With just a week-and-half to go until the municipal election takes place in Vancouver and communities across BC, a new poll released this week found that most British Columbians believe electing younger candidates to City Councils will change their communities for the better.
The poll, conducted by Research Co. and released this week by The Forum for Millennial Leadership (FML) found that, when presented with a choice of statements about younger candidates running for municipal office, 77% of British Columbians agreed that “I’m hopeful that younger elected officials will help change my community for the better.”
That included 87% of 18 to 34-year-olds and 70% of 55+ respondents.
In fact, only 12% of respondents agreed with the statement “I’m fearful younger elected officials will change my community in ways I don’t want,” including 6% of 18 to 34-year-olds and 14% of 55+ voters. 11% said they did not believe younger elected officials will change their community.
“This is a generational election, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all about a generational divide,” said FML Founder Gavin Dew. “Everyone knows we need people at the Council table who will be living in our communities in 30 or 40 years.”
Dew added that the situation is “a perfect storm where younger voters are switching on to municipal politics at the same time as older voters are coming to see younger candidates as a source of hope, not fear.”
Across British Columbia, 42% of people (and 44% of 18 to 34-year-olds) say they are more likely to vote than in the 2014 municipal election, 48% of people say they are just as likely to vote, and just 5% say they are less likely to vote.
There are approximately 87 candidates under 40 running for election to Metro Vancouver Councils.
When asked how many people under 40 they would like to see elected as mayors and councillors in Metro Vancouver, the average Metro voter would like to see 50, more than four times the current number. The average 18 to 34-year-old would like to see 62 people under 40 elected, and those 55+ would like to see 44.
“People say they want to see younger people step up and lead, and they seem to trust that younger elected officials will change their communities for the better,” said Dew.
However, “the ballot box is where the rubber hits the road.”
Advance polling is now open, and general voting day is Saturday, October 20.