Public Opinion Survey Following the June 30, 2014 Federal by–elections
Section 3: Detailed Findings
3.1 Awareness of By-elections
3.1.1 Overall Awareness
Overall awareness of the federal by–election was 92%. Of the four ridings that took part in the by–election, awareness levels were highest in Trinity—Spadina (97%). Scarborough—Agincourt (92%), Fort McMurray (89%) and Macleod (88%) all had significantly lower awareness levels.
3.1.2 Sources of Information about the By-elections
Newspapers (40%), TV (35%) and radio (35%) were the three most cited sources of information about the by–election. However, the number of mentions of these three media varied significantly between ridings. Newspapers, for example, were cited by approximately half (52%) of those in Macleod about the by–election, compared to approximately one-third of those in Scarborough—Agincourt (34%) and Fort McMurray (30%), and 44% of those in Trinity—Spadina. In Trinity—Spadina and Scarborough—Agincourt, TV was listed as a source of information by 50% and 45%, respectively, while significantly fewer listed this type of media in Fort McMurray (18%) and Macleod (25%). Radio, on the other hand, was the medium most frequently cited in Fort McMurray, where 41% had heard of the by–election from this source. Significantly fewer mentioned radio in Trinity—Spadina (34%), Macleod (29%) and Scarborough—Agincourt (24%).
Other sources of information about the election were also cited. Candidate signs, for example, were mentioned as a source of information by one-in-five respondents (21%) while another 7% cited billboards, posters and other signage. Word of mouth was cited by 15% of residents.
Elections Canada material was also a source of information for residents of these ridings. Overall, the Householder was named by 18%, while 14% mentioned the voter information card (VIC). These Elections Canada materials were most often mentioned by those in Scarborough—Agincourt, where 28% heard about the election from the householder, and 20% from the voter information card.
Online sources of information that were cited included: non-Elections Canada websites (9%), social media (6%), and the Elections Canada website (1%). Contact with candidates (4%), canvassing (3%), work (2%) and general knowledge (1%) were the least mentioned information sources.
- TV and newspapers were both more likely to be sources of information for older electors aged 65+ (47% and 57%, respectively) as compared to those aged 18-34 (26% and 26%). Radio, on the other hand, was equally informative to all age groups.
- The EC householder was more often cited by women (22% vs. 14% of men) and those in lower income levels (25% of those with household incomes of less than $40,000, vs. 17%-18% of those with household incomes of $40,000 or more).
- Non-Elections Canada websites were more frequently cited by 18-34 and 35-54 year olds (both 11%) than by those aged 55 and over (5%).
- Word-of-mouth was particularly strong as a source of information among youth (24% among those aged 18-34 vs. 12% of those aged 35+).
3.2 Voting in the by–elections
3.2.1 Reported turnout
Overall, 55% reported having voted in the June 30th by–elections. Footnote2 Among those aware of the by–elections, 60% reported having voted.
Reported voter turn-out was highest in Trinity—Spadina, where 75% of the total population reported having voted, and Scarborough—Agincourt, where slightly less than two thirds (64%) said they voted. Turn-out in Alberta’s ridings was significantly lower, with 43% reporting having voted in Fort McMurray, and 38% in Macleod.
- Reported voter turn-out was significantly higher among older people than among younger people Among 18-34 year olds aware of the by–election, almost half (49%) reported that they voted, whereas 57% of those aged 35-54, 66% of those aged 55-64 and fully 79% of those aged 65 or more did so.
- There was also a relationship between reported voting and educational attainment. For instance, among those aware of the by–elections, 68% of university degree holders said they had voted, compared to 49% of those with a high school education or less.
3.2.2 Reasons for not voting
A variety of reasons were given for not having voted in the by–elections. The by–elections were held on the Monday of the Canada Day long weekend. Not surprisingly, out-of-town travel (29%) and timing of the long weekend (10%) were mentioned as reasons for not voting. These were identified as particular issues among voters in Trinity—Spadina (49%). Mentions about the candidates (e.g. preferring none, etc.) were given by 14% of non-voters; these were mentioned most often in Scarborough—Agincourt (20%) and least often in Macleod (10%). Other reasons that were given included work (11%), lack of interest (11%), too busy (9%), and simply forgetting about the election (7%). Lack of information about the voting process (e.g. when and where to go) was given as a reason by 9%, whereas registration problems were noted by just 4%.
3.2.3 Likelihood of voting online
Among those aware of the by–elections and who reported not having voted, almost two thirds (65%) said that they would have voted if they had been able to vote on the internet using the Elections Canada website. Interest appeared to be slightly stronger in the Toronto-area ridings (71% in Trinity—Spadina; 70% in Scarborough—Agincourt) than in Alberta (64% in Fort McMurray; 62% in Macleod), though this was mainly because levels of indecision were higher in that province (e.g. 14% of those in Fort McMurray and 12% of those in Macleod said they would ‘maybe’ vote electronically vs. 4% of those in Trinity—Spadina, and 5% of those in Scarborough—Agincourt.)
- Interest in voting online was strongest among those aged 18-34 (71%) and 35-54 (70%). Interest levels were also healthy among 55-64 year olds (59%). However, only a minority of non-voters aged 65+ (27%) expressed interest in voting online.
3.2.4 What would encourage voting in next federal election?
When non-voters were asked what would encourage them to vote in the next federal election, fully one-third said ‘nothing’. This proportion varied from a low of 24% in Scarborough—Agincourt, and a high of 37% in Macleod. On the other hand, 12% said that they would vote – that it is important to vote, while 5% said that they only vote in general elections and never in by–elections.
Other mentions that would have encouraged them to vote included ‘better candidates’ (17%), online voting (16%), more publicity/information (8%), improved accessibility of polls (for example, more convenient or closer locations) (6%), and not holding elections during a holiday weekend (5%).
3.2.5 Main Reason for Voting
Those who voted in the June 30th by–elections were asked to specify the main reason why they voted. Most did so out of a sense of responsibility, either because they feel it is important to exercise the democratic right to vote (53%) or because voting is something they always do (15%). The secondary reason for voting was political. Indeed 26% said that they voted to support a political party (7%), to support a candidate (7%), to express their opinion (5%), to oppose a party (3%), to bring about change or better government (2%), to ensure a party doesn’t win (1%) or to oppose a candidate (1%).
- Those aged 18-34 were less likely to vote because they felt it was their duty (32% vs. 41% among those aged 35-54 and 44% among those aged 55 or older).
3.3 Voter Information
3.3.1 Receipt of Voter Information Card
Electors were asked if they recalled having received a personally-addressed voter information card (VIC) telling them where and when to vote. Overall, about eight-in-ten (82%) indicated having received such a card.
- Recall of having received a VIC appeared to increase with age (74% of electors ages 18-34 indicated receiving a card, compared to 91% of those 65+ years of age).
- Recall of having received a VIC was also more prevalent among electors with greater levels of education (74% of those with a high-school education received a card, compared to 88% of those with a university degree).
- Lower-income electors were less likely than others to recall having received a personally-addressed voter information card (74% of those with incomes of less than $40,000 received a card, compared to 83% overall).
- Retirees (90%) were most likely to report having received a VIC, while students (57%) were least likely.
- There were no differences between genders.
3.3.2 Accuracy of Name on VIC
Electors who reported having received a VIC were asked if their name was correct on it. Fully 97% indicated that this was the case.
- There are no significant differences observed across the various demographic segments.
3.3.3 Accuracy of Address on VIC
Electors who mentioned having received a VIC were asked if their address was correct on it. Fully 98% said that the correct address was indicated on the card. Electors in Fort McMurray, however, were significantly less likely to indicate that the address was correct on the card they received (94%).
- Reported receipt of a VIC with correct address information did not differ by age, gender, income, education or employment status.
3.3.4 Making Corrections to VIC
Those respondents indicating that an incorrect name and/or address appeared on their voter information card were asked whether they did anything to make corrections to the incorrect information on the card received. As previous cited, very few respondents indicated that their name and/or address was incorrect, so the sample size for this question is very small, and therefore results should be considered with appropriate caution. Among the 27 electors asked this question, slightly fewer than half (13 respondents) indicated that they took action to correct the inaccurate address and/or name on the card. The sample size is too small to provide analytical comparisons by demographic segment.
3.3.5 Recall of Additional Information, Other Than on How and Where to Vote, Included on VIC
Electors who mentioned having received a voter information card were asked to recall, on an unaided basis, the types of information provided on the card – over and above the information provided about where and when to vote.
Respondents clearly found it difficult to recall seeing additional information on the card. Overall, more than one in five (22%) provided a “don’t know” response or no answer to this question. Those in Scarborough—Agincourt were somewhat less likely to respond in this fashion (18%).
Furthermore, more than one-quarter (28%) of electors provided a response of “none” to this question, indicating that they do not recall seeing any additional information on their card. The proportion who indicated ‘none’ varies by riding with a higher proportion of those in Fort McMurray and Macleod mentioning that no additional information (other than where and when to vote) was provided on the card, compared to those in the ridings of Trinity—Spadina and Scarborough—Agincourt.
Aside from information about where and when to vote, electors most often recalled seeing information on the card about advance polls (mentioned by 20% of respondents). The proportion of card recipients who recalled seeing information about advance polls varied by riding: those in Fort McMurray and Macleod were significantly less likely to mention seeing advance polling information, compared to those in the ridings of Trinity—Spadina and Scarborough—Agincourt.
Another top mention was the polling station number, mentioned by 15% of electors. The proportion who recalled seeing the polling station number was consistent across all four ridings.
The requirement to show identification at the polls was cited by 8% of respondents overall. Those in the Trinity—Spadina riding were marginally more likely than average to recall seeing this message on the information card (12%).
Overall, 2% or fewer of respondents mentioned seeing other additional information on the card, such as the point that the card cannot be used as ID; the elections.ca website; candidate information; and voting by mail/at the local Elections Canada office/special voting rules.
- Those 18 to 34 years of age were less likely to recall seeing information about advance polls on the VIC (15% percent, compared to 20% overall).
- Electors with a high-school diploma (or less), and those who are unemployed were less likely to recall seeing information about the need to show identification when voting (4%, compared to 8% overall
3.3.6 Actions Taken to Determine Voter Registration
Electors who did not receive a VIC were asked to cite the actions taken to determine whether or not they were registered to vote in the election.
Although these respondents indicated earlier that they had not received a personally addressed voter information card, when asked how they found out if they were registered, fully 96% indicated receiving a card. It may be that they offered a ‘no’ response to the earlier question because they did not believe the card was personally addressed to them.
Just over six-in-ten said they did ‘nothing/nothing specific’ (63%) to find out if they were registered to vote (see Figure 12). The proportion taking no action was higher in Fort McMurray and Macleod than it was in the Scarborough—Agincourt and Trinity—Spadina ridings.
Overall, one in ten (10%) said that they found out at the polling station/EC office.
- Those with a high school education or less (70%) were slightly more likely than average, while those who have graduated from university (55%) were somewhat less likely than average to indicate taking no action.
- Men (14%) were much more likely than women (6%) to have found out at the polling station/EC office.
3.3.7 Proportion of voters who brought their VIC to the polling station
In most case, across all four ridings, voters reported bringing their VIC (80%) with them to the polling station. However, there was again some variation in this between the two Alberta and the two Ontario ridings. In Trinity—Spadina and Scarborough—Agincourt, 86 percent in both ridings reported bringing their VIC to the polling station, while in Fort McMurray and Macleod considerably fewer reported this (67% and 71%, respectively).
- Those 18 to 34 years of age (72%) were the least likely to bring their VIC to the polling station, while those 55 years of age and over were the most likely (87%).
3.4 Voter Experience
3.4.1 Method Used to Vote
Voters were asked to indicate which method they used to vote. Overall, the vast majority of respondents (71%) voted at the polling station on election day (June 30th). Compared to the overall average, voters from Trinity—Spadina were less slightly likely (63%), and those from the Fort McMurray riding were slightly more likely (80%) to use this method of voting.
One-quarter of voters (25%) voted at the advance polling station. Advance polls were most frequently used by those from Trinity—Spadina, and least among those from the Fort McMurray riding.
Just one percent (1%) of respondents voted by mail.
- Those with a university degree were more likely to vote at the advance polling station (32%, compared to 25% for the overall population), and less likely to vote at the polling station on election day (65%, compared to 71% for the overall population).
- The opposite is true among those earning less than $40,000 in annual income: only 17% indicated having voted in advance, and 81% cast their vote at the polling station on election day.
3.4.2 Perceived Ease of Voting at the Polling Station on Election Day
Those who voted at a polling station on June 30th were asked about the perceived ease of voting this way.
Almost all respondents indicated that casting their vote at the polling station on the day of the election was easy (97%). Only three percent (3%) perceived it to be difficult.
In fact, responses were strongly positive with 87% suggesting that the process was ‘very easy’. Those from Trinity—Spadina were marginally less positive than average, with a greater proportion suggesting that casting their vote this way was ‘somewhat easy’, and slightly fewer offering a top-box rating of ‘very easy’.
- The degree to which voting at the polling station was perceived to be ‘easy’ varied by age: Those 18 to 34 years of age were marginally less likely than others to have found it ‘very easy’ to cast their vote at the polling station on election day (80%), while 15% offered a ‘somewhat easy’ response.
- Those earning annual income of $80k+ were more likely than the lower income segments to suggest that voting at the polling station on election day was ‘very easy’ (91% compared to 82% among those earning less than $40k and 83% among the $40k to $80k income earners). On the other hand, they were less likely to offer a ‘somewhat easy’ response (6% compared to 13% among those earning less than $40k and 15% among those earning $40k to $80k in income).
3.4.3 Perceived Ease of Voting at an Advance Polling Station
Those who voted in advance, on June 20, 21 or 23, were asked about the perceived ease of voting at the advance polling stations.
About nine-in-ten respondents indicated that casting their vote in advance was easy (92%), and the remaining eight percent (8%) perceived it to be difficult. Those who voted at an advance polling station were significantly less likely to rate voting as easy (92% versus 97% of those who voted at a polling station on June 30th).
However, similar to the findings among those who voted on election day, most (84%) said that voting at an advance polling station was ‘very easy’, and another 8% said it was ‘somewhat easy’. Eight percent (8%) said it was difficult. While the sample size is small for two of the four ridings, a comparison by riding indicates that those from Fort McMurray were most likely to view voting at an advance polling station as easy (100%).
- To a significant extent, women found it more difficult than males to vote at the advance polling stations. Among those who voted at the advance polling stations, fully 14% of women said it was ‘difficult’, compared to 1% of men.
3.4.4 Perceived Ease of Voting by Some Other Method
Very few respondents indicated that they voted at a local Elections Canada office or by mail. Almost all of those who voted using these methods (n=6 respondents voted by mail and n=17 voted at an EC office) said it was easy. Sample sizes were too small to provide analytical comparisons by demographic segment.
3.4.5 Awareness of the Option to Vote by Mail
Respondents who did not vote by mail were asked about their awareness of the option to vote by mail. About one-third of respondents (35%) indicated knowing that it was possible to vote by mail.
Awareness was lower among non-voters (25%) than it was among those who voted (43%). A comparison by riding suggested that awareness was marginally lower for Scarborough—Agincourt (32%) and Fort McMurray (27%) than for Trinity—Spadina (41%) and Macleod (40%).
- Awareness levels were higher than the average among those 65+ years of age (46%, compared to 35% for the overall population).
- Those having obtained a university degree reported higher than average levels of awareness of the option to vote by mail (41%).
- Those earning less than $40k in annual income were less likely than the higher income segments to know that it is possible to vote by mail any time during a federal election (29% compared to 37% among those earning $40k to $80k and 38% among those earning $80k or more).
- Students were far less likely than average to be aware of the option to vote by mail (25%). Awareness is higher than average among retirees (44%).
3.5 Proof of Identity/Address Requirement
3.5.1 Awareness of the Requirements
Across all four ridings, almost all electors (97%) were aware that they must present proof of identity in order to vote in a federal election. Smaller, but still considerable majorities (88% across all four ridings) were also aware that they must also produce proof of address in order to vote. There was, however, some variation in awareness of the proof of address requirement between the ridings, with awareness being slightly lower in Fort McMurray (84%) than in the other three ridings (Trinity—Spadina and Macleod, 90% each and Scarborough—Agincourt, 89%).
- Awareness of the proof of identity requirement was slightly lower among students (89%) than among the average; and,
- Awareness of proof of address is below average among students (72%) and above average among the university educated (93%).
3.5.2 Sources of Awareness
The most frequently mentioned source of awareness about name and proof of address requirements was past experience (35%), followed by the VIC (29%). There is considerable variation in mentions of the VIC across ridings; in the two Ontario ridings, mention of the VIC was much higher (Trinity—Spadina, 37%; and Scarborough—Agincourt, 35%) than in the two Alberta ridings (Fort McMurray, 23%; and Macleod, 21%).
Other sources mentioned included: at the polling station/when voting (13%), newspapers (12%), word of mouth (11%) and television (11%). Those in Fort McMurray were more likely than average to cite word of mouth (18%).
Other sources cited less frequently included the EC householder (8%) and the EC website (2%).
- There is a significant difference between those who reported voting and those reporting that they did not vote in recall of the VIC as a source of information about voting requirements (37% to 19%, respectively). For all other sources cited, variations between these two groups were relatively small.
- Mentions of the VIC as a source of information on voting requirements was also lower among those who reported the highest level of education they achieved is a high school education or less (21%) and those who reported an annual household income of less than $40,000 (23%).
- There was significant variation by age in the reporting of newspapers as a source of information. Among seniors, 23% cited newspapers compared with just 5% among those aged 18 to 34 years of age.
- 18 to 34 year olds instead appeared to be the most reliant on word of mouth (20%).
3.5.3 Compliance with Identification Requirements
Among those voting, almost all (97%) across all four ridings reported that they had the required identification documents with them when they went to vote. In Fort McMurray all who voted reported this, while in Scarborough—Agincourt (97%) Trinity—Spadina (96%) and Macleod (95%) almost all did.
Almost all electors believed that it was at least somewhat easy (94%) to meet the identification requirements and 81% believed it was very easy. Just 5% said it was somewhat (4%) or very (1%) difficult. There were no significant variations across ridings on this issue.
- Only students (82%) were well below the average (97%) in terms of having the required identification documents.
- There was no significant difference between voters and non-voters in terms of the ease of meeting identification requirements (83% versus 79%).
- There were, however, some demographic variations in the perceived ease of meeting the identification requirements. Students (66% said very easy), those with annual household incomes of less than $40,000 (67 percent said very easy), and 18 to 34 year olds (74% said very easy), were all below average (81%) in this regard.
3.5.4 Documentation Presented to Vote
Respondents were asked which document they used to prove their identity and address. If they did not mention a driver’s license or a provincial/territorial ID card and they only mentioned one document, they were then asked if they provided another document. For the large majority of voters, across all four ridings, a driver’s license (84%) was first mentioned as the document used to prove voters’ identity and address. There was some variation across ridings: a driver’s license was more frequently cited in Alberta (Fort McMurray, 94% and Macleod, 90%) than in Ontario (Trinity—Spadina,75% and Scarborough—Agincourt, 83%). Overall, 86% of voters used a driver’s license. Other mentions included a Canadian passport (4%), utility bill (4%) and/or provincial/territorial ID card 3%). Three percent (3%) mentioned using their VIC (it should be noted that the VIC is not an accepted piece of ID).
- Those least likely to cite a driver’s license as the documentation used to prove their identity and address were those with an annual household income of less than $40,000 (66%) and those currently unemployed (72%). Men (89%) were also somewhat more likely than women (81%) to report using a driver’s license as proof.
3.5.5 Missing Documentation
In all, 5% (n=75) of electors reported that they were missing documents at the time they went to the polling station and 66% of this group reported that because of this they did not vote. Among this group (n=49), one-third (32%) reported that they were missing a document with an address, 16% reported not having a document with their photo, and 13% reported not having their VIC.
Among those who did vote (n=26), 22% reported going back to find the missing documents, 14% reported swearing an oath, and 13% reported that they voted because their name was on the voter’s list (implying that they were not asked for identification or misunderstood the question).
3.6.1 Time of Day Voted
The time of day people voted varied greatly among those who voted at a polling station on June 30th, or at and Elections Canada Office. Poll hours are staggered across Canada. For instance, in the Eastern Time Zone, polls are open from 9:30 am-9:30 pm, whereas in the Mountain Time Zone, polls are open from 7:30 am-7:30 pm. Just over four-in-ten voted in mid-day (11:30am-5:30pm, 42%), 34% in the evening, and 21% in the morning. Interestingly, almost half (49%) of those aged 65 or more voted in the morning, while very few (6%) of those aged 18-34 did so.
The evening period was busier in Fort McMurray (41%), Trinity—Spadina (38%) and Scarborough—Agincourt (37%) than in Macleod (15%). This time period was also when the highest proportion of those aged 18-34 (46%) and 35-54 (41%) voted. Significantly fewer of those aged 55 to 64 years (29%) and 65 years or older (12%) voted in the evening.
Among those who voted at an advance poll, the most popular time-period to vote was around lunch time. Slightly more than four-in-ten (42%) voted between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm. Sixteen percent (16%) voted in the afternoon (2:01 pm - 4:00 pm), 21% in the late afternoon (4:01 pm – 6:00 pm) and 16% in the early evening (6:01 pm – 8:00 p.m.).
3.6.2 Location from which arrived at polling station
The majority of people (81%) who voted at a polling station on June 30th, headed to the polling station from home. Another 16% went directly to the polling station from work, while 3% said they went to vote from another location.
The proportion of voters who left from home was greater in Trinity—Spadina (84%) and Scarborough—Agincourt (85%) than Fort McMurray (72%). Seventy-eight percent (78%) left from home in Macleod. Those in Alberta were more likely to have left from another location (7% Fort McMurray; 6% Macleod) than those in the Toronto-area ridings (<1% Trinity—Spadina; 1% Scarborough—Agincourt).
Those who voted at an advance polling station also generally left from home (77%). Thirteen percent (13%) of this group left from work, and nine percent (9%) left from another location.
A majority (60%) of those who voted at a local EC office, albeit smaller compared to those who voted at polling stations, also left from their place of residence. About one-third of those who voted at a local EC office left from work to go and vote (35%).
3.6.3 Convenience of Distance to polling stations or EC Office
Almost all electors who voted at a polling station or EC office (97%) agreed that the distance to the polling station or EC office was convenient. Convenience was assessed equally strongly across all four ridings.
3.6.4 Difficulties reaching the polling station
Very few of those who voted at a polling station (2%), advance polling station (4%), or at the local Elections Canada office (0%) reported difficulties with reaching these locations to vote. Difficulties reaching the polling stations were slightly more often reported in the Toronto-area ridings (4% in Trinity—Spadina; 3% in Scarborough—Agincourt) than the Alberta ridings (0% in Fort McMurray; <1% in Macleod). This was also true for the advance polling stations (6% reported difficulties in Trinity—Spadina; 3% in Scarborough—Agincourt vs. 0% in Fort McMurray; 1% in Macleod).
Imprecise signage was an issue in Trinity—Spadina (63% of those with difficulties in this riding reported this reason; 0% elsewhere).
3.6.5 Accessibility of polling station building
Almost all of those who voted at a polling station rated the building as either “very” accessible (90%) or “somewhat” accessible (8%). “Very” accessible ratings were slightly lower, but still high, in Trinity—Spadina (84%) compared to Fort McMurray (96%) and Macleod (94%). Scarborough—Agincourt’s accessibility ratings were on par with the average (90%). Voters who identified as having a disability were as likely as voters overall to indicate that the building where they voted was accessible (98% said it was accessible and 88% said it was very accessible).
Those who found the polling building inaccessible reported that it was not physically accessible (66%) and that it had imprecise signage (18%).
Eighty six percent (86%) felt that there were enough directional signs outside the building to help find the entrance of the polling station. This proportion was similar across the ridings.
Ratings of the indoor signage were very high. Ninety-four percent (94%) said that once inside the polling station or EC office, there were enough signs to help find the room where the voting took place. Inside signage was rated slightly higher in Fort McMurray (99%) and Macleod (97%) than in Trinity—Spadina (92%) and Scarborough—Agincourt (92%).
During the by–election, Elections Canada piloted a new poster, entitled “Welcome to the Polling Place, which listed guidelines for good conduct while at the polls. This poster was posted in Scarborough—Agincourt and Macleod only. Overall, 46% said they noticed the poster, and there was no significant difference in the proportion across the four ridings, despite it only being used in two of them. This suggests recall error or confusion with other posters.
Among those who voted, fewer noticed signs indicating that level access for wheelchairs was available at polling stations (37%), or at an advanced polling station (34%). Among those who identified as having a disability, 30% noticed signs indicating level access for wheelchairs at polling stations, and 47% noticed signs at advance polling stations (note that the sample size for those with a disability who voted at an advance polling station is small: n=13). These signs were noticed by a higher proportion of those who voted at an EC office (60%).
Those who noticed the signs generally felt that they were highly visible (69%). A further 24% felt that they were ‘somewhat’ visible.
Everyone (100%) in the four ridings was serviced at their polling station in English, and reported satisfaction with being served in English (100%).
3.6.8 Waiting Times
Fully 97% of those who voted at a polling station said that the waiting time to vote was reasonable. Electors in all four ridings were equally as likely to rate the waiting times as reasonable.
3.6.9 Special Assistance
Two percent (2%) of those who voted at a polling station reported that they needed special assistance to cast their ballots. They reported needing help from poll staff or by friends / family. One person required a template to mark their ballot.
3.6.10 Overall Ease of Casting a Ballot at a polling station
Overall, the vast majority of those who were aware of the federal by–election in their riding reported that it is easy to cast a ballot at the polling station in a federal election or by–election (94%), with over three-quarters (77%) reporting that it is “very” easy. The level of perceived ease was equal across the ridings, at 95% in Trinity—Spadina, 93% in Scarborough—Agincourt, 92% in Fort McMurray, and 94% in Macleod.
The level of perceived ease did differ between those who voted in the by–election and those who did not. While 87% of those who voted reported it as “very” easy, only 60% of those who did not vote perceived it as very easy.
It is the younger generation who are least likely to perceive the voting process as ‘very easy’. Sixty-four percent (64%) of those aged 18-34 perceived it to be very easy, as compared to 77% of those aged 35-54, 85% of those aged 55-64, and 89% of those aged 65 years or older.
3.7 Overall Satisfaction with Elections Canada’s Services
3.7.1 Satisfaction with Services Provided by Elections Canada Staff when Voting
Almost all (97%) voters across the four ridings say they were satisfied with the services provided by EC staff at the time they voted. Further, 89% reported that they were very satisfied with the services provided by staff. Interestingly, while overall satisfaction was very high across all four ridings, more voters in the two Alberta ridings reported being very satisfied than in the two Ontario ridings (Fort McMurray, 96% and Macleod, 94% compared with Trinity—Spadina, 86% and Scarborough—Agincourt, 85%).
3.7.2 Perceptions of Fairness
In all, among all electors aware of the federal by–elections, close to eight-in-ten across all four ridings (78%) said Elections Canada ran it fairly. However, 14% gave a “don’t know” or “no opinion response”. When this group is removed from the calculations, among those with an opinion, 91% said the election was run fairly. While most said the election was run fairly, only 57% said it was run very fairly. However, when only those with an opinion are considered, 66% said it was run very fairly. In all, 9% said the election was run unfairly by Elections Canada.
There were some differences in the perceived fairness of the by–elections between the two Ontario and the two Alberta ridings. Among Trinity—Spadina and Scarborough—Agincourt electors, 65% and 60%, respectively said the election was run very fairly compared with 51% and 53%, respectively, in Fort McMurray and Macleod. There were, though, significant differences in the proportion of ’don’t know‘ and ’no opinion’ responses between the two provinces. In both Trinity—Spadina and Scarborough—Agincourt, 11% gave this response, compared with 19% in Fort McMurray and 18% in Macleod. When the ’don’t know‘ and ’no opinion‘ responses were removed from the calculations, the differences across the ridings are reduced; the proportion who said the election was run very fairly was 73% in Trinity—Spadina, 67% in Scarborough—Agincourt, 63% in Fort McMurray and 65% in Macleod. Furthermore, when only those with an opinion were considered, nine-in-ten or more voters in each riding said Elections Canada ran the by- election fairly.
- There was considerable variation in responses to the issue of the fairness of the by–election by voters and non-voters. While 88 percent of voters said the election was run fairly and 72 percent said very fairly, only 63 percent and 36 percent of non-voters, respectively, said this. The major reason for this difference was that many more non-voters gave a ‘don’t know’ or ‘no opinion’ response than did voters (28% to 5%). Once only those with an option were considered, 93 percent of voters said the election was run fairly compared to 88 percent among non-voters. A considerable disparity continues to exists, though, in terms of the proportions saying very fairly (76% to 50%).
- There were considerable demographic variations in the proportions saying the by–election was run fairly or very fairly. There was a significant difference by gender with 64 percent of males saying very fairly compared with 51 percent of females. Further, those less likely than average to say the by–election was run very fairly included: 18 to 34 year-olds (49%); those with a high school education or less (49%) and those reporting an annual household income of less than $40,000 (48%). These were also the groups least likely to have voted.
3.8 Awareness of Elections Canada Advertising
3.8.1 Source of Information on Voting Procedures
Respondents were asked how they received information on voting procedures for the by–election. The main source of information was the VIC (58%). However, those in Fort McMurray were slightly less likely to mention the VIC (50%) than those in other ridings (Trinity—Spadina, 61%, Scarborough—Agincourt, 63%, and Macleod, 57%). Other notable sources included newspapers (14%) and the Elections Canada householder (12%).
- Those who voted were more likely to mention the VIC (63% versus 50% of those who did not vote). Voters were also more likely to mention newspapers (16% versus 10% of non-voters).
- Respondents in Macleod were significantly more likely than those in other ridings to mention newspapers as a source of information (29% versus 14% overall).
- At least 1-in-10 residents of Fort McMurray mentioned: friends/family (13%), newspapers (10%), experience/prior knowledge (10%), or radio (10%).
- Those with higher educational attainment were more likely to mention receiving information via the VIC (64% of university graduates and 58% of those with other PSE, compared to 45% of those with high school or less).
3.8.2 Notice of an Advertisement from Elections Canada
Those aware of the federal by–election were asked if they noticed an advertisement from Elections Canada about the voting process for the June 30th by–election. Overall, 31 percent indicated that they saw an advertisement. Voters were more likely than non-voters to recall seeing an advertisement (36% versus 24%). Those living in Fort McMurray were less likely than those living in other ridings to recall seeing an advertisement (24% versus 32%-35%).
- Men were more likely than women to report seeing an advertisement (35% versus 28%).
- Those 55 or older were more likely to report seeing an advertisement: 39 percent of those 55 to 64 years, and 35 percent of those 65 or older.
- Students were significantly less likely to have seen an advertisement (16% versus 31% of respondents as a whole).
3.8.3 Where Advertising was Noticed
Among those who noticed advertising, the primary sources were: newspapers (49%), radio (22%) and TV (20%). Voters were more likely than non-voters to mention newspaper advertising (54% versus 38%), while non-voters were more likely to mention TV advertising (27% versus 17% of voters).
- Macleod residents were more likely than those in other ridings to mention newspaper advertising (67%).
- Those in Trinity—Spadina (25%) and Scarborough—Agincourt (28%) were more likely than those in Fort McMurray (10%) and Macleod (12%) to mention TV advertising.
- Not surprisingly, Trinity—Spadina residents were most likely to mention transit advertising (10%, versus 6% in Scarborough—Agincourt and none in Fort McMurray or Macleod).
- Older respondents were more likely than younger ones to mention newspaper advertising (61% of those 55 to 64 years and 65% of those 65 or older, versus 33% of 18 to 34 year olds and 46% of 35 to 54 year olds).
- Retired people were also more likely to mention newspaper advertising (66% versus 49% overall).
- Men were more likely than women to mention radio advertising (28% versus 15%).
- Younger people were more likely than older people to mention radio advertising (29% of 18 to 34 year olds and 26% of 35 to 54 year olds mention radio, versus 18% of 55 to 64 year olds and only 12% of those 65 or older).
3.8.4 Focus of Elections Canada Advertising
Those who noticed Elections Canada advertising were asked what it talked about. The most common mentions were: the election date (28%), proof of address requirement (21%) and a reminder to vote (20%). Other mentions of close to or more than 10% included: advance polling dates (12%), polling station hours (9%), and instructions for how to vote (9%). Voters were more likely than non-voters to recall advertising of the election date (31% versus 23%).
- Respondents with a higher educational attainment were more likely to recall the proof of address requirement (27% of those with a university degree versus 17% of those with less postsecondary education and 13% of those with high school or less).
3.8.5 Recall of Elections Canada Advertising Slogan
Elections Canada advertising for the June 30th federal by–elections included the slogan: “Elections Canada, your source of voting information”.
Overall, 18% recalled seeing or hearing this slogan. Notably, non-voters were slightly more likely than voters to recall the slogan “Elections Canada, your source of voting information” (20% versus 16%).
- There were no significant differences in recall by riding.
3.9 Contact with Elections Canada
3.9.1 Contacting Elections Canada during the Election
Among those aware of the federal by–election in their riding, five percent (5%) said that they contacted Elections Canada during the campaign. The proportion of those who contacted Elections Canada was highest among those in Trinity—Spadina (10%), and lowest among those in Fort McMurray (2%) and Macleod (3%). Among voters, 7% contacted Elections Canada (versus 2% of non-voters).
3.9.2 Getting Needed Information from Elections Canada
Among the small proportion of respondents who contacted Elections Canada during the campaign (5% of those aware of the election), close to three-quarters (73%) indicated that they had received the information they needed.
3.9.3 Receiving a Telephone Call from Elections Canada
Among those aware of the federal by–election in their riding, 11% say that they received a phone call from Elections Canada informing them about where and when to vote during the by–election. Those in Scarborough—Agincourt are more likely than respondents in other ridings to report receiving a phone call (19% versus 11% overall). It should be noted that Elections Canada did not call people during these by–elections (Elections Canada never calls people during an election).
Return to source of Footnote 2 This is higher than the actual turnout as surveys of this nature typically overestimate voter turnout.