46% of Canadians sympathize with trucker convoy, but many disagree with their tactics: poll

Click to play video: 'Trucker protests: Ipsos polling finds nearly half of Canadians say frustration is legitimate'
Trucker protests: Ipsos polling finds nearly half of Canadians say frustration is legitimate
WATCH: An Ipsos poll published Thursday showed that nearly 46 per cent of Canadians sympathize with the frustration of the trucker convoy protesters. – Feb 11, 2022

The trucker convoy protest movement against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions that has paralyzed the Canadian capital and spilled over to key Canada-U.S. border crossings has the sympathy of many Canadians, according to a new poll.

An Ipsos poll published Thursday and conducted exclusively for Global News showed that nearly 46 per cent of Canadians say they “may not agree with everything” the trucker convoy says or does, but the frustration of protesters is “legitimate and worthy” of sympathy.

This sympathy has risen to 61 per cent particularly among Canadians aged 18 to 34, according to the poll.

On the other hand, 54 per cent of Canadians who participated in this poll believe that people taking part in the protests do not “deserve any of our sympathy” and that what they “have said and done is wrong.”

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“It’s not that people are tired. They’re very frustrated,” Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos public affairs told Global News. “And what’s happened is that this protest has become a lightning rod for that frustration.”

Bricker said the results of the poll show that Canadians don’t necessarily agree with the blocking of Parliament Hill in Ottawa or the Nazi imagery popping up in some protests, but most are frustrated with the COVID-19 mandates.

“Canada has one of the highest levels of vaccination, so Canadians have listened and complied…yet we’re still stuck. They feel they’ve done whatever it is that they were asked to do and they feel that we still haven’t gotten back on track,” Bricker said.

Click to play video: 'Trucker protests: Demonstrators gather at Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport'
Trucker protests: Demonstrators gather at Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport

As a result, as the truckers started rolling in and expressing their frustration, people joined in by expressing their concern about the future of the economy and the cost of living, he explained.

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“That’s where the (general population and the truckers) align,” said Bricker.

As of Thursday, the protesters have been encamped in Ottawa for 14 days.

The protest initially sprung up in response to a federal rule that all Canadian truckers seeking to cross the border from the United States would need to be vaccinated in order to avoid a 14-day quarantine. That mandate went into effect on Jan. 15 — and the United States’ own vaccine mandate for truckers was imposed a week later.

But as the trucks rolled towards Ottawa, their message became increasingly muddied. Organizers were found to have made hateful comments and one had ties to a hate group. Some participants extended the goal to an end to all public health mandates. Some have called for Trudeau to resign.

As the frustration continues to connect with the Canadian population, Bricker said the level of support for the convoy protesters will also continue to grow.

As far as political inclinations go, the polling showed 59 per cent of Conservative voters agree with the frustration expressed by the convoy protesters, while 44 per cent of Bloc, 43 per cent of NDP and 30 per cent of Liberal voters are aligned with the view that the convoy protesters deserve sympathy.

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Click to play video: 'Fredericton braces for COVID-19 protest convoy'
Fredericton braces for COVID-19 protest convoy

But Bricker said it’s less about partisanship and more about generation and social class.

Those aged 18 to 34 who sympathize with the truck convoy protesters are at 61 per cent, while those aged 35 to 54 are 44 per cent and those 55 and older are much less likely to agree, and are at 37 per cent.

“What we’re seeing in the numbers is that it’s younger people who are most interested in the message of the people who are occupying downtown Ottawa…so their belief in all of this is that this is less about the politics and more about genuine suffering that’s taking place among a group of the population that they can sympathize with,” Bricker said.

He added that as far as politics are concerned, there isn’t “unanimity in any political party at the moment.”

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For this poll, Canadians were also asked whether or not they agreed with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau choosing not to negotiate with the truck protesters.

On Feb. 3rd, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the people living in Ottawa deserve to get their lives back as the so-called “freedom convoy” continues to occupy downtown streets, but gave no sign that he’s willing to negotiate.

Results show that 53 per cent agree that he shouldn’t negotiate with them.

“The other half of Canadians say that he should be at least giving it a try. So the level of support behind the government in terms of the position that they’ve taken regarding these protests is not strong. It’s quite divided and fragile, and where it seems to be going is against what the government’s position is,” said Bricker.

“So saying that you’re not going to negotiate…is something that’s going to be difficult to sustain over time,” he added.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between Feb. 8-9, 2022, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.


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