Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid

October 25, 2006 09:00 ET

Do You Believe In Ghosts? Almost Half (47%) Of Canadians Say They Do

Many Canadians Say They’ve Been In Presence Of Ghosts (18%) And Have Lived In A Haunted House (9%)

Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, Lifestyle Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO/HALLOWEEN--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 25, 2006) - With Halloween just around the corner, a new Canada Speaks survey released by Sympatico / MSN reveals that nearly half of Canadians are wary of ghosts and goblins not only during the trick-or-treating festivities, but all year long. The poll was conducted for Sympatico / MSN by Ipsos Reid.

Forty-seven percent of Canadians indicate that they believe in ghosts - 31% say they "think such things are likely" and 16% say they "know such things exist". Further:
* One in five Canadians (18%) say they have been in the presence of a ghost;
* 12% have had an "out-of-body experience";
* 9% have "visited with the ghost of a dead relative"; and
* The same proportion (9%) says they have "lived in a haunted house".

Fortunately, for ghost-believers, more (32%) feel that ghosts are usually "forces of good" rather than "forces of evil" (8%).

But, when it comes to the Halloween holiday, many Canadians don't appear enthusiastic about the occasion. Approximately one-third of Canadians agree with the statement that "I don't like Halloween" (31%), while just 29% say they "will likely put on a costume this year for Halloween". And, 32% agree that they "don't really understand what we're celebrating on Halloween".

Fifty-seven percent of Canadians agree that "on Halloween, I would rather stay at home and hand out candy than go out and walk the neighbourhoods with the kids when they go trick-or-treating".

Perhaps this lack of enthusiasm towards Halloween is related, in part, to the fact that the very strong majority of Canadians (84%) feel "in this day and age, it's unsafe for children to go trick-or-treating on Halloween without an adult to supervise".

On average, Canadians think a child should be no more than 13 years of age before they should stop trick-or-treating.

With Canada Speaks, Sympatico / MSN is listening to its readers' opinions in order to continue providing them with the information they care most about. Canada's most popular online destination with more than 18.4 million visitors per month*, Sympatico.MSN.ca is the one online destination that provides the tools and information Canadian's need to connect with friends, family, and what's happening - in their community and around the world.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted from September 28th to October 3rd, 2006 via a regionally representative online Canadian sample of 1267 adult Canadians. For this sample, results can be considered accurate 95% of the time with a 2.8% margin of error, of what it would have been had this entire population been surveyed.

Half Of Canadians Believe In Ghosts…

Do you believe in ghosts or other physical manifestations of a spirit world? N=1267 -- See chart in release.

* Belief in ghosts is highest in Ontario and Atlantic Canada (50% in both), and is lowest in Alberta and Quebec (42% in both).
* As household income rises the propensity to believe in ghosts declines.
* Those with kids are more likely to believe in ghosts than those without kids (55% vs. 44%).

Among Believers: 32% Say Ghosts Are Forces Of Good Vs. 8% Who Say They Are Forces Of Evil…

Among those who express a belief in the existence of ghosts, more (32%) feel that ghosts are "forces of good" than feel they are "forces of evil" (8%) and 60% "don't know".

* Women (24% vs. 15% among men) and those with children (32% vs. 9% among those without children) are most likely to believe ghosts are "forces of good ".

One In Five Canadians (18%) Have Been In The Presence Of A Ghost…

Among all Canadians, 40% say they (18%) or someone they know (22%) have been in the presence of a ghost or supernatural being. Forty-seven percent have not and do not know anyone that has been in the presence of a ghost; the remaining 12% "don't know".

* Women are more likely than men to say that they or someone they know has been in the presence of a ghost (48% vs. 32%).
* Atlantic Canadians (49%) and British Columbians (46%) are the most likely to have personally experienced or know someone who has experienced being in the presence of a ghost.

One In Ten (12%) Have Had An "Out Of Body Experience"…

When asked about an "out-of-body experience":
? 12% say they have personally had one;
? 15% say they know someone who has;
? 61% say no one they know has; and
? 13% "don't know".

* Albertans (17%) are the most likely to have had an "out of body experience", followed by British Columbians (14%).

…And, 9% Have Visited With The Ghost Of A Dead Friend Or Relative…

When asked about whether they or someone they have known has "visited with the ghost of a dead friend or relative":
? 9% say they have
? 14% say someone they know has
? 62% say they don't know anyone that has
? 14% "don't know".

* Women are more likely than men to say they have visited with the ghost of a dead relative (12% vs. 6%).
* Those aged 55 and over are the least likely to say they have visited with the ghost of a dead friend or relative (5% vs. 11% among those ages 18-54).

Same Proportion (9%) Have Lived In A Haunted House…

When asked whether they or someone they know has ever "lived in a haunted house":

? 9% "yes, I have";
? 18% "yes, someone I know has";
? 60% "no, no one I know has".
* Women are more likely than men to say they have lived in a haunted house (12% vs. 6%).

When It Comes To Halloween…
Attitudes Towards Halloween (see release for chart) -- For each of the following statements, please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree? N=1267

* Residents of Alberta (40%) are the most likely to agree with the statement "I don't understand what we're celebrating on Halloween".
* Those who believe in ghosts tend to like Halloween more than those who don't believe in ghosts.
* Women are more likely than men to say they will:
o "likely put on a costume this year for Halloween" (32% vs. 25%).; and
o "likely decorate my home" (51% vs. 44%).

About Sympatico / MSN
Sympatico.MSN.ca is Canada's most popular online destination with 18.4 million unique visitors* experiencing its entertainment, information and communication services a month. The portal brings together Bell Sympatico's Web content and broadband services with MSN's popular Hotmail, Messenger and Search services. Bell Sympatico is Canada's leading ISP, while MSN Messenger is used by more Canadians than any other instant messaging and MSN Hotmail is the leading web-based email service. Sympatico.MSN.ca also delivers exclusive content to Sympatico High Speed Internet service subscribers, as well as value-added services such as MSN Premium.

About Microsoft Canada
Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has 10 regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.


For more information on this news release, please contact:

Paul Orovan
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs
(416) 324-2900

Nicole Flippance
High Road Communications
(416) 644-2259

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