Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Issues Poll

EKOS recently released a set of poll results about various issues facing Canadians today. They say its intent is to provide a more formal assessment of these issues than the recent polls released by the Manning Centre.

Let's take a look at their results, with special attention paid to how supporters of the various parties see things.First, crime. This poll shows that prevention (36%) and punishment (30%) are what Canadians see most as the two main goals of the criminal justice system. Rehabilitation (18%) and deterrence (16%) are the main goals for fewer people.

Conservative supporters are most likely to see punishment (42%) as the main goal of the justice system, well ahead of prevention and deterrence (24% each). Only 11% see rehabilitation as the main goal of the system.

Liberals see things different, with 45% believing prevention is the main goal of the system, followed by rehabilitation (23%). Punishment is the main goal for only 20% of Liberal supporters.

This is a good demonstration of how the two parties view the issue of crime. Conservatives tend towards "tough on crime" measures, while Liberals are looking more towards "smart on crime" measures, as they like to say.

New Democrats are relatively split, with 33% believing it is prevention that is the main goal, 27% rehabilitation, and 26% punishment. This is likely a reflection of the different kind of NDP supporters that exist: urban voters on the one hand and Western CCF-style voters on the other.

Greens are also split, while Bloc Québécois supporters view prevention (45%) and punishment (32%) as the two main goals.

Related to this issue is that of capital punishment. Canada doesn't use this form of punishment, but several nations still do, including the United States. Canadians aren't in favour of bringing it back, however. Forty-six percent are against its re-introduction, while 40% are for it. Compared to ten years ago, the amount of people against capital punishment is growing.

As you'd think considering their views on the justice system, 53% of Conservatives support the re-introduction of capital punishment. Liberals are most against it, with 60% opposing its re-introduction. New Democrats aren't far behind with 52% against.

Another crime issue looked into by EKOS is whether possession of small amounts of marijuana should be a crime or not. While 30% believe it should be a crime, 50% believe it shouldn't. This is a growing proportion of Canadians.

Conservatives are most likely to still see this as a crime, with 41%. New Democrats are most for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, at 63%. Green (59%) and Bloc (58%) supporters agree.

Now, on to two other issues.Canada has come a long way, and now only 28% of Canadians oppose same-sex marriage. Those who support it now number 53%. Decideds on the issue split 65-to-35 in support of same-sex marriage.

Not surprisingly, 40% of Conservatives are against SSM, the highest among the parties. It finds most support among Bloc and Green voters (66%), as well as New Democrats (63%) and Liberals (60%). It seems that the issue is, for all intents and purposes, off the radar. Not even a majority of Conservatives are against it.

Finally, abortion. The Manning Centre made political hay out of this issue, but EKOS finds that the Manning Centre's results were a little skewed. It's all in the question, and EKOS asked their's bluntly.Only 27% of Canadians consider themselves "pro-life", while 52% consider themselves pro-choice. If we wanted to take it to the level of people who are decided on the issue, 68% are pro-choice.

Conservatives have the most pro-lifers, but still only 37%. Most New Democrats (62%), Bloc voters (61%) and Greens (59%) are pro-choice.

This EKOS poll clearly indicates that Canadians are not, as the Manning Centre argued, becoming more right-wing. That the Manning Centre's results were refuted should come as no surprise.