Gen Z Perspective; Politics In a Post Pandemic World


My generation has seen a tremendous shift in culture, technology and media throughout our upbringing. We have grown up in the age of social media and online activism. Sure we may have been involved in politics or community-driven incentives, but were we truly invested? Were we motivated by virtue points and false sincerity? Where do we know about the world around us? 

The pandemic has changed our lives. It has uprooted our goals, our dreams, and our values. So I wanted to understand how it has affected our political opinions. Have we become more or less involved in politics? Do we keep up with the news? Do we even trust the news? Has it inspired us to venture onto the path of a politician? Has it changed our political affiliations? 

I decided to send out a survey to willing participants to determine how the pandemic has influenced our drive for social involvement. 

My survey consisted of a few simple questions and covered 30 volunteers of those between 15-23 in my social circle. Out of the 30, there was; 16 Males, 13 females and one undisclosed. I first began by questioning political interest pre/post-pandemic. Almost 57% of those surveyed were interested in the pre-pandemic political climate, which fell to 50% post-pandemic. When asked how often they kept up with the news and current events, 40% said they actively kept up with the pre-pandemic. This once again fell, down to 33.3% post-pandemic. 

When asked on political affiliations, pre-pandemic:

When asked on political affiliations, post-pandemic:

Forms response chart. Question title: What is your political identity now? (Authoritarian= big government, Libertarian=small government) Choose the one closest to your beliefs. Number of responses: 29 responses.

As you can see by the charts above, ideology was narrowing. Pre-pandemic 16.5% of those surveyed voted independent, centrist or unsure. Post-Pandemic was reduced to only 3.3% (individuals chose not to vote on post-pandemic affiliation due to opting out of mainstream political identity). 53.3% lean right-wing pre-pandemic, which rose to 72.4% post-pandemic.

When the question was raised on a potential career in politics, 43.3% surveyed said they had considered a career in politics pre-pandemic, falling to 36.7% post.

The final question asked was, do you consider the mainstream news trustworthy? Pre-pandemic 36.7% said they found the mainstream news reliable. This fell to only 16.7% post-pandemic. Indicating that if we apply these stats to the general population of those in Gen z, 83.3% do not trust the news. 

Notable comments made:

“The way Canada has handled the pandemic has made me distrust the government even more and has pushed me to side with the Conservative Party even more than usual to stop Trudeau’s horrible policies and ideology. I think my dislike for Trudeau has just been x10 since the pandemic, and it has encouraged me to get more involved with Conservative MPs.”

“If anything, covid has made me shift slightly more left, though that may also be due to moving to a more progressive environment for university or just my opinions changing over time. Suppose I had to name specific factors for this. In that case, I’d blame the failure of my province’s (conservative) government to properly address covid and let innocent people die so that the Premier could get his photo-op that Alberta was “Open for Business,” and the fact that the far-right (the PPC and anyone to the right of them for a Canadian example) have become even more dangerous, hyperpartisan, and detached from reality over the past two years.”

“More uninvolved since I find there is too much drama since covid and too much false information going around.”

“Becoming a Christian swayed a lot of my beliefs. I still believe in some more liberal economic policies, but my social views have gone sharply to the right.”

Opinion: This survey was rather eye-opening for me. I did not expect the results that I got back. I was sure that the pandemic would’ve peaked engagement in political involvement and keeping up with the news and current events. Upon further contemplation, however, it makes sense. We have been bombarded with constant information 24/7, mostly of the same calibre. It would make sense that the news or any headline no longer holds our attention. I knew that the trust in the media would be low but 16.7% finding it not to be trustworthy was shocking to me. It tells of a more significant issue within our society and proves the market and need for independent reporting. I was expecting a more significant shift in authoritarian vs libertarian government. I expected a more divisive line between pre and post-pandemic results. This is primarily because if we deem our governments incompetent and unreliable, why should we give them more power? This is certainly a libertarian viewpoint so take it as you may. 
I would recommend taking this political compass quiz to determine your placement in the political spectrum if you are unsure.

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