Skip to main content

'Getting squeezed on both sides': Liberals a distant third among younger voters

The federal Liberals are seeing a dive in popularity among younger voters, once the core of their base, falling 23 points behind the Conservatives by the end of August, according to new polling from Nanos Research.

The data shows the Liberals in a distant third place for 18-29 year olds with 15.97 per cent, compared to the Conservatives and the NDP with 39.21 per cent and 30.92 per cent respectively.

It’s a dip for the Liberals, who were at 26.8 per cent at the beginning of August for the same age group. And it’s a boost for the Conservatives, who are up from 29.3 per cent at the beginning of the month.

“I would be very concerned if I were the Liberals,” said Nik Nanos, CTV News’ pollster and Nanos Research’s chief data scientist and founder. He told the party has to do three things to win the next election, currently slated for 2025: win back women who have pivoted their support to other parties, mobilize younger voters under one progressive banner, and be more competitive among male voters.

“Right now the Conservatives are really doing well among male voters, they're more competitive among female voters than they have been, and the Conservatives are now doing well among younger voters,” he said. “That means that the Liberal coalition that was built in 2015, the movement led by (Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau, is slowly unraveling, and they've got to reverse this trend if they want to have any chance to hold on to government.”

The new numbers from Nanos Research come while Trudeau has seemingly been trying to appeal to the younger demographic. Last week, while wrapping up a multi-day meeting of his ministers with a message to young people, he said: "We owe it to you to take action."


From housing affordability to climate change, Trudeau attempted to reach out directly to the demographic that's helped him win past elections.

“In 2015, younger Canadians embraced the Liberals and Justin Trudeau thinking that things would be different,” Nanos said. “They wanted a change from the past, those ‘sunny ways.’

“Fast forward now to 2023, and it looks like young Canadians are deserting the Liberals, but the interesting thing is they're going in two directions,” he also said, adding former young Liberal voters are splitting off and dividing their support between the Conservatives and the NDP.

Those who are feeling the strain of an affordability crisis tend to be shifting toward the Conservatives, Nanos said, while many feel the Liberals are not doing enough on issues like climate change, and they want more progressive policies, so they’re moving toward the New Democrats.

“The Liberals are getting squeezed on both sides, where young people are swinging to the progressive left because they want action, and then to the Conservatives for those young Canadians that are struggling to pay the bills and figure they've got nothing to lose by potentially having Pierre Poilievre as prime minister,” Nanos said.

The prime minister is also meeting with his youth advisory board this week to hear its most “pressing concerns,” with the aim of informing future policy decisions. It is the first in-person meeting of this cohort of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council; its new members have been in place since February of this year.

Aside from a handful of exceptions, the Liberals have mostly stayed in third place among voters aged 18-29 since the beginning of the year, according to Nanos Research.


For voters in the 30-39 age range, while there’s been a closer back-and-forth between the Liberals and the NDP since January, the Conservatives have fairly consistently come out ahead, something Nanos chalks up to “economic anxiety.”

“What type of young person can afford to buy a home when the value of homes are going up? And it's a double whammy because interest rates are going up,” he said. “The dream of having affordable housing in Canada is just being shattered right now.”

“It usually takes you a little while to be a little grumpy like your parents on stuff like this,” he also said. “I think they're turning into their parents a little sooner in terms of looking at their pocketbook and voting with pocketbook issues, and the Liberals have got to watch out for that.”

The pollster added if the Liberals want to win the next election, they need to “pivot to meat-and-potato issues” while balancing progressive politics on issues like the environment, which is currently the number one issue of concern for Canadians.

With files from Senior Digital Parliamentary Reporter Rachel Aiello



ANALYSIS What do the policies Poilievre's party passed say about the Conservatives' future?

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre spent the summer speaking about housing affordability, a core focus that attendees at the party's Quebec City convention were quick to praise him for. But by the end of the weekend, delegates opted to instead pass policies on contentious social issues. What does that say about the Conservatives' future?



opinion Don Martin: Poilievre doesn't feel your pain, but he's sure good at communicating it

Probably no other leader, including Justin Trudeau, has landed in a party leadership with less real-world work experience than Pierre Poilievre, says Don Martin in a column for But Poilievre's an able communicator, and this weekend's Conservative convention is a golden opportunity for him to sell himself as PM-in-waiting.


opinion Don Martin: Who will step up to have 'The Talk' with Trudeau?

Ego and vanity are a potent combination in leadership politics, and in his exclusive column for, Don Martin writes this condition is infecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mindset as he seems deadly serious about seeking re-election in 2025. Top Stories


WATCH LIVE House of Commons voting to elect new Speaker, 7 MPs vying for role

Members of Parliament are casting their ballots to elect a new House of Commons Speaker after hearing last-minute pitches from the seven candidates vying for the key role. It is a day for the Canadian political history books as Canada's 38th Speaker will be elected to lead the chamber as its impartial adjudicator after a time of international headline-grabbing acrimony.

Stay Connected