01/26/2018 05:13 EST | Updated 01/26/2018 13:23 EST

A deeper look into new research on factors that drive 'northern populism'

OTTAWA — Across the world, citizens who have felt sideswiped by technological, cultural and economic progress have sought to regain some measure of control by seeking to upend the political status quo in their home countries.

EKOS Research and The Canadian Press sought to explore to what extent similar discontent exists here and in particular, where, by devising an index to measure attitudes.

The methodology:

Two telephone polls from June and December probed respondents for their opinions in categories covering their economic outlook on the future and sense of class mobility, how well they know Canada's ethnic makeup, their racial tolerance and finally, whether they believe so-called populism is a good or bad thing.

The answer to each question was allotted a point value. Negative answers — such as respondents reporting they were falling backward — received more points than positive ones.

The sum of the points determined where someone sits on a spectrum of views ranging from 'open' to 'mixed' to 'ordered'. Put another way, it measures how insecure Canadians are feeling.

The higher the point total, the more 'ordered' a person's world view. Here's how EKOS defined the terms used on the spectrum.

Ordered: The outlook is associated with a more authoritarian view which sees order and obedience as more important than creativity and reason. It tends to be nostalgic for a previous (perhaps apocryphal) era where comfort and security were enjoyed. Those attracted to this outlook tend to be in the working and poor classes, many who have experience downward class mobility."

Open: The outlook is future-oriented, welcomes change, and is receptive to an open approach to trade and immigration. It tends to be optimistic and progressive and is most evident in those currently seeing themselves as members of the middle and upper class. We shall see that there several other important features of this outlook.

Taken together, the sample size amounted to 12,604 people, large enough to allow for a deep dive into the data to chart results not just nationally but regionally and by census metropolitan area. The polls had a margin of error of 0.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The results:


Most 'open' cities: In St. John's, 61 per cent of respondents fell into this category. They were followed by Victoria at 59 per cent, and Kelowna, B.C. at 55 per cent.

Most 'mixed' cities: Windsor, Ont., 34 per cent, followed by Sherbrooke, Que., at 32 per cent.

Most 'ordered' cities: Oshawa, Ont., 38 per cent, followed by Saskatoon at 37 per cent and Calgary at 36 per cent.

More broadly, people with an ordered world view were more likely to live in places with 100,000 people or less.

By gender:

Open: 47 per cent of male respondents, 44 per cent of female respondents.

Mixed: 24 per cent of males, 26 per cent of females.

Ordered: 30 per cent of males, 30 per cent of females.

By age:

Respondents under 35: 50 per cent open, 20 per cent mixed, 30 per cent ordered.

35-29: 48 per cent open, 24 per cent mixed, 28 per cent ordered.

50-64: 42 per cent open,  26 per cent mixed, 32 per cent ordered.

65+: 40 per cent open, 31 per cent mixed, 29 per cent ordered.

By party affiliation:

The vast majority of all respondents have not held membership in a political party in the last five years, but of those who have, 18 per cent were classified as open, 16 as mixed and 15 as ordered.

Liberals: 56 per cent were classified as open, 25 per cent were mixed and 19 per cent were ordered.

Conservatives: 35 per cent open, 26 per cent mixed, 40 per cent ordered.

New Democrats: 52 per cent open, 20 per cent mixed, 28 per cent ordered.

Source: EKOS Research