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Survey of Electors Following the 41st General Election

Awareness of General Election

This section reports on awareness of the May 2nd, 2011 federal election among eligible voters, including the sources from which they recall hearing about the election.

Widespread Awareness of Election

Virtually all eligible voters (98%) reported being aware of the federal election that took place on May 2nd, 2011.

These results are similar to 2008, when 99% were aware of the 2011 general election.

In 2011, youth reported slightly lower awareness levels (94%), while Aboriginal Canadians reported the lowest levels (89%).Awareness of Election graph
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Sociodemographic differences

The likelihood of being aware of the 2011 federal election was lowest amongst:

  • Unemployed electors (94% vs. 98‑99% of others).
  • Those who are not interested in politics (94% vs. 99% of those who are interested).
  • Those who did not follow the election closely (94% vs. 100% of those who did).

Mainstream Media – Top Sources for Learning About Election

Respondents were most likely to recall hearing about the federal election through the mainstream media. Television was, by far, the most frequently-identified source (81%), followed at a distance by newspapers (50%) and radio (42%). All other sources were identified much less often. These include word of mouth (16%), online/Internet sources other than Elections Canada (13%), candidates and political party election signs (7%), and Elections Canada. Elections Canada sources included the Voter Information Card received in the mail (4%), the householder received in the mail (3%), and the Elections Canada website (2%).

Sources mentioned by small numbers (2%) include the media in general, and signs/posters/billboards. Included in the 'other' category are telephone calls (unspecified), mail (unspecified), and brochures/flyers (unspecified).

Youth and Aboriginals were both less likely than the rest of the population to hear about the election through mainstream media–television (72% each vs. 81% overall), newspapers (35‑36% vs. 50%), and radio (27‑32% vs. 42%). Youth, however, were more likely than the general population to hear about it through word of mouth (35% vs. 16%) and non-Elections Canada websites (18% vs. 13%). Source of Knowledge Graph
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Sociodemographic differences

The following subgroup differences were evident:

  • Students were least likely to hear about the election through television (66% vs. 77‑84% of others). Conversely, they were the most likely to do so through word of mouth and non-Elections Canada websites (24% vs. 6‑15% of others).
  • Unemployed electors were least likely to learn of the election through newspapers (31% vs. 39‑56% of others), and most likely to do so through candidates and parties' election signs (13% vs. 6‑7% of others).
  • Employed electors were most likely to learn of the election through the radio (47% vs. 24‑36% of others).
  • Electors with university degrees were more likely than those with lower levels of education to learn of the election through newspapers (60% vs. 41‑48%). Conversely, those with high school or less were least likely to do so.
  • Electors who have completed some university education were the most likely to learn of the election through word of mouth (29% vs. 14‑16% of others).
  • Electors under 45 were more likely than older electors to learn of the election through non-Elections Canada websites (18% vs. 3‑11%).
  • Electors with the lowest household incomes (less than $40,000) were least likely to learn of the election through each of the following:
    • Newspapers (39% vs. 50‑59% of others).
    • Radio (34% vs. 43‑48% of others).
    • Non-Elections Canada websites (9% vs. 13‑17% of others).
  • Francophones were more likely than Anglophones to learn of the election through television (88% vs. 78%). Conversely, Anglophones were more likely to do so through radio (44% vs. 37%) and word of mouth (17% vs. 12%).
  • Women were more likely than men to learn about the election through word of mouth (19% vs. 13%).
  • Those who are interested in politics were more likely than those who are not to learn about the election from newspapers (54% vs. 34%), radio (43% vs. 37%), and non-Elections Canada websites (14% vs. 7%). Those who are not interested in politics were more likely to do so through word of mouth (20% vs. 15%).
  • Those who followed the campaign closely were more likely than those who did not to learn about the campaign through newspapers (54% vs. 36%) and radio (44% vs. 37%). Those who did not follow it closely were slightly more likely to learn of it through word of mouth (19% vs. 15%).