The polls are suggesting a Harper majority may be in the cards, but they may be counting out the wild card in this deck: young people.
How do polls work? Pollsters call people. On land lines.
Who answers land lines? Not many young people anymore. They're constantly connected through their cells, mostly through texts. But those numbers aren't easily accessed.
Even if they do answer a land line, they are less likely than older voters to take part in a survey of opinion.
So how do today's young voters feel? Do they think a Harper majority is a good or bad thing? Are they undecided or just not interested?
It's common that the poor and low-waged working class don't turn out to vote, For those who do, a quick discussion is most likely to unveil how much of their opinion was formed by a friend or a slogan rather than thinking through their self-described self-interests. The disconnect is, always, surprising.
In this election the proletariat includes young people. (The Latin proletarius means a citizen of the lowest class, someone with no wealth, no control over one's work.)
The recession threw 200,000 young people out of work in the first year. Today there are still 200,000 fewer people under 25 years of age have a job than in 2008. They're drowning in student debt; out of work and out of sight during most of the public debate about the public interest.
They are disaffected by all the political bluster, and with plenty of good reason. But it is assumed they are, by and large, not paying attention.
That may be true, yet this year's campaign has delivered up a flurry of fresh pushback strategies, cheeky websites, fun videos and mobs of students at advance polls. I can't remember vote mobs in any other election, can you? Fun and funny, the young and eligible are rocking the blogosphere with politics.
The part that's filtering through sure is not reflected in the polling numbers. But maybe they're not even getting picked up by the polls.
On May 2nd, maybe young voters will turn out in unexpected numbers. And maybe LOL will spell N-O for Stephen Harper.
This article was first posted on The Progressive Economics Forum.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.