If there were any doubts that social media was going to play a role in Canada’s upcoming federal election, they should be laid to rest thanks to the results of a recent Ipsos Reid poll. The Vancouver Sun reports the poll suggests that 21% of Canadian voters are debating politics online using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
With all of the usage-based billing talk and copyright law changes that were a huge part of the last legislative session, it seems only logical that the social media airwaves would be filled with chatter about politics. That said, only 6% of those actively talking politics on sites like Twitter, Facebook, blogs and commenting on news sites were discussing it on a daily basis. The study indicates that the online sites are being used to stay informed rather than engage in debates on political matters and opinions.
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The interesting fact is that while those aged 18-24 are often the ones that flock to social media, that particular demographic has little interest in using the medium for political discussion. Only 4% of voters in that age range piped up online about politics.
These numbers will likely change in the wake of the recent election campaign, as the poll was conducted prior to the dissolution of Parliament. But with such an evident lack of interest in politics from younger voters — even on a medium that generally skews younger — it appears that the three major political parties have a lot of outreach to do before election day on May 2nd if they want to get young people out to vote.
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