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If younger voters had bothered to vote in Ontario, Harper would have lost.

There was some conventional wisdom out there in pundit land that in the last few days of the May election, the Conservatives and Harper bit of fear-mongering that the NDP might be elected to government caused right-leaning Liberals to turn and vote Conservative in order to stop this, thus causing the vote splits in Toronto and such that ensured a Harper majority.

According to a study by Ekos, however, that was not the case:

In his post-election analysis, which he presented to a polling conference in Ottawa last week, Mr. Graves says that his sample of 1,000 voters in Ontario did not find a respondent who shifted to the Conservatives because of fears of an NDP-led coalition. What actually happened, Mr. Graves said, is that the Conservatives had a “huge advantage” among those Canadians – mainly older citizens – who actually came out to vote. Those who weren’t as favourable toward the Tories, he added, tended to stay home.

If true, these findings dismays me more then the former possibility that right-leaning Liberals were scared into voting Conservative. It means the voting demographic that is most likely to be anti-Conservative – whatever political persuasion they may be – is the least likely to vote (when Graves is talking younger voters – he’s talking about the 18 to 40 year old demographic, if you’re wondering).

We need to find a way to get them motivated to vote – and I don’t care which political party it is. Otherwise, Harper and the Conservatives will continue to practice wedge politics.. and when there is a smaller voting pie to work with, their gamble that they can split enough of the anti-Conservative vote to still win is more likely to succeed. The best way to counter that is to increase the voting numbers and to increase it in the anti-Harper demographic. The question is how to motivate them (and you can be sure the Conservative government will only profess to be concerned about the lowering voter turnout, because they know as well as any that apathetic young voters who don’t want to come vote benefits them the most).

UPDATE @ 9:16 pm: As pointed out here, Mr Graves isn’t the first person to analyze polls and come to the same conclusion; Michael Valpy came to the same conclusion in August.

4 comments to If younger voters had bothered to vote in Ontario, Harper would have lost.

  • stan

    Wedge politics?
    Like the culture war your hero Frank Graves advocated?

    That turned out to be a quagmire for the liberals, didn’t it?

    Jesus you guys…do you even try to make sense any more?

  • stan

    If your aunt had balls she’d be your uncle…

  • ridenrain

    More culture war plans from “Gravy train” Graves

  • Dan F

    This is where someone like Justin Trudeau might actually be a good candidate. I’ve heard people in the party still say that he’s not ready yet, but every single non-Liberal I’ve talked to lights up when talking about him (especially young female voters – they actually swoon when they hear his name – try it). The less political someone is, the more likely I find they are to react positively to Justin’s name. If the objective is to re-engage young voters, he might be our guy.

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