MACLEAN'S/CBC NEWS POLL

Taking the pulse

December 25 1995
MACLEAN'S/CBC NEWS POLL

Taking the pulse

December 25 1995

Taking the pulse

MACLEAN'S/CBC NEWS POLL

For its 12th annual sounding of the nation's mood, Maclean's worked with the same pollster as in all previous editions, Allan Gregg, now chairman of the new Toronto-based firm The Strategic Counsel Inc. And, for the first time, the magazine entered into a partnership this year with the CBC’s The National, which is presenting programs based on these results on the evenings of Dec. 18, 19 and 20.

The results themselves are based on telephone interviews that The Strategic Counsel conducted from Nov. 9 through Nov. 15 with 1,610 Canadians aged 18 or older, selected randomly across all 10 provinces. (There was no sampling in the Yukon or Northwest Territories because of the traditional polling difficulty of obtaining statistically significant results for such sparsely populated areas.) To reduce the margin of error at the provincial level, the sample size for the less populated provinces was disproportionately increased to a minimum of 100.

National results, weighted to correct for the selective oversampling, are considered accurate to within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Accuracy ranges are wider for results from individual provinces and subgroups. Highlighted figures throughout the report focus on statistically significant results. Numbers in tables and charts are rounded off and, in most cases, “don’t know” and non-answer results are eliminated. For those reasons, the total percentages frequently do not add up to 100.

GENERAL ATTITUDES

1. In your opinion, what is the most important problem facing Canada today? Unemployment/economy.........34 Government/government spending/ deficit................26 National unity/the Constitution .... 23 Taxes/GST......................2 Crime/violence..................2 Environment....................1 Other.........................10

2. Are you more or less optimistic about the future than you were a decade ago? Much more optimistic ............9 A little more optimistic...........24 No change.....................15 A little more pessimistic..........30 Much more pessimistic ..........20

3. In the past 10 years, would you say your personal financial situation has... ? Gotten much worse.............13 Gotten somewhat worse .........23 Stayed about the same...........30 Gotten somewhat better .........23 Gotten much better.............11

CANADA IN THE YEAR 2000

Looking ahead over the next five years, and the start of a new millennium, do you think ...

4.___Canada as we know it today will still exist? Yes...........................68 No ...........................29

5.... the government deficit will be ... ? Significantly higher..............19

Somewhat higher...............30 The same......................16 Somewhat lower................25 Significantly lower ...............6 Eliminated altogether.............2

6. ... we will be attracting a higher or lower calibre of people to run for elected office? Significantly higher...............8 Somewhat higher...............21 The same......................43 Somewhat lower................17 Significantly lower ...............6

7.. . . young Canadians will find it harder or easier to find meaningful work than they do now? Significantly harder..............46 Somewhat harder...............39 The same.......................9 Somewhat easier.................5 Significantly easier...............1

8.. .. the crime rate in your community will be ... than it is now? Significantly higher..............17 Somewhat higher...............41 The same......................32 Somewhat lower.................8 Significantly lower ...............1

9.. .. Canada’s pension plan will have ... ? Significantly better funding ........1 Somewhat better funding..........5 The same funding...............11 Somewhat worse funding.........31 Significantly worse funding .......23 Will be bankrupt................27

10.... a high-school diploma will be worth more or less than it is now, or be worthless, when it comes to getting a job?

More .........................10 The same......................17 Less..........................34 Worthless .....................37

11. ... hours of work for the average person will be ... ? Significantly longer...............7 Somewhat longer ...............25 The same......................27 Somewhat shorter ..............32 Significantly shorter..............8

12.... free access to health care and medicare will be ... ? Available to all..................36 Available to some ...............50 Eliminated altogether............12

13. . . . social benefits like welfare and unemployment insurance will be ... ? Significantly more generous .......1 Somewhat more generous.........2 The same.......................7 Somewhat less generous .........43 Significantly less generous........39 Eliminated altogether.............7

And, still looking ahead over the next five years and the start of a new millennium, do you think ... Significantly Somewhat The same Somewhat Significantly worse worse better better 21.. .. Canada’s reputation in the international community will be ... ? 2 20 51 20 6 22.. . .the quality of the environment will be ... ? 8 30 22 34 6 23.. .. the quality of grade-school education will be ... ? 5 20 33 34 7 24.. .. the quality of life for senior citizens will be ... ? 12 41 27 15 3

14... . levels of personal taxation will be ... ? Significantly higher..............20 Somewhat higher ...............50 The same......................18 Somewhat lower.................8 Significantly lower................2

15. . . . any region or province of Canada will be in serious discussions about the prospect of joining the United States? Yes...........................39 No ...........................57

16.. .. the gap between the haves and the have-nots within Canada will be ... ? Significantly widened ............30 Somewhat widened..............35 The same......................18 Somewhat reduced..............10 Significantly reduced .............2 Eliminated altogether.............2

17. ... Canada will be a ... place to live? Significantly better ...............7 Somewhat better................22 The same......................38 Somewhat worse................26 Significantly worse ...............5

18. ... sentencing and punishment in the justice system will be ... ? Significantly harsher on criminals....................16 Somewhat harsher on criminals .... 35 The same......................28 Somewhat more lenient on criminals....................14 Significantly more lenient on criminals ....................5

19.... that government institutions will provide ... for citizen input and influence? Significantly more room...........7 Somewhat more room ...........27 The same......................34 Somewhat less room.............19 Significantly less room...........11

20.... the amount of time for leisure and recreation will be ... ? Significantly more................6 Somewhat more ................21 The same......................29 Somewhat less .................29 Significantly less................14

25. Do you think of the year 2000 and the start of a new millennium as just another year, a special year but not one that will change the way people will think or behave in the future, or a year that will mark a new beginning that will change the way people think and behave ? A year like any other.............44 A special year ..................27 A new beginning................28

QUEBEC REFERENDUM As you are probably aware, 49.4 per cent of Quebecers voted Yes in the Oct. 30 referendum— that is, to have Quebec declared sovereign and to seek a partnership with the rest of Canada—and 50.6 per cent voted No, against that idea.

26. (Asked outside Quebec; 892 respondents) For you, does the result mean that: Quebec’s place in Canada is settled and no further actions are required?...................20 Now, it is important to make changes to our Constitution to show Quebecers that federalism can work? .....................71

27. (Asked in Quebec only; 308 respondents) What should the PQ government be doing now? Turning its attention to non-constitutional matters ........39 Pressing for more powers for Quebec within Canada...........40 Working on ways and means to achieve sovereignty as quickly as possible ..............19

28. Thinking back to the referendum campaign itself, do you think, on balance, that the federalist rallies supporting the No side held in Montreal and other Canadian cities on the last weekend:

Convinced a significant number of undecideds and “soft” Yes supporters to vote No?...........18 Convinced a few undecideds and “soft” Yes supporters to vote No?... 43 Didn’t affect the vote at all? .......21 Convinced a few undecideds and “soft” No supporters to vote Yes? ... 8 Convinced a significant number of undecideds and “soft” No supporters to vote Yes? ...........5

29. In your view does Prime Minister Jean Chrétien deserve ... ? Much credit for the No side winning ....................7 A bit of credit for the No side winning................27 Neither credit nor blame .........37 A bit of blame for so many voting Yes ................16 Much blame for so many voting Yes......................9

30. Because so many Quebecers voted Yes ... The rest of Canada is going to have to make significant changes to the Constitution and federalism.......18 The rest of Canada should be prepared to make some modest changes to the Constitution and federalism that should be enough to satisfy Quebec ...............30 The rest of Canada should not be making any concessions to Quebec and if a majority of Quebecers vote Yes in another referendum, so be it........................20 What the rest of Canada does isn’t going to make any difference and Quebec is going to decide on its own future.....................30

31. (Asked in Quebec; 308 respondents) How did you vote in the Oct. 30 referendum? Yes (for sovereignty/partnership with rest of Canada) .............47 No (against sovereignty) .........34 Didn’t vote (volunteered)..........5 Spoiled ballot (volunteered)........1 Declined to answer..............13

32. (Asked in Quebec; 308 respondents) If another referendum were held tomorrow on the same question, how would you vote? Yes...........................49 No ...........................32 Would not vote (volunteered) ......3 Spoil ballot (volunteered)..........2 Don’t know/refused.............14

33. If another referendum were held in Quebec within five years, do you think. . . ? A large majority would vote Yes----27 A small majority would vote Yes ... 17 A small majority would vote No .... 21 A large majority would vote No .... 25 Don’t know/refused.............10

NATIONAL UNITY 34. Is this the right time for the federal government to return to the constitutional question, or should governments leave the issue alone for a while? Right time.....................32 Leave issue alone ...............66

35. If a majority of Quebecers did, in fact, wish to separate, do you think the rest of Canada should do everything it can to convince them to stay, or just let them go? Do everything to convince Quebecers.....................44 Just let them go.................53

36. There has been a lot of discussion recently about Canada’s future. Which option do you prefer? Complete political and economic independence for all 10 provinces .. .6 Political independence for all 10 provinces in a Canadian common market like the European Economic Community ...........14 Continuing with a federal system but giving Quebec special powers ... 5 Continuing with a federal system but giving all 10 provinces much more power....................47 Continuing with a federal system but giving the federal government much more power................7 No change to the current system .. 19

37. Do you view Canada as a pact between two founding groups, French and English, or as a relationship among 10 equal provinces? Quebec Rest of Canada Two founding groups 45 22 Ten equal provinces 46 75

42. If we were going to consider making changes to Canada’s Constitution and the way government and provinces relate to one another, what do you think is the best way to go about this? For the Prime Minister and the provincial premiers to negotiate these new arrangements .........30 For a constituent assembly where elected officials and people who represent different groups such as women, aboriginals and labor negotiate these new arrangements ..................24 For community groups to come up with their own ideas and submit them to the government for approval.......................23 Hold a national referendum.......19 None of those (volunteered) .......2

THE DEFICIT

43. Have Ottawa’s efforts to reduce the deficit gone ... ? Too far........................10 About the right distance..........20 Not far enough .................66

In an attempt to ensure that the Yes vote would not win in any future referendum, would you support... ?

Strongly Somewhat Somewhat Strongly

support support oppose oppose

38. Granting Quebec a veto over any future constitutional changes that affect the balance of power between the federal government and the provinces

National: 13 18 19 43

Quebec: 34 34 9 13

Rest of Canada: 6 12 23 54

39. Enshrining the notion in the Constitution that Quebec is a distinct society

National: 19 32 17 26

Quebec: 40 35 10 8

Rest of Canada: 12 31 20 33

40. Giving Quebec special status and powers that would not be available to the other provinces

National: 8 14 19 56

Quebec: 26 29 22 15

Rest of Canada: 2 8 17 71

41. Giving Quebec new powers that would also be available to the other provinces

National: 33 38

Quebec: 40 38

Rest of Canada: 30 38

11 15

10 8

12 18

44. Have any of the provincial governments gone too far in their efforts to reduce the deficit? Yes...........................33 No, none ......................63

(Asked of those who said Yes; 393 respondents) Which one or ones? British Columbia................10 Alberta........................40 Saskatchewan...................6 Manitoba.......................5 Ontario .......................63 Quebec ....................... 13 New Brunswick .................5 Nova Scotia .....................6 Prince Edward Island.............2 Newfoundland ...................5

45. What is the best way to make Canada more prosperous? ; Cut government spending and get : money back into the hands of tax; payers so individuals can set their i own spending priorities ..........59 ; Continue government investment in ; society and people, with significant ; expenditures on education, training i and health care.................38

: 46. Which of these views best reflects your own? ; The deficit is such a pressing ; problem that before the end of ; the decade we have to reduce it, : even if this means that some good ; programs and people might ; get hurt ......................30 ; While it might be a problem, we ! should go slow on deficit reduction in : the next five years in order to reduce : the chances that good programs and : people are hurt ................59 : The whole issue of the deficit is : exaggerated and we should be ; concentrating on other more : important issues.................9

LIFESTYLES

47. Would you describe yourself as ... ? Very sexually active..............10 Somewhat sexually active .........49 Not very sexually active..........16 Not sexually active at all..........13

48. Do you have a partner or spouse? Yes...........................75 No ...........................24

49. (Asked of those who have a partner or spouse; 906 respondents) In the last year, do you feel___? You’ve grown more in love with that person ....................55 Your relationship hasn’t changed ... 38 You’ve grown more distant from that person .....................6

50. Do you consider yourself to be ... ? A very spiritual person...........20 A somewhat spiritual person ......62 Not a spiritual person at all .......17

51. And, in the last few years, have you found yourself becoming ... ? Significantly more spiritual........12 Somewhat more spiritual.........37 Somewhat less spiritual ..........15 Significantly less spiritual..........5 Neither more nor less (volunteered) ..................28

52. (Asked of those who answered “more spiritual”; 595 respondents) And as part of your increasing spirituality, are you also finding yourself ... about how you view money and material possessions? More concerned................36 Less concerned.................27 Feeling the same................36