While academics have studied the opinions of voters during federal elections in Canada, there is little research on how voters think and act during provincial elections. To address the lack of research in this area, the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy gathered a team of experts in Saskatchewan politics from various academic institutions. The team consisted of Dr. Michael Atkinson (Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy), Dr. Loleen Berdahl (University of Saskatchewan), Dr. David McGrane (St. Thomas More College) and Dr. Stephen White (University of Ottawa). Together, this team designed and implemented a telephone survey during the two weeks immediately following the 2011 Saskatchewan provincial election. The survey, conducted by the University of Saskatchewan’s new Social Responsibility Research Laboratory, polled 1,099 Saskatchewan residents. Several Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy and University of Saskatchewan students were involved as interviewers for the survey and gained practical, ‘hands on’ experience conducting academic research.
The survey examines such issues as how engaged people were with the election, attitudes about democracy, what people thought of the leaders, whether Saskatchewan is still a social democratic territory and feelings about aboriginal issues, organized labour, internal trade and party affiliation. The survey attempts to go beyond the ‘horserace polls’ that are reported in the media at election time to examine the Saskatchewan public’s deeper feelings on important political issues and explore why people vote the way they do. A series of research briefs will be released in the coming weeks outlining the results of the survey for the Saskatchewan public. The results of the survey are being reported through a series of newspaper stories in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and the Regina Leader-Post. The Saskatchewan Election Study team also plans to prepare a number of journal articles using the data.
The first of these research briefs provides a profile of Saskatchewan Party and NDP party supporters in the 2011 Saskatchewan provincial election. You can review this brief at:
The Saskatchewan Election Study was funded by the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy with additional support from LEAD Saskatoon, St. Thomas More College and the College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan.