of that cohort, born between 1980 and 2000, turned out to vote, with Trudeau, who was far and away the most popular candidate. That was a huge jump from the previous major election, when only 11.3 percent of eligible millennial voters went to the polls. It was, in fact, the largest turn-out of younger voters ever — and this time, there are even more of them.
Will they vote in large numbers again on Oct. 21? And if so, will they pull the lever for Trudeau? Whatever the choice – who they vote for, and whether they vote at all – could easily swing the entire election. Millennials, who range from the newly eligible to those pushing 40, comprise Canada’s largest single voting bloc – 27.2 million people. This election, for the first time, there are more millennials eligible to vote than baby boomers, according to Abacus Data, an Ottawa-based research and strategy firm specializing in voting trends and millennials. If most millennials do get out and vote, they could easily swing the election.
What issues do millennials care about most? Climate heating is one of the biggest, along with health care, housing, and economic opportunity and growth, said Ihor Korbabicz, an Abacus researcher, to Global News, Canada.. (Interestingly, seniors have similar concerns, especially about climate change. But whereas millennials are worried about the high cost of housing, student loans and job opportunities, seniors worry about pensions and having enough money for retirement.)
But will millennials feel inspired to vote? Will they turn out in droves, as they did in 2015? Like younger people in the U.S., millennials and Generation Z tend to be more progressive. In 2015, their opposition to Conservative Stephen Harper and attraction to the young, charismatic and Liberal Trudeau pushed them to the polls in unprecedented numbers. But now, after 4 years of a Liberal majority government, will they feel complacent? If millennials stay home, then older voters, who tend to swing to the Conservatives, could well prevail.
Four years ago in the U.S., the largest and most influential voting bloc — the ones who arguably ushered in Trump — were the non-voters. (Trump won about 27 percent of the vote; Clinton won about 28 percent — but the percentage of non-voters was 44 percent.) This time, Democrats are hoping that Trump’s far-right policies and troubled presidency will fire up people and get them to the polls. But Canadian millennials aren’t facing that kind of urgency in this election. The big question is, will they get out and vote in large numbers? If they don’t, the Conservatives will benefit, said Sean Simpson, vice-president of Ipsos, a global research organization, to Global News. The election is almost upon us. Millennials could make all the difference — but only if they actually bother to get to the polls.
CBC: Millennials Could Make a Big Difference This Election — If They Show Up at the Polls.
Chronicle Herald: How Millennials Can Rock the Vote