New Study Finds that Young Canadians Had a Major Impact on the 2015 Federal Election


OTTAWA, April 19th, 2016 – Results from a new study looking at the political behaviours and opinions of Canadians aged 18 to 25 confirms their ascent as a powerful voting group. Conduced by Abacus Data, the study concludes that young Canadians were critical to the Liberal majority victory.

“With voter turnout among this age group up a projected 12 percentage points, young Canadians can no longer be regarded as apathetic and unengaged”, said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.

For the first time since 1997, one party overwhelmingly won the youth vote. 45% of young Canadians voted Liberal compared with 25% for the NDP and 20% for the Conservative Party. “Decision makers need to see young Canadians as a political force and respond with policy solutions that mirror their needs and expectations”, said Michael McDonald, Executive Director at the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA).

The study also explored the state of mind of post-secondary students and the barriers they face in finding meaningful employment. While they remain profoundly optimistic, many are worried about their ability to achieve important milestones in the future. For instance:

  • 63% of those surveyed attribute the costs of post-secondary education as having a negative impact on their lives;
  • 57% are concerned by a lack of job opportunities available to them post-graduation;
  • 67% believe the best way in achieving gainful employment is through relevant work-experience while in school;
  • Of those currently employed, a mere 20% would describe their job as rewarding, and only one in five would describe it as permanent;
  • Equally troublesome, 49% do not believe they will be able to afford a home within 5 years of graduating.

Financial pressures and inequitable public policies have left this generation questioning their long-term prospects. The government has a responsibility to create an environment where young Canadians can achieve basic life milestones. “Moving forward, political parties must recognize young Canadians as a powerful voting group that decide elections. If this government intends to stay in power, it must deliver on its commitments and remedy current generational inequalities”, said McDonald.



More about the study from David Coletto at Abacus Data
The study also explores what young Canadians think the priorities of the federal government should be, their attitudes and opinions about the new government and Prime Minister Trudeau. It also explores the opportunities and threats for the main opposition parties as they renew themselves in the lead up to the next federal election.

About CASA        
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organization composed of 21 student associations representing 250,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.


Abacus Data
David Coletto, CEO
Email: [email protected]
Office: 613-232-2806

Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
Amélie Gadient, Public Affairs Officer
Email: [email protected]
Office: 613-236-3457 ext: 224
Mobile: 514-588-6509



The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations advocates for better post-secondary education and aims to improve the lives of students. L'Alliance canadienne des associations étudiantes défend les intérêts des étudiant(e)s.
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New Study Finds that Young Canadians Had a Major Impact on the 2015 Federal Election
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