MACLEAN’S/CBC POLL

Peering Inward and Outward

The poll examines the Canadian identity and cross-border attitudes

December 20 1999
MACLEAN’S/CBC POLL

Peering Inward and Outward

The poll examines the Canadian identity and cross-border attitudes

December 20 1999

Peering Inward and Outward

MACLEAN’S/CBC POLL

The Questionnaire

The poll examines the Canadian identity and cross-border attitudes

The 16th annual Maclean's year-end poll, undertaken in partnership with CBC TV's The Magazine, was conducted by Toronto-based The Strategic Counsel. The results are drawn from telephone interviews between Nov. 5 and 15 with 1,200 adult Canadians selected randomly from all 10 provinces, and 1,000 adult Americans proportionally representing the four regions: Northeast, Midwest, South and West.

Canadian respondents include a disproportionate number from the smaller provinces, to bring the minimum sample from each

province up to a statistically meaningful level. The national samples are considered accurate to within 3.5 percentage points in Canada and 3.1 percentage points in the United States, 19 times out of 20. Accuracy ranges are wider for results from individual provinces, regions or any other subgroups. Numbers in tables and charts are rounded off, and in most cases “don’t know” and no-answer responses are eliminated. Except where indicated, questions were asked in Canada only.

Findings are expressed in percentage of respondents.

GENERAL ATTITUDES

What is the most important problem facing

your country? (Both countries)

CANADA

Social services/health/education...........31

Unemployment/economy ...................19

Taxes/GST..................................12

Government/government spending/deficit .... 10

National unity ................................4

Crime/violence...............................3

Environment .................................2

Other/no answer ...........................19

UNITED STATES

Social/moral issues ........................39

Crime/violence .............................13

Economy/jobs/inflation ......................6

World issues/war/peace.....................5

Government/deficit/debt.....................4

Pollution/environment........................2

Taxation......................................2

Drugs/alcohol problems .....................2

No problem/no answer .....................15

Other.......................................12

Are you more or less optimistic about the future than you were a decade ago? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. More optimistic 37 43 More pessimistic 30 29

In the past 10 years, would you say your personal financial situation has become worse or better? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. Much better 14 22 Somewhat better 25 29 Stayed about the same 30 29 Somewhat worse 20 11 Much worse 10 8

TWO NATIONS: Canada and the U.S. Would you describe Canadians and Americans as the same or different? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. Essentially the same 6 19 Mainly the same 43 52 Mainly different 24 12 Essentially different 25 8

If you were given the opportunity to become a citizen of (in Canada, ask “the U.S.,” in the U.S., ask “Canada”) and to live and work there, would you? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. Yes 26 25 No 70 68

In the past 10 years, do you think Canadians have become more or less like Americans?

Significantly more .. 9 Somewhat less ... 12 Somewhat more .. 41 Significantly less ... 6 No change........29

Do you think the standard of living in (in Canada, ask “Canada,” in the U.S., ask “the U.S.”} is higher or lower than it is in (in Canada, ask “the U.S.,” in the U.S., ask

“Canada”)? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. Much higher 15 10 Somewhat higher 26 21 About the same 24 38 Somewhat lower 23 9 Much lower 7 2

Free trade between the U.S. and Canada has been in effect for 10 years. Overall, do you feel that Canada has benefited more or less than the U.S. from the free-trade agreements?

Canada has benefited more..................9

Same effect for both........................17

U.S. has benefited more....................63

Some people say that in order to thrive in the next millennium Canadians’ values are going to have to become far more American. Others say Canada can thrive by keeping its own values and not trying to become more like Americans. Which point of view best reflects your own?

Become far more American .................16

Keeping our own values and not

trying to become more like Americans ......81

If you had to describe Americans in one word, what would it be?

TOP 10

Arrogant/snobs ... 16

Aggressive .........8

Friend ly/good.......5

Proud/patriotic .....4

Rich/prosperous ... 4 Greedy/selfish .....3

Neighbours .......2

Ambitious/

opportunistic .....2

Bold/confident.... 2 Capitalistic........1

If you had to describe Canadians in one word, what would it be? (U.S. only)

TOP 10

Friendly............29

People/human .....4

Neighbours.........4

Normal .............2

Canadian...........2

Similar............2

French............2

OK................2

Different..........1

Great.............1

If you had to describe Canadians in one word, what would it be?

TOP 10

Friendly or good.....12

Spineless or weak .... 6 Passive or compliant.. 6

Helpful or caring......5

Conservative or reserved.............5

Laid-back or

easygoing.........4

Peaceful or quiet... 3 Proud or patriotic ..3

Complacent.......2

Great or excellent.. 2

If you had to describe Americans in one word, what would it be? (U.s. only)

TOP 10

Friendly.............12

Greedy or money-

oriented ..............7

Arrogant .............5

Free..................3

People/human.......3

Great .............3

Helpful............2

Diverse ...........2

Hardworking.......2

Ambitious.........2

How likely do you think it is that within the next 25 years Canada and the United States will become one nation with a common federal government, armed forces, a tax system, currency and all the other trappings

of one nation? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. Very likely 10 4 Somewhat likely 22 15 Not too likely 27 29 Not at all likely 39 48

And how good or bad an idea do you think it would be for Canada and the United States to become one nation? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. Very poor idea 43 23 Poor idea 25 26 Neutral 12 14 Good idea 14 24 Excellent idea 5 10

How frequently do you attend religious

services? (Both countries)

CANADA

At least once a week .........................22

At least once a month ........................11

At least once every three months ..............6

Only on special holidays ......................24

Less than once a year........................34

UNITED STATES

At least once a week .........................42

At least once a month ........................13

At least once every three months ..............7

Only on special holidays ......................12

Less than once a year........................25

Do you agree or disagree with each of these statements? (Both countries)

Canada U.S. Strongly SomeNeither Somewhat Strongly agree what agree nor disagree disagree The preservation of traditional agree disagree family values is very important 78 15 3 tome. 10 2 I believe that all guns 71 9 2 5 12 should be registered. 10 1 14 No one has the right to impose 61 19 their morality on others. 55 23 It is acceptable to me for people who are gay to 36 32 10 7 14 teach in the school system. 28 9 10 22 believe there is a hell. 29 20 12 12 24 57 16 7 5 12 We are allowing too many 27 22 11 22 16 immigrants into our country. 34 24 11 16 12 Marijuana use should 18 27 10 13 32 be legalized. 17 8 16 I would not walk the streets 18 14 21 43 at night alone in my community. 19 14 19

PRESERVING CANADIAN IDENTITY

Overall, do you think Canada would benefit or lose out from having a common currency with the United States?

Greatly benefit.................17 Somewhat lose out.........22

Somewhat benefit.............27 Greatly lose out.............20

No impact either way ...........8

Over the past few years, do you believe there has been an increase or a loss of Canadian control of businesses operating in Canada?

Great increase .................3

Somewhat of an increase .....11

Remained the same ..........14

Somewhat of a loss.........41

Great loss ..................23

How good a job do you believe the federal government has done of protecting Canadian sovereignty, that is, Canadian identity and Canadian interests?

Very poor...........11 Neutral ........23 Excellent........5

Poor ...............27 Good ...........33

Many people in Canada believe the country is becoming more like the United States. If Canada is, in fact, becoming more like the United States, what should the federal government response be?

Do more to oppose this process.....................................54

Do nothing and let things work themselves out ......................28

Do more to encourage the process..................................14

Do you believe that Canada has a unique identity, separate and different from all other countries in the world?

Yes. .90 No 10

Some people say that Canadian identity is based on a strong sense of our own history and an appreciation of what we have accomplished as a nation. Other people say it is based on nothing more than a desire not to be Americans. Which point of view best reflects your own?

Strong sense of our own history.....................................77

Nothing more than a desire not to be Americans.....................20

Some people have said that in order to ensure that Canada will continue to maintain a strong identity in the next century, we need to make some changes. Should each of the following be greater or less?

Much Somewhat Same Somewhat Much greater greater less less Canadian ownership of businesses operating in Canada 50 33 13 Our entrepreneurial spirit 47 36 11 Our willingness to take risks 35 38 17 The role of the provincial government in your province 35 30 20 The role of the federal government 32 28 20 15

For each of the following, is it an important or unimportant part of what makes us Canadian?

us Very Somewhat Neutral Somewhat Not at all important important unimportant important The Canadian flag 53 27 The achievements of prominent Canadians like artists and 29 51 scientists around the world Our climate and geography 35 44 12 Our health-care system 41 38 10 Our international role 27 50 12 Our multicultural and multiracial makeup 29 45 11 10 Canadian ownership of businesses operating in Canada 30 43 13 10 The traditional family 36 34 14 11 The fact that English and French speakers share one nation 30 39 12 11 Hockey 34 33 10 12 10 Our Aboriginal Peoples 24 39 16 14 Restrictions on gun ownership and use 31 32 10 13 12 Public broadcasting 22 41 16 16 The way we treat the poor and disadvantaged 20 39 18 17 A Christian heritage 22 32 15 20 Having the Queen as monarch 15 26 11 22 25

How much of an impact has each of the following had on making us more like Americans? (Asked of those who thought that Canadians were becoming more like Americans.)

Major Some Neutral Not No impact impact impact too much at all American media like TV, impact magazines and film 48 36 7 U.S. investment and takeovers of Canadian businesses 35 44 The Internet and information economy 34 41 11 The North American Free Trade Agreement 23 42 14 10 Canadian government adopting the same kinds of policies as 20 42 18 14 the U.S. government Changes in our social programs 15 39 21 18

LIFESTYLES

Would you describe yourself as... ?

Very sexually active ............13

Somewhat sexually active ......46

Not very sexually active ........12

And overall, how satisfied are you with

Very satisfied ..................40

Somewhat satisfied............33

Somewhat dissatisfied ..........6

Not sexually active at all.......13

Don’t know/refused ...........16

your sex life?

Very dissatisfied................4

Don’t know/refused...........17

Have you ever used erotic materials or sexual aids to enhance your sex life?

Yes ............16 No...........70 Don’t know/refused.....14

In the course of a day, how often do you fantasize about having sex?

10 or more times a day..........4

5 to 9 times a day...............6

2 to 5 times a day..............20

When was the last time you engaged

Within past 24 hours...........19

Within past week...............29

Within past two weeks...........6

Within past month...............5

Once a day....................23

Never .........................24

Don’t know/refused...........23

in sexual activity with a partner?

Within past six months .........4

More than six months ago.....13

Never...........................2

Don’t know/refused...........22