C-Dem releases largest ever data collection of a Canadian federal election

The Consortium on Electoral Democracy (C-Dem) — co-led by Western University’s Laura Stephenson — has released the 2019 Canadian Election Study (CES). The data collection includes more than 40,000 surveys, making it the largest ever study of its kind for a Canadian federal election.

This marks the first major study for C-Dem, which received a seven-year, $2.5 million Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant in 2019. Last year, the C-Dem research team collected the Canadian Election Study surveys in two waves, during the 2019 federal election campaign and after the election, and in two modes, online and telephone.


Laura Stephenson

Laura Stephenson

“This data will be used by researchers around the world to understand the particular outcome of the 2019 federal election, the attitudes and opinions of Canadians about pressing political issues, and the important heterogeneity that exists among subgroups in our society, not to mention how Canadian society compares to others,” says Stephenson, a Professor in Western’s Department of Political Science. “It’s an invaluable tool for anyone studying Canadian public opinion.”

Stephenson is joined on the CES by co-investigators Allison Harell from the Université du Québec à Montréal, Daniel Rubenson from Ryerson University and Peter Loewen from the University of Toronto.

The data and related documentation are now available free of charge from the Harvard University Dataverse Project, which is a repository for sharing, citing, analyzing, and preserving research data. It is open to all scientific data from all disciplines worldwide.

The online survey of 37,822 participants can be accessed here https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/DUS88V

The phone survey of 4,021 participants can be accessed here https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/8RHLG1

Stephenson says the size of the online dataset, in particular, presents exciting new opportunities for those interested in studying the 2019 election. Important subgroup analysis is possible, as there are significant numbers of immigrant citizen, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and permanent resident respondents in the dataset.

The C-Dem network of more than 50 researchers and partners across Canada addresses urgent questions related to political engagement, under-representation, levels of government, the evolution of public opinion between and across elections, and data collection practices. The project, which will coordinate surveys at the national and provincial levels until 2026, takes a cooperative, evidence-based approach to studying electoral democracy.

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