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Turnout a key to referenda results

2 Dec 19

Credit: The Spinoff
Turnout a key to referenda results
Age and turn out may decide referenda votes

The 2020 referendum on whether personal use of cannabis should be made legal will pit younger against older New Zealanders.

Increasingly it also pits National and New Zealand First voters against Labour and Green ones.

Horizon's November 2019 tracking poll finds 48% think they'll for for legalalising personal cannabis use, 38% against. 

However, as the table below shows, there are major differences by age group: 61% of 18-24 year-olds think they'll for Yes, while 16% only of those 75+ think they'll vote Yes.

There are now also deep divides along party lines:

For example 65% of National voters say they think they'll vote No, 64% of Labour voters think they'll vote Yes.

So much will depend on who is registered to vote - and actually votes.

Registration rates at the 2017 election were higher among older New Zealanders than younger.

86% of those aged 70 or more voted, 88% of those aged 65 to 69 and 86% of those aged 60-64.

However, turn out among those aged 18-24 was just 69%. Among those 25-29 it was 67% and 30-34 years 71%.

A second referendum being held at the same time decides whether ot not to enact the End of Life Choice Bill.

Horizon's polling to track likely voting on this started in November 2019.

It shows highest likely Yes votes will be cast by the elderly, though it has strong support across all age groups.

The elderly have an extra reason to turn out.This might also influence the final participation in and result of the cannabis referendum.

These are votes cast by age group at the 2017 general election, and percentages of each age group registered and not registered:

For detailed analysis please contact Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research, email, telephone +64 21 848 576.

Comments on these issues may be made at Horizon's Facebook page.