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Survey of Candidates of the 41st Federal General Election

Introduction

Phoenix SPI was commissioned by Elections Canada to conduct a survey of candidates who ran in the 2011 federal general election.

Background and Objectives

Elections Canada, an independent, non-partisan agency that reports directly to Parliament, is responsible for monitoring and conducting federal elections in Canada. As part of its post-election evaluation program, Elections Canada wanted to conduct a census survey of candidates who ran in the 41st federal general election held on May 2nd, 2011. This research was consistent with, and supportive of, the three strategic objectives of the Agency's five-year strategic plan (covering 2008-2013); specifically 'Trust', 'Accessibility', and 'Engagement'Footnote 1.

As a follow-up to the baseline survey conducted with candidates of the 2008 general election, the main objectives of this survey were to:

  1. Assess candidates' trust in the Agency;

  2. Measure perceptions of the Canadian electoral system; and

  3. Assess satisfaction with the administration of the election, as well as with the services provided to candidates by the Agency.

In addition, the survey was designed to track key issues to determine changes in perceptions over time, and to help the Agency identify areas for improvement.

Research Plan

To address the research objectives, a census survey was undertaken among candidates who ran in the last federal general election. In total, 1,008 candidates out of 1,587 completed the survey between May 16th and June 30th, 2011. This represents a strong response rate of 67%, up from 59% in 2008 (once invalid/out-of-service telephone numbers that could not be updated were excluded from the universe). It is also worth noting that the refusal rate among candidates that were contacted was correspondingly low at only 9%. Since this was a census, there was no sampling involved and therefore no margin of error.

Elections Canada provided a questionnaire largely based on what had been developed for the 2008 general election. New subjects covered in 2011 included polling site accessibility, including directional signage inside and outside and signs indicating level-access. Phoenix reviewed the questionnaire and provided comments in writing.

For a more fulsome overview of the methodology used in this research, please refer to the methodology note included under separate cover.

Note to Readers

Included under separate cover (available on request) are the following:


Footnote 1 Elections Canada. 2008-2013 Strategic Plan.

Footnote 2 In the HTML version published on Elections Canada's website (www.elections.ca), these boxes are delineated by a hidden tag inserted before, labeled "Beginning of box" and one inserted after, labeled “End of box” in order to enhance accessibility of the document.