Samara Canada is marking one year since the Liberals’ election victory the way political geeks do… with data and analysis. Specifically, they have released Can You Hear Me Now?, a thorough look at how politicians engaged–or didn’t– with young Canadians during last year’s election.

There are five key findings in the report which I’ve resequenced to suit a flow I think smooths out the narrative:

  1. Don’t ignore young Canadians any more. The 15% jump in young voter turnout one year ago sealed it–the days of political apathy among young Canadians were officially laid to rest. This demographic is increasingly interested in politics and political issues, and is large enough to impact election outcomes.
  2. Ask questions and listen. So much about elections and politics between elections is about spreading the word about policy and stance. Young Canadians don’t feel heard. They want politicians to ask about the issues that matter to them.
  3. A digital-only approach will only go so far. Despite what some people will have you believe, young Canadians appreciate in-person interactions. Take an integrated approach.
  4. Shared experiences and trust networks matter. Young Canadians are part of a sharing culture which, as it turns out, includes their voting experience. Tapping into that will help politicians and their parties reach (and maybe move) a larger audience more efficiently.
  5. Parties need to do more to engage young people. Politicians set the tone on the ground and in direct contact. Parties need to do more to establish a connection with young Canadians at a higher-level in both digital and traditional forms.

There is a lot of valuable information in the report. Perhaps the most significant chart is on page 11. It shows the messages Canadians heard vs. what they wanted to hear during last year’s election. Not surprisingly, there is a significant disconnect. A highlight of this chart is that roughly 50% of Canadians wanted to hear about issues they cared about and only 18% reported this being the case.


Download your copy of the report at the Samara website.

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