Young voters an untapped resource for political parties, report says

A new report by Samara, a non-partisan charity dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics, says young voters are politically-engaged but still less likely to vote than people over 30.

Canadians under 30 most politically-engaged demographic

A little encouragement from a friend or family member, Howe said, is usually a lot more effective than an advertising campaign in convincing someone to vote for the first time. (Dave Chidley/Canadian Press)

A new report by Samara, a non-partisan charity dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics, says young voters are engaged politically, but still less likely to vote than people over 30. 

That's because young voters still feel disconnected from candidates and political parties, the report said. 

"It's very important that politics be connected to their lives and that they see it already where they live, work and study," said Jane Hilderman, executive director of Samara. 

They're actually the most engaged, the most caring generation among Canadians that we have.- Jane Hilderman, Samara executive director

Hilderman said youth who had been contacted by a political party, be it through door-knocking, a phone call or social media, were 15 per cent more likely to cast a ballot in the 2011 federal election, than those who weren't. 

"If you see it and are experiencing an invitation then it begins to sink in that politics is something that is important," said Hilderman. 

"And if you have that general value and belief, you're going to be more likely to go out and figure out how to cast a ballot." 

The report also challenges the idea that young Canadians are politically apathetic.

The report compiled data collected in December of 2014 from a sample of just over 2400 Canadians through a survey that asked participants about their civic engagement.

The report found that across 18 forms of political participation — outside of voting — Canadians under 30 participate on average 11 percentage points higher than citizens over 30. 

In almost every category evaluated, from attending a political meeting to volunteering for a candidate, Canadians under 30 were the most engaged demographic.

"They're actually the most engaged, the most caring generation among Canadians that we have," said Hilderman. "Definitely not apathetic." 

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