Party Platforms Were Most Influential with Canadian Voters

Almost two-in-five voters say the most important factor behind their selection is a party’s ideas and policies.  

Vancouver, BC [October 1, 2021] – Canadians who cast a ballot in the 44th federal election say that the party platforms were particularly important in helping them choose which candidate to support, a new Research Co. “exit poll” has found.  

In the online survey of a representative national sample of Canadians who voted in this year’s federal election, 59% say that party platforms were “very influential” or “moderately influential” in their decision to support a party.  

Practically three-in-four Canadians who voted for the People’s Party in this month’s federal election (74%) cite the platform as a major influence. Sizeable majorities of Canadians who supported the Conservative Party (67%), the Liberal Party (64%) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (also 64%) feel the same way, along with 39% of Green Party supporters and 19% of Bloc Québécois supporters.  

More than two-in-five Canadian voters believe discussions with family (42%) and discussions with friends (also 42%) influenced their vote in the last election, while 35% mention campaign ads on radio and television.  

While interaction with candidates on social media was an influencer for 30% of Canadian voters, the proportion rises to 43% among those aged 18-to-34. A similar scenario ensues on the issue of interactions with other people on social media. One-in-four Canadian voters (26%)—and 44% of those aged 18-to-34—say these exchanges influenced their vote.  

The survey also asked Canadian voters about the effect of seven different endorsements. More than one-in-four (27%) say they were influenced by the endorsement of U.S. President Barack Obama, including 42% of Liberal Party supporters.  

The level of influence was lower for all other endorsements, including those originating from non-governmental organizations (25%), newspapers (24%), trade associations (23%), unions (21%) former U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (18%, and 27% for Liberal voters) and current U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (17%, and 25% for NDP voters).  

When Canadians are asked about their main motivation for supporting a party, almost two-in-five (39%) mention its ideas and policies, while one-in-four (26%) say it is the party leader.  

Fewer Canadians are primarily moved by a desire for change (12%), the party’s candidate in the riding (10%), a desire for stability (9%) or disgust with other candidates (7%).  

“More than three-in-ten Canadians who voted for the Liberals and the Bloc (32% and 31% respectively) say the most important factor behind their choice was the party leaders,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The proportion is lower among those who cast ballots for the Conservatives (25%), the New Democrats (also 25%), the People’s Party (21%) and the Greens (10%).”  

Canadians who voted for the People’s Party were more likely to say that their main motivation was disgust with other candidates (14%).  

When asked to ponder what this federal election would have looked like with different leaders, just under three-in-ten Canadians (29%) admit they would have voted for the Conservative Party with Peter MacKay as leader or for the Liberal Party with Chrystia Freeland as leader. Fewer Canadian voters (22%) would have supported the Liberals with Mark Carney as leader.  

In the “exit poll”, a majority of Canadians (52%) say they would be “very upset” if the Liberal Party forms the government again in Canada. A slightly lower proportion (48%) would feel the same way if the Conservative Party forms the government.

Results are based on an online study conducted from September 18 to September 21, 2021, among 1,900 adults in Canada who voted in the 2021 federal election. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.3 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.