New voters, new platforms: How first-time Generation Z voters used social media in the 2019 Canadian federal election

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Low levels of civic participation and political engagement among young people are
    persistent problems in many Western democracies, including Canada. Young voters are
    increasingly less politically aware and less likely to vote, and demonstrate lower levels of civic
    awareness than previous generations. Compounding this challenge, many young people either
    ignore news or they consume news found through social media. This qualitative study
    contributes to the literature in this field by exploring these issues through a Canadian lens
    focused on first-time Generation Z voters. Two focus groups involving nine participants aged 18-
    24 were conducted in Durham Region, Ontario to find out how they used social media to inform
    themselves about the political parties, leaders, and issues in the lead up to the 2019 Canadian
    federal election. Key findings point to a general avoidance of political news on all platforms
    during the election campaign and a preference for reading comments attached to political news
    stories, rather than the stories themselves, as an information source. Future research could be
    expanded to explore both of these phenomena. Although the findings are limited to a small
    geographic area in suburban Ontario, they confirm previous studies on news consumption, social
    media use and voter behaviour among young people. Additionally, the findings contribute to the
    wider literature that speaks to the need for journalists and civics educators to help young people
    understand the connections between themselves and the political news stories about issues that
    impact them.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Research Material
  • DOI
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International