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 conspiracy theories. This is the first in a series called “Trust & Facts: What Canadians Believe”
44% THINK MUCH OF THE INFORMATION FROM NEWS ORGANIZATIONS IS FALSE
Almost half of those interviewed found themselves agreeing with the statement “much of the information we receive from news organizations is false.”
While this means a majority of Canadians have some trust in news organizations, more than 13 million adults (extrapolating 44% to an adult population of 29.5 million) don’t.
Those with no post-secondary education, Alberta residents and those on the right show greater mistrust. But by far the biggest differences are visible when we look at party affinity. The vast majority of People’s Party supporters don’t trust news organizations and a (smaller) majority – 59% – of Conservative voters feel the same way.
Among those who think Pierre Poilievre is the Conservative leadership candidate who best reflects their views, 55% don’t trust media information, while among those who identify with Jean Charest the proportion is much lower, at 27%.
52% THINK OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTS OF EVENTS CAN’T BE TRUSTED
More than half of those interviewed found themselves agreeing with the statement “official government accounts of events can’t be trusted”
As with trust in news organizations, those with no post-secondary education, Alberta residents and those on the right showed markedly higher levels of mistrust in government.
Majorities of People’s Party, Conservative and Green Party voters indicate mistrust. Those on the left and Liberal voters show higher levels of trust.
For years there has been evidence that trust in institutional sources of information is more skeptically received – but these numbers point to a challenge that is bigger, and more influential in the political life of Canada than might have been expected. It’s harder for people to agree on what to do to solve collective problems if they don’t trust the basic information on offer by official and news sources. The challenge facing the Conservative Party is particularly acute – the voters they fear losing to the People’s Party have radically lower levels of trust than the voters they need to win closer to the centre of the spectrum.
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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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