Environmental Attitudes and Voting Behaviour in the 2019 Canadian Federal Election
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Despite ubiquitous scientific evidence of climate change and the perceived increase in citizens’ awareness and actions toward climate change in Canada, the Green Party of Canada (GPC) – the only major party with an explicit ideology of environmentalism – has a weak record of candidates being elected in federal elections and serving in the House of Commons. This paper examines what factors help to explain whether Dalhousie students voted Green or not in the 2019 Canadian federal election. It hypothesizes that gender, program of study, level of climate change concern, strategic voting, priority of climate change issue, party leader rating and climate change policy preference are factors which help to explain whether Dalhousie student voted Green or not. The logistic binary regression analysis using data from an online survey (N=411) reveals the significant relationships between 1) strategic voting, 2) priority of climate change issue, 3) party leader rating, with the outcome variable. The study highlights that strategic voting does affect a minor party such as the Green Party in the election outcome. Voting based on genuine interests, not by their second-best preference based on chances of winning, is crucial to prevent politicians and government from misunderstanding the will of the voters. Researching the role of social media or memes on young people’s opinion formation on political parties, leaders or climate change as well as on their decision-making in voting might allow a deeper understanding of the result of this study.