Occupy Canada Protests Have Backing Of Plurality, But Most Doubt It Will Do Any Good: Poll
Twice as many Canadians back the Occupy protests as oppose them, but few believe the protests will do any good, according to a poll released this week.
Yet the poll found widespread support for the ideas behind the Occupy movement -- including among self-identified Conservative voters.
The survey, carried out by Abacus Data for the Corporate Community and Social Responsibility Conference, found 41 per cent of Canadians have a very favourable or somewhat favourable view of the protests, while 22 per cent of Canadians have a somewhat or very unfavourable view.
That leaves more than a third of Canadians in the undecided column, but when asked about the specific issues Occupy protesters have been championing, respondents of all ages and political leanings tended to agree with the protesters.
* 81% agree that corporations and the rich have too much influence over public policy and politics in Canada.
* 81% agree that the gap between the rich and poor has grown too large in Canada
* 64% agree that Canadian financial institutions have been reckless and greedy.
* 51% agree that most Canadian corporations are unethical.
When broken down according to political leanings, even Conservative voters tended to agree with these sentiments. For example, 72 per cent agreed somewhat or strongly with the idea that the rich should pay more taxes.
Seventy-one per cent of Conservative voters also agreed the gap between rich and poor has grown too large in Canada. The same percentage of Conservatives said corporations have too much influence over policy in Canada.
Not surprisingly, there was even stronger support for these notions among Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois voters. Fully 81 per cent of Bloc voters said they had a favourable view of the protests, and 93 per cent said the rich-poor gap is too large.
Abacus Data CEO David Coletto told the Huffington Post it's not surprising that Canada's conservatives would feel this way.
"There has always been a populist bent to Canadian conservatism," Coletto said, "and we see this in some of the values expressed" in the survey.
Coletto pointed to the rise of the Reform Party in the 1980s and 1990s as an example.
Fifty-nine per cent of respondents said they expect the Occupy protests to have "no impact" on Canadian politics, and Abacus attributes that to Canadians' belief that corporations have too much influence.
"This cynicism is not surprising if we consider that 81 per cent of Canadians agree that corporations and the rich have too much influence over politics in Canada," the survey report argues. "If governments are overly influenced by the interests of corporations and the rich, why would government respond to these protests?"