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Survey of Electors on Communications with Electors

Sources of Information Used by Electors

This section explores the sources through which electors receive information during federal general elections.

TV—Top Source of Information on Parties and Candidates

Electors were most likely to point to the television as their main source of information during an election when it comes to political parties and candidates. In all, 41% identified TV as their main source. Newspapers (22%) and the Internet or blogs (19%) followed at a distance. Few of the electors surveyed said they rely on radio (5%), regular mail (3%), or friends, family or parents (2%) as sources of information during an election.


Main Source of Information: Parties and Candidates graph

Text description of "Main Source of Information: Parties and Candidates" graph


In the 'other' category (6%) are social media, brochures and flyers, signage, posters and billboards, personal/door-to-door contact, public debates and open forums, as well as telephone.

Socio-demographic Differences

The likelihood of citing newspapers increased with age, from 9% of youth to 34% of those 55+. This relationship was reversed when it came to the Internet and blogs: it was highest amongst those aged 18-24 (36%) and lowest amongst those 55+ (6%). Additionally, the likelihood of citing television was lower amongst those under 35 than amongst those over 35 (29-31% vs. 43-45%).

The likelihood of citing newspapers and the Internet/blogs increased with formal education, from those with high school or less (12% newspapers; 9% Internet/blogs) to those with a university degree (27% newspapers; 28% Internet/blogs).

Those who are retired or otherwise not in the workforce were most likely to cite television (47% vs. 30-40% of others) and newspapers (30% vs. 9-19% of others) and least apt to cite the Internet or blogs (7% vs. 17-31%).

Men were more likely than women to cite the Internet or blogs (22% vs. 16%).

Members of cell phone-only households were the least likely to cite television (32% vs. 40-48% of others) and newspapers (11% vs. 22-24% of others), and most likely to cite the Internet/blogs (43% vs. 7-18% of others).

Elections Canada—Top Source of Information on Election Process

When asked to focus on information about the electoral process itself, Elections Canada was the top source, by far. Nearly half (48%) pointed to Elections Canada's brochure, householder/reminder card or leaflet and 7% to Elections Canada's website. Together, then, 55% of respondents identified Elections Canada as their main source of information during an election about the electoral process itself, such as where, when and how to vote.

As the graph below depicts, a variety of other information sources were identified, but each by only small numbers of respondents.


Main Source of Information: Election Process graph

Text description of "Main Source of Information: Election Process" graph


Socio-demographic Differences

The likelihood of citing the Elections Canada brochure was highest amongst:

  • Francophones (60%).
  • University graduates (56%).
  • Older Canadians (54%).
  • Those who are retired or otherwise not in the workforce (54%).
  • Women (51%).
  • Members of dual service households (50%).

Few Needed to Take Action to Find Out Where to Vote

Only 7% of respondents needed to make an additional effort to find out when or where to vote during the last federal general election.

Among those who took some action (n=64 Footnote 3), most of these electors (41%) contacted Elections Canada in one way or another. They visited the Elections Canada website, called Elections Canada directly, consulted Elections Canada's various written materials, or visited an Elections Canada office, while slightly less than one in four (24%) asked their friends or family and 6% contacted a political party or candidate.

Action(s) Taken to Find out Where to Vote

Q19: What action did you need to take to find out when or where to vote?

Actions %
Asked family/friends 24%
Visited EC website 21%
Looked online/Google search 12%
Called EC 10%
Consulted EC written materials 8%
Contacted party/candidate 6%
Saw it in media 3%
Contacted local government 2%
Visited EC office 2%
Other 5%

Multiple responses accepted; refused: 1%
Base: those who took action; n=64



Footnote 3 Caution should be exercised when interpreting these results due to the small sample size.