A glimpse into Canadian public opinion.
An always running, trans-Canada research project to provide insights about national attitudes and behavioural trends. The measures included in this report are meant to shed light on Canadians’ current state of mind, and explore topics that are too often overlooked in research.
There are many objective ways to measure the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, the number of active cases in Canada. These numbers are available at a number of different web sites that can provide more up to date numbers than we can. What is more rare though is access to a measure of Canadians’ collective psychological experience of the pandemic over time. Designed to be an intuitive instrument that leans on metaphor to quantify subjective emotional experience, we believe that the “Where are we in the night?” does just that. This measure tells us approximately the percentage of Canadians who believe we are on our way to recovery, and the percentage who still think the worst is yet to come.
The objective reality of COVID-19 infections and models predicting spread are extremely important, but, the way we respond to this information is also partially determined by where we collectively see ourselves in the story. The psychological experience of the COVID-19 pandemic can predict important population level outcomes, such as booster shot uptake, adherence to pandemic measures and more. In tracking this metric, we aim to complement case statistics and provide some social-psychological context across time periods to help experts better understand behavioural trends among the Canadian population.
For the past year, we have been asking representative samples of the Canadian population to select their top priorities for the country from a list of sixteen different issues. The results of this exercise tells us what the majority of Canadians want leaders to focus on, and provides some insight into the everyday realities and challenges different groups face across the country. Here we present the rank order of each priority in relation to the other across time, and groups.
Climate change is an urgent crisis requiring immediate political and social action. Public opinions on climate change matters; Those who deny climate change are less likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviours (Wullenkord & Reese, 2021) and are more likely to put up barriers for political action (Brulle, Hall & Loy, 2021 or see a recent CBC article). To contribute to this important conversation, we track climate change acceptance and denial over time in Canada by asking Canadians to select the statement they agree with most. From our results, we can estimate rates of climate change denial, misinformation, and denial of the impact of human activity on climate change processes.
In Canada as elsewhere, there have been growing concerns in recent decades about the politicisation of scientific topics, a trend that has been associated with a decline in trust in science within a population (e.g. Nisbet et al. 2015, Gauchat 2012). Here, we explore various ramifications of trust in science and experts, brought to the forefront of public discourse in recent months due to its implications for vaccination campaigns and pandemic response.