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Research Note: Who are the undecided voters?

September 4, 2015

By David Coletto

In our latest survey (completed August 26 to 28), 24% of respondents said they were undecided about which party they would support.  This is same proportion as our previous wave of research two weeks ago.

Past Federal Voting Behaviour

In 2011, 42% say they did not vote while 58% said they voted.  Among those who voted, 46% supported the Conservative Party, 25% voted NDP, while 21% voted Liberal.  Two percent said they voted Green.

A quick look at the demographic and regional make up of this group finds they are:

– More likely to be female (59%) than male (41%)
– Younger than the general population.  52% are under the age of 45.
– More likely to reside in Ontario, less likely to live in Quebec.
– Less educated.  41% have high school or less compared 29% among those who identified a party they support.

And this is what they think about some surrounding issues..

– 20% think the country is generally headed in the right direction.  35% think it’s off on the wrong track.  45% are unsure.
– Vote consideration: 59% would consider voting NDP, 58% Liberal, 45% Conservative, and 33% Green.
– 40% say they are certain to vote, another 20% said they are likely to vote.
– 54% believe it is definitely time for a change in government, another 33% say it would be good to have a chance, but it is not really that important to them.  Only 5% think its definitely best to keep the Conservatives in office.
– 69% describe the Canadian economy as poor or very poor, 13-points higher than those who have a stated vote preference.
– 15% say they are following the Duffy trial very closely or closely.
– 64% are unsure which party will win the next election. 14% pick the Liberals, 11% pick the CPC, and 10% pick the NDP.

The Undecideds

The Upshot?

There is a large group of voters who say they are undecided when we ask which party they would support if an election was held at the time of the election.  About 40% are unlikely to vote and so may not impact the result.  But among those who say they are certain or likely to vote, their mood is decidedly worse than that of those who have a vote preference.  They are more bearish on the state of the economy and almost all prefer a change in government.

Most striking is that among those who voted in 2011, 46% supported the Conservative Party.  If the Conservatives hope to be re-elected, they will have to convince these undecided voters to go against their desire for change and vote Conservative once again.


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