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National Youth Survey Report

SECTION 3: PARTICIPATION IN THE MAY 2011 GENERAL ELECTION

This section explores rates of participation in the May 2011 general election and the barriers and influencers to participation. All results in this section are based on data from the national random sample (Group A). The analysis begins by providing an overview of general voting patterns based on key socio-demographic variables (such as region, gender and age). A bivariate analysis of barriers and influencers for both voters and non-voters is then conducted based on survey responses. A multivariate regression model then examines the strength of the impact of underlying factors on voting behaviour.

3.1 Participation in the May 2011 General Election

Slightly fewer than three quarters (74%) of surveyed youth reported that they had participated in the 2011 general election (Chart 3-1). These results should be considered with caution as self-identified voter turnout rates reported in surveys have consistently been found to be significantly higher than the official turnout rates,Footnote 6 and this is almost certainly the case with the National Youth Survey. However, studies show that over-reporting tends to affect all samples to some extent (regardless of subgroup) and that surveys can still be reliably used to identify factors associated with voting and non-voting. The survey also included a considerable sub-sample of self-reported non-voters, both in the national random sample (n=366) and in the sample of subgroups (n=731).

The proportion of youth who reported having voted was generally consistent across regions. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between males and females. There was a significant trend toward increased participation in voting with increasing age,Footnote 7 with the exception of the 18-to-19 age group, in which participation was higher than for the 20-to-24 age group.

A possible reason for the high rate of voting among the youngest age group may be found in the high school environments that encourage voter participation as part of their curriculum. The finding that voting participation among students in the 18-to-19 age group was higher (84%) compared to non-students (65%) provides some support for this explanation. Further research should be undertaken to confirm this voting pattern.

Further information on youth voter turnout will be available in early 2012, when Elections Canada publishes estimations of turnout by age based on administrative data.

Chart 3-1: Patterns of Participation in the May 2011 General Election

Patterns of Participation in the May 2011 General Election
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

Text description of Chart 3-1

3.2 Electoral Participation by Key Subgroups

Findings from the National Youth Survey underscore previously reported differences in voting rates for different subgroups of youth.Footnote 8 In this study, lower rates of electoral participation were found for First Nations and Inuit youth as well as ethnocultural youth (Table 3-1). However, numbers within the national random sample were small,Footnote 9 and participation by these groups is explored in more detail in the context of the purposive sample in Section 4.

Table 3-1: Self-reported Participation in the 2011 General Election by Youth Subgroups
Total in Group A Voted
N % N %
Youth living in rural localities 319 23% 247 77%
Aboriginal youth 57 4% 30 53%
First Nations 31 54% 12 39%
Métis 19 34% 15 79%
Inuit 2 3% 1 50%
Other 5 9% 3 60%
Ethnocultural youth 244 18% 157 64%
Youth with disabilities 55 4% 40 73%
National (weighted rates for random sample) 1,389 100% 1,023 74%

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.
Notes: Chi-square value of 11.18 (ρ= 0.000) for differences between Aboriginal youth and the national sample and a chi-square value of 9.17 (ρ = 0.002) for differences between ethnocultural youth and the national sample.

3.3 Electoral Participation by Socio-demographic Characteristics

There was no difference in youth electoral participation among youth whose first language was English, French or another language. Higher education, employment and higher personal income were predictors of increased participation in the May 2011 general election (Table 3-2), and this is consistent with other studies of youth voting in Canada.Footnote 10

Table 3-2: Self-reported Participation in the 2011 General Election
Total Voted
N % N %
EducationChi-squared for trend ( < 0.000)
Less than Grade 12 98 7% 41 42%
High school 27% 262 69%
Some college or trade school 105 8% 73 70%
College or trade school 264 19% 184 70%
Some university 148 11% 124 84%
Completed university degree: BA, MA, doctorate 393 28% 339 86%
EmploymentChi-squared for trend ( < 0.000)
Employed or self-employed 634 46% 477 75%
Employed or self-employed and in school or training 270 19% 211 78%
In school or training 306 22% 242 79%
Full-time stay-at-home parent 74 5% 44 59%
Unemployed 75 5% 29 39%
Other reasons for not working 29 2% 19 66%
Personal IncomeChi-squared for trend ( < 0.001)
Under $20,000 139 44% 84 60%
$20,000 to just under $40,000 75 24% 52 69%
$40,000 to just under $60,000 45 14% 35 78%
$60,000 to just under $80,000 8% 16 62%
$80,000 and over 17 5% 17 100%
Household Income
Under $20,000 135 13% 94 70%
$20,000 to just under $40,000 124 12% 89 72%
$40,000 to just under $60,000 157 15% 113 72%
$60,000 to just under $80,000 136 13% 104 76%
$80,000 to just under $100,000 128 12% 103 80%
$100,000 and over 231 22% 193 84%
Total 1,389 100% 1,023 74%

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.
Note: Household income was asked of youth who either lived with their parents or were married. Other youth were asked personal income.

As highlighted in Chart 3-2, there was a progressive increase in youth voting with increasing educational attainment. For example, among those who had completed a university degree, the voting rate (86%) was significantly higher than for those youth who had less than a Grade 12 education (42%). Similarly, income and employment were linked to voting: youth who were employed or at school had higher rates of participation in voting than those who were unemployed or engaged in other activities, and those with higher incomes had higher rates of voting than those with lower incomes.

Chart 3-2: Association between Participation in the 2011 General Election and Education

Association between Participation in the 2011 General Election and Education
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

Text description of Chart 3-2

Marital and family status were also predictors of electoral participation. Having children was significantly associated with lower rates of electoral participation (Table 3-3), especially for single parents with children.

Table 3-3: Rates of Electoral Participation for Families with and without Children
Singles Couples
Total in Sample Voted Total in Sample Voted
N % N % N % N %
With children 84 6% 51 61% 22% 226 74%
Without children 818 59% 598 73% 176 13% 144 82%

Note: Having children chi-squared p<0.001; single parents with children chi-squared p=0.000; couple families with children chi-squared p<0.001.
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

3.4 Explaining Voting Behaviour

The current survey sought to confirm and shed further light on the reasons for voting and not voting among Canadian youth. Respondents' reasons for voting and non-voting were explored through two open-ended questions. The responses to these questions were grouped together according to key attitudes associated with voting and key motivation and access barriers associated with non-voting. Motivation barriers are conceptualized as barriers that prevent those who are otherwise able to vote but do not want to vote from voting, while access barriers apply to those who want to vote but cannot.

Respondents who reported having voted in the May 2011 general election provided reasons for voting that were related to motivation, including general attitudes toward politics and democracy (70%) and interest in politics (26%) (Table 3-4). When asked directly, 97% of surveyed youth who reported having voted agreed at least somewhat that it is a civic duty for citizens to vote. Conversely, only 75% of non-voting youth agreed with this statement.Footnote 11

Table 3-4: Reasons for Voting
Reasons for Voting Total
N %
General Attitudes toward Politics and Democracy 707 70%
It is a civic duty to vote 268 26%
Because I think it is important to vote 184 18%
It allows me to express my opinions/views 165 16%
I can/It's my right 45 4%
Out of habit (I always vote) 31 3%
It's important that youth vote 8 1%
My vote counts 5 1%
Political Influencers 34 3%
Because a friend, family member or other person encouraged me to vote 34 3%
Interest in Politics 266 26%
To support or oppose a political party 160 16%
I want to/I want change 56 5%
To support or oppose a specific candidate 44 4%
I care about different issues 7 1%
Other 7 1%

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

In comparison, 51% of youth who said they did not vote provided explanations related to personal circumstances (Table 3-5).Footnote 12 Other reasons given centred around respondents' motivation and included generally negative attitudes to politics and democracy (9%), a lack of interest in politics (12%) and insufficient political knowledge (11%). Personal circumstances such as being too busy or taking care of children were considered as access barriers, but the extent to which they act as a barrier is likely to be influenced by an individual's motivation to vote.

Statistics Canada's May 2011 Labour Force Survey explored youth voting with a larger sample than was possible through the National Youth Survey. In the Labour Force Survey, youth aged 18 to 24 said they did not vote because they were not interested (30%), too busy (23%) or out of town or away (11%).Footnote 13

Table 3-5: Reasons for Not Voting
Reasons for Not Voting Total
N %
Attitudes 34 9%
My vote wouldn't make any difference (vote is meaningless) 14 4%
I didn't like any of the parties/candidates (no choice) 10 3%
I don't trust government/politicians 7 2%
The party/candidate I liked didn't have a chance of winning 2 <1%
Interest in Politics 44 12%
I don't care (lack of interest) 44 12%
Political Knowledge 41 11%
I don't know enough about the parties/candidates/issues 41 11%
Access Barriers 232 64%
Process Knowledge 16 4%
I was unsure of how, when or where to vote 16 4%
Personal Circumstances 182 50%
I was at school/work all day/Taking care of family/children (or too busy) 110 30%
I was travelling/away from my riding 51 14%
Unable to get to polling station (location not convenient/transportation issues) 13 4%
I forgot 7 2%
I was sick 2 <1%
Administrative Barriers 34 9%
I didn't have ID or proof of address or VIC 17 5%
I wasn't registered/didn't know how to register 10 3%
Voting is not convenient 7 2%
Other 13 4%

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

3.5 Electoral Participation and Motivation Barriers

Many of the reasons given for not voting represent a lack of motivation to vote. The potential barriers to voting arising from a lack of motivation were further considered by exploring:

3.5.1 General Attitudes toward Politics, Democracy and Citizenship

There were reasonably high levels of satisfaction among the youth surveyed with the way democracy works in Canada, with 53% of youth being somewhat satisfied and a further 17% very satisfied. While youth who were very dissatisfied had slightly lower voting rates (72%) than youth who were very satisfied (77%), this difference was not statistically significant. A key difference between voters and non-voters was that voters were more likely to have agreed that the government plays a major role in their lives compared to non-voters (81% versus 62%, respectively).

Youth voters were more likely than non-voters to identify with a political party and to feel that by voting they could make a difference. Nearly all voters (95%) agreed that there was at least one political party that talked about the issues that they felt were important, compared to fewer (85%), but still a high proportion, of non-voters.Footnote 14 When youth were asked whether they felt that by voting they could make a difference, 88% of voters agreed, compared to 72% of non-voters. Most youth, both voters and non-voters, disagreed that all federal political parties were the same (85% of voters and 76% of non-voters).

3.5.2 Interest in Politics and Political Parties

There was a direct correlation between interest in politics and voting, as 88% of youth who were very interested in the last general election voted, while only 28% of those who were not at all interested voted (Table 3-6).Footnote 15 This finding is consistent with an earlier study using Elections Canada data.Footnote 16

Table 3-6: Association between Voting and Interest in Canadian Politics
Total in Sample Voted
N % N %
Not at all interested 65 5% 18 28%
A little interested 287 21% 171 60%
Somewhat interested 673 48% 516 77%
Very interested 326 26% 319 88%
Total 1,389 100% 1,023 74%

Note: Chi-squared (ρ = 0.000).
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

Interest in politics was also explored by asking youth whether they had participated in various political activities in the past 12 months (Table 3-7). The most common activity was signing a petition (31%), although 21% reported contacting a politician to express their views on an issue.

Table 3-7: Association between Voting and Participation in Political Activities
Activity Participated In ... Did Not Participate In ...
Total % Participated
in the Activity
Voted Total Voted
N % N %
Signed a petition? 436 31% 348 80% 946 668 71%
Expressed your views on an issue by contacting a politician? 285 21% 216 76% 1,100 805 73%
Attended a community meeting about a local issue? 186 13% 152 82% 1,202 871 72%
Expressed your views on an issue by contacting a newspaper or commenting on a blog or online discussion board? 147 11% 124 84% 1,241 899 72%
Participated in a demonstration or protest march? 104 7% 86 83% 1,285 937 73%

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

Of the 22% of youth who had participated in two or more activities, 82% voted, compared to 74% of those who had participated in only one activity and 70% of those who had participated in no activities (Chart 3-3).

Increased civic participation was also associated with increased voting. A significantly higher proportion of youth who had carried out volunteer work for an organization in the previous 12 months had voted (79%) compared to those who had not volunteered (69%).Footnote 17 Not surprisingly, this was particularly the case for youth who had volunteered for a political party: 98% of them had voted.

Chart 3-3: Association between Participation in Political Activities
and Voting Behaviour

Association between Participation in Political Activities and Voting Behaviour
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

Text description of Chart 3-3

3.5.3 Political Knowledge

Survey respondents were asked three questions to test their political knowledge (Table 3-8). Approximately one third of youth (39%) answered all three questions correctly, 28% answered two correctly, 22% answered one and 11% provided no correct answers.

Table 3-8: Political Knowledge
Question Correct Incorrect/No Answer
Total Voted Total Voted
N % N %
Which party won the most seats in the general election held on May 2? 1,125 937 83% 90 49 54%
What level of government has primary responsibility for education (federal, provincial or municipal)? 838 692 550 331 60%
What is the name of your provincial (territorial) premier? 736 620 84% 653 404 62%

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

It appears that there is a clearly positive relationship between political knowledge and voting behaviour (Chart 3-4). For example, only 24% of individuals who could not provide any correct answers to the three questions to test political knowledge voted in the May 2011 general election, compared to 90% of those who answered all three questions correctly.

Chart 3-4: Association between Political Knowledge and Voting Behaviour

Association between Political Knowledge and Voting Behaviour
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample

Text description of Chart 3-4

Knowledge of the candidate was also associated with voting. When specifically asked, 21% of voters said "knowing enough about the candidates" had made it difficult or very difficult to vote, compared to 46% of non-voters.

Approximately two thirds of surveyed youth had taken courses at high school in which they learned about government and politics. A higher proportion (78%) of those who had taken courses had voted, compared to those who had not taken courses (64%). Of interest, approximately one half (51%) of surveyed youth indicated that they had participated in a mock election program. The proportion of voters among those who had participated in mock election programs such as Student VoteFootnote 18 (75%) was the same as those who had not.

3.6 Electoral Participation and Access Barriers

The extent to which access barriers influence electoral participation was considered by exploring:

3.6.1 Knowledge of the Electoral Process

Knowledge of how, when or where to vote was explored by asking youth to rate how difficult or easy a range of factors made it for them to vote (Table 3-9). Although only 4% of non-voters stated that their main reason to not vote was that they did not know how or where to vote, many more said that they were influenced by these factors when asked whether they had had an impact on their decision. Approximately one quarter of youth non-voters said that they were influenced in their decision by not knowing when or where to go to vote.

Table 3-9: Administrative Barriers to Voting
Potential Barriers Voters:
Factors Making It Somewhat Difficult or Very Difficult to Vote
Non-voters:
Factors with a Strong or Some Influence on Decision Not to Vote
N % N %
Knowing when to vote 16 2% 92 26%
Knowing where to go to vote 38 3% 91 25%
Knowing how to vote 14 2% 67 19%
Total 1,023 366

Note: Readers should interpret Table 3-9 with caution because of small sample sizes.
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

Lack of awareness of different ways of voting other than voting at the polling station on election day was also associated with lower rates of voting, with participation by only 57% of youth who did not know any other way of voting (Table 3-10).

Table 3-10: Awareness of Different Ways of Voting
Awareness of Voting Methods Total Voted
N % N %
Advance polling station 699 50% 621 89%
By mail 134 10% 119 89%
Local Elections Canada office 33 2% 29 88%
Don't know/Don't remember 644 46% 363 57%
Total 1,389 100% 1,023

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

The proportion who voted increased along with increasing awareness of the different options for voting (Chart 3-5). Of the small number of youth aware of all three options, all reported having voted, compared to 92% of those who were aware of two options and 87% of those aware of only one other option.

Chart 3-5: Association between Voting Participation and Awareness
of Different Ways of Voting

Patterns of Participation in the May 2011 General Election
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

Text description of Chart 3-5

3.6.2 Personal Circumstance

Personal circumstances were explored by considering a range of socio-demographic characteristics. This form of analysis is complicated as the various factors are intertwined. For instance, as outlined previously (Section 3.3), higher rates of participation were associated with higher levels of education and with higher income, and there is a high correlation between income and education. The finding that lower rates of participation were associated with being a single parent may be an expression of the lower levels of educational attainment and earnings that are associated with this group.

Those who had moved more than twice in the two years before the survey (64%) were also less likely to say that they had voted than those who had not moved more than twice (74%).Footnote 19 Lower voting rates by more mobile youth are likely to be associated with administrative barriers such as a lower rate of receipt of the VIC. Youth who had moved more than twice were less likely to have received a VIC, compared to youth who had moved twice or less (55% versus 79%).

The ability of youth to get to the polling station is another personal circumstance that has a significant impact on voter behaviour. Few voters (2%) said that getting to the location had had an influence on their decision to vote. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (24%) of non-voters said that transportation to the voting location had had some or a strong influence on their decision not to vote.

3.6.3 Administrative Barriers

When asked about their main reason for not voting in the May 2011 general election, 10% of youth non-voters provided administrative reasons (see Table 3-5 above). Potential administrative barriers to voting included whether voting was easy and convenient, whether youth had received a VIC in the mail, providing proof of ID or address and the extent to which they would have felt welcome at the polling station.

Almost all (98%) of youth who voted agreed that voting in a general election "is easy and convenient," compared to 82% of non-voters. When specifically asked, 23% of youth stated that they had not received a VIC in the mail. Voting rates were significantly lower for those who had not received a VIC (62%) or did not remember whether they had received one (33%), compared with those who remembered receiving a VIC (79%).Footnote 20 Voting rates were not increased by having correct details on the VIC.

Difficulty in providing proof of ID and difficulty in providing proof of their address influenced 15% and 16%, respectively, of youth non-voters not to vote (Table 3-11).

Table 3-11: Administrative Barriers to Voting
Potential Barriers Voters:
Factors Making It Somewhat Difficult or
Very Difficult to Vote
Non-voters:
Factors with a Strong or Some Influence on Decision Not to Vote
N % N %
Ability to provide proof of ID 18 2% 53 15%
Ability to provide proof of address 30 3% 56 16%
Total 1,023 366

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

There was also a difference between voting and non-voting youth in the extent that they agreed that the polling station was (or would be) a welcoming place, with fewer non-voters strongly agreeing with the statement (Table 3-12).

Table 3-12: Feeling Welcome at the Polling Station
Agreement That the Polling Station Is Welcoming/Would Be Welcoming Voters Non-voters
N % N %
Strongly disagree 12 1% 14 4%
Disagree 20 2% 26 7%
Somewhat agree 208 20% 109 30%
Strongly agree 782 76% 212 59%
Total 1,023 100% 366 100%

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

3.7 Influencers

Most Canadian youth had sometimes (56%) or often (22%) taken part in discussions about politics or government at home while they were growing up. Participation in voting was significantly higher for those who often had discussions at home (90%), compared with those who never did (57%). Having current discussions about government or politics with partner or spouse, friends, family or colleagues was associated with higher rates of voting. Of those who currently discussed government and politics with their family or friends, 78% voted, compared to 47% and 53%, respectively, of those who did not have these discussions.

Approximately 40% of surveyed youth had been directly contacted by a political party or candidate before the May 2011 general election. A significantly higher proportion of those who had been directly contacted voted (83%), compared to those who had not been directly contacted (68%).Footnote 21

Youth were asked about the extent to which various people influenced their decision whether or not to vote (Table 3-13). Politicians in general, the media and family (not including partner or spouse) had the most influence on decisions about whether or not to vote for voters and non-voters alike. Influencers were more likely to be identified by youth voters than by youth non-voters.

Table 3-13: People or Groups Influencing Voting Decisions
Influencers Voters:
Strong Influence /
Some Influence
Non-voters:
Strong Influence/
Some Influence
N % N %
Politicians in general 665 65% 135 37%
Media 522 51% 129 35%
Family (not including partner or spouse) 496 48% 109 30%
Friends or peers 393 38% 132 36%
Partner or spouse* 222 25% 49 16%
Teacher or professor 116 12% 58 17%
Vote mob(s) 64 7% 17 5%
Endorsement by a famous person 30 3% 15 4%
Total 1,023 366  

*Among those who were married, 36% of voters considered their spouse or partner to have a strong or some influence on their voting decisions, compared to 21% among non-voters.
Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

The media was cited as influencing voting decisions by 51% of voters and 35% of non-voters. Various types of media were also the main source of information about the election for surveyed youth: 42% of respondents cited television as their main source of information; 20% cited a media website, blog or other web sources; 11% cited newspapers or magazines; and 4% cited radio (Table 3-14).

Table 3-14: Main Source of Information About the Election
Total Using
Information Source
Voted
N % N %
Television 581 42% 397 68%
Media website, blog or other web source 273 20% 240 88%
Newspaper/magazine 154 11% 136 88%
Family or friends 130 9% 76 58%
Government and/or political party website 61 4% 57 93%
Radio 50 4% 36 72%
Social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. 38 3% 28 74%
Other 76 5% 43 57%
Total 1,389 100% 1,023

Source: National Youth Survey national random sample.

3.8 The Impact of Barriers and Influencers on Electoral Participation

A regression analysis was performed with the weighted national random sample (Group A) to establish the respondent characteristics that were associated with voting behaviour. Based on the bivariate analyses of barriers in the previous section, the likelihood to vote was determined by a set of seven characteristics or factors representing both motivation and access barriers. These seven factors were tested against whether the respondents had voted in the May 2011 general election. Each factor was measured by combining variables in the survey that measured similar attributes into a logistic regression model.

Table 3-15 provides a summary of the barriers and influencers associated with participation in the May 2011 general election by presenting the R-squared – a statistical coefficient that measures the relationship between dependent and independent variables. The R-squared values represent the proportion of variance of the dependent variable explained by the independent variables (where 0 would represent no relationship and 1.0 would represent a perfect relationship). A large regression coefficient means (while keeping other variables constant) the variable would very likely impact the probability of that outcome, while a near-zero regression coefficient means that that variable would not likely impact the probability of that outcome.

In this model, the dependent variable is voting or not voting, and the independent variables are the motivation factors and access barriers. The R-squared values measured voting behaviour variance explained by: 1) motivation and access barriers as a whole; and 2) specific types of motivation and access barriers. Appendix A provides more detailed information on the regression model.

Table 3-15: Summary of Characteristics Associated with Voting Behaviour
Variables Included in the Models Associated with Lower Participation Model R 2
Dependent Variable: Voted in 2011 General Election
A. Motivation Factors .353
A1. General Attitudes toward Politics and Democracy .168
All federal political parties are the same (agreement with) Negative attitudes
It is a civic duty for citizens to vote in elections (agreement with)
There is at least one political party that talks about issues that are important
A2. Political Influencers .155
Family (not including partner or spouse) (influence of) Fewer influencers. TV main source
Politicians in general (influence of)
Do you currently ever discuss government or politics with family
Talk about politics or government at home when growing up
TV as main source of information for 2011 election
A3. Interest in Politics .182
Overall, how interested were you in this last federal election? Low interest
A4. Political Knowledge .181
Number of correct answers to three questions: Low knowledge
• Which party won the most seats in the federal election?
• Which level of government has primary responsibility for education?
• What is the name of your provincial (territorial) premier?
Knowing enough about the candidates to know who to vote for (influence of)
Access Barriers .315
B1. Process Knowledge .227
Knowing when to vote (influence of) Low knowledge
Number of different methods of voting named (i.e. advance poll, mail)
Knowing where to vote (influence of)
B2. Personal Circumstances .155
Getting to the voting location (transportation) (influence of) Transportation issues, less education
Education
B3. Administrative Barriers to Voting .179
Voting in a federal election is easy and convenient (agreement with) Voting is not perceived as easy. Did not receive card
Ability to provide proof of ID (influence of)
Received a VIC
Full Model .444

Note: Where possible, Don't know/Don't remember answers were re-coded into appropriate valid answers. Refusal answers were eliminated from the analysis.

The results show that both motivation factors (.353) and access barriers (.315) are associated with voting behaviour. The motivation factors with the strongest influence on electoral participation are:

Access factors were also associated with voting behaviour (R-squared of.315). Access factors included the ease or difficulty of finding transport to the polling stations, and perceptions of the ease and convenience of voting, including the requirements around providing ID. Having received a VIC is also associated with voting.

The practical conclusion of this analysis is that fundamental issues such as attitudes and knowledge, personal circumstances including educational attainment, and access barriers all influence youth turnout at the polling station. Barriers related to administrative issues are more likely to be within the scope of Elections Canada to address and may have the most immediate impact on electoral participation by Canadian youth.


Footnote 6 It is well known that surveys over-report voting "... in part because those who are less interested in politics and less inclined to vote are less prone to answer surveys ... and in part because of misreporting due to social desirability." André Blais, Elisabeth Gidengil, Richard Nadeau and Neil Nevitte, Anatomy of a Liberal Victory: Making Sense of the 2000 Canadian Election (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2002), p. 61.

Footnote 7 Chi-squared for trend =5.796. p=0.01607.

Footnote 8 André Blais and Peter Loewen, Youth Electoral Engagement in Canada, Elections Canada Working Paper Series (January 2011).

Footnote 9 Unweighted numbers were higher, but when data were weighted by region, the weighted numbers of Aboriginal respondents reduces because of their over-representation in the northern territories.

Footnote 10 Source: André Blais and Peter Loewen, Youth Electoral Engagement in Canada, Elections Canada Working Paper Series (January 2011).

Footnote 11 National Youth Survey QF2.

Footnote 12 It is possible that some respondents listed personal circumstances as the main reason for not voting because they felt guilty about not voting and found a reason for not voting that was outside their control.

Footnote 13 Elections Canada, Reasons for not voting in the May 2011 general election, at www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110705/dq110705a-eng.htm. The question was asked as a closed-ended question based on categories from previous Elections Canada research.

Footnote 14 National Youth Survey QF2.

Footnote 15 National Youth Survey QB8.

Footnote 16 André Blais and Peter Loewen, Youth Electoral Engagement in Canada, Elections Canada Working Paper Series (January 2011).

Footnote 17 Chi-squared 22.509. p=0.000.

Footnote 18 Student Vote is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that hosts parallel election for students under the voting age that coincide with official elections.

Footnote 19 Chi-squared=7.71. p=0.005.

Footnote 20 Chi-squared=68.54. p=0.000.

Footnote 21 Chi-squared (ρ= 0.000).