Mr. Biden Comes to Ottawa: Canadians on the Canada/US Relationship, Joe Biden, and More
March 23, 2023
From March 17 to 21, 2023, Abacus Data conducted a national survey of 1,963 adults exploring several topics related to current events as part of our regular national omnibus surveys.
In this report, I report on some questions we asked about the Canada/US relationship, impressions of Joe Biden, and what Canadians want the discussions between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden to focus on.
How would you describe the relationship between Canada and the United States?
Canadians generally believe that there is a close relationship between Canada and the United but views are mixed. About half say Canada and the US are best (6%) or close friends (46%) while about 1 in 3 say the two countries are more like acquaintances (37%). 4% describe them as rivals, no one says they are enemies, while 7% are unsure.
There is little variation across the country or among different political groups.
Most think PM Trudeau has done as well as should be expected in managing the relationship with the US
Generally speaking, Canadians have a positive impression on how Prime Minister has managed the relationship with the US. 56% think he and the government have handled managing the relationship as well as should be expected, 5% think he’s done better than should be expected while 24% think he’s done worse than should be expected. Views are fairly consistent across the country. Conservative supporters are more split than others, but 44% think he’s done as well as should be expected. International relations and representing Canada internationally is one of the areas that Canadians consistently believe the Prime Minister performs well.
How do Canadians feel about President Biden?
Views about Joe Biden are mixed in Canada. 30% of Canadians have a positive impression, 32% have a negative impression and 33% have a neutral impression. Those in the Prairies tend to have more negative views while Quebecers have the most positive impression of the US President. Half of Liberal supporters have a positive view while only 15% of Conservatives have a positive view.
What do Canadians want Trudeau and Biden to focus on?
When shown a list of things that Biden and Trudeau could focus on while they meet in Ottawa and asked to select two, half of Canadians want them to focus on improving trade and economic integration between the two countries, 36% want the focus to be on climate change and the environment while another 36% want them to discuss border issues including asylum seekers crossing the Canada-US border. 29% selected dealing with China as a priority while another 24% selected responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and fighting against rising authoritarianism around the world respectively.
According to David Coletto: “Most Canadians continue to feel a close kinship with the United States and see their country as close friends of the United States. But this view isn’t universal. Many also feel the United States is simply an acquaintance of Canada, perhaps a reflection of the buy-American, America-first orientation of administrations over the past several years. Joe Biden comes to Ottawa not loved, but not hated either. Political orientation in Canada is strongly related to how people feel. Most Canadians think Justin Trudeau has handed Canada’s relationship with the United as well as should be expected, a bright spot in an otherwise difficult opinion environment for the Prime Minister and the Liberals. Biden’s visit to Ottawa presents an opportunity for the Prime Minister to focus attention away from domestic economic challenges and the election interference story that has dominated discussions and debate in federal politics for weeks now.”
The survey was conducted with 1,963 Canadian adults from March 17 to 21, 2023. 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 +/- 2.3%, 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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