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New Municipal Election Poll: People Think Younger Elected Officials Will Change Communities for the Better

October 9, 2018

OCTOBER 9 2018 – Vancouver, BC – The Forum for Millennial Leadership (FML) today released fresh opinion research conducted by Research Co regarding municipal elections in BC. The results show that most British Columbians believe electing younger people to City Councils will change their communities for the better.

When presented with a choice of statements about younger candidates running for municipal office, 77% of British Columbians agreed that “I’m hopeful that younger elected officials will help change my community for the better.” That included 87% of 18-34 year olds and 70% of 55+ respondents. Only 12% of respondents said “I’m fearful younger elected officials will change my community in ways I don’t want,” including 6% of 18-34 year olds and 14% of 55+ voters. 11% said they did not believe younger elected officials will change their community.

“This is a generational election, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all about a generational divide,” said FML Founder Gavin Dew. “Everyone knows we need people at the Council table who will be living in our communities in 30 or 40 years. It’s a perfect storm where younger voters are switching on to municipal politics at the same time as older voters are coming to see younger candidates as a source of hope, not fear.”

Voter turnout may increase and the generational gap in voting may be reduced if voter intent is matched by action. Across British Columbia, 42% of people (and 44% of 18-34 year olds) say they are more likely to vote than in the 2014 municipal election, 48% of people say they are just as likely to vote, and just 5% say they are less likely to vote.

FML has previously highlighted that there are almost 100 candidates under 40 running in municipal elections in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. New polling tested public perception of the number of under-40 incumbents and candidates, along with the desired number of elected officials under 40.

Out of 155 outgoing Mayors and Councillors in Metro Vancouver, approximately 12 are under 40. However, the average Metro Vancouver resident believes there are 31. There are approximately 87 candidates under 40 running for election to Metro Vancouver Councils, but the average voter believes there are 38 such candidates. When asked how many people under 40 they would like to see elected as mayors and councillors in Metro Vancouver, the average Metro voter would like to see 50, more than four times the current number. The average 18-34 year old would like to see 62 people under 40 elected, and those 55+ would like to see 44.

Out of 40 outgoing Mayors and Councillors in the Fraser Valley, around 6 are under 40. However, the average Fraser Valley resident believes there are 10. There are approximately 12 candidates under 40 running for election to Metro Vancouver Councils, but the average voter believes there are 9 such candidates. When asked how many people under 40 they would like to see elected as mayors and councillors in the Fraser Valley, the average Fraser Valley voter would like to see 15, or 2.5 times the current number.

“People say they want to see younger people step up and lead, and they seem to trust that younger elected officials will change their communities for the better,” said FML Founder Gavin Dew. “The ballot box is where the rubber hits the road.”

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 4 to October 7, 2018, among 877 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.3 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

For detailed polling tables, click here.