Canadians, American agree border should stay: polls
The following is excerpted from the 13 March 2011 edition of "globeandmail.com"
Canadians and Americans share the view that good fences make good neighbours.
When it comes to proposing that the Canada-United States border be erased, only 22 per cent of Canadians and 16 per cent of Americans in two recently conducted, separate polls said they agree with the idea.
The results are part of research unveiled by the Association for Canadian Studies that also indicates average Americans don’t take Canada as seriously as their northern neighbours rate the U.S.
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Thirty-nine per cent of Americans surveyed in a poll in February said they rank Canada as “vitally important” to them, compared with 70 per cent of Canadians polled in a separate survey earlier this month who said the same about the U.S.
On the other hand, fully 92 per cent of Americans say they hold a favourable opinion of Canada, compared with 72 per cent of Canadians stating they view the U.S. favourably, according to the polling results.
“Neither country seems to have any desire to get rid of the border,” said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Montreal-based association. “We’re clearly not where the European Union is.”
As to views on the relative importance of each country: “There would appear to be a bigger minority of Canadians who have a more mixed view of the United States, such as its politics, for example. Whereas the bigger country looking at us sees us as a quiet and likeable neighbour that isn’t troublesome,” Mr. Jedwab said.
When Americans were asked which country they viewed most favourably, they chose Canada, followed by Great Britain (88 per cent) and Germany (82 per cent). For their part, Canadians chose Australia and Great Britain (tied at 85 per cent), followed by Germany (78 per cent) and then the U.S.
Of countries that Americans see as having vital importance to the interests of the U.S., China (70 per cent), North Korea (59 per cent) and Iran (57 per cent) rated higher than Canada.
However, 38 per cent of Canadians polled agreed that China is “vitally important” to them, followed by 31 per cent saying Great Britain is, 18 per cent Afghanistan, 17 per cent Iran and 16 per cent Mexico.
Francophone Canadians feel more strongly than non-francophones when it comes to Canada remaining neutral over U.S. conflicts abroad.
Fifty-eight per cent of all respondents said Canada should be neutral when the U.S. has conflicts with other countries, while 73 per cent of French-speaking respondents said the country should not get involved.
On the health-care front, 40 per cent of Americans said they agree that Canada has a better health-care system than the U.S.
The survey done in Canada on perceptions of the U.S. was conducted by Leger for the association with 1,032 persons interviewed via web panel March 4 through March 7. An equivalent phone survey would have a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
The U.S. survey on perceptions of Canada was conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for the association with 1,000 persons interviewed via web panel Feb. 28 through March 1. An equivalent phone survey would have a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Other elements of the research were conducted by Gallup and based on telephone interviews done Feb. 2 through Feb. 5, with a random sample of 1,015 adults. The organization says it has 95 per cent confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.