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Heather Bastedo - Public Square Research. Toronto, ON, CA

Heather Bastedo Heather Bastedo

Principal | Public Square Research

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Heather Bastedo has more than ten years of experience in persuasion and motivation research



Heather Bastedo Publication







With a passion for civic and youth engagement, Heather has more than ten years of hands on experience in persuasion and motivation research, as well as extensive expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research design and execution.

Working as Senior Vice President of Angus Reid Global, she honed her understanding of panel research and has delivered strategic advice on numerous public affairs projects. She now specializes in market segmentation, SWOT analysis, and Index development.

A former Skelton Clark Postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University, Heather holds a PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of Toronto, where she earned a degree in political psychology and motivation, dedicating much of that time to research focused on political and youth engagement.

Heather is co-editor of Canadian Democracy from the Ground Up: Perceptions and Performance, a book that measures the health of Canadian democracy. She has published work in the Canadian Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Youth Studies, among others.

Dr. Bastedo also serves as a founding director on the board of Canadian Association for Public Opinion Research.

Industry Expertise (4)


Public Policy


Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (10)


Public Speaking

Public Policy


Strategic Communications

Research Design

Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research


Report Writing

Education (3)

University of Toronto: Ph.D., Canadian Government and Politics 2012

University of Toronto: M.A., Political Science and Government 2006

McMaster University: B.A., Psychology and Political Science 2005

Affiliations (1)

  • The Canadian Association for Public Opinion Research : Member

Media Appearances (6)

When it comes to voting, all young people are not the same

Toronto Star Newspapers  online


This election campaign has inspired several initiatives aimed at mobilizing disengaged young people, including a petition to enlist the help of Toronto’s own Drake. This is for good reason. Turnout rates plunged in the late 1990s due to a decline in youth voting, and they have yet to recover. More people now stay home than vote for the winning party.

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Candidates advised to go back to school to pick up key votes

The Globe and Mail  online


Political parties hoping to gain an edge on Oct. 19 should look to younger voters, experts and civic-education activists say, arguing that politicians must work toward reversing declining turnout among this demographic. “This election will be won by 1 or 2 per cent. Imagine if one of the parties decided to focus a little bit more on young people and turn the needle, how big a chunk of undecided voters could be mobilized,” said Heather Bastedo, a political science professor at Queen’s University who studies youth voter engagement.

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Perception shift: What Justin Trudeau won by losing his cool

Maclean's  online


Justin Trudeau is Establishment now. Maybe it was inevitable, given who his father was, but when he became the Liberal party leader, he was supposed to be that most beloved thing in politics: a guy who pretends he isn’t a politician. No more of that. His manner of speaking is tougher; he interrupts Prime Minister Harper sometimes at debates, something that’s useless as a debate tactic but very good for showing off how grown-up you are. He had himself photographed in a gym, fighting in boxing gloves. Above all, there’s the hair. When he became the leader of the floundering Liberal party two years ago, his hair was longer, sometimes frizzier, always giving the illusion that he was too cool to cut it. Now he’s got shorter, slicker hair to go with his tougher manner.

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Low voter turn-out: Good or bad?

The Ottawa Sun  online


We are consistently told it is of the utmost importance that we vote. There are commercials and non-profits dedicated to reminding us that our vote matters.

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Election polling: The psychology of unlocking our opinions

Ottawa Citizen  online


Our psychological quirks have a huge effect on how we answer poll questions, writes Tom Spears, which is why pollsters spend so much time trying to get the questions right

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The 'millennial' disconnect: Why politicians' overtures to young adults often miss their targets

Ottawa Citizen  online


In an old episode of The Simpsons, newsman Kent Brockman is reporting from the unemployment office: “Joblessness is no longer just for philosophy majors,” he says, “useful people are starting to feel the pinch.”

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Articles (5)

Not 'one of us': understanding how non-engaged youth feel about politics and political leadership

Journal of Youth Studies

2015 The modern election campaign is a well-oiled machine. Campaigns are won by the smallest of margins. Strategists provide incentives for specific market segments, and potential voters are identified well before the writ is dropped. However, few questions are asked in those ...

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Perceptions and Performance: How Do MPs Shape Up?

Canadian Parliamentary Review

2014 Drawing from several chapters contained in Canadian Democracy from the Ground Up: Perceptions and Performance, in this article Elisabeth Gidengil and Heather Bastedo examine citizens evaluations of their elected representatives and assess ...

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The Story behind the Story: Evaluating the Content of Political News

Canadian Democracy from the Ground Up: Perceptions and Performance

2014 The practice of political media in Canada is changing. News cycles are shrinking, leaving reporters and pundits with less time to develop stories and increasing their need for content that is available quickly. Recent technological changes mean that media personnel can ...

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Youth, Democracy and Civic Engagement: The 'Apathy is Boring' annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science AssociationSurveys

Annual Meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association

2012 We begin this analysis with some observations about the general decline in electoral participation. It has been more than two decades since scholars began to take note of the decline in voting turnout in Canada and a number of other western democracies. In ...

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They Don't Stand for Me: Generational Difference in Voter Motivation and the Importance of Symbolic Representation in Youth Voter Turnout

University of Toronto

2012 Building from Hannah Pitkin's work on forms of representative democracy, this thesis demonstrates how differing generational expectations of political representation affect participation in electoral politics. Consistent with earlier work, it confirms that youth voting ...

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