Polling last weekend shows opposition and attention to the protests continuing to increase as the demonstrations escalated into their third week. These findings are from the first two waves of INNOVATIVE’s Canada This Month survey. This report covers results from the latest wave of tracking in field from February 10th to 14th with a weighted sample size of 500. The “Protest Action” section shows pooled results for the February 4th to 9th wave and the February 10th to 14th wave to increase the sample size. A detailed methodology is provided in the full report.
Attention to the protests has climbed to an all-time high, with 77% of respondents saying they’re following the protest closely, up 8 pts. from Feb 4th-9th. Albertans report paying particularly close attention, as 87% say they’re following at least somewhat closely.
With attention high, opposition to both the protest itself and the way protestors are acting has continued to increase. Now, 58% of Canadians oppose the protest (up 5 pts.) and even more Canadians disapprove of the way the truckers are acting (63%, up 4 pts.). A majority of supporters from every party disapprove of the way the truckers are protesting, with disapproval highest among Liberal and NDP partisans.
This week we dug deeper into protest tactics, and tested three in particular: noise in downtowns, blockading roads, and blockading border crossings. Overall, the protest actions themselves are not supported. When asked about creating noise in downtown areas, only 17% were in support. Similarly, 17% were supportive of blockading roads and 18% felt the same about blockading border crossings. All these tactics alienated respondents, including those that would be open to the protest’s ideas.
Approval of the Liberal response to the issue has also continued to decline. Last week 49% of Canadians disapproved of the Liberal response. Now, over half (53%) disapprove of their response, while approval is steady week-over-week at just 19%. Most respondents still disapprove of the Conservative response, although approval is up by 4 pts. since last week.
When it comes to the specifics of the “trucker” protest, 37% report familiarity with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) from protest organizers, calling for the Governor General and Senate to overrule the government, highest in Alberta (51%). A plurality (44%) oppose the MOU, and only 19% report supporting its measures, highest among Conservatives (31%). As for the protest leadership themselves, a plurality (33%) believe the leaders are a mix of ordinary people and those associated with extreme groups. A quarter (25%) believe the leaders mostly come from extreme while 21% believe the leaders are mostly ordinary people. However, Conservative supporters (38%) and respondents in the Prairies (32%) are more likely to say the protesters are just ordinary people.
Over the last week, approval of the protest and the Liberal response continued to decline. However, there was also a 4 pt. increase (from 36-40%) among respondents who think the federal government should bring back the exemption for unvaccinated truckers to protect supply chains. Throughout the protest, support for the exemption policy has been stronger than protest support, and this week support increased.