A political realignment is taking place.
Younger people vote left, older people vote right.
That’s been the stereotype and conventional wisdom for quite some time.
And, there is a lot of truth to it.
A surge of young voter turnout helped Justin Trudeau win the 2015 election, and the support of young people has formed a significant portion of both Liberal & NDP support since then.
In 2019 and 2021, the Liberals lost votes, but held on to power in large part because they retained a strong margin among young Canadians – though youth turnout dipped.
However, there is mounting evidence that Canada is witnessing a significant political realignment when it comes to how age correlates to political support.
Over the past two years, Canadians have been subjected to some of the most stringent restrictions, lockdowns, and mandates in the world. This has been a massive assault on all of our freedoms, and has had a terrible impact on young people, with missed opportunities to gather, missed life experiences, and a sense of isolation and atomization that is incredibly destructive to mental health.
Further, this was all done even though the relative risk to young people from Covid is quite low, especially compared to older individuals.
But rather than adopt a targeted approach of protecting the most vulnerable, our ‘leaders’ decided on an authoritarian ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.
As a result, many young people are justifiably outraged at those in power, and have woken up to the danger of government power.
Stunning poll results
That brings us to the results of the latest Ipsos poll, a poll which contains some stunning results.
According to the survey, “Nearly half (46%) of Canadians say they “may not agree with everything the people who have taken part in the truck protests in Ottawa have said, but their frustration is legitimate and worthy of our sympathy.””
Meanwhile, “a slim majority (54%) adopt a contrasting point of view, arguing that “what the people taking part in the truck protests in Ottawa have said and done is wrong and does not deserve any of our sympathy.””
But where it gets really interesting is the age breakdown.
A full 61% of Canadians between 18-34 years-old express sympathy for the truck protests, compared to 44% of those between 35-54, and 37% of those 55+.
Alternately, 63% of those 55+ express no sympathy for the protests, while 56% of those between 35-54, and just 39% of those between 18-34 hold that point of view.
These numbers are stunning for two big reasons.
First, the fact that 46% of Canadians are expressing sympathy for the trucker protests is a testament to the immense failure of the establishment media & corrupt politicians in their attempt to demonize the protestors. The entire apparatus of the government and the media has been organized to turn the public against the protestors, and yet nearly half the country sympathizes with them.
Furthermore, given that there are likely many people who support the protests but are still afraid to say so, it is quite possible that a majority of Canadians support the truckers. After all, an earlier Angus Reid poll had shown 54% of Canadians want all restrictions lifted – the same position the truckers hold.
Another reason these numbers are so stunning is the total inversion of the generational perspectives.
With protests being most closely associated with the political ‘right’, the strongest support comes from those who traditionally support the political ‘left.’
Given that covid – and the authoritarian, anti-freedom political response to it – will be a key defining issue for a generation of new voters, the fact that they are shifting to what is now defined as the ‘right’ is of immense importance.
Poilievre winning the youth vote?
This makes it entirely possible that a CPC led by Pierre Poilievre could win the youth vote. Getting anywhere near 61% of young people would be huge, and would easily undo any vote losses among older Canadians.
After all, the CPC is currently polling around 25-30%, far below the 46% of people who express sympathy for the convoy.
And, given that the CPC regularly polls between 15-20% among Canadians aged 18-34, you can see how they have a lot of potential to expand their support.
What expanding the base really means
We often hear about how the CPC needs to expand their base.
Usually, this is accompanied with the same tired exhortations for the CPC to completely abandon any sense of conservatism, and become just another big-government statist party.
Yet, with the numbers discussed above, there is a clear path for the CPC to expand their base among the rising generation of Canadians, and do so in a way that is principled.
The message of freedom and limited government has new appeal for young Canadians, since they have experienced the immense damage done by big-government and authoritarian politicians.
A CPC that can gain millions of new young voters could completely reshape the political landscape.
The Poilievre factor
With Pierre Poilievre off to a quick start in the CPC leadership race, it’s clear that he is focused on expanding the CPC base among young Canadians, giving the party a chance to compete – and even dominate – for a long time.
For example, his effective use of social media, and his rejection of the establishment media narratives (few young people listen to the establishment press anymore), help him share a conservative message with younger Canadians.
Notably, Poilievre appears to recognize that the convoy is popular among young Canadians, and is sticking to his support:
“I’m proud of the truckers and I stand with them,” Poilievre said in an interview recorded on Thursday for next week’s episode of the Postmedia podcast Full Comment with Anthony Furey.
“They have reached a breaking point after two years of massive government overreach of a prime minister who insults and degrades anyone who disagrees with his heavy-handed approach.
“But let’s be honest, if Canadians are being inconvenienced, or in any way suffering from these protests, it is because Justin Trudeau made these protests happen and his intransigence is keeping the protests going,” he added.
Poilievre said it looks to him like Trudeau put a vaccine mandate on truckers “as a vindictive wedge strategy to divide Canadians and demonize an apparently unpopular minority of unvaccinated people to his own political advantage.”
“But now it’s blown up in his face,” said Poilievre.
“So he’s gotten himself into an impossible political situation. And unfortunately, the rest of the country is held hostage by his unwillingness to do the right thing, admit he was wrong, and lift these mandates.”
Poilievre has also been supportive of Bitcoin, and has spoken on how young people are being screwed over by big-spending governments and rampant money printing by central banks.
Poilievre has been directly making the case to young people:
If Poilievre becomes CPC leader, it is quite possible that Canada will witness a significant political realignment, and give the Conservative movement a new infusion of youth and energy while remaining aligned with the core principle of more freedom through less government.
Photo – YouTube