By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto
We recently completed nationwide surveying among 1500 Canadians. The focus was on the levels of trust people have in institutional sources of information, and belief in different theories that indicate a lack of trust in broadly accepted facts. This is the third in a series of releases based on our findings.
As Canada and many other places in the world relax some measures designed to limit the harm caused by Covid19, albeit with a sense of caution about what the fall may hold, our research indicates that millions of Canadians have accepted some conspiracy theories relating to the pandemic and vaccination as fact.
- 19% (the equivalent of 5.6 million adults) believe “Covid vaccines have killed many people which has been covered up”. Another 25% think it’s possible or aren’t sure.
- 11% (or 3.3 million) think “Covid vaccines include secret chips designed to monitor and control behaviour”. Another 14% think it’s possible or aren’t sure.
- 9% (or 2.7 million) believe it is definitely or probably true that “Covid was caused by rollout of 5G wireless technology as electromagnetic frequencies undermined immune systems.” Another 17% think it is possibly true or aren’t sure either way.
An examination of demographic and other variables that correlate with these beliefs revealed:
- Belief in these theories is higher among supporters of the People’s Party, those who self-identify on the right of the spectrum, those who have not taken any Covid19 shots, and those who think media and official government accounts of events can’t be trusted. Men under 45 are also more likely than others to embrace these theories.
- Among those who haven’t taken any Covid shots, 55% believe or think it might be true that Covid was caused by 5G, 63% think the vaccines might contain secret chips, and 90% think it’s possible that the vaccines have killed many.
- Those who feel Pierre Poilievre is the Conservative leadership candidate closest to their values and ideas are more likely to believe these theories when compared to those who feel more aligned with Jean Charest.
- Conservative voters show above-average inclination to believe deaths were covered up but more resemble Liberal voters on the other two theories than resemble People’s Party voters.
The remaining 10% of Canadian adults who have not had a COVID-19 shot are unlikely to get one, given how many of them believe the shots have been fatal for many people. Belief in this idea so clearly runs against all the facts provided by institutional and mainstream media sources it suggests that the starting point for believing something like this, is less about vaccines and more about mistrust of institutional sources.
The other two theories mentioned here (Covid caused by 5G and chips in vaccines) are more fantastical in nature and along with the other data we’ve revealed in our first three releases indicate that millions of Canadians are open to ideas that appear to have no plausibility. This erosion of rationality and trust is a syndrome that poses a risk to all organizations that depend on a thoughtful and engaged electorate.
There is little doubt that much of the foundation of the People’s Party rests on the willingness of supporters to believe things that aren’t true.
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The survey was conducted with 1500 Canadian adults from May 20 to 24, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.53%, 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.
This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.
Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/
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