What Canadians Think about the Fair Elections Act



A new national survey (March 19 to 23, 2014) shows that 18% of Canadians think elections in this country have been unfair, while more than twice as many think they have been fair (48%).  Among Conservative Party voters, 12% think Canadian elections are unfair.


When asked if the rules that govern Canadian elections have “been working well or not” 43% say they have been working well, compared to 29% who say they have not been working well.  Among Conservative voters 54% say the rules have been working well, more than twice as many as say they opposite (21%).


When asked if the proposed Fair Elections Act will change things for the better or for the worse, opinions are split, and uncertain.  Nineteen percent expect things to change for the better, 21% expect things to change for the worse, but the majority expect the Act will have no real effect.


Finally, when asked whether the Fair Elections Act would improve election fairness, the results reflect mixed opinion and some indifference.  Eighteen percent (18%) expect more fairness, 23% less fairness, and 59% expect no impact.  While 2011 Conservative Party voters are more supportive of the bill, only 24% expect it to result in fairer elections, compared to 16% who expect less fair elections, and 60% no impact.


Bruce Anderson comment:

“This bill has been controversial within the House of Commons and has generated criticism from many political scientists and editorialists.  To date, the public seems neither enthusiastic about the bill nor hostile towards it.

For the political capital the government is investing in the FEA, there is little apparent appreciation for the policy, even among the party’s base supporters.  At the same time, for the effort expended by opposition parties, so far, there is also little to show.  Most people don’t seem to feel this initiative was needed, and few think it will make much of a difference in how elections are conducted in Canada.”

David Coletto comment:

If you used the newspaper editorial pages or the #cdnpoli twitter feed as a barometer for public opinion you would think that Canadians are upset about the Fair Elections Act.  But that’s not the case.

Most Canadians don’t think there’s much wrong with how we conduct elections and they don’t think they the Fair Elections Act will do much to make them fairer.  Basically, the average Canadian’s assessment of the Fair Elections Act is that we have an ineffective bill that will solve a problem they don’t think exists.”

Download detailed tables


The survey was conducted online with 1,164 respondents. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples. The survey was conducted from March 19 to 23, 2014

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.   The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding. For more information please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or at 613-232-2806 or Bruce Anderson at banderson@abacusdata.ca.


Abacus Data is an innovative, fast growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research based advice to our clients.  We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.

Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD. For more information, visit our website at http://www.abacusdata.ca/