Post-Election Poll: Voters wanted change
Big vote movers: infrastructure
investment, niqab, balanced budget
October 21st, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by
the Forum Poll™ among 1451 Canadian voters in the two days immediately
following the 42nd general election, it is clear that the single most common
issue mentioned as having an effect on their vote is the “need for change in
Ottawa”, cited by 3-in-10 (28%). While this is closely followed by “jobs and
the economy” (24%), which is usually mentioned first in any political poll, the
third mention is “ethics in government” (15%), and this is a damning indictment
of an incumbent government.
Conservatives, the most important issues were jobs and the economy (45%) and
national security and terrorism (20%). Among New Democrats and Liberals, the
need for change leads (42% and 38%, respectively). The niqab ban is not seen as
an important issue (5% in total) by any party, nor is the Syrian refugee crisis
(2% total) or the Mike Duffy trial (1% in total).
Jean Chretien most valuable endorsement
Prime Minister Jean Chretien has the effect of improving his party’s image more
by his endorsement than any other person tested. One fifth of voters said their
image of the Liberal Party was improved when Chretien delivered his endorsement
(21%). This is followed very closely by the positive effect of former
Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion’s endorsement, also of the Liberals (18%).
Naturally, the Chretien and McCallion endorsements worked best on Liberals (34%
and 28%, respectively), rather than Conservatives (7% and 6%) or New Democrats
(19% and 16%). McCallion’s endorsement is especially effective among the oldest
(55+ - 23%).
these two is former UN Ambassador Stephen Lewis’ endorsement of the NDP (12%
improved respondents’ image), Actor Donald Sutherland’s NDP endorsement (9%),
and, at the bottom of the list, the Wayne Gretzky endorsement of the
Conservatives (8%) and a similar endorsement from brothers Rob and Doug Ford
(4%). In fact more than half of Conservative voters say the Ford endorsement
did not improve their image of the party (54%).
One quarter changed vote during campaign
total, one quarter of decided voters changed their minds during the election
(25%), most commonly those who voted Liberal this time (30%), and who voted NDP
in the previous election of 2011 (35%). This means that 3-in-10 one-time New
Democrats changed their voting allegiance en masse during the course of this
Liberal deficit spending promise changed
more than half of those who changed their vote mention something other than the
listed items (54%) as being the reason, among those tested, the most commonly
mentioned is the Liberal promise on infrastructure spending (19%), followed by
the NDP promise to balance the budget (9%) and Conservative stance on the niqab
(9%). Other issues, such as the Syrian refugee crisis (3%), the Duffy trial
(2%), the Rob and Doug Ford rally (2%) and Liberal co-chair Dan Gagnier’s
resignation (2%) are not seen to be game changers.
those who switched to the Conservatives, the party’s stance on the niqab is the
most important reason (33%). Among those who switched to the Liberals, the most
important reason is the promise of infrastructure spending (29%). Among those
switching to the NDP, the most important reason is the NDP promise to balance
the budget (27%), followed by the Liberal deficit spending promise (17%).
Best party, civic duty, desire for
change prompt voting behaviour
When asked why they cast a
ballot, one third, the plurality, say they support a particular party, leader
or candidate (32%), but this is followed by more than a quarter who say it is
every citizen’s duty to vote (27%) and just fewer who voted against a
particular leader, candidate or party (23%). Half this proportion believe their
vote counts and can make a difference (12%). So, while party and leader
allegiances are important, the dynamic of change was also important in getting
people to the polls in this election. Conservatives are especially likely to
say they vote the party, leader or candidate (45%), while New Democrats are especially
likely to say they vote against a party, leader or candidate (33%).
Lack of interest, time most common
reasons for not voting
Those who didn’t vote in
this election say they are not interested and didn’t follow the campaign, or
that they didn’t have the time or opportunity to vote (21% each). This is
followed by those who believe their vote doesn’t count and nothing will change
(14%) and those whose physical condition doesn’t permit voting (8%). One third
mention something not listed (36%).
Canadians vote for party first, change
second, leader third
The plurality of Canadians
asked say they voted for the party they like best (28%), but just fewer say
they voted for change in Ottawa (21%).This followed by the best leader (19%),
the best candidate (14%) and voting against another party (11%). Conservatives
overwhelmingly vote their party (42%) while Liberals (32%) and New Democrats
(26%) are most likely to have voted for change.
4-in-10 decided after Labour Day
As many as 4-in-10 voters in
total (41%) made their final decision after Labour day, primarily before
Election Day (30%), but some as late as on Election Day (9%), or even in the
voting booth (2%). Four-in-ten also decided their vote before the writs were
drawn up (41%). Those voting Liberal are most likely to have finally decided
post-Labour Day (50%) while those voting Conservative are most likely to have
made up their minds before the election started (62%). New Democrats are
especially likely to have decided their vote on Election Day (14%).
Voting takes less than 5 minutes for
More than half of those who
voted say it took 5 minutes or less (57%), while a further one fifth report
taking 5 to 10 minutes to cast a ballot (20%). Therefore, voting took less than
10 minutes for three quarters of those exercising their franchise (77%). On
average, voting took 9 minutes.
Two thirds claim to be very interested
Two thirds of Canadian
adults in total say they were very interested in the election (62%), and a
further quarter say they were somewhat interested (26%). Interest in the
election is common to the oldest (72%), males (64%), the wealthiest ($100K to
$250K - 68%), in BC (73%), but not in Quebec (43%), among Conservatives and
Liberals (70% each) but not so much among New Democrats (59%), among strong
party supporters (74%), the best educated (71%), those born outside Canada
(72%), and executives (68%) and managers (70%).
findings confirm beyond doubt that this was a change election and that
strategic voting was a successful factor in the outcome. We have also learned
that the campaign promise with the most impact was Justin Trudeau’s undertaking
to run three deficits to invest in infrastructure. For New Democrats, the
equivalent promise was a balanced budget in the first year. Among
Conservatives, the vote changer was the niqab issue, after all. Apart from
this, it is refreshing to see that, for the most part, Canadians took some very
serious issues very seriously in this election,” said Forum Research President,
Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.
Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and
founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at email@example.com
or at (416) 960-9603.