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Survey of Electors on Communications with Electors

Attitudes and Preferences on Communications Practices

This section reports on electors' attitudes and preferences on the communications practices of political parties and candidates.

Least Appropriate Way to Communicate with Electors is by Telephone

Slightly more than one in ten (11%) surveyed electors pointed to the usage of telephone as the most appropriate way for political parties and candidates to communicate with them. In contrast, thirty-seven percent identified regular mail, followed by email or other electronic means (27%) and in-person contact (22%), such as door-to-door canvassing.


Preferred Communications During an Election graph

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Turning to time of day, 40% said they would prefer to be communicated with by parties and candidates in the evening (5:00 pm to just before 9:00 pm), 20% in the afternoon (12:00 pm to just before 5:00 pm), and 12% in the morning (9:00 am to just before 12:00 pm). Approximately one in five (22%) expressed no preference—any time of the day would be acceptable.

Socio-demographic differences regarding preferred method of communications:

The likelihood of preferring email and other means of electronic communication decreases as age increased, from 42% of 18-24 year olds to 15% of those who are 55 or more. Older Canadians, conversely, were the most likely to prefer regular mail: 44% compared to 28% of those under 35.

Compared with Canadians who had less formal education, those who completed university were more likely to prefer email (33% vs. 16% of Canadians with high school or less). This trend was reversed for communications through regular mail and telephone. Those who had completed university were least likely to prefer regular mail (32%) and telephone (7%), followed by those with college or some university education (36% regular mail; 12% telephone), and finally those with high school education or less (44% regular mail; 17% telephone).

Additionally, the likelihood of preferring email contact was highest amongst students (58% vs. 15-30% of others), men (30% vs. 23% of women), and electors from cell phone only-households (48% vs. 21-25% with landlines).

Regionally, Ontarians were the most likely to prefer to be contacted through regular mail (44% vs. 30-38% elsewhere). Atlantic Canadians and those living in the Prairies were more likely to prefer in-person contact (34-35% vs. 16-22% elsewhere). Quebecers were the most apt to express a preference for telephone (18% vs. 8-11% elsewhere).


Socio-demographic differences regarding time of communications:

The likelihood of preferring to be contacted in the evening was highest amongst:

  • Canadians aged 25-54 (50-54% vs. 23% aged 55+ and 39% of 18-24 year olds).
  • Men (45% vs. 35% of women).
  • Internet users (43% vs. 23% of non-users).
  • Cell phone-only households (50% vs. 21-44% of others).

Appropriateness of Reasons for Calling Electors

Electors are generally receptive to being called by political parties and candidates during a federal election. Topping the list of purposes deemed appropriate, is to inform them about their positions or platforms. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents said that this is an appropriate reason for contacting electors. Following this, 69% think it is appropriate for political parties or candidates to contact them to encourage them to vote and 64% to provide them with information on where and when to vote.


Reasons Deemed Appropriate for Calling Electors graph

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Respondents were least likely to consider it appropriate for parties or candidates to contact them during a federal election for the purpose of seeking a donation. Thirty-five percent said that this is an appropriate reason to contact them. Conversely, nearly two thirds (64%) felt it is not appropriate.

More than half (55%) indicated that three to four of these reasons was appropriate, while 11% of electors surveyed said that none of these reasons was appropriate for contacting them during an election.

Socio-demographic Differences

Electors' likelihood of finding it appropriate to be contacted to be informed about parties' or candidates' positions or platforms was highest amongst:

  • Those with higher levels of formal education: it was highest amongst those who had completed university (78% vs. 76% with college or some university education and 67% with high school education or less).
  • Students (89% vs. 58-75% of others).
  • Internet users (75% vs. 66% of non-users).
  • Members of dual (cell phone and landline) and cell phone only-households (73-77% vs. 65% of landline-only users).

Electors' likelihood of thinking it appropriate to be contacted by parties or candidates to encourage them to vote was highest amongst Anglophones (72% vs. 58% of Francophones), cell phone-only users (76% vs. 71% of dual users and 58% of landline-only users), and those who identify with a particular federal political party (76% vs. 65% who do not).

Electors' likelihood of finding it appropriate to contact them to provide information on where and when to vote was highest amongst:

  • Residents of the Prairies and Ontario (67-68% vs. 57-62% elsewhere).
  • Younger Canadians: those aged 18-24 (84%) were the most likely to find it appropriate, followed by those 25-34 (68%), those 35-54 (64%), and finally those 55 and over (56%).
  • Students (91% vs. 58-77% of others).
  • cell phone only-households (73% vs. 55-65% of others). It was lowest amongst landline-only households.

Electors' likelihood of finding it appropriate to be contacted by political parties and candidates seeking a political donation was highest amongst:

  • Residents of the Prairies and Ontario (38-42% vs. 26-32% elsewhere).
  • Those with higher levels of formal education: it was highest amongst those who had completed university (42% vs. 34% with college or some university education and 28% with high school education or less).
  • Students (58% vs. 32-34% of others).
  • Men (39% vs. 31% of women).
  • Anglophones (39% vs. 31% of Francophones).
  • Internet users (37% vs. 23% of non-users).
  • Members of dual (cell phone and landline) and cell phone only-households (37-38% vs. 22% of landline-only users).
  • Those who identify with a federal political party (47% vs. 27% who do not).