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Survey of Electors on Communications with Electors

Annex 1 - Attitudinal and Experiential Subgroup Differences

What follows in this section is a summary discussion of attitudinal and experiential subgroup variations.

Political Interest

Canadians with high levels of political interest tend not only to be more politically engaged than Canadians with less political interest, but also tend to regard the political and electoral system more favourably. In terms of engagement, they are more likely than those with less interest in politics to report having voted in the last federal election (90% vs. 59%), to identify with a federal political party (48% vs. 14%), and to use the Internet for a variety of political-related purposes (9% vs. 3% use it for all three purposes asked about). They are also more likely to be aware of the complaints received by Elections Canada during and after the last federal general election (64% vs. 36%).

In terms of their perspectives, Canadians who are more interested in politics are more likely than those with less political interest to have positive reactions to being contacted by political parties and candidates (73% vs. 48%), have higher levels of trust in federal election results (87% vs. 76%), think federal political parties and candidates use personal information appropriately (34% vs. 23%), be favourable toward being contacted by political parties and candidates for various purposes (24% vs. 14% find all four purposes asked about appropriate), have confidence in the institutions involved in the electoral system (30% vs. 21% have confidence in all institutions asked about), and think Elections Canada ran the election fairly (87% vs. 79%).

The Tradeoff between Personal Privacy and Communication with Electors

In the tradeoff between preserving an elector's privacy and the need for political parties and candidates to able to communicate with electors, those who favoured the former were less likely to think it important that federal parties and candidates be able to collect personal information on electors (9% vs. 32%) and that they use the personal information they collect appropriately to communicate with electors (25% vs. 48%). They were also more likely to have voted (85% vs. 79%) and to be concerned about the impact of technologies or applications on their ability to protect their personal information (87% vs. 81%).

Those who favoured the need for political parties and candidates to communicate with electors, conversely, were more likely to find a range of purposes for being contacted by political parties and candidates to be appropriate (26% vs. 18% found all purposes asked about appropriate), to have positive reactions to being contacted by political parties and candidates (73% vs. 65%), and to have confidence in a range of institutions involved in the electoral process (34% vs. 24% had confidence in all four institutions asked about).

Perspectives on Regulating Political Parties and Candidates under Privacy Law

There is a correlation between thinking that political parties and candidates should be regulated by privacy laws when it comes to communications practices and more broadly favouring privacy in a tradeoff against the needs of political parties to communicate with electors. Seventy-one percent of those who favoured privacy protection also favoured regulation, compared with 57% who favoured the needs of political parties to communicate with electors. Those who think political parties and candidates should be regulated were also more likely than those who think they should self-regulate themselves to have been contacted by a political party or candidate in the last federal general election (62% vs. 38%). They were similarly more likely to have had a negative reaction to this contact (33% vs. 20%).

The likelihood of thinking that political parties and candidates should be regulated by privacy laws was higher amongst those with only somewhat high or low levels of trust in election results as opposed to very high levels (65-68% vs. 60%). It was also higher amongst those who were aware of the complaints received by Elections Canada during and after the last federal general election than amongst those who were not aware (70% vs. 58%).

Additionally, those who think political parties should be regulated were more likely than those who think they should self-regulate to:

Positive vs. Negative Reactions to being Contacted by Parties and Candidates

Of those who were contacted by a political party or candidate during the last federal general election, Canadians who had positive reactions to this contact were more likely than those who had negative reactions to be interested in politics (86% vs. 69%), to consider various purposes for such contact to be appropriate (29% vs. 9% found all purposes asked about to be appropriate), to have high levels of trust in federal election results (91% vs. 76%), to have confidence in various institutions involved in the electoral process (32% vs. 16% had confidence in all four institutions asked about), and to think Elections Canada ran the election fairly (92% vs. 81%). They were also more likely to prefer to be contacted by political parties or candidates during the evening (42% vs. 25%).

Conversely, those with negative reactions were more likely than those with positive ones to think political parties and candidates should be regulated by privacy laws (76% vs. 66%), consider it unimportant that parties and candidates be able to collect the personal information of electors (80% vs. 65%), and think that they do not use this information appropriately (48% vs. 26%). They are more likely to favour electoral privacy in a tradeoff against the need for parties and candidates to communicate with electors (73% vs. 62%) and are more likely to be concerned about how technologies and applications affect their ability to protect their privacy (93% vs. 86%).