Canadians and Americans Would Allow Legal Immigrants to Vote

Support for allowing people aged 16 and 17 to cast ballots in federal elections is decidedly lower.

Vancouver, BC [November 27, 2020] – Sizeable majorities of adults in Canada and the United States are willing to allow permanent residents to participate in democratic processes that are currently accessible only to citizens, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples, 72% of Canadians agree with allowing permanent residents to vote in federal elections, while 20% disagree.

In the United States, 64% of respondents would allow permanent residents—sometimes referred to as “Green Card Holders”—to cast ballots in federal elections, while 27% are opposed to this idea.

“Support for extending federal voting rights to permanent residents of Canada encompasses majorities of voters who supported the Liberal Party (78%), the New Democratic Party (NDP) (71%) and the Conservative Party (66%) in the last federal election,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “In the United States, the idea is attractive to 76% of Democrats, 62% of Republicans and 51% of Independents.”

More than three-in-five Canadians (62%) are opposed to allowing people aged 16 and 17 to vote in federal elections, while 29% agree with this idea.

Extending voting rights to people aged 16 and 17 is rejected by large proportions of Canadians aged 55 and over (72%). Albertans (78%) and Conservative Party voters in 2019 (also 78%).

In the United States, more than half of respondents (58%) disagree with allowing people aged 16 and 17 to cast ballots in federal elections, while 33% are in favour of this idea.

American residents aged 55 and over (77%) and Independents (74%) are more likely to believe that voting rights should not be extended to those aged 16 and 17.

Results are based on online studies conducted from November 14 to November 16, 2020, among representative samples of 1,000 adults in Canada and 1,200 adults in the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region in each country. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for Canada and +/- 2.8 percentage points for the United States.

Find our data tables for Canada here, the data tables for the United States here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.