Manning Centre

Manning Centre

March 12, 2010 10:04 ET

Canadian Political Centre Surprisingly Conservative: Manning Centre Poll

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2010) - A poll conducted by Canadian pollsters Allan Gregg of Harris/Decima and Professor André Turcotte of Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication suggests that Canada's political centre is more conservative than once thought. According to the poll results, released today, the majority of Canadians identify with the "centre" position on the political ideology scale, but the Canadian centre is increasingly embracing traditionally conservative values.

"What is most surprising about these results is how mainstream conservative the political centre has become," said Professor Turcotte, who, along with Gregg, presented the survey results today at the Manning Centre's annual networking conference in Ottawa.

The poll looked at values typically associated with conservatives and how Canadians perceive those values. The majority of Canadians strongly agreed with traditionally conservative value statements on the supremacy of family, the importance of taking small steps to solve problems based on what's worked in the past, the definition of marriage, and the morality of abortion.

While a majority of Canadians appear to personally hold more traditional views on moral subjects such as abortion and the definition of marriage, a majority also believe that governments should play a minor role or no role in the regulation of individual behavior and morality.

The poll also looked at how specific conservative policies are perceived by Canadians in general. A majority of Canadians supported conservative government policies such as spending deficits, abolishing the long gun registry, action on climate change, decision to leave Afghanistan in 2011, and management of the economic recession.

While a majority of Canadians cling to the idea that government has a role in managing the economy, they appear to be losing confidence in its ability to follow through in any meaningful way, showing more confidence in individual initiative and the private sector.

Professor Turcotte noted that our increasingly conservative values are leading Canadians to vote for Conservative governments, another shift from the recent past. "Five elections ago, which only goes back to1997, a majority of centrist Canadians supported Liberals. Now the majority vote Conservative. This survey suggests that the Conservatives currently own the political centre," said Turcotte.

The poll was commissioned for the Manning Centre Barometer, an annual look at Canadian's attitudes towards values and policies generally ascribed to conservatives. A total of 1000 telephone interviews were conducted with adult Canadians between February 1 and February 10, 2010. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/-3.3 percentage points within a 95% confidence interval.

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