Support, and opposition, of anti-vaccine mandate protesters in Ottawa is heavily influenced by political alignment, according to a new poll from Abacus Data.
Two out of three (68%) who took part in the survey feel they have “very little in common with how the protestors in Ottawa see things”, while 32% say they “have a lot in common.”
Those who are more likely to feel aligned with the protestors are People’s Party voters (82%), Green Party voters (57%), and Conservative Party voters (46%). Large majorities of Liberal (75%), NDP (77%), and BQ (81%) voters say they have little in common with the protestors.
A small majority (57%) of survey respondents felt the protest came off as “offensive and inappropriate,” while 43% said it was “respectful and appropriate.”
This question was again heavily influenced by political leanings. Forty-five per cent of Conservative supporters said it was offensive and inappropriate. People’s Party supporters were almost unanimous (93%) in feeling it was respectful and appropriate.
None of the federal leaders handled the situation particularly well, according to the poll respondents, but Erin O’Toole was given the worst marks, with 59% finding his approach lacking, compared to 53% for Justin Trudeau, and 45% for Jagmeet Singh.
“Public reaction and sympathy to the convoy and demonstration in Ottawa and across the country appear divisive and correlated to one’s partisan orientation – although not perfectly,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.
“People’s, Green, and Conservative party supporters are more sympathetic and identify with those occupying downtown Ottawa than others. And while a sizeable minority feels the demonstration has been largely respectful, public reaction is highly fluid and could shift as the convoy continues to occupy downtown Ottawa and disrupt traffic at the Canada-US border.”
Coletto suggested the reaction is more likely the result of growing impatience with the pandemic amongst the Canadian public.
“Politically, there appear to be no real winners. Erin O’Toole may have lost his job because of the division over the convoy within his party, while Prime Minister Trudeau finds widespread dissatisfaction with his handling of the issue. If anything, the events of the past week just add to the collective frustrations Canadians are feeling overall. ”
A separate poll released Monday by Angus Reid found 54% of poll respondents want COVID restrictions lifted now.
The Abacus survey was conducted with 1,410 Canadian adults from January 31 to February 2, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.7%, 19 times out of 20.