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Survey on participation in municipal general elections

22 April 2022

Categories: General election, Municipal, Results and statistics

We commissioned BIP Research to conduct a survey of electors following the municipal general elections of November 7, 2021. The survey aimed to provide a better understanding of the factors affecting voter turnout and abstention at the municipal level. For instance, the information gathered can help us tailor our services to the needs of electors.

The online survey was conducted with 3,222 electors in November and December 2021. The results point to some interesting courses of action that Élections Québec could pursue:

  • Roughly half (52%) of those who did not vote cited a lack of information on the issues and candidates (this was the most frequently given reason for not voting).
  • About a quarter (27%) of those who did not vote explained their abstention in terms of health concerns related to the pandemic.
  • Only half of respondents felt that the decisions made by their municipal council have a very significant or significant impact on their lives. Clearly, more could be done to explain what responsibilities are under municipal jurisdiction.
  • Half of electors reported having a poor understanding of the rules surrounding political financing and the control of election expenses in their municipality.
  • Approximately one in five (19%) of those who did not vote stated that they had neither seen nor received any information on candidates or their platforms. By contrast, only 5% of those who voted made the same claim.

Sustained efforts

Since 2008, in response to declining participation rates, we have made significant efforts to study the individual factors that influence voter turnout in provincial elections, in collaboration with the Chaire de recherche sur la démocratie et les institutions parlementaires at Université Laval.

In 2017, for the first time, we collaborated with this research chair to conduct a survey of electors following municipal general elections. The goal was to better identify the factors influencing voter turnout in such elections. The Chaire de recherche sur la démocratie et les institutions parlementaires has published a research paper analyzing the results of this survey.

We repeated the experiment following the 2021 municipal general elections.

In the coming months, the survey results will be further analyzed and compared with data collected by researchers affiliated with the Chaire de recherche sur la démocratie et les institutions parlementaires in 2017.

We invite you to read the full report (PDF – in French) on the BIP Research survey.

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