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Survey of Electors on Communications with Electors

Use of Technologies in Relation to Political Issues

This section reports on electors' use of technology in relation to political issues. Questions were asked only of Internet users (86%; n=836).

Electors More Apt to Use Computers than Mobile Devices to Access Internet

Internet users are more likely to use a computer than a mobile device when accessing the Internet. Specifically, 72% said they use a laptop computer and 65% a desktop computer to access the Internet. In contrast, fewer than half (43%) use a smart phone, such as an iPhone or BlackBerry, and 29% a tablet, such as an iPad. Six in ten (60%) respondents use more than one of these methods to access the Internet.


Method of Accessing the Internet graph

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Socio-demographic Differences

Older Canadians (those 55 and over) were less likely than younger Canadians to use a laptop computer (61% vs. 74-79%), a smart phone (17% vs. 43-68%), and a tablet (17% vs. 25-36%). Youth aged 18-24 were the least likely to use a desktop computer (51% vs. 66-70% of others) and most likely to use a smart phone (68% vs. 17-64% of others). Tablet use was most likely amongst those aged 25-54 (33-36% vs. 17-25% of others).

Men were more likely than women to use a smart phone (47% vs. 39%) and a tablet (33% vs. 24%).

Not surprisingly, members of cell phone-only households were the most likely to use a smart phone (75% vs. 12-43% of others). Members of households with both a landline and a cell phone were the most likely to use a laptop (75% vs. 57-68% of others) and a tablet (12-28% of others).

The likelihood of using all four media increased with level of formal education.

Internet Most Likely to be Used as a Source of Political Information

Turning to online activities, approximately two thirds (68%) said they use the Internet as a source of information about political issues. Relatively few are using YouTube to post or watch videos related to political issues (25%) or posting articles or comments on the Internet about political issues (20%). Notably, more than one quarter (28%) of Internet users do none of these online activities and exactly one third (33%) personally engage in more than one of these online activities.


Online Activities and Political Issues graph

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Socio-demographic Differences

The likelihood of using the Internet as a source of information about political issues was highest amongst:

  • University graduates (81%).
  • Students (83%) and those employed (73%).
  • Those aged 25-34 (80%).
  • Cell phone-only households (79%).

The likelihood of using YouTube to post or watch videos related to political issues was highest amongst students (60%), youth (51% compared to 17% of those 55+), and cell phone-only households (43%).

The likelihood of posting articles or comments on the Internet about political issues was highest amongst students (44%), 25-34 year olds (30%), Francophones (26%), and those with at least some post-secondary education (22%).

Finally, the likelihood of doing none of these activities was highest amongst:

  • Canadians aged 55 and over (39% vs. 17-28% of younger Canadians).
  • Those with high school education or less (47% vs. 16-29% of others).
  • The unemployed (59% vs. 14-39% of others).
  • Members of landline-only households (45% vs. 16-27% of others).

Most at Least Somewhat Concerned about Technology and Privacy

More than four in five are somewhat (46%) or very (39%) concerned about the impact of technologies or applications on their ability to protect their personal privacy. Conversely, 15% are not very (11%) or not at all (4%) concerned about technology and privacy.


Concerns about Technology and Privacy graph

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Socio-demographic Differences

The likelihood of being very or somewhat concerned about the impact of technologies or applications on their ability to protect their personal privacy was highest amongst those aged 55 and over (90%), those who are retired or otherwise not in the workforce (90%), as well as those with high school education or less or a university degree (88% each).

Majority Think Online Information is as Reliable as Mainstream Media Information

Respondents who said they use the Internet as a source of information about political issues (n=547) were asked to compare the reliability of that information with information provided through mainstream media. A slight majority (55%) think that the information they obtain online is just as reliable as the information provided through mainstream media. The rest were evenly divided in their assessments: 22% said online information is more reliable and 22% feel it is less reliable.


Perceived Reliability of Online Information graph

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Socio-demographic Differences

The likelihood of thinking information obtained online is more reliable than the information provided through mainstream media was highest amongst:

  • Canadians under 35 (31-34% vs. 16-28% of older Canadians).
  • Those with college or some university education (29% vs. 18-19% of others).
  • Students (41% vs. 16-24% of others).
  • Men (27% vs. 17% of women).
  • Members of cell phone-only households (43% vs. 17-29%).

The likelihood of thinking it is just as reliable was highest amongst:

  • Canadians over 35 (59-62% vs. 38-51% of younger Canadians).
  • Those who have completed university (62% vs. 48-52% of others).
  • Francophones (68% vs. 52% of Anglophones).
  • Dual landline-cell service households (60% vs. 33-51% of others).

High Level of Self-Assessed Internet Competency

Nearly four in five Internet users rated their ability to use the Internet as good (34%) or excellent (43%). Conversely, 24% described their ability as fair (19%) to poor (5%).


Internet Competency graph

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Socio-demographic Differences

The likelihood of rating their ability to use the Internet as either excellent or good was highest amongst:

  • Canadians under 35 (89-90% vs. 62-77% of older Canadians).
  • Those with higher levels of formal education: it was highest amongst those who had completed university (86%), and those with college or some university education (76%), and lowest amongst those with high school education or less (64%).
  • Students (94%), followed by the employed (83% vs. 50-60% of others).
  • Anglophones (79% vs. 67% of Francophones).
  • Members of cell phone-only households (85% vs. 54-79% of others). It was lowest amongst landline-only households (54%).