Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Poor, uneducated less likely to vote

Young also tend to stay home, poll shows

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Manitobans willing to admit they don't plan to vote in this election are more likely to be young, poor and uneducated, a Probe Research poll reports.

With just one day left until election day, the results of the Probe poll imply Manitobans care about democracy and more than two in three say they plan to vote.

But Probe president Scott MacKay is very wary of that number. He said people know it's their civic duty to vote and are generally embarrassed to admit they won't or don't do it.

"People basically lie to us about this," he said.

Most polls looking to find out why people do and don't vote in particular elections report far higher numbers of people who claim to have voted than actually did. MacKay expects this to be no different.

What is more telling is the demographics of those who were willing to admit they are unlikely to vote.

Six per cent of Manitobans said they won't vote and a further 10 per cent said they may or may not vote.

Of that group, more than a quarter are under age 35 and almost a quarter have a high school diploma or less.

Comparatively, fewer than 10 per cent of those who won't or likely won't vote earn more than $100,000, are over age 55 and just slightly more than 10 per cent have a university or college degree.

Winnipeggers were also less likely to report they didn't plan to vote compared to rural Manitobans.

The main reason people gave for why they won't vote is a belief they simply don't know enough about the electoral process with 25 per cent citing lack of knowledge as their reason to stay home.

A further 16 per cent said they were too busy while 14 per cent said they just weren't interested in politics. Ten per cent said they weren't eligible to vote and another 10 per cent didn't like the offerings on the ballot. Five per cent cited health reasons or trouble getting to the polls while 13 per cent could not give a reason why they won't vote.

North End Winnipeg resident Gail Ford has never voted and does not plan to this time either.

"I haven't really followed it and I don't want to vote if I haven't followed it," she said.

Ford said the parties confuse the little she does follow by contradicting each other will all their attacks, and none of the parties really speaks to all of the things she cares about.

James Cordeiro said he voted before and even voted in the federal election just a few months ago. But he has no intention of voting in the provincial election.

"I have completely lost all respect for our political system," said Cordeiro.

The 28-year-old grew up in the North End and spent many years as a teenager and young adult homeless and living on friends' couches. He said the crime he saw firsthand as a kid is no better and none of the parties are promising anything that will really work.

"It feels like it's pointless to vote because nothing actually changes," he said.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 21 and Sept. 28. One thousand Manitoba adults were surveyed by phone and the results are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

How certain are you that you will actually vote in this election?

Very certain: 72 per cent

Somewhat certain: 12 per cent

May or may not vote: 10 per cent

Will not vote: six per cent

 

What is the main reason you say you may not/will not vote?

 

Don't know enough: 25 per cent

Too busy: 16 per cent

Not interested in politics: 14 per cent

Not eligible to vote: 10 per cent

Don't like parties/candidates/system: 10 per cent

Nothing changes: 8 per cent

Politicians lie/don't keep promises: 6 per cent

Health/access reasons: 5 per cent

Unsure: 13 per cent

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 3, 2011 A5

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