Election 2011: How we like our democracy

For the next little while, I’m going to dig through the Canadian Election Study‘s data from last year’s election and pull out some of the more interesting survey results. You can dig through all the CES data yourself via the Canadian Opinion Research Archive. Today, how we feel about our democracy.

During each of the last six elections, the CES has asked Canadians to describe how satisfied they are with how democracy works in Canada.

Very satisfied 11.2%
Fairly satisfied 44.8%
Not very satisfied 28.5%
Not satisfied at all 11.7%
Don’t know 3.4%

Very satisfied 14.0%
Fairly satisfied 48.6%
Not very satisfied 22.8%
Not satisfied at all 10.3%
Don’t know 2.7%

Very satisfied 9.5%
Fairly satisfied 44.7%
Not very satisfied 29.2%
Not satisfied at all 13.3%
Don’t know 3.1%

Very satisfied 12.0%
Fairly satisfied 47.0%
Not very satisfied 26.3%
Not satisfied at all 10.3%
Don’t know 4.2%

Very satisfied 16.0%
Fairly satisfied 51.8%
Not very satisfied 20.4%
Not satisfied at all 7.3%
Don’t know 4.2%

Very satisfied 13.3%
Fairly satisfied 50.3%
Not very satisfied 23.1%
Not satisfied at all 10.9%
Don’t know 2.2%

The percentage of respondents who were very or fairly satisfied actually seems to reflect well on the minority government years, going from 56% to 63% to 54% from 1997 to 2004 before rebounding to 59% in 2006, 68% in 2008 and 64% in 2011.

But the CES has also been testing how respondents feel about the idea of minority government. In 2004, 44.9% said it would be a good thing, versus 22.4% who thought it would be a bad thing (“don’t know” was the third option). In 2006, the good/bad split was 39.4% to 24.1%. In 2008, the split grew to 45.6% against 19.5%. But by 2011 it was down to 36.2% against 29.6%, the lowest level of approval and the highest level of disapproval.