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Survey of Electors Following the 41st General Election


Phoenix Strategic Perspectives Inc. was commissioned by Elections Canada to conduct a survey of electors eligible to vote 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 evaluation program, the Agency wanted to conduct a survey of electors following the 2011 federal general election. The evaluation is designed to assess Elections Canada's performance in conducting elections, measure the impacts of recent changes to the electoral framework, and identify areas for improvement.Footnote 6 The purpose of the survey with electors is to evaluate their opinions, experience, attitudes, and knowledge of the Agency's services and various aspects of the electoral process.

More specifically, surveyed Canadians were consulted on the following issues:

  • Ease of vote;
  • Satisfaction with the registration and voting processes, including services at the polls;
  • Attitudes towards the voter identification requirements and ability to meet them;
  • Participation rates and reasons for non-voting; and
  • Level of penetration of the various communication products and the level of retention of the information conveyed through the products.

The results will be used to assist in evaluating and refining Elections Canada's programs and services to the electorate, and to provide information that will help develop the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations to Parliament.

Research Design

A telephone survey was conducted with a random stratified sample of 3,570 Canadian electorsFootnote 7 (i.e. Canadian citizens of at least 18 years of age on May 2nd, 2011). In order to meet Elections Canada's desire to examine the views of Canadian electors in general (voters and non-voters), as well as the views of specific subgroups, regionally disproportionate samples for each of the following target populations were included:

  • Canadians from the general population;
  • Youth aged 18‑24; and
  • Aboriginal Canadians living on and off reserve, including Inuit and Métis electors

The following specifications applied to the survey:

  • Based on a survey of 3,570 Canadians in total, the overall results can be considered accurate to within +/- 1.6%, 19 times out of 20.
  • A total of 504 interviews were completed with youth electors, aged 18‑24. Based on a sample of this size, the findings for the youth sample can be considered accurate to within +/- 4.4%, 19 times out of 20.
  • A total of 528 interviews were completed with Aboriginal Canadian electors, divided approximately equally between ones living on reserve (n=207) and ones living off reserve (n=233). Based on a sample of this size, the findings for the Aboriginal sample would be accurate to within +/- 4.3%, 19 times out of 20.
  • The fieldwork was conducted May 9th-June14th, 2011.
  • Data collection for this project was accomplished using random digit dialling (RDD).
  • All interviewing was conducted in the respondent's official language of choice and averaged 16 minutes in length.
  • Elections Canada provided a questionnaire largely based on what had been developed for the 2008 general election and following by-elections. New subjects covered in 2011 included polling site accessibility, likeliness for non-voters to vote on-line, voting in the previous federal general election and at other levels, as well as trust in election results and fairness in the conduct of the election. Phoenix reviewed the questionnaire and provided comments in writing.

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

Note to Readers

  • For editorial purposes, the terms 'electors,' 'eligible voters,' and 'respondents' are used interchangeably to denote survey participants. In other cases, it is mentioned that the responses apply only to a specific sub-groups e.g. voters, electors who were aware of the election, etc.
  • The number of respondents who answered certain questions or answered in a certain way is provided. The following method is used to denote this: n=100, which means the number of respondents, in this instance, is 100. The number of respondents changes throughout the report because questions were often asked of sub-samples of the survey population. Accordingly, readers should be aware of this and exercise caution when interpreting results based on smaller numbers of respondents.
  • Some of the graphs do not total up to 100% due to rounding.
  • Demographic and other subgroup differences are identified in the report. The text describing these differences throughout the report appears in sections titled "Sociodemographic differences" and is put in a box for easy identification.Footnote 8 Only subgroup differences that are statistically significant or are part of pattern or trend are reported. In reporting statistically significant differences and trends, "correlation" and "relationship" are both used to describe trends in subgroup differences that are supported by statistical analysis.

Footnote 6 Election Canada's Report on the Evaluations of the 41st General Election summarizes the findings from the various studies which gathered data for the evaluation of the 41st federal general election.

Footnote 7 The general population, youth 18‑24 and Aboriginal electors represent three different strata.

Footnote 8 In the HTML version published on Elections Canada’s website (, these boxes are delineated by a hidden tag inserted before, labelled “Beginning of box” and one inserted after, labelled “End of box” in order to enhance accessibility of the document.