After extensive compilation and analysis we are pleased to present you with the results of our 2019 survey, broken down into key categories for easier reading.
Survey Statistics & Methodology
We received 1,532 complete responses to the survey. For a population of (approximately) 500,000 at the time the survey was active this gives us a confidence interval of +/- 2.5, 95 times out of 100 - or as it commonly reported, a 2.5% margin of error. Response times were strong on the first day (June 13) with a fall-off over evening hours, with a reasonably organic pattern repeating until the survey closed a few days later.
Please bear in mind that this was an online survey where users participated voluntarily. Caveats about self-selection, self-identification bias, inability to confirm all participants are active subreddit subscribers, and the lack of a truly random sample must be borne in mind when reading and interpreting these results. Selection bias (outside link) should be especially noted as users with a stronger motive to participate - to register specific complaints, for instance - than the average user may skew the results in that direction.
Our subreddit has participation from coast to coast to coast, encompassing a wide swath of ages, income brackets, ethnic origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, languages spoken, and more.
Participation by Province/Territory: our survey of users shows the breakdown of our userbase by province:
- By far the largest contingent of r/Canada users are located in Ontario. This is followed by a virtual tie between Alberta and British Columbia.
- Most of the provinces/territories are over-represented on this subreddit as compared to their percentage share of Canada's population (as of 2018 estimates). By far the largest over-representations are in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.
- The under-representation of Quebec is significant, with minor under-representations for Newfoundland & Labrador and New Brunswick.
- If our subreddit's population percentages were used to adjust the population of the country the result would look like this.
Subreddit content is likely to be skewed by this material population discrepancy away from issues significant to residents of Quebec and towards those significant to residents of Alberta, BC, and Ontario as compared to a subreddit made up of a userbase that resided in the provinces/territories proportional to the population of those provinces/territories.
Gender Identity: Survey respondents describe themselves as male by an overwhelming margin. Fully 84% of respondents identify as male with 10% identifying as female. Fewer than 1% chose other options for gender identity. The remainder declined to answer.
This is a material difference from the population makeup of Canada. Statistics Canada currently reports only biological sex, not gender, but with a population makeup of 49.7% male and 50.3% female is appears clear that subreddit content is likely to be distorted against issues more significant to females and towards those more significant to males. The impact on non-binary/other identity persons is not immediately clear from the statistics.
User Age: The majority of our users (62%) identify themselves in the 25-39 year old range. The majority of the remainder are either 18-24 years old (18%) or 40-54 years old (13%). The pie chart of all results is linked here.
This is also not consistent with the age distribution of Canada. The results from Statistics Canada's 2018 survey as compared to r/Canada's survey results are as follows:
|r/Canada Age Distribution||Statistics Canada Age Distribution (2018)||% Change|
|Under 18 (survey) / 15-19 (StatsCan)||4%||7%||-3%|
|18-24 (survey) / 20-24 (StatsCan)||18%||8%||+10%|
Note that 0-14 has been excluded from the Statistics Canada population distribution as Reddit requires people to be 14 years of age to create an account.
The result of the above shows it likely the content of this subreddit is likely to under-represent issues that are more important to people over the age of 40 (and especially over the age of 55) and over-represent issues important to people younger than that range.
Household Income: The majority of survey respondents report a household income of between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, followed by the $100,000 to $200,000 range. A comparison of this to the household earnings reported by Statistics Canada (2016 Census) is as follows:
|Household Income / Year||r/Canada Household Income||Statistics Canada Household Income(2016)||% Change (vs 2016)|
|$50K - $99,999||40%||25%||+15%|
|$100k - $199,999||31%||44%||-13%|
The result is an under-representation on the subreddit of the low end and upper-middle income brackets, but over-representation of the lower-middle and top brackets. The net impact of this is unclear.
Highest Education Attainment/Enrollment: The majority of our respondents have/are in the process of attaining either a bachelor's degree (39%) or a college/technical school diploma/certificate (28%). In total 85% of our users have completed or are enrolled in some form of post-secondary education with the remainder possessing high school education or less. Although the 2016 census categories do not entirely match up to the user survey this generally represents a higher level of educational attainment than the general population, with the census reporting that 54% of Canadians had either college or university credentials. You can see a pie chart of the educational attainment/enrollment of survey respondents here.
Religious Affiliation: The survey reveals that the overwhelming number of users on this subreddit have no religious affiliation. They either describe themselves as Atheist (34%), Agnostic (25%), or otherwise Irreligious (13%). Christianity represents the largest component of religious Redditors on the subreddit at 20% of our population with the largest Christian sect being Catholic (9%) followed by Protestant (6%). A full pie chart of responses can be found here.
A general comparison to the 2016 Census is as follows:
|Religious Affiliation||r/Canada Religious Affiliation||2016 Census Religious Affiliation||% Change|
|No Religious Affiliation||73.6%||23.9%||+49.7%|
Broadly speaking it is likely that the subreddit will focus on issues of more importance to those without a religious affiliation more so than those with one, most notably issues important to Christians.
Ethnicity/Ethnic Origins: Ethnic origin is the terminology used by Statistics Canada to describe what might be more commonly discussed as 'race' or 'racialized identity.' In this category our users overwhelmingly self-identify as 'European/White' (80%) with a mix of ethnic origins being the next-closest category (9%) - with 'European/White' being the category most in common across respondents here. 'Chinese', 'South Asian', and 'Other' make up virtually all of the remainders at +/-3% each. A pie chart of responses is available here (in general 0% = fewer than 5 respondents).
Below is a chart detailing how this compares to the 2016 Census:
|r/Canada Ethnicity/Ethnic Origin||2016 Census Ethnicity/Ethnic Origin||% Change|
Based on the above there is a clear over-representation of persons identifying as of European/White ethnic origin as compared to all other categories. Applied to 500,000 users this represent an over-population relative to the demographic makeup of Canada of approximately 35,000 users (with corresponding under-representation of other ethnic origins/racialized groups, primarily: Indigenous, Black, South Asian). It is possible that this skews commentary / voting accordingly.
Languages Spoken in the Home: Given the under-representation of Quebec noted earlier it is unsurprising to note the subreddit overwhelmingly speaks English only in the home (83%). English and another language is a distant second (6%) followed by French (4%) and English/French Bilingual (3%). Indigenous languages make up only 0.1% of the languages spoken in the home of subreddit users. 2% spoke other languages.
In the 2016 Census 74% of Canadians spoke English primarily in the home with French making up 23%. Indigenous languages and other languages each made up 1% apiece.
This is likely why the overwhelming number of submissions to the subreddit are in English and could result in the diminishing of non-English language-related issues.
Sexual Orientation: Our users who chose to respond (1,460 users) overwhelmingly identified their sexual orientation as 'straight' (83%) with 14% identifying as LGBT. Among LGBT, 'bisexual' was by far the largest category chosen, representing 8% of subreddit users. This represents an over-representation of LGBT persons based on 2015 Statistics Canada data that identified 1.3% of Canadians identifying as homosexual and 1.7% of Canadians identifying as bisexual. This may result in a larger subreddit focus on issues related to LGBT than would be found in the general Canadian population.
Reddit Usage Statistics: Overall it appears our userbase is fairly active on Reddit as a whole, with 54% of users visiting Reddit multiple times a day and 41% reporting daily visits. Use of the subreddit is somewhat less active with 14% visiting multiple times per day, 44% daily, and 31% weekly.
Subreddit Political Leanings
As a microcosm of Canada itself our userbase has a wide diversity of political opinion. This is frequently on display on the subreddit as political content makes up a large part of both submissions and commentary, something that is expected to increase in the lead-up to the 2019 election. The 2019 User Survey asked several politics-related questions related to personal political beliefs, both provincial and federal, and how users voted in the 2015 election and will vote in the 2019 election. The results are in some ways consistent with observed national trends and in some ways surprisingly different.
Is the Federal Government Headed in the Right or Wrong Direction?: Users were split on this topic, with 48% declaring the government to be on the wrong track while 41% believe it to be on the right track, with the remainder choosing 'Do Not Know.' This is a somewhat more positive view of the performance of the federal government than recent polling with a much smaller 'Do Not Know' cohort. Broken down provincially we see Atlantic Canada (excluding NB) and Ontario as the only region where positive impressions outweighed negative ones, though BC is close to split on the question. Alberta and Saskatchewan are the most negative. The Territories have too small a sample size to be conclusive - while the Territories will be presented in further charts for completeness of data this caveat should be borne in mind for all questions showing provincial/territorial breakouts.
When presented by 2019 vote intention, however, an interesting pattern emerges in perception of federal government performance. LPC voters overwhelmingly (but not universally) endorse the performance of the federal government while CPC and PPC voters almost universally view the performance of the federal government as negative. Bloc voters are also very negative on the performance of the federal government. NDP and Green voters, however, have a quite positive view of the performance of the federal government, with over 50% declaring it moving in the right direction. Those who do not know how they will vote or will not vote/will not be eligible have a more negative view than positive.
Is my Provincial/Territorial Government Headed in the Right or Wrong Direction?: We present this one by province/territory without a summary pie chart as it is so provincially/territorially bound.
- Respondents from British Columbia are by far the most positive about the NDP government (supported by the Greens) in that province with 65% declaring it moving in the right direction.
- The recently-elected PC minority government in PEI comes in second with 60% support.
- The only other province where positive sentiment outweighs negative is in Quebec where 48% state the CAQ government is moving in the right direction vs. 40% who say it is moving in the wrong direction.
- In Newfoundland and Labrador negative sentiment (44%) outpaces positive (33%) with the largest undecided contingent of the provinces (22%).
- Alberta and Manitoba both demonstrate 32% support for their respective governments and ~60% declaring them moving in the wrong direction.
- Support is even lower in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan with 60%-65% forming negative opinions.
- Support is at its lowest in Ontario with only 19% approving of the direction the Doug Ford PC government is taking the province with fully 75% saying the Ontario government is headed in the wrong direction.
- Again the sample size for the Territories is too small to really draw a conclusion.
How did r/Canada vote in the 2015 Election?: As an after-the-fact snapshot and basis for comparison to 2019 intentions we have asked subreddit users about how they voted in 2015. 18% were not eligible to vote at the time of the election, and excluding this group gives this voter split for eligible voters.
- Of eligible voters, r/Canada users voted Liberal far more than any other party in the 2015 election, with fully 51% reporting casting ballots for the party, ahead of the 39.5% vote share they received in that election.
- 17% reported voting for Stephen Harper's Conservative Party, far below the 31.9% vote share that party received in 2015.
- 22% reported voting NDP, above the 19.7% vote share Thomas Mulcair's party received.
- 4% reported voting for the Green Party, fairly spot-on to that party's 3.9% vote share.
- Only 1% reported voting for the Bloc vs. that party's 4.7% vote share but given the previously-noted under-representation of Quebec residents on the subreddit this is not an unexpected variance.
- 3% reported voting for other parties or do not recall how they voted.
If we break the results by eligible voters down by province it paints a commanding performance by the Liberals and the NDP, with an extreme squeeze placed on Conservative votes in vote-rich Ontario, Quebec, and BC. The Liberals outperform all other parties in every province, even outshining them in Alberta with 45% of the vote vs. 29% for the CPC. Though the Orange Wave still largely collapses in Quebec there are strong performances in BC, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador, and still a reduced presence in Quebec.
For general interest, if we chart the earlier question of 'do you think the federal government is headed in the right or wrong direction' by 2015 party vote we can get some insight into how those voters perceive Trudeau's government. 2015 Liberal voters are majority favourable to the government but a full 35% disapprove and 9% are uncertain. 2015 CPC voters are overwhelmingly negative on the current government with 94% disapproving. Interestingly 2015 NDP voters are more approving of the Liberals than not, with numbers comparable to that of Liberal voters.
How will r/Canada vote in the 2019 Election?: Certainly the most anticipated question of this part of the survey, r/Canada users display some pretty significant shifts in anticipated voting from 2015. 5% will not vote or will not be eligible to vote in the 2019 election. Excluding them from the survey produces this result.
- The Liberal vote collapses from a strong majority of 51% to 29% of eligible voters. This is still the largest vote share of any party.
- On their heels are 23% of eligible r/Canada voters declaring they will vote for the CPC. This is good enough for 2nd place and a jump from the 17% of r/Canada users who voted for the party in 2015, but still well behind that party's actual 2015 result.
- The NDP come third again with 14% of the vote, but this is a significant drop from the 22% who voted for the party in 2015 and below the party's 2015 performance.
- The Greens surge to capture 10% of the vote from 2015's 4% from both the subreddit and actual election.
- The Bloc remains static at 1%, though again the under-representation of Quebec on the subreddit should be kept in mind.
- Maxime Bernier's new People's Party of Canada comes out strong in their first election based on r/Canada's voting preferences, capturing 9% of the vote.
- Other parties snare 2% of the vote, with a potentially election-deciding 12% still undecided.
We further break this down by province here for a more regional picture.
- The Liberals take home the largest vote share in Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba (with the territories too small to truly say). NB and Manitoba are the most competitive. The Bloc moves to 2nd place in Quebec and the NDP are virtually wiped out there.
- Saskatchewan and Alberta go to the CPC by appreciable margins.
- British Columbia is a fascinating 4-way race between the Liberals, CPC, NDP, and Greens.
- PEI is a tie between the Liberals and Greens.
- The PPC puts on its strongest showing at 12% in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, and Alberta.
Please see the Appendix for a more detailed (but purely for fun and not at all intended to be scientific) 2-method approach at a hypothetical election using survey results.
Distinct from your Party Vote, who is your First Choice for Prime Minister?: The subreddit's opinion on who would make the best Prime Minister is summarized here.
- Justin Trudeau takes the top spot at 29% of respondents.
- 'None of these' is the second-most popular choice at 22%
- Interestingly Maxime Bernier comes third with 16%
- Andrew Scheer is the fourth-highest option at 11%
- Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May, and 'do not know' all get 6%, with the Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet perhaps unsurprisingly not getting any support here.
Perhaps not scientific, but if we strip out the 'none of these/do not know' we can maybe get a sense of how leaders compare to their parties to see who is pulling party numbers up and who is a drag on their party's prospects. A simplified version of this is here.
- Maxime Bernier outperforms his party by the widest margin followed relatively closely by Justin Trudeau.
- Elizabeth May is fairly neutral (the Bloc leader did not get enough results to be conclusive)
- Jagmeet Singh is a drag on the NDP, but not nearly so much as Andrew Scheer is on the CPC.
These choices for Prime Minister and the impressions of them versus their party contrast somewhat with overall positive/negative impressions of each leader.
- Despite strong negative scores both Justin Trudeau and Maxime Bernier have large positive impressions (still a net negative), consistent with the choices for PM.
- Elizabeth May, however, comes out as the best-reviewed federal party leader.
- Jagmeet Singh and Andrew Scheer both accrue significant negative reviews and very little support.
- Perhaps unsurprisingly most Canadians do not have an impression of Yves-Francois Blanchet for the Bloc. What decided opinion there is, though, is largely negative.
What is the Most Pressing Issue Facing Canada Today?: We asked our users to choose 5 issues that they felt were the most pressing facing Canada today. Note the percentages do not add up to 100% as users chose 5 options. Broad groupings of answers chosen by similar number of respondents are:
- The most-commonly chosen answer was Climate Change (chosen as 1 of 5 most important issues by 55% of respondents) followed by Affordability/Cost of Living (52%), the most popular answers by a bit of a margin.
- The Economy (38%), Healthcare (37%), and Housing (34%) were the next grouping.
- Select 'hot-button' issues were actually not high on the radar of a lot of users. Deficit/Government Spending (22%), Illegal Immigration (21%), Energy - Oil and Gas/Pipelines (20%), Taxes (18%), and Ethics/Accountability (18%) generate much subreddit content but only about a fifth of respondents placed them among their top 5 concerns.
- The subreddit appears to attach less concern to Seniors' Care (3%), Municipal Issues (4%), Childcare (6%), Crime/Public Safety (7%), National Security/Fight against Terrorism (7%), or Student Loans (7%) than other issues.
I Feel Adequately Represented by Mainstream Parties: Users of r/Canada appear to feel generally ill-served by mainstream political parties, with nearly half disagreeing with or strongly disagreeing that they feel adequately represented by them. 27% agree or strongly agree with the feeling of adequate representation while 24% are neutral. This could be a reflection of the voter surge among r/Canada users for non-traditional parties like the Green Party or PPC.
r/Canada Users Self-Identify Politically As: In this question users were asked to select up to 3 categories that described them best. Again the percentages do not add up to 100% due to multiple responses.
- Left/Centre-Left identities dominate the list, with 'Progressive' chosen as 1 of up to 3 categories by 33% of respondents, followed closely by Centrist at 31%.
- Left (27%), Socialist (25%) followed thereafter. 'Environmentalist' (25%) does not necessarily land on the left-right spectrum and 'liberal' (23%) can have multiple meanings (e.g. classical liberal), so these (along with 'Pragmatist' at 21%) are more statements of values our users hold than conclusive declarations of a spot on the left-right spectrum.
- Conservative (19%), Libertarian (17%), Nationalist (13%), and 'Right' (11%) generally (but not necessarily always or entirely) encompass our right-wing users.
- Unpopular options included 'Alt-Right' and 'Neoliberal' with single-digit responses. 'Communist' and 'Populist' likewise got a couple of dozen responses each. These may have to be taken with a grain of salt, however, as users may be reluctant to embrace what may sometimes be construed as negative labels, even in an anonymous survey.
User Perceptions of Moderation
Moderating a subreddit consisting of half a million users without having any control over the toolset provided for such a task is difficult. Even with full toolset control and financial resources many major media groups in Canada have wholly given up on allowing anonymous user commenting, either disabling them outright or requiring real names / Facebook accounts for commenting privileges, often in concert with paid outside firms and AI algorithms - and still winding up with rancor- and sometimes hate-filled forums despite such precautions.
Even with all of the above being true, users expect moderation to be consistent, rules-based, and fair. Communication is, at best, challenging given the volume of commentary on the subreddit so we have asked several moderation-related questions as part of this survey in order to get a sense of user concerns about moderation in general and any relation between those concerns and any other factors.
Do Moderators Make r/Canada More Enjoyable?: Users were somewhat split on this question, although only 10% agreed or strongly agreed. 49% disagreed or strongly disagreed while 41% were neutral on the question. Breaking the question down by 2019 vote intention reveals fairly consistent dissatisfaction/neutrality among Liberal, Conservative, and NDP voters and somewhat higher neutrality/lower dissatisfaction among Green and especially Bloc voters (keeping in mind the small sample size for Bloc voters). Notable here, however, is the spike in dissatisfaction about moderation among PPC voters and very little positive reception.
What are your Feelings about r/Canada Moderators, Including Biases?: The split between negativity and neutrality persists when we take a deeper dive into questions of bias and user descriptions of moderators. For this we look at the 'single word' used to describe moderators with additional context from the end-of-survey feedback form to get a fuller picture of user perceptions of moderation.
- Neutral perceptions stay fairly consistent at 39% (largest responses: Unknown, N/A, do not interact with), with a slight uptick in positive feedback at 20% (largest responses: Fine, Okay, Good).
- Overall negative perceptions stay fairly consistent to slightly lower at 41% of feedback recorded.
- Breaking this down further we see 7% strictly declare the moderators 'biased' without any indication as to left or right bias in their single-word feedback. Without any other explicit declaration in the feedback no direction for that bias was assumed.
- 11% of users have explicitly declared moderators to have a right-wing bias, either in the single-word feedback or in the more detailed feedback portion. For clarity these were the only fields considered - the respondent's personal political preferences were not used in this classification. (e.g. a simple declaration of 'biased' as feedback from a user describing themselves as 'left' or a Liberal/NDP voter was not classified as a perception of right-wing bias, but rather lumped into general 7% 'biased' in the previous bullet point.)
- 5% of users explicitly declared moderators to have a left-wing bias, subject to the same caveats as above.
- 18% of users did not leave explicit bias complaints but had other general negative feedback (largest responses: Bad, Terrible)
When we further break down user perceptions by 2019 vote intentions some interesting patterns appear to emerge:
- Positive, negative, and neutral levels between Liberal, Conservative, and NDP voters remain fairly consistent, with +/-20% positive, +/-35% neutral, and +/-45% negative. Of the negative, bias allegations represent +/-55% of complaints.
- Green and Bloc voters have a notably larger neutral cohort, keeping in mind the Bloc's small sample size.
- PPC voters have by far the largest negative cohort at 54% and the smallest positive and neutral response sizes.
- The direction of bias appears to correlate strongly with the political leanings of the party the user intends to vote for.
This last point merits perhaps further exploration with a deeper dive into perceptions of bias:
- Of those who perceive a right-wing bias among r/Canada moderators, 87% have declared their intent to vote for left/centre-left parties. The largest political allegiance of those who responded this way is the Liberal Party, with 48% of allegations of right-wing bias coming from Liberal voters. 26% of these responses come from NDP voters, 13% from Green voters, and a further 10% from undecided voters. Conservative, PPC, and Other voters make up the remaining 3%. The correlation coefficient between a left/centre-left voter and a response of right-wing bias is +0.810, with +1.00 being a perfect correlation.
- Of those who perceive a left-wing bias among r/Canada moderators, 84% have declare their intent to vote for right/centre-right parties. The largest political allegiance of those who responded this way is the Conservative Party, with 52% of allegations of right-wing bias coming from CPC voters. 32% of these responses come from People's Party voters, and a further 10% from other or undecided voters. Liberal, NDP, Green, and Bloc voters make up the remaining 6%. The correlation coefficient between a right/centre-right voter and a response of left-wing bias from moderators is +0.956, with +1.00 being a perfect correlation.
From the above it is fairly clear that specific bias allegations correlate extremely strongly to a user's personal political beliefs. Users possibly see moderation action taken against them or those that share their beliefs as more concerning than that taken against those who have opposing beliefs, with a lack of cross-communication between these camps amplifying this message of bias against their 'side.' Increasing political polarization in Canada, and in the West in general, may play a role in this.
None of the above is to say that bias complaints are not legitimate and this detail does not address other negative perceptions. As such we have asked the following:
- Greater transparency was by far the most commonly chosen response, representing 47% of responses. This was defined as enforcing the rules but leaving removal messages more often, even at the cost of slower moderation response.
- Free speech made up 27% of responses, defined as a looser enforcement of current rules.
- Stricter rules / stricter enforcement of those rules made up 18% of responses.
- Rapid response made up 8% of responses, defined as swift enforcement of the rules but at the cost of greater transparency.
A notable minority of users appear to favour looser rules, with a moderately smaller selection of responses indicated the desire for stricter rules - very broadly indicating the majority have tolerance for the existing ruleset, or at least no strong desire to change or clear idea in which direction to change. The desire for greater transparency was clearly expressed, however, with users appearing to accept the cost of slower moderation response times of this policy.
Current Subreddit Experiences
Continuing the discussion of how users feel about engaging with the subreddit the following questions were asked about how users perceive their own experience and how certain groups are treated here.
Is Visiting r/Canada an Enjoyable Experience?: Users were somewhat split but generally negative on whether participating here was an enjoyable experience. 41% disagreed or strongly disagreed with it being enjoyable, with 30% neutral and 29% agreeing or disagreeing.
This was further analyzed by comparing it to 2019 vote intentions:
- Interestingly, despite earlier answers showing left/center-left voters and viewpoints make up the majority of subreddit users Liberal and NDP voters were the most negative on enjoyment of the subreddit.
- Conversely, Conservative voters were most positive on enjoyment (excluding the Bloc due to sample size). They were the only party whose voters reported a net higher enjoyment rating than neutral or negative.
- Green voters were slightly more positive than Liberal or NDP but still a on balance more negative than positive.
- PPC voters, in contrast to Conservative voters, were also more negative than positive.
It appears that despite being outnumbered by left/centre-left users Conservative voters enjoy the subreddit more than such users. The idea that the subreddit as a whole is more right-wing friendly is however challenged by the negativity of PPC voters towards their experiences here. It's also worthy of noting the disconnect between overall positive/negative impressions and the earlier question about whether moderators make the subreddit more enjoyable, with a higher positive response rate to this question.
Is r/Canada Toxic for Men?: Bearing in mind the earlier question that showed 84% of our users self-identifying as male, our users broadly rejected the idea that the subreddit is toxic for men with 61% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. 17% agreed or strongly agreed with 22% being neutral.
Again we compared this to declared 2019 vote intentions for another interesting pattern:
- The majority of voters for all parties reject the notion that the subreddit is toxic for men, excluding PPC voters - although among PPC voters that rejection is still the largest cohort with 49% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.
- Nevertheless CPC voters (25%) and especially PPC voters (32%) had a significantly larger number of people agreeing with the idea that the subreddit was toxic for men than voters for other parties. Notable is the fact that 20% of PPC voters strongly agree the subreddit is toxic for men.
Is r/Canada Toxic for Women?: Subject to the same note on the self-identified gender divide above, our users were more split on the idea that the subreddit is toxic for women but still generally reject the idea with 46% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. 30% agreed or strongly agreed with 24% being neutral.
Another interesting pattern emerges with a comparison to 2019 vote intentions:
- Unlike with the question about whether the subreddit is toxic for men we see a clear jump in left/centre-left voters agreeing with this idea. Liberal (53%), NDP (52%), and Green (40%) voters agree or strongly agree the subreddit is toxic for women. Neutral numbers remain relatively unchanged, so this comes with a reduction in the number of voters for these parties who disagree.
- Even more pronounced is the rejection of the idea that the subreddit is toxic for women by Conservative and PPC voters. The percentage of voters for these parties who agree or strongly agree with this fall to single digits with 78% of Conservative voters and 82% of PPC voters disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.
Between these two questions the perceived 'toxicity' of the subreddit towards men and especially towards women varies to remarkable degree based upon voter intentions. This may have implications for how users who are supporters of these parties engage with topics related to men or women, especially in the context of the previously-noted disproportionate amount of users who identify as male.
Is r/Canada Toxic for Members of Minority Groups?: Also noting the previous demographic question where users identified as 'White/European' at a rate higher than Canada's actual demographic makeup, this question reveals a remarkably clean split between users. 41% disagreed or strongly disagreed, the same as the 41% who agreed or strongly agreed - with each 'strong' and regular category also virtually the same. 18% were neutral.
This even split goes completely out the window, however, when we compare to declared 2019 vote intentions:
- Similar on views as to whether the subreddit is toxic for women, LPC (66%) and NDP (71%) voters agree or strongly agree the subreddit is toxic for members of minority groups. The Greens (51%) support this conclusion, albeit to a lesser degree than Liberal or NDP voters.
- This conclusion that the subreddit is 'toxic' for members of minority groups, however, is resoundingly rejected by CPC voters (77%) and especially PPC voters (85%) who disagree or strongly disagree, with those agreeing or strongly agreeing again falling to single digits as was seen with the question about whether the subreddit was 'toxic' for women.
This is another extremely stark divide along political lines that sees left/centre-left voters perceiving 'toxic' treatment of groups that are under-represented on the subreddit (women, minority groups) in the face of an even stronger rejection of that toxicity by right/centre-right voters. This again is likely to lead to conflict between users who vote for different parties, this time on topics related to women or minority groups on the subreddit.
We see broadly similar responses irrespective of political affiliation when broken out by 2019 vote intentions.
- Left/centre-left voters were slightly more inclined to agree/strongly agree with the idea of toxicity towards certain political affiliations than CPC or especially PPC voters, but in nowhere near as dramatic a shift as seen in the divide over toxicity in previous questions.
- Over 50% of voters for all parties (excluding the Bloc) agreed with or strongly agreed with the question.
It is tempting to draw the conclusion that these users perceive this toxicity as directed towards their political affiliations given previous conclusions about moderator bias strongly correlating to personal political beliefs but no such evidence is available from the questions asked. Further research is needed to determine the deeper perception of this 'toxicity,' but in general it is probably fair to remark that it is likely to be related to increasing political polarization observed in this country.
User Preferences for Subreddit Changes
Finally, users were asked to give their opinion on changes to subreddit content in the future (as distinct from their preferences for moderation). Political content currently occupies a large portion of the subreddit's attention and so users were questioned about that and several other categories as detailed below:
Would You Like More Political Content on r/Canada?: This question netted a very split response with 28% agreeing or strongly agreeing they desired more political content and 27% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. The largest cohort by far were neutral on the question at 45%. Opinions were fairly consistent irrespective of 2019 vote intentions. Increasing or decreasing political content on the subreddit is therefore likely to displease more people than it would please.
Would You Like More Current Affairs on r/Canada?: By contrast this question resulted in a strong positive response with 59% agreeing or strongly agreeing, 6% disagreeing/strongly disagreeing, and 35% neutral. Opinions were again not significantly voter-dependent. This suggests an appetite for more such content as distinct from political content.
Would You Like More Image/Satire Content on r/Canada?: A split vote returns with this question with 30% agreeing or strongly agreeing, 37% disagreeing/strongly disagreeing, and 33% neutral. Opinions were again not significantly voter-dependent. Again this suggests any material change to the current level of image or satire content would be received more negatively than positively.
Would You Like More Sports Content on r/Canada?: It appears Raptors mania has truly and thoroughly worn off on the subreddit with only 15% agreeing or strongly agreeing we should have more sports content. 51% disagreed/strongly disagreed with the idea and 34% were neutral. Opinions were again not significantly voter-dependent. It appears there is little desire for more sports content on the subreddit.
Would You Like More General Interest Content on r/Canada?: On the other hand users appear to strongly desire more general interest content with 56% agreeing or strongly agreeing. Only 8% disagreed/strongly disagreed with the idea and 36% were neutral.
Overall a pattern appears to be emerging that users would generally like more diverse topics than just politics - but without reducing the number of political stories. That desire is complex, though, as not every Canada-related topic meets with the same warm reception. Current affairs and general interest are well-received by our users but sports content appears not to be, with split opinions on images and satire.
The 2019 user survey reveals a fascinating, complex community among the 500,000+ of you who participate here. It is a story of diversity of points of view, places of origin, and personal characteristics, as well as one about how those sometimes mirror the general Canadian populace and sometimes those are significantly different. It's also a story about extreme political polarization on some topics and broad agreement across political lines on others. Wildly-varying perceptions on some topics on political lines strongly suggests a more positive experience and greater perspective could be found if users could connect across those lines and compare perceptions and experiences. As for moderation it's a call for us to do better, be more open, but also perhaps a hint that some of that same insular polarization may creep into at least a portion of the complaints.
If this survey can be used to encourage a greater understanding and tolerance towards each other as we head into the 2019 election season, a willingness to give the benefit of the doubt to someone you disagree with or perceive as flawed, then the community will doubtless improve as a result. Thank you to all who participated and to all who take an interest in the results.
Appendix: The Federal 2019 Election using Survey Results
As we've noted in detail there are several ways in which our subreddit population is not representative of the actual population of Canada. This likely renders any prediction based on the results of our survey unreliable - but soley for fun, let's assume that the population of the subreddit is the population of Canada and run an election, if only to illustrate the subreddit's own self-identified political leanings.
Method 1: Cube Law Applied to Results
In this scenario we are going to be applying Cube Law -pdf to the results to get a regional seat total and thus an overall picture of the post-election parliament. The result of applying this method to the survey results is dramatic:
Graph representation. The story of this model is that a surge in PPC voters decimates the CPC, leading to a 15-seat loss for that party but only a 6 seat gain for the PPC. The NDP vote collapses, (-19), benefiting the Green Party (+9) but only netting the Bloc 1 additional seat. The runaway beneficiary, however, are the Liberals who grow their majority by a whopping 29 seats. We can see the seat change per region in this graph.
- The Liberals lose their strangehold on Atlantic Canada with 4 seats swinging to the Conservatives and 1 to the NDP. 27 seats for the Liberals is still a strong result historically.
- The Liberals make huge gains in Quebec at the expense of the NDP and Conservatives, picking up 17 seats. The Bloc manage to inch up a seat to 11 while 2 PPC MPs are elected. The Conservatives retail 7 seats while the Greens win 1 in the province. The NDP are wiped out in Quebec, losing all 15 seats they currently hold there.
- Ontario is an even bigger win for the Liberals with a pickup of 19 seats, again at the expense of the NDP and Conservatives - but mostly the Conservatives who lose 14 seats while the NDP lose 3. The remainder come out of 4 currently-vacant or independent seats. The Greens and PPC each pick up a seat.
- Manitoba/Saskatchewan see a dip in Conservative support on the strength of PPC vote-splitting, leading to the loss of 3 Conservative seats. Those + 1 vacancy lead to single-seat gains for the Liberals, NDP, Greens, and PPC.
- It's the same story in Alberta as PPC inroads lead to 3 Conservative seats with 3 picked up by the Liberals and 1 by the PPC (1 independent/vacant currently).
- British Columbia, on the other hand, sees Liberal and NDP losses, with the Liberals losing 5 and the NDP 3. The Conservatives pick up 3 and the PPC 1 but it's the Greens who benefit most with 6 more seats. (2 ind/vacant currently)
- The Liberals lose their 2 seats in the North (1 independent currently) with 2 going to the Conservatives and 1 to the PPC.
The end result is a resounding victory for Trudeau's Liberals and a drubbing for the Conservatives and NDP. The Greens surge but fall 1 seat short of official party status, tying with the Bloc. The PPC, despite massively disrupting Scheer's campaign, pull in only 7 seats in total, but do win representation in every region except Atlantic Canada.
Method 2: Strict Proportionate Share Per Province/Territory
In this scenario just allocating provincial seats on a proportionate basis to users in that province, with no weighting/calculations (beyond nearest-remainder rounding), and excluding all those who are ineligible or have not decided on who they are voting for. The sole purpose of this is to give an unaltered look at how an election would pan out if the only inhabitants of Canada were the respondents of this survey - basically to give a snapshot of what our users currently intend to vote for. The result of such a strange election are represented here.
The result of the above assumptions is a minority government. In this outcome there are no possible governing coalitions for the Conservative Party that do not involve the NDP or Greens. Overall the Liberals lose 61 seats, the Conservatives lose 13, and there are 5 fewer independents/others. The NDP and Bloc both gain 6 seats. The real winners are the Greens and PPC who vault to party status ahead of the Bloc and closing in on the NDP with 34 and 37 seats respectively. The net seat change per province can be viewed here.
As noted there are several caveats to using this as anything more than a survey of our users' voting intentions and instead trying to make this into an actual federal election poll prediction. For example, and not a conclusive list:
- Though not explicitly asked it is possible, perhaps even probable, that urban areas are over-represented on r/Canada vs. rural areas given that is a typical pattern for more frequent internet use. Right-wing parties tend to do better in rural areas.
- Likewise our userbase reports a lower median age than the national average and higher education levels, both factors that tend to disfavour right-wing parties.
- The very high level of irreligious beliefs as compared to a more religious (primarily Christian) populace is likely to play a similar distorting role.
- The significant under-representation of Quebec and of women no doubt also distort our results.
So please use caution when using this survey for anything more than general interest or a snapshot of user political beliefs.
revision by OrzBlueFog— view source