Politics professor says it can be tricky unless you know what’s happening on the ground in the riding where you vote
A great majority of Ryerson students say they’re likely to vote strategically in the federal election later this month, suggests a recent poll.
In a survey of undergraduate students across the campus, 81 per cent of respondents said they would be either “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to use strategic voting methods when they hit the polls on, or before, Oct. 21.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, strategic or tactical voting is voting to prevent a person or party from winning, rather than voting for a preferred candidate.
“Strategic voting normally means there is someone who you really don’t want to win who is in danger of winning,” said Neil Thomlinson, a professor in Ryerson’s politics department.
Thomlinson warned that, while sometimes effective, strategic voting can lead to wasted votes if the voter doesn’t understand the political landscape of their riding.
“Many students aren’t living at home, so the riding in which they’re going to vote is not their home riding, and they don’t know very much about it,” Thomlinson said.
Despite the lopsided survey results results, some Ryerson students plan to vote for their preferred candidates rather than cast a strategic vote.
Fareeha Zafar, a second-year media production student, said she considered voting Liberal over her preferred NDP, but will opt to vote her conscience when the polls open.
“I’m going to vote for whoever I feel like voting for, regardless of what might happen,” Zafar said.
Those polled were also asked who they would vote for if they had to elect someone at that moment, and 40 per cent of students said they would elect the Liberals.
The next highest voted party was the NDP, which received 26.8 per cent. The Conservative Party garnered 14.1 per cent.
Daniel Rubenson, an associate professor for politics and governance at Ryerson, said, “It’s a very urban campus. Liberals tend to do better in urban areas. It’s also a very ethnically diverse campus, and Liberals tends to do better in diverse areas.”
The poll of 975 undergraduate students was conducted by Ryerson School of Journalism students between Oct. 2 and Oct. 6. It is accurate 19 times out of 20 with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Elections take place on Oct. 21.