Barely over one-third of eligible voters came out to cast a ballot in the 2010 municipal election, which is surprising given how loud some of the pettiness concerning local politics gets online. Well, with about a year a half to go before the next election, the city seems to want to figure that out, and it's going to the source to figure it out.
It will be interesting to see the results of this. I'm no statistician, but I'm not sure if 600 people is wide enough sample size to get a clear picture of the disconnect between the electorate and elected. But like I said, it will be interesting to get some idea why people don't get out to the polling station on election day, especially when it comes to the local scene, at least so long as it doesn't begin and end with the age old "my vote doesn't matter" dodge. There was something like a dozen people running to represent Ward 1 in 2010.
Here's the press release:
Guelph, On, May 24, 2013 – Starting Monday, Oraclepoll Research Ltd., on the City’s behalf, will administer a telephone survey to measure municipal election voter awareness, voting method preferences and barriers to participation among the Guelph electorate.
“Voter participation has more or less declined since the 2000 election, and there is very limited municipal data available to shed light on this trend to support our planning efforts,” says Blair Labelle, the city clerk. “This is the first time the City will undertake formal public opinion research to better understand and benchmark the attitudes, awareness and preferences related to municipal election planning in Guelph.”
Over approximately seven days, 600 interviews will be administered among a randomly selected, representative sample of the Guelph electorate. The results will be weighted by ward, age and gender to be representative of the population of Guelph, and considered accurate within plus or minus four per cent, nineteen times out of twenty. The margin of error will be larger for subgroups of the data.
The survey findings and any necessary City staff recommendations for the upcoming 2014 municipal election will be presented to the Governance Committee on July 16, 2013. This information will also be available electronically on guelph.ca and by request from the City Clerk’s Office and the ServiceGuelph counter at City Hall.
The costs for the survey and analysis, about $10,000, and will be drawn from the 2014 election reserve.