Young Quebecers are highly engaged in the provincial election campaign, thought their priorities are dramatically different from the older generation, according to an IPSOS poll for La Presse.
The poll surveyed Quebecers between the ages of 18 and 25 on the issues that matter to them most.
Of the 12 topics, education came in first at 40 per cent, followed by health at 32 per cent and the economy at 20 per cent. Sovereignty — usually a hot topic during provincial campaigns — came in last.
“Below four per cent of youth say that sovereignty is an issue that will drive their vote in the next election,” said Sebastien Dallaire, senior vice-president and general manager of IPSOS Quebec.
“Clearly not a priority for young voters.”
Dallaire points out the idea of separating is simply not a popular idea.
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“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that young voters are opposed to sovereignty or they are federalist in the way we used that label in the past, it’s just that they were not socialized in an environment where people talked about it,” he told Global News.
“So, they don’t really have clear positions on the issue.”
The majority of young Quebecers surveyed say they are interested in the campaign, with 26 per cent saying they are very interested, 39 per cent saying they are interested and 27 per cent showing little interest; eight per cent say they have no interest at all.
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“Almost two-thirds are saying that they’re paying at least some attention to the electoral campaign and that’s a good sign,” said Dallaire, noting that the numbers are similar for all generations.
He added that more youth voters turned out during the 2015 federal election.
“We’ll see if it’s the case again in this provincial election,” Dallaire said.
“There doesn’t seem to be too much in terms of big-ticket items for young voters in the current election, but the fact that they’re paying attention is certainly good news.”
There was one notable statistic — 81 per cent of people polled said they intend to vote.
“That’s not going to happen,” Dallaire laughs.
“That’s the one question where you get the most overestimation. People are more likely to say they’re going to go vote, it’s more socially acceptable, which is a good thing, we want people to feel that they need to say it.”
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Seven per cent said they had no intention of voting, while 12 per cent were undecided.
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When it comes to the province’s future, 43 per cent of voters said they felt optimistic, while 42 per cent said they’re worried; 15 per cent said they didn’t know how they felt.
“We would have thought maybe young people would be a bit more optimistic, give their future, the economy is going well, things are looking up,” Dallaire said.
“At the same time, their priorities are related to the environment, education, health care and these are the areas where we know the public opinion is more divided.”
The poll surveyed 510 Quebecers between the ages of 18 and 25 from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6.
The margin of error is ±5,0 per cent.
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