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No party has a decisive advantage when it comes to representing the “views and interests” of post-secondary students.

Vancouver, BC – Post-secondary students in British Columbia are primarily concerned with two issues as the provincial election looms, a new Insights West poll conducted on behalf of the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of post-secondary students from 14 institutions, the most important electoral issue is rising housing costs in BC (30% rank it as their main concern), followed by job opportunities (28%) and pipelines and the environment (12%).

When asked about provincial political parties, 45% of post-secondary students say the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) “definitely” or “probably” represents their views and interests. A similar proportion (43%) feel the same way about the BC Liberals, while fewer (35%) express the same views about the BC Green Party.

More than two thirds (68%) of domestic students cast a ballot in the 2015 Canadian federal election, and more than a third of them (38%) voted in the 2013 British Columbia provincial election.

Practically nine-in-ten post-secondary students who are eligible to vote (88%) say they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to vote in the 2017 British Columbia provincial election.

Nearly half of post-secondary students (49%) say they are not likely to stay in the place where they are currently pursuing their studies after they graduate.


Among this group, 49% cite the high cost of living as the main reason for their departure from the community where they are currently studying, while 24% cite a lack of job opportunities.

“Post-secondary students have identified housing and job opportunities as their key electoral issues,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “It will be crucial for contending parties in this year’s provincial election to offer concrete policies that will sway this group, which voted in droves during the last federal ballot.”

Almost two-in-five post-secondary students (38%) say they have taken out loans to cover tuition or living costs. Among those who have loans, seven-in-ten (70%) are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about repaying these loans.

“I am encouraged by these results that demonstrate that students turned up to vote in numbers on par with the national average for the federal elections,” said Kathleen Simpson, Vice President External Affairs, UBC AMS. “Not only are students attentive to the issues of the provincial election, but they also intend to cast their ballot.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 24 to November 11, 2016, among 4,082 post-secondary students from 14 institutions in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to current enrollment figures for gender, year of study and origin. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 1.6 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Kathleen Simpson
Vice President External Affairs, UBC AMS

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Jeff Hitchcock