Most undergraduate university students in Toronto are likely to vote in this year’s federal election, according to a recent poll conducted by Ryerson University’s journalism and political science departments.
Almost 60 per cent of undergraduate students say they will probably cast a ballot this year. About one-third of students polled said they are likely to vote and another quarter said they are very likely to vote.
Twenty-three per cent said they are undecided, 10 per cent said they are unlikely to vote, and eight per cent said they are very unlikely to vote.
The proportion of Toronto students who say they will vote is much higher than the actual voter turnout among youth in the 2011 federal election.
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According to Elections Canada, an Ontario-wide poll indicates 438,444 youth aged 18 to 24 voted in the May 2011 federal election, making up 38.2 per cent of Ontario voters.
National youth voter turnout in 2011 was only 38.8 per cent even though 50.1 per cent of youth aged 18 to 24 were registered as electors.
The gap between voter turnout and the number of registered voters is due to a variety of reasons, including a lack of interest and initiative, and high mobility rates, according to Elections Canada.
The difference could also indicate social desirability bias, which is the tendency of survey respondents to answer questions in a favourable manner.
“Part of the results could be influenced by the way that the questions are phrased. They say they’re likely to vote, because voting is seen as a socially responsible thing to do,” said Benjamin Allen Stevens, a fourth-year politics and governance student at Ryerson University.
The public opinion survey of 1,155 mostly undergraduate degree students at Ryerson University, University of Toronto, OCAD University and George Brown College was conducted between Jan. 22 and Jan. 29. Latest figures show roughly 112,000 students attend those institutions at the undergraduate level.
The Ryerson University survey has a margin of error of 3.02 per cent, 99 per cent of the time.