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van der Linden Clifton, Assistant Professor | Director, Digital Society Lab | Academic Director, Master of Public Policy Program

photo of Clifton van der Linden

Clifton van der Linden

Assistant Professor | Director, Digital Society Lab | Academic Director, Master of Public Policy Program

Faculty
Department of Political Science

Faculty
Master of Public Policy Program

Area(s) of Interest:

Biography

Dr. van der Linden’s academic interests centre on the implications of technology for both the practice and study of politics. His research explores the relationships between digital technologies and patterns of democratic participation. He is also actively engaged in the application of new, technologically-enabled methods—such as the use of Big Data and machine learning—to the study of political behaviour and public opinion. His publications have appeared in highly-respected peer-reviewed journals such as Political Analysis, the International Journal of ForecastingPolitical Science Quarterly, the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Nations and Nationalism, the Journal of Experimental Political SciencePolitics and GenderCanadian Public Policy, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Dr. van der Linden received his doctoral training in political science from the University of Toronto, where he was a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) doctoral fellowship, the Beattie fellowship from the Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice, the Adel S. Sedra Distinguished Graduate Award, and the Clarkson Laureateship for Public Service. While at the University of Toronto, he was a junior fellow at Massey College and an Action Canada fellow. He served as chair of the G7 Research Group at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy as well as editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Law and International Relations, a peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He has also been a visiting scholar at the Free University Amsterdam, the European University Institute, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dr. van der Linden has founded and led numerous companies—from non-profit organizations to Silicon Valley-incubated, venture-backed technology start-ups. He is presently the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vox Pop Labs, a social enterprise best known for producing Vote Compass, a voter engagement and education application that has drawn tens of millions of users. Vote Compass has been run in more than a dozen countries worldwide in partnership with media organizations including the Canadian and Australian Broadcasting Corporations, The Wall Street Journal, Vox Media, Grupo Globo, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, Sky News UK, France24, and Television New Zealand. Dr. van der Linden's entrepreneurial endeavours were recognized with the Toronto Region Board of Trade's Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2017. He was also named one of Toronto’s Top 12 Young Innovators of 2012 by Post City Magazine and was the recipient of McMaster University’s Arch Young Alumni Award in 2015.

Dr. van der Linden has advised various governments on matters related to digital technology and public opinion research. He is also a regular media contributor on issues pertaining to elections and public policy.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Education

Ph.D., Political Science, University of Toronto, 2019

Certificate in Entrepreneurship, University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, 2013

M.A., Journalism, Western University, 2005

B.A. (Honours), Economics and Political Science (minor in Business), McMaster University, 2004

 

Teaching

Undergraduate Courses

POLSCI 4PO3: Public Opinion

This course explores the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological foundations of public opinion research. Topics include the nature and origins of public opinion, its measurement and interpretation, the ways in which it influences and is influenced by various actors, how and under what circumstances it changes, and its implications for governance and policymaking. Though public opinion as a field of study traverses conventional disciplinary boundaries, this course will focus largely on the ways in which it is taken up within political science. The course also aims to develop practical skills in survey design and analysis, which are among the principal methods involved in public opinion polling. Students will learn how to design and field a survey, analyze the resulting data, and present findings.

POLSCI 2I03: Global Politics

This course explores various ways of explaining conflict and co-operation at the global level. It is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of contemporary or historical world events, but rather an introduction to international relations theory as a lens through which to try to understand why states and other international actors behave the way they do in a given context.

Graduate Courses

PUBPOL 707: Architectures of Digital Ecosystems

The aim of the course is to develop understandings of the ways in which digital technologies operate—both from a technical and societal perspective—as well as how they shape and are shaped by public policy.

POLSCI 730: Digital Technology and the Politics of the Information Age

From the printing press to the atomic bomb to artificial intelligence, emergent technologies have had a profound impact on politics. This course examines the relationships between technological and political change, with a particular emphasis on digital technology and its applications to the practice of politics. The aim of the course is to further develop our understanding of the ways in which technology influences and is influenced by political dynamics. To that end we explore how the widespread adoption of various emergent technologies both conforms to and challenges different theoretical perspectives on politics. We do so by surveying a range of ideas and arguments in the field and then applying them within the context of technological transformation.

Graduate Supervision

Dr. van der Linden is interested in supervising graduate students pursuing research involving digital technology, psephology, or public opinion research.

Current PhD students

 

Research

Grant Funding

van der Linden, Clifton. Mapping public opinion in relation to COVID-19 and associated policy interventions using survey and social media data. Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant. 2021–2024. [$77,797]

van der Linden, Clifton and Michelle Dion. COVID-19 Monitor: a rolling public opinion study on the dynamics of the pandemic. Mitacs Accelerate. 2020–2021. [$135,000]

van der Linden, Clifton and Paul McNicholas. Signal in the network: Measuring public opinion without polls. Mitacs Accelerate. 2020–2021. [$60,000]

van der Linden, Clifton. COVID-19 Monitor. COVID-19 Catalyst Grant, McMaster University Faculty of Social Sciences. 2020–2021. [$5,000]

van der Linden, Clifton. Digital Society Lab. Canada Foundation for Innovation / Ontario Research Fund-Research Infrastructure / John R. Evans Leaders Fund. 2019–2024. [$485,548]

van der Linden, Clifton. Polimètre Ontario. La ministre responsable des Relations candiennes et de la Francophonie candienne, Gouvernement du Québec. 2019–2021. [$50,600]

Bardeesy, Karim, Sam Andrey, Samuel Jeffers, and Clifton van der Linden. Who Targets Me: Political Advertising in the 2019 Canadian Federal Election. Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge, Heritage Canada. 2019–2020. [$50,000]

Journal Articles

Pickup, Mark, Eline de Rooij, Clifton van der Linden and Matthew Goodwin. “Brexit, COVID-19 and Attitudes Towards Immigration in Britain.” Social Science Quarterly (2021). https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.13010

Johnston, Regan M., Anwar Mohammed and Clifton van der Linden. “Evidence of exacerbated gender inequality in child care obligations in Canada and Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Politics and Gender (2020). https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743923X20000574

Mohammed, Anwar, Regan M. Johnston and Clifton van der Linden. “Public responses to policy reversals: the case of mask usage in Canada during COVID-19.” Canadian Public Policy (2020). https://doi.org/10.3138/cpp.2020-089

van der Linden, Clifton and Justin Savoie. “Does collective interest or self-interest motivate mask usage as a preventive measure against COVID-19?” Canadian Journal of Political Science (2020). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0008423920000475

Daoust, Jean-François, Richard Nadeau, Ruth Dassonneville, Erick Lachapelle, Éric Bélanger, Justin Savoie, and Clifton van der Linden. “How to Survey Citizens’ Compliance with COVID-19 Public Health Measures. Evidence from Three Survey Experiments.” Journal of Experimental Political Science (2020). https://doi.org/10.1017/XPS.2020.25

Pickup, Mark, Dominik Stecula and Clifton van der Linden. “Novel coronavirus, old partisanship: COVID-19 attitudes and behaviours in the United States and Canada.” Canadian Journal of Political Science (2020). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0008423920000463

Kilibarda, Anja, Clifton van der Linden and Yannick Dufresne. “Do Campaign Events Matter? New Evidence from Voting Advice Applications.” Political Science Quarterly 135, no. 2 (2020): 261-282. https://doi.org/10.1002/polq.13034

Savoie, Justin, Clifton van der Linden and Charles Breton. “Voter issue preferences in Quebec's 2018 provincial election: a conjoint experiment.” French Politics 18 (2020): 273–292. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41253-020-00123-9

Gordon, Joshua, Sanjay Jeram, and Clifton van der Linden. “The two solitudes of Canadian nativism: Explaining the absence of a competitive anti-immigration party in Canada.” Nations and Nationalism (2019). https://doi.org/10.1111/nana.12570

Temporão, Mickael, Yannick Dufresne, Justin Savoie, and Clifton van der Linden. “Crowdsourcing the vote: new horizons in citizen forecasting.” International Journal of Forecasting 35, no. 1 (2019): 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijforecast.2018.07.011

Glas, Aarie, Clifton van der Linden, Matthew Hoffmann, and Robert Denemark. “Understanding multilateral treaty-making as constitutive practice.” Journal of Global Security Studies 3, no. 3 (2018): 339-357. https://doi.org/10.1093/jogss/ogy014

Temporão, Mickael, Corentin Vande Kerckhove, Clifton van der Linden, Yannick Dufresne, and Julien M. Hendrickx. “Ideological scaling of social media users: a dynamic lexicon approach.” Political Analysis 26, no. 4 (2018): 457-473. https://doi.org/10.1017/pan.2018.30

van der Linden, Clifton, and Yannick Dufresne. “The curse of dimensionality in Voting Advice Applications: reliability and validity in algorithm design.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 27, no. 1 (2017): 9-30. https://doi.org/10.1080/17457289.2016.1268144

van der Linden, Clifton, and Jack Vowles. “(De)coding elections: the implications of Voting Advice Applications.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 27, no. 1 (2017): 2-8. https://doi.org/10.1080/17457289.2016.1269773

Osborne, Danny, Yannick Dufresne, Gregory Eady, Jennifer Lees-Marshment, and Clifton van der Linden. “Is the Personal Always Political? Education and Political Knowledge Strengthen the Relationship Between Openness and Conservatism.” Journal of Individual Differences 38 (2017): 133-143. https://doi.org/10.1027/1614-0001/a000230

Osborne, Danny, Jennifer Lees-Marshment, and Clifton van der Linden. “National identity and the flag change referendum: Examining the latent profiles underlying New Zealanders’ flag change support.” New Zealand Sociology 31, no. 7 (2016): 19-47. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307888616

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer, Yannick Dufresne, Gregory Eady, Danny Osborne, Clifton van der Linden, and Jack Vowles. “Vote Compass in the 2014 New Zealand election: Hearing the voice of New Zealand voters.” Political Science 67, no. 2 (2015): 94-124. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032318715609076

van der Linden, Clifton. “Secession: final frontier for international law or site of realpolitik revival?” Journal of International Law and International Relations 5, no. 2 (2009): 1-10. https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/jilwirl5&i=189

Book Chapters

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer, Edward Elder, Lisa Chant, Danny Osborne, Justin Savoie, and Clifton van der Linden, “Political Parties and Their Customers: The Alignment of Party Policies with Supporter, Target and Undecided Market Preferences.” In Political Marketing and Management in the 2017 New Zealand Election, ed. Jennifer Lees-Marshment (New York: Springer International Publishing, 2018), 7-22. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94298-8

Lees-Marshment, Jennifer, Edward Elder, Lisa Chant, Danny Osborne, Justin Savoie, and Clifton van der Linden, “Vote Compass NZ 2017: Marketing Insights into Public Views on Policy and Leaders.” In Political Marketing and Management in the 2017 New Zealand Election, ed. Jennifer Lees-Marshment (New York: Springer International Publishing, 2018), 7-22. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94298-8

Eady, Gregory and Clifton van der Linden. “Better together? Poll aggregation and Canadian election forecasting.” In Canadian Election Analysis: Communication, Strategy, and Democracy, eds. Thierry Giasson and Alex Marland (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015), 110-113. https://www.ubcpress.ca/asset/1712/election-analysis2015-final-v3-web-copy.pdf

Dufresne, Yannick and Clifton van der Linden. “Digital technology and civic engagement: the case of Vote Compass.” In Canadian Election Analysis: Communication, Strategy, and Democracy, eds. Thierry Giasson and Alex Marland (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015), 114-116. https://www.ubcpress.ca/asset/1712/election-analysis2015-final-v3-web-copy.pdf

Edited Volumes

Vowles, Jack and Clifton van der Linden. “The implications of Voting Advice Applications.” Special issue of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 27, no 1 (2017). https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/fbep20/27/1?nav=tocList

Telfer, Candice and Clifton van der Linden. “Borders and Boundaries: Secession in the 21st century.” Special issue of the Journal of International Law and International Relations 5, no. 2 (Winter 2010). https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/jilwirl5&i=2

Wiener, Antje, Uwe Puetter, Candice Telfer and Clifton van der Linden. “Contested norms in International Law and International Relations.” Special issue of the Journal of International Law and International Relations 5, no. 1 (Spring 2009). https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/jilwirl5&i=1

Reports

Andrey, Sam, Karim Bardeesy, Sam Jeffers, Justin Savoie, Clifton van der Linden. 2020. “Who Targets Me? Political Advertising on Facebook in the 2019 Election” in Dubois, Elizabeth and Taylor Owen, eds., Understanding the Digital Ecosystem: Findings from the 2019 Federal Election, Ottawa: Digital Ecosystem Research Challenge. https://www.mediatechdemocracy.com/work/understanding-the-digital-ecosystem

van der Linden, Clifton. MyDemocracy.ca Final Report. Ottawa: Privy Council Office, Government of Canada, 2017. http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/003/008/099/003008-disclaimer.html?orig=/100/200/301/pwgsc-tpsgc/por-ef/privy_council/2017/047-16-e/report.pdf

Boudreault, Félix-Antoine, James Haga, Benjamin Paylor, Annie Sabourin, Samira Thomas, and Clifton van der Linden. Future Tense: Adapting Canadian education systems for the 21st century. Vancouver: Action Canada, 2013. http://www.actioncanada.ca/project/future-tense-adapting-canadian-education-systems-21st-century/

Popular Press

van der Linden, Clifton. "Conservatives are stealing Liberal votes. Can Justin Trudeau stop the bleeding?" Toronto Star, 2 September 2021. https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal-election/2021/09/02/conservatives-are-stealing-liberal-votes-can-justin-trudeau-stop-the-bleeding.html

Hix, Simon, Clifton van der Linden and Mark Pickup. "Majority of Brits want a soft Brexit compromise, but Leave voters don’t." LSE Brexit, 22 September 2020. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2020/09/22/majority-of-brits-want-a-soft-brexit-compromise-but-leave-voters-dont/

van der Linden, Clifton. "The moms are not alright: How coronavirus pandemic policies penalize mothers." The Conversation, 3 September 2020. https://theconversation.com/the-moms-are-not-alright-how-coronavirus-pandemic-policies-penalize-mothers-144713

van der Linden, Clifton. "Canada is not immune to the politics of coronavirus masks." The Conversation, 12 August 2020. https://theconversation.com/canada-is-not-immune-to-the-politics-of-coronavirus-masks-144110

Stecula, Dominik, Mark Pickup and Clifton van der Linden. “Who believes in COVID-19 conspiracies and why it matters.” Policy Options, 6 July 2020. https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/july-2020/who-believes-in-covid-19-conspiracies-and-why-it-matters/

van der Linden, Clifton, Vasiliki Bednar and Anwar Mohammed. “Canada must look beyond STEM and diversity its AI workforce.” Policy Options, 29 January 2020. https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/january-2020/canada-must-look-beyond-stem-and-diversify-its-ai-workforce/ 

van der Linden, Clifton. “Horwath taps those weary of Wynne, fearful of Ford.” CBC News, 29 May 2018. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/vote-compass-horwath-taps-those-weary-of-wynne-fearful-of-ford-1.4682106

van der Linden, Clifton. “Why the Vote Compass methodology holds up.” The Drum, 9 June 2016. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-10/van-der-linden-why-the-vote-compass-methodology-holds-up/7498692

van der Linden, Clifton. “Albertans predict PC majority despite polls giving edge to NDP.” CBC News, 2 May 2015. http://www.cbc.ca/news/elections/alberta-votes/albertans-predict-pc-majority-despite-polls-giving-edge-to-ndp-1.3058572

van der Linden, Clifton. “Holding MPs to account is now considered mischief?” The Drum, 21 January 2015. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-21/van-der-linden-holding-mps-to-account-is-now-considered-mischief/6030946

van der Linden, Clifton. “Vote Compass users rate leaders on trust.” CBC News, 30 May 2014. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-votes-2014/ontario-election-2014-vote-compass-users-rate-leaders-on-trust-1.2658733

van der Linden, Clifton. “Quebec’s tuition summit sidesteps a generational crisis.” The Globe and Mail, 25 February 2013. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/quebecs-tuition-summit-sidesteps-a-generational-crisis/article9025477/

van der Linden, Clifton. “Can science solve our biggest problems?” Policy Options, 1 December 2012. http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/talking-science/van-der-linden/

van der Linden, Clifton and Kelly Hinton. “Voter turnout: thinking outside the (ballot) box.” The Mark News, 14 December 2011. https://www.samaracanada.com/docs/default-source/trioro-dropbox/voter-turnout_van-der-linden-and-hinton_the-mark-news.pdf