Philippe J. Fournier: The new data shows that on climate change, conservative supporters are very out of step with voters in every other major party in Canada.
The debate around climate change and the urgency of implementing policies to act on it is increasingly becoming a partisan issue in Canada. Opinion polls have indicated a growing divide in support for climate change initiatives. In 2020, Frank Graves from EKOS Research Associate wrote in Northern populism that “in 2015, the gap between conservatives and liberals on climate change was 12 points (21 percent versus nine percent). This has skyrocketed to 36 points (43 percent versus seven percent). “
This gap does not appear to be decreasing.
Fresh data provided by the latest survey of the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) shows that conservative voters are alone in believing that climate change should not be a priority for the federal government. According to data from Angus Reid, many Conservative Party of Canada (CCP) voters do not even view climate change as a serious threat to the planet, unlike the voters of all other major federal parties.
Let’s take a look at the data. To the question: “What degree of threat, if any, do you think climate change represents for planet Earth?”, A clear majority of respondents (74%) answered that climate change is “serious” or “very serious” threat.
However, by breaking down the crosstabs throughout the 2019 federal vote of respondents, ARI measured that among conservative voters, only 41 percent agreed that climate change is a serious threat, but more than 90 percent of Liberal, NDP, BQ and Green voters. he perceived it as such. Here’s the 2019 federal vote breakdown:
Furthermore, 28 percent of conservative voters believe that climate change is not a threat at all, a view shared by a measly one percent of voters from other parties.
Furthermore, while roughly nine out of 10 non-conservative voters agree that “climate change is a fact and mostly caused by human activities” (which is the actual scientific consensus on the issue), only about a third of conservative voters acknowledge it. Rather, a plurality of CCP voters (43 percent) believe that “climate change is a fact and is caused mainly by natural changes and cycles,” a popular dog whistle phrase beloved by many climate deniers on the Internet. (“But the weather has always been changing!”)
The Angus Reid survey was conducted just days after Chrystia Freeland’s first budget was released in mid-April, which included various policies and expenditures aimed at reducing Canada’s carbon footprint over the next decade. It is uncertain whether those policies will actually work to achieve those goals: From Kyoto to Copenhagen, Canada has had a poor record of meeting emissions targets, so some skepticism is understandable.
Namely, Angus Reid asked his panel whether Canada should, in fact, increase efforts to meet its 2030 targets of reducing carbon emissions by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels under the Climate Accord. from Paris. Among those surveyed, the majority of Canadians (56 percent) believe that the government should increase efforts to reach those goals, 25 percent say Canada should stay the course even if it means falling short, while 19 percent say One hundred would rather see the government slow down efforts and not worry about targets.
Results among non-CPC voters are strikingly similar, all within a reasonable margin of one another considering the size of the survey’s subsamples.
However, among conservative voters, half of those surveyed responded that Canada should “slow down and not worry about the 2030 goals,” a view shared by only 2 percent of voters from other major parties.
Whatever the merits and shortcomings of Erin O’Toole’s proposed “Carbon Rewards Program,” the survey results clearly demonstrate why a significant part of the rejection of O’Toole’s plan came from conservative friendly circles: and probably expensive – plan if many within your own range don’t even hear (or choose not to hear) the alarms that climate scientists have been sounding for decades.
However, the mere fact that the CCP leader addresses the need to reduce carbon emissions through government-mandated taxes (i.e. taxes) is a sign that O’Toole is at least trying to get there. to voters outside their own base. From a purely political and mathematical point of view, this strategy has merits. According to the 338 Canadian Federal ProjectionsO’Toole could afford to lose 15 points in Alberta and the Prairies if he can snatch five or six points from the Liberals in Ontario and Quebec. The net result of this hypothetical change would be a clear gain of conservative seats in the House of Commons.
It is still up in the air whether O’Toole’s climate strategy will work. The pandemic and the launch of the vaccine will likely be a priority for many Canadians and will occupy the majority of media cycles during the summer months. Furthermore, current voting intentions show that the CPC has lost close to to 15 points in Alberta (compared to the 2019 election results), but has yet to gain ground in central Canada.
However, Erin O’Toole finds herself in climatic purgatory. The data from this poll suggests that if conservative voters in this country ever adopt serious policies to curb Canada’s carbon emissions, they will do so by kicking and screaming. But unless O’Toole succeeds in convincing his loyal fan base that there is no plausible path to victory without a credible environmental plan, the CCP could remain on the opposition pews for years to come.
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