MACLEAN'S/CBC POLL

THE STATE OF THE NATION-’98

December 28 1998
MACLEAN'S/CBC POLL

THE STATE OF THE NATION-’98

December 28 1998

THE STATE OF THE NATION-’98

MACLEAN'S/CBC POLL

TEXT

The 15th annual Maclean's year-end poll, undertaken in partnership with CBC TV's The National, was conducted by Toronto-based The Strategic Counsel. It includes responses from 1,400 adult Canadians, selected randomly from all 10 provinces and interviewed by telephone between Nov. 13 and Nov. 22.

The respondents include a disproportionate number from the smaller provinces, to bring the minimum sample from each province up to a statistically meaningful level. National results are adjusted to correct that imbalance. Responses from the national adjusted sample of 1,000 are considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points,

19 times out of 20. Accuracy ranges are wider for results from individual provinces or any other subgroup. Numbers in tables and charts are rounded off, and in most cases “don’t know” and no-answer responses are eliminated.

Findings are expressed in percentages of respondents.

GENERAL ATTITUDES 1. What is the most important problem facing Canada? Unemployment............................................................15 Deficit/government spending..................................14 Economy......................................................................13 Health care ..................................................................13 National unity................................................................8 Taxes..............................................................................5 Welfare/poverty............................................................5 Education........................................................................4 Crime/Violence............................................................3 Environment..................................................................2 Other/Don’t know......................................................18

2. Are you more or less optimistic about the future than you were a decade ago? Much more optimistic..................................................9 A little more optimistic................................................23 Feelings not changed much......................................27 A little more pessimistic ............................................28 Much more pessimistic..............................................12

3. In the last 10 years, would you say your personal financial situation has become worse or better? Much better..................................................................11 Somewhat better..........................................................24 About the same............................................................32 Somewhat worse..........................................................20 Much worse..................................................................11 4. Who of the following would you look to most to look after your economic interests? Yourself........................................................................71 Government ................................................................11 Business ......................................................................10 Unions............................................................................3 Don’t know/refused......................................................5 5. Compared with a few years ago, are you personally more or less confident of your ability to look after your economic interests on your own? A lot more confident ..................................................26 A bit more confident ..................................................39 No more nor less confident ......................................19 A bit less confident ....................................................12 A lot less confident ......................................................3

THE ECONOMY 6. Would you say the economy is heading into a period of improvement, into a recession, or is it going to stay the same? Significant improvement..............................................3 Mild improvement......................................................24 Stay the same..............................................................28 Mild recession..............................................................33 Severe recession..........................................................10 7. Do you think your own economic future would be brighter if you lived in a different country than Canada? Yes................................................................................17 No..................................................................................80 Don’t know/refused......................................................3

8. Do you think that generally in Canadian society the gap between richer and poorer people is increasing, staying about the same or decreasing? Increasing....................................................................71 Staying about the same..............................................21 Decreasing ....................................................................5 9. A number of studies suggest that the gap between the wealth and income of rich and poor Canadians has been increasing. Which of these three points of view best reflects your own idea of what should be done? Government should more actively intervene to narrow the gap........................................................50 The rich deserve to be rich, the poor deserve to be poor, that’s the way it has always been, and what government does will never change that fact ..........................................................24 The gap is a result of temporary changes in the economy and that government should not intervene now..........................................18 Don’t know/refused......................................................8 10. How much of an impact has the economic turmoil in Asia and elsewhere had on you personally? Very significant impact ................................................8 Some impact................................................................31 Not too much impact..................................................28 No impact ....................................................................32 11. Which of the following three scenarios is most likely to occur? The worst is probably over but things will not improve much for a while..........................................52 Things will worsen for the global economy, and we are heading for more difficult times............36 The turmoil in the global economy is largely over and global economy will now start to grow ..............8 Don’t know/refused ....................................................4 12. If the economy were to stop growing and we found ourselves in a recession, which of the following points of view best reflects your idea of how the federal and provincial governments should respond? Governments should increase spending to stimulate the economy in an effort to create jobs ..............................................................37 Governments should not try to create jobs, but instead spend more on social programs and retraining programs to ensure they are available to assist those who lose their jobs............35 Government can’t make any difference anyway and should just let market forces run their course..........................................................22 Don’t know/refused ....................................................6

TECHNOLOGY 13. How much have you heard about the Year 2000 computer problem? A lot..............................................................................56 Something....................................................................28 Not much......................................................................11 Nothing..........................................................................5

14. In fact, the Year 2000 problem involves the possibility of computers malfunctioning on Jan. 1,2000, since many have not been programmed to deal with the changeover to years in the 2000s. How big a problem will this be? A significant problem..................................................35 Somewhat of a problem..............................................36 Not much of a problem..............................................16 No problem at all ..........................................................9 Don’t know/refused......................................................4 15. Do you plan to do any of the following as a result of concerns about Year 2000 problems with computers? (More than one answer allowed.) Avoid taking an airplane trip on Jan.l, 2000............37 Draw a larger amount of cash out of your bank account than usual prior to Jan.l, 2000....................30 Seek alternative sources of energy such as small generators or solar power that are not dependent on computer systems ......................25 Buy more food than you might normally prior to Jan.l, 2000......................................................20 THE MILLENNIUM 16. Thinking about the year 2000 and the start of a new millennium, do you tend to think of this as...? Just another year like any other................................38 A special year, but not one that will change people’s behaviour in the future................................39 A new beginning for the world that will change people’s behaviour in the future................................22 For each of the following, how likely do you think it is to occur within the first 50 years of the new millennium?

26. (Asked of those who answer “very likely” or “likely” to question 23) Will other civilizations in space...? Look quite different from us ....................................72 Look like us..................................................................17 Don’t know/refused ..................................................11

33. Do you tend to judge others according to your own sense of morality, that is what you believe is right or wrong for you to do? Or do you tend to accept behaviour in others that you may find unacceptable in yourself? Judge others by your own sense of morality ..........30 Accept behaviour in others ......................................67 34. Do public figures and famous people have a right to privacy just like any ordinary citizen, or does the fact that they are public figures or famous mean that the public has a right to know as much as it can about them? Famous people have a right to privacy....................90 The public has a right to know about them ..............8

GOVERNMENT 35. How satisfied are you with the job Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is doing? Very satisfied ................................................................7 Somewhat satisfied ....................................................38 Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied..............................28 Somewhat dissatisfied................................................16 Very dissatisfied............................................................9 Don’t know/refused......................................................2 36. And do you think Chrétien should run for a third term in office, or should he resign by the end of his current term? Should run for a third term ......................................48 Should resign..............................................................52 37. Who among the following would you most prefer to see as the prime minister? Jean Charest, Liberal leader in Quebec ..................10 Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister..................................19 Joe Clark, Conservative party leader........................10 Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Québécois leader....................3 Ralph Klein, premier of Alberta..................................9 Preston Manning, Reform party leader......................5 Paul Martin, minister of finance................................11 Alexa McDonough, NDP leader ................................6 Frank McKenna, former premier of New Brunswick........................................................5 Allan Rock, minister of health ....................................2 Brian Tobin, premier of Newfoundland......................5 Other (volunteered)......................................................1 None (volunteered) ......................................................7 38. There are a number of options for what the federal government should be doing with any extra money that it has left over as a result of this budget surplus. For every extra $100 the government had, how much would you have it spend on each of the following? Pay down the national debt................................$37.60 To increase spending on social programs, including health care ..........................................$37.20 Return it to the people in the form of income tax reductions ......................................................$25.20 39. If the government were to increase spending on social programs, which of these options do you prefer? That the federal government set conditions that the money be used for specific programs that all provinces must provide..............................................42 That the federal government simply provide funding

with no strings attached, and let the provinces decide the program on which to spend the money............58 40. How do you feel about the amount of tax you pay? Very upset....................................................................31 Somewhat upset..........................................................46 Not very upset ............................................................15 Not upset at all..............................................................8 41. (Asked of those who answered “very upset" or “somewhat upset” to question 40) Which tax do you get the most upset about? Personal income tax....................................................37 GST and sales taxes generally..................................49 Property and municipal taxes....................................12 Don’t know/refused......................................................2

42. Most working people pay into the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan and will receive a pension based on their contributions when they retire. In thinking about what you will pay into the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan over the course of your working life what do you expect to receive back from the plan in retirement pension? More than you put in..................................................22 About the same amount as you put in......................28 Less than you put in....................................................44 Don’t know ....................................................................6

43. (Asked of those who answered “Less than you put in” to question 42) Which of the following two points of view better reflects your own? Some people feel comfortable with putting more money into the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan than they expect to get out because their contribution will help people retiring over the next 10 to 20 years to live a better life.............................................................38 Others are frustrated about not getting back what they put in, because it is unfair that they should pay for something they will not get value for.................60 Don’t know/refused......................................................2

44. Regardless of how you voted most recently, which federal political party do you normally identify with most strongly? Liberal..........................................................................51 Progressive Conservative..........................................17 Reform..........................................................................11 NDP..............................................................................11 Bloc Québécois............................................................10

45. Thinking of these two points of view on uniting Reform and the Conservatives to form a single party to represent the centreright, which is closer to your own? It would be a good idea since it would allow for a stronger opposition to the Liberals and create an opportunity for another party to form the next federal government.................................................................39 It is a poor idea since the Reform and the Conservative parties are quite different and stand for different things ...........................................................................61

46. If the Reform and Conservative parties were to merge, how likely is it that you would consider voting for that party in the next federal election? Very likely....................................................................12 Somewhat likely..........................................................24 Not too likely................................................................17 Not at all likely ............................................................40 Don’t know ....................................................................7 47. If the Reform and Conservative parties were to merge, who would you prefer to see as the leader of the merged party? Joe Clark......................................................................53 Ralph Klein..................................................................28 Preston Manning........................................................18

QUEBEC 48. In the three years since the last Quebec referendum, do you think the chances of Quebec leaving and Canada breaking up have...? Increased significantly..................................................7 Increased somewhat..................................................16 Remained about the same..........................................42 Decreased somewhat ................................................27 Decreased significantly................................................6 Don’t know/refused......................................................2 49. How confident are you in the federal government's ability to lead the country into another Quebec referendum? Very confident ............................................................10 Somewhat confident ..................................................45

Not too confident........................................................29 Not at all confident......................................................12 Don’t know/refused......................................................4 50. Forgetting about the party they represent, who among the following federalist leaders do you think could do the best job of leading the federal side in the next referendum? Jean Charest................................................................35 Jean Chrétien ..............................................................24 Joe Clark......................................................................14 Preston Manning..........................................................7 Alexa McDonough ........................................................5 Undecided ....................................................................15

LIFESTYLES 55. Over the past 10 to 20 years, would you say Canadians’ attitudes on sexual matters have...? Become far more permissive....................................33 Become somewhat more permissive........................37 Stayed about the same................................................17 Become somewhat more conservative......................7 Become far more conservative....................................3 56. And do you think that is a good or a bad thing?

57a. (Asked of half of respondents) If you were the parent of an 18-year-old male teenager with a steady girlfriend, would you allow them to have sex in your home? Yes ................................................................................27 No..................................................................................69 58a. (Asked of same respondents as 57a) Now, imagine your 18-year-old son is gay and has a steady boyfriend. Would you allow them to have sex in your home? Yes ................................................................................18 No..................................................................................77

57b. (Asked of other half of respondents) If you were the parent of an 18-year-old female teenager with a steady boyfriend, would you allow them to have sex in your home? Yes................................................................................27 No..................................................................................67 58b. (Asked of same respondents as 57b.) Now, imagine your 18-year-old daughter is gay and has a steady girlfriend. Would you allow them to have sex in your home? Yes ................................................................................27 No..................................................................................72

59. Suppose you have a 17-year-old teenage daughter who became pregnant, and she did not wish to continue the relationship with the male she became pregnant by, which of the following would you be most likely to advise that she do? Have an abortion ........................................................19 Have the child, but give it up for adoption ..............20 Keep the child and be a single parent......................44 Allow her to make her own decision (Volunteered) .... 9 Don’t know ....................................................................7 60. Would you describe yourself as...? Very sexually active....................................................17 Somewhat sexually active..........................................53 Not very sexually active ............................................13 Not sexually active at all ............................................10 Don’t know/refused......................................................7

61. Overall, how satisfied are you with your sex life? Very satisfied................................................................50 Somewhat satisfied......................................................40 Somewhat dissatisfied..................................................7 Very dissatisfied............................................................3 62. The activities of U.S. President Bill Clinton have raised the profile of oral sex. Do you personally consider having oral sex with someone to whom you are not married to be adultery? Yes ................................................................................71 No..................................................................................22 Don’t know/refused......................................................7 63. Have you ever had a sexual relationship with another person while in a married or common-law relationship? Yes................................................................................12 No..................................................................................84 Don’t know/refused ....................................................4