Pandemic frustration may be running high, but more don’t side with the so-called “Freedom Convoy”

Bruce Anderson

Bruce Anderson

Two out of three (68%) interviewed in our latest nationwide poll feel they have “very little in common with how the protestors in Ottawa see things”, while 32% say they “have a lot in common.”

Those who are more likely to feel aligned with the protestors are People’s Party voters (82%), Green Party voters (57%), and Conservative Party voters (46%). Large majorities of Liberal (75%), NDP (77%), and BQ (81%) voters say they have little in common with the protestors.

More people felt that the protest came off as “offensive and inappropriate” (57%) than believe it was “respectful and appropriate”. Again Conservative supporters were divided on this question, with 45% saying it was offensive and inappropriate. People’s Party supporters were almost unanimous (93%) in feeling it was respectful and appropriate.

None of the federal leaders got great reviews from the public in terms of how they handled the convoy situation, but Erin O’Toole was given the worst marks, with 59% finding his approach lacking, compared to 53% for Justin Trudeau, and 45% for Jagmeet Singh.


According to Bruce Anderson: “I think these numbers reflect a combination of things – clearly a good number of people share frustration with the seemingly endless pandemic and the measures that are making life uncomfortable, and some find themselves aligned with this part of the protestors’ message. At the same time, a substantial majority don’t feel they can identify with everything about the protest and many were turned off by the methods and messages that they observed from the convoy, once it arrived in Ottawa. Dealing with the convoy was not a winning situation for any party leader, but Erin O’Toole left more people disappointed than his rivals.”

According to David Coletto: “Public reaction and sympathy to the convoy and demonstration in Ottawa and across the country appear divisive and correlated to one’s partisan orientation – although not perfectly. People’s, Green, and Conservative party supporters are more sympathetic and identify with those occupying downtown Ottawa than others. And while a sizeable minority feels the demonstration has been largely respectful, public reaction is highly fluid and could shift as the convoy continues to occupy downtown Ottawa and disrupt traffic at the Canada-US border.

The reaction is more likely the result of growing impatience with the pandemic and disruptions it has had on people’s lives. The 32/68 divide is a good proxy for where Canadians stand on many aspects of the pandemic debate, including vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and on-going restrictions.

Politically, there appear to be no real winners. Erin O’Toole may have lost his job because of the division over the convoy within his party, while Prime Minister Trudeau finds widespread dissatisfaction with his handling of the issue. If anything, the events of the past week just add to the collective frustrations Canadians are feeling overall. “


The survey was conducted with 1,410 Canadian adults from January 31 to February 2, 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 +/- 2.7%, 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 follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:


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