Thursday, October 7, 2010

How Parliament would look if only youth voted

Canada’s youth would elect a Liberal minority government, with a substantial increase in representation for the New Democrats, Bloc Québécois, and Greens, according to projections based on recent polls of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24. The Conservative Party would be severely reduced, virtually wiped out east of Manitoba.

Read the rest of my article on The Globe & Mail website.

27 comments:

  1. I dont know how you got a position writing articles for the paper, but, its clear I should wrap up my "competing" website :(

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  2. So, once again...

    To what extent are demographic voting rates influenced by GOTV activity? There are more Tory seniors and the Conservative machine marches them to the polls. There are more Green youngsters and the Green machine... doesn't. Yet.

    GOTV obviously doesn't explain either 100% or 0% of demographic voting rates. So what is the size of the effect? Sounds like an interesting area for research. LISPOP, are you listening?

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  3. I would agree that the greens need to do a better job mobilizing there supporters to the polls on election day... this a theme that your work is pointing at Eric.... if we want a more progressive and open minded gov't(not to mention one that better reflects the overall opinions of society at large) we need to somehow better engage young voters to vote...
    no wonder it is a strategy of mr. harper to minimize the nations participation in the democratic process...

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  4. Apathy Is Boring.

    Co-founder Ilona Dougherty spoke at the Green Party of Canada Biennial General Meeting in August. One of her points stood out in my mind: voting is a habit that people either acquire or don't. If they don't vote in either of their first two eligible elections, they're unlikely to do so after that.

    This means that scorched-earth tactics today have long-term implications. Nasty ones for the health of our political system.

    I'm exhorting my children to get their friends registered for the municipal elections and out to the ballot box, everywhere they can vote. Whom they vote for is their business. Whether they vote is important for our collective futures.

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  5. Young people don't vote Conservative because they have yet to learn anything about macroeconomics.

    Conservative policies are, in my opinion, the result of deeper analysis of the issues and the costs associated with addressing those issues. Young people don't do that deeper analysis. Young people accept shallow and sometimes fallacious explanations for the state of things in Canada, and as such they choose parties who promise shallow or fallacious solutions.

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  6. Lucky for Canada that the youth turnout at election time is so low.

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  7. Old people don't vote Liberal because they have yet to learn anything about macroeconomics.

    Liberal policies are, in my opinion, the result of deeper analysis of the issues and the costs associated with addressing those issues. Old people don't do that deeper analysis. Old people accept shallow and sometimes fallacious explanations for the state of things in Canada, and as such they choose parties who promise shallow or fallacious solutions.

    --------

    That was too easy!

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  8. My I'm much more hopeful for the country when the young show such intelligence !!

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  9. Ira: Young people don't vote Conservative because they have yet to learn anything about macroeconomics.

    This is an article of truth among the True Believers, but it's hard to square with Tommy Douglas, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien and Stephen Harper. The right aren't the responsible ones.

    Of course, True Believers will talk about the insurmountable contexts of these leaders. (Subtext: "The devil made me do it.") Does anybody have a Canadian version of this kind of chart?

    Facts. Highly annoying things, those.

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  10. John - you objection makes sense only if "macroeconomics" is limited to a discussion of budget deficits.

    Taxes. Business incentives. These all matter.

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  11. John nice chart.

    I guess whoever made it was NOT aware that its congress who controls spending, for instance much of the decrease in deficit during the Clinton years was when Republicans were passing welfare reform.

    Also usefull for such a chart would be to adjust for broader economic trends, like GROWTH.

    I love the notion that Harper isn't the responsible one because he happens to be governing during the worst downturn since the great depression.

    Even Mulroney was gradually reducing Canada's debt that Trudeau exploded until the world wide downturn that took down George Bush Sr. wrecked the budget.


    Yes, give anyone a global tech boom that Chretien/Clinton got to govern with or the oil boom that Martin/Harper for three years got and they would appear responsible too.

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  12. Ira: Taxes. Business incentives. These all matter.

    Absolutely. And many other matters as well. To put it mildly, the Tories have not been shining in these areas. Look at the business response to the abolition of the long-form census.

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  13. Shadow - there's no need to defend Republicans. They've been all about big government and business subsidies ever since the war. The only fiscally conservative Republican president in that period was Ford, and he was never even elected to federal office.

    It was even a Republican (Nixon) who really set the ball rolling on their recent financial collapse when he abandoned the gold standard.

    We'll see how Harper does with a majority. I fully expect he'll govern vastly differently when he's freed of immediate political concerns.

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  14. Ira I again go back to the fact that its CONGRESS who does the spending in America.

    Since the great depression its been the democrats in charge of the house and the senate with their New Deal and Great Society that have trashed America's fiscal position.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_divisions_of_United_States_Congresses

    Any attempt to blame debt and deficits at the hands of Republicans is foolish. Of course they could have done a better job but they're simply not at fault.

    Usually the criticism is centered around the fact that they've cut taxes. However, tax cuts are expansionary and often pay for themselves if structured properly.

    Look at what's happened to the budget since 2006 when the democrats took over.

    Spending has increased at a mind boggling pace, even without the budget busting stimulus.

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  15. ridingBYriding,

    Think talent and God-given gifts. I have friends at TG&M and they have been impressed for a while!

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  16. Ira,

    "We'll see how Harper does with a majority. I fully expect he'll govern vastly differently when he's freed of immediate political concerns."

    With respect Ira, I'd call the above the understatement of the year...that's precisely what I'm afraid of!!!!

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  17. Shadow,

    "Look at what's happened to the budget since 2006 when the democrats took over.

    Spending has increased at a mind boggling pace, even without the budget busting stimulus."

    The truth is that both Congress and the President are at fault. When they get to Capitol Hill, they're known respectively as Bush and Obama Budgets. Yes, Congress pretzels them but you don't see a presidential veto on the final sausage, do you...

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  18. Ron the budgets that presidents come up with are basically just a wish list that's chucked in the bin while congress does what it wants.

    And what good is a veto? Either you sign the money bills or the entire government shuts down.

    US presidents have more power in foreign policy matters. The commander in chief.

    The US House of Representatives is where the economic action is, all the tax and spending bills must originate from there.

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  19. Shadow,

    Agreed, in strictly political terms but the Tea Party is a perfect example of attempting to make the president "wear" the budget along with Congress. The fair elements among them rightly blame both the president, past president and Congress while the hypocritical blame only Obama and Congress.

    As an aside Shadow, I hope you aren't up until 3:00 A.M. every day of the week. None of us are getting any younger. Once we pass 50, Job 1 should be to make sure the scoreboard always reads: "Heart Attack 0". Family and friends kind of prefer it that way.

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  20. Young people are more socially liberal and unless the Conservatives become more moderate and progressive again then they're not going to do well. Especially now with people becoming more educated, because as we know the university educated are more likely to support the Liberals then they are Conservatives.

    Harper has also just shown himself to be a big spender, as well he started taxing the people of BC and Ontario more so I guess he's a tax and spend "Conservative".

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  21. Speculating about the voting behaviour of people that don't vote requires a rather bad assumption - that the act of deciding to vote would have no effect on voter preferences.

    Non-voters have relatively weak preferences, and have not generally addressed the tradeoffs inherent in politics that voters must make.

    The axiom that young people are inherently more left wing, incidentally, is false. For instance, as recently as 2000, Bush tied Gore among young voters, while Gore's best age group were seniors. Young voters were as likely or more likely to vote GOP as the general public in the 1976, 1984, 1988 and 2000 elections (if you look at the past 9 US presidential elections).

    So, left-wingers should probably stop salivating about the young, while right-wingers should end the tired old line about how having to pay taxes makes people conservatives (or Churchill's similarly trite version).

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  22. "Speculating about the voting behaviour of people that don't vote requires a rather bad assumption - that the act of deciding to vote would have no effect on voter preferences."


    Agreed. Also, a person's voting patterns can change over time. So even if it were true that youth were more "progressive", it would be faulty to assume that will always be the case.

    I also like how Red Tory Liberal states that Harper is the one who is responsible for taxing the people of BC and Ontario more. It's like he/she conveniently forgets that the provincial governments had to agree to it, that it was originally a Chretien/Martin policy, and that that the current federal Liberals support the tax

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  23. "The axiom that young people are inherently more left wing, incidentally, is false. For instance, as recently as 2000, Bush tied Gore among young voters, while Gore's best age group were seniors. Young voters were as likely or more likely to vote GOP as the general public in the 1976, 1984, 1988 and 2000 elections (if you look at the past 9 US presidential elections)."

    I know Harper is making it harder by the day to tell the difference but we live in Canada not the US, there quite an ideological difference.

    Being a university student it's not hard to tell how young people stand on issues when dealing with them everyday. I was in a political science class several weeks ago and we were talking about the LGR vote. There was one student who owned several guns and couldn't see what the problem was with registering it. The only student who spoke about it not making sense was one from the US.

    It's pretty obvious that in today's world young people are more open to sme-sex marriage and abortion.

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  24. hosertohoosier,

    Quite honestly, I tend to agree with your assessment insofar as it relates to youth political inclination and voter intention in the United States.

    Where I differ is in the attempt to extrapolate the available data to the Canadian experience.

    Might I suggest that Canadian youth are, by and large, further to the left than their American counterparts -- but yes, it's not by leaps and bounds.

    I would say the old stereotypes and voting patterns remain somewhat accurate in Canada, to a much greater degree than in the United States.

    But in conclusion, I also agree with your view that any party that relies on sweeping generalizations is probably in for a shock on election night.

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  25. What also would be an interesting exercise would be 'what if all age & gender groups voted in proportion to their size of the population'. IE: if we had 100% (or 50% or 1%) of all people vote, and they voted the same as their age and gender what would be the end result? Mix in income as well ideally.

    Of course, for it to truly work we'd need a different voting system so there wouldn't be 'wasted' votes (ie: preferential ballot ranking choices 1-2-3-... if we stay with FPTP, or a different system altogether) but that is a different topic.

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  26. Shadow: I again go back to the fact that its CONGRESS who does the spending in America.

    Ah, so it wasn't Reaganomics; it was really Congressonomics. Gottit.

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  27. "Ah, so it wasn't Reaganomics; it was really Congressonomics. Gottit."

    There was a point buried in there, I think ?

    Reaganomics is really just classic supply side theory.

    He asked for a tax cut and congress passed it. It worked.

    He also asked for spending cuts. Congress didn't pass those...

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