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More Expect U.S. to Take Military Action Against North Korea than the Reverse, 84% Say Trump Making Things Worse

August 22, 2017

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

A solid majority (63%) of Canadians are following the tensions between North Korea and the US closely.  As of the taking of our latest poll (August 11-15) 43% thought it likely that North Korea would launch a missile at the US, 47% that North Korea would launch missiles at South Korea, but even more felt it was likely (69%) that the US would take military action against North Korea.

When asked what they thought the US should do, the vast majority (86%) of Canadians said the US should “step up efforts to arrive at a diplomatic understanding” while only 14% favoured a preventive first strike by the US.   Conservative, Liberal, and New Democrat voters were all pretty much on the same page about this.

Only 7% have a great deal of confidence in President Trump to handle the situation with North Korea, and 17% say they have “some” confidence.  Three-quarters say they have “not very much” (32%) or none at all (44%).  On this point, most Conservative voters (57%) lack confidence in the US President.

Along the same lines, 84% say they think the US President has made the risk of conflict go up, while only 16% feel he has reduced the risk.

When asked what Canada should do, roughly 8 in 10 say we should advocate for increased diplomatic efforts compared to 21% who say we should tell our US allies we will support them if a conflict occurs.  Two-thirds (64%) of Conservatives favour pushing a diplomatic solution.

If North Korea were to attack South Korea, half (51%) think the US should get involved in defending the South, while 31% are on the fence and 18% would oppose such action. Only 34% think Canada should come to the aid of South Korea in such an eventuality, while 37% take the opposite view and 29% say “maybe, maybe not”.

 UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “The US tensions with North Korea have been drawing a lot of attention among Canadians and many people are of the view that President Trump is making a dangerous situation more dangerous.  The profound lack of confidence in the US President to handle such a critical risk is unusual and another signal of how dismayed most Canadians are at the way that Mr. Trump is approaching his responsibilities.

The fact that Conservatives are not hugely different from Liberal or NDP voters on these questions suggests that the “Trump base” in Canada may be touching a new low, somewhere in the range of 15% (That’s the number of Conservatives who express confidence in the US leader).

In the event that a first strike conflict is initiated by the US, it is hard to imagine, based on these numbers, that Canadians will feel powerfully motivated to support our longstanding ally unless confidence in Mr. Trump improves.”

METHODOLOGY

Our survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from August 11 to 15, 2017 A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.   The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 1,500 is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

ABACUS DATA INC.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value-added insight.  Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, Ph.D.


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