How Canadians Feel about the Postmedia-Sun Deal, Ebola, and Media Bias in CanadaOctober 29, 2014
Little worry about Post-Sun Sale
Modest concern about Ebola
Most doubt “Mainstream Media” bias[caption id="attachment_7198" align="alignright" width="75"] Get the details[/caption]
In our most recent survey (October 15-17, 2014) we explored a number of contemporary issues. Here are the results from some of the questions we posed to a national sample of Canadians.
National Post – Sun Media Deal
Most people (67%) don’t really care one way or another if the National Post acquires the Sun newspapers. Despite the fact that the deal would reduce the number of competing media voices in many major cities in Canada, only 16% want to see the deal stopped by federal regulators. 17% say they would like to see the deal approved.
Results are slightly different in Quebec, where there is heightened interest. But even in the home province of Quebecor, the company which owns Sun Media, the majority (59%) say they don’t care, and the rest are fairly evenly split, with 20% wanting the deal stopped and 22% wanting it approved.
Also worth noting is that the vast majority of Conservative party supporters are indifferent (61%) or want the deal to go ahead (22%). Only 13% would like to see the deal stopped.
A bare majority (51%) express confidence in the ability of the federal government to prevent “ a major outbreak of Ebola virus in Canada”. Another 29% say they have not much confidence and 10% have none at all. Men (55%) are more confident than women (46%). Results on this question do not vary as much by partisan lines as they do on many questions that relate to confidence in the federal government.
One in three people are very (9%) or somewhat (24%) worried that they or someone in their family will be exposed to the Ebola virus. 43% are not too worried, and 21% are not worried at all. Results are remarkably consistent across regions, don’t vary much by age. Those on the left and right are roughly equally concerned. Those with higher levels of education are somewhat less worried than those with less formal education.
For the purposes of comparison, in the latest Pew Poll in the US (October 15-20) a total of 41% were worried, including 17% who said they were very worried that they or someone else in their household might contract the disease.
Canada, Conservatism and Media Bias
Respondents were asked to choose between two descriptions of the country: that “Canada is a pretty liberal country” or that “Canada is a pretty conservative country”. A small majority (54%) said that Canada was pretty liberal, while 46% said more conservative.
As one might expect, these results differ substantially by region. In BC, people were almost evenly split (49% liberal, 51% conservative). In Alberta, 64% said Canada is a pretty conservative country. In Ontario (59%) Quebec (62%) and Atlantic Canada (58%) the tendency was to think the country was more liberal.
Those under 30 (58%) were most likely to see the country as liberal; among the oldest age group the perception was evenly split. Union members are more likely to think the country is conservative (53%) while interestingly those who self-describe as working class tend to see things differently (56% say Canada is more liberal). Those who are members of visible minorities tend to see the country as more liberal (59%) compared to those who aren’t (53%). Those who say they are on the left of the spectrum say the country is liberal (65%) while those who say they are on the right also are more likely to say the country is liberal (52%) rather than conservative (48%).
In recent years, there have been more prominent arguments from some quarters to the effect that “mainstream media” are biased against the Harper government. We decided to test that proposition with the counter proposition that “the mainstream media do a fair job in covering the Harper government”.
Most people (72%) believe the media are doing a fair job in covering the Harper government, while 28% perceive a bias. Among those who voted Conservative in 2011, the majority feels the media do a fair job (58%) but almost half (42%) perceive a bias against the Harper government.
Our survey was conducted online with 1,248 respondents, October 15 to 17, 2014. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of Canadians, recruited and managed by Research Now, one of the world’s leading provider of online research samples.
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 the same size is +/- 2.8%, 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.
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