Not any more

People care about the municipal election … after Labour Day: poll

In Canada on August 26, 2010 at 08:59
Maybe we're just too busy enjoying the nice weather to worry?

Tim Fraser for National Post

Maybe, like outgoing Mayor David Miller, we’re just too busy enjoying the nice weather?

Less than one fifth of you will pay this article much attention. The bulk of you will skim it, some more intently than others. And another fifth have probably given up already.

Those are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted late last week for the National Post, Global Television and Newstalk 1010. The poll asked Torontonians how closely they were following events “associated with the candidates and their run for mayor.”

Almost one in five respondents, 17 %, said they were following the race “very closely,” while 42 % answered “somewhat closely”. On other side of the divide, 21 % said “not very closely,” and 20 % said “not closely at all”.

Spending, transportation leading issues in municipal vote: poll

No matter, respondents seemed to suggest; there’s always time to care later.

Asked how strongly they agree with statement “I have not started to seriously pay attention to the candidates for mayor and their campaigns but will after Labour Day,” 23 % of those surveyed said they “strongly agree,” 33 % said they “somewhat agree,” 18 % said they “somewhat disagree,” and 23 % said they “strongly disagree”. Two per cent said they didn’t know.

Torontonians elect their next mayor Oct. 25.

More than any other factor, age determined the respondents’ answers. Only 5 % of Torontonians aged 18 to 34 said they were playing very close attention to events surrounding the candidates, while 27 % answered “not closely at all”. The reverse was true of respondents aged 55 and older, 30 % of whom said they were paying very close attention, and 12 % of whom said weren’t following the race closely at all.

University of Toronto political scientist Nelson Wiseman said the discrepancy is easily explained.

“Younger people have less stake in the system. Older people are more likely to own property … more likely to have kids, more likely to have a reputation and a job and money, and thus a vested interest in the status quo,” he said. “Young people want to party, they want to score on the weekends, they want to travel.”

Mr. Wiseman said it is difficult to tell whether the poll sheds a light on potential voter turnout. Any number of factors including inclement weather on election day could have an impact, he said. Further complicating the issue, poll respondents have a tendency to give “what they think is the so-called correct answer,” he said.

Still, Mr. Wiseman expected turnout to be about five % higher than last time around in 2006, when an incumbent Mayor David Miller was running. A total of 39.3 % of Torontonians voted in that election.

The Ipsos Reid telephone survey of 400 Torontonians was conducted between Aug. 20 and 22. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 %, 19 times out of 20.

National Post

National Post Graphics

How much do you care about the election?


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