December 24, 2014 5:00 pm
Updated: December 24, 2014 8:54 pm

ISIS, Ebola top international news stories in Canada: exclusive poll

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WATCH: Stuart Greer takes a look back at the year’s top stories.

OTTAWA – Canadians have chosen the dual scares of Islamic State terrorism and Ebola as the top international news stories of 2014, a new poll has found.

About 33 per cent of Canadians chose ISIS terrorist acts and the war in Iraq and Syria as the top international news story of the year, according to an Ipsos-Reid poll for Global News.

Another third said it was the Ebola outbreak in Africa – the largest in history – that has killed almost 7,000 people and has also made its way to the United States.

“These are two seriously enduring issues,” said John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos Global Public Affairs.

“It’s something that comes to your shores. It’s not like it’s happening in another part of the world and it’s isolated. These are global threats taken to heart here in our country, and it’s not surprising that the two of them are at the top.”

Top international stories of 2014

Graphic by: Janet Cordahi

Watch: Canada steps in to help with Ebola crisis

It is suspected the October killings of two soldiers in Canada were motivated by ISIS. Both Martin Couture-Rouleau, who ran over Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Quebec, and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo before storming Parliament Hill, held extremist views.

READ MORE: Slain soldiers Cirillo and Vincent voted Newsmaker of the Year

Wright notes that some two-thirds of Canadians support the Conservative government’s airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq.

“It’s not necessarily seen as a war, it’s seen as a containment strategy of trying to fight something which could be very corrosive around the world and causes immediate fear,” he said.

“These are the sort of things that can reach into your backyard – by airplane or by radicalism.”

READ MORE: Majority of Canadians back use of fighter jets to strike ISIS in Iraq

Tied far behind in third place, at 9 per cent each, was the Russia takeover of the Crimean Peninsula in February, followed by the Malaysian Airlines double disasters – the missing plane over the Indian Ocean, and the other one shot down over Ukraine in July.

Other top stories include:

  • Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist group in Nigeria that kidnapped 276 girls in April (5 per cent);
  • the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games in February (5 per cent);
  • the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza (4 per cent);
  • Philae, the European Space Agency Probe successfully landing on a comet in November (4 per cent);
  • the capsizing of a Korean ferry in April that killed 290 people (2 per cent)

Fewer than one per cent of Canadians thought the South African trial of former Olympic “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, who was found guilty of manslaughter for killing his girlfriend, merited top story.

Watch: Pistorius judge rules prosecutors can appeal verdict

The data also found that men are more likely than women to believe ISIS was the top story, while more women than men, at 35 per cent to 26 per cent, respectively, said the Ebola outbreak was the number one story.

Canadians older than 55 years old were also more likely to say ISIS was the top story, as were Atlantic Canadians.

Those in British Columbia and Alberta were more likely than average to say Ebola was the top story.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos Reid polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll involved online interviews with a sample of 1,005 Canadians between December 16 to 19, 2014 on behalf of Global News. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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