A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds Canadians closely watching the unfolding Syrian refugee crisis – many (48%) support a dramatic increase in refugee resettlement within Canada. With 2,506 respondents the Mainstreet Research poll conducted for Postmedia has a margin of error of +/- 1.96%, 19/20.
“Canadians are divided on who is responsible for the current crisis with 32% saying ISIS is primarily responsible compared to 31% who hold the current Syrian government led by Bashar Al-Assad responsible,” said Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet. “In recent days we have heard Conservative leader Stephen Harper make the case that it is ISIS that is responsible while the opposition leaders have argued the crisis was brought on by Syria’s civil war. Each of their messages has had some limited success, with almost one in three Canadians not sure.”
When it comes to the Canadian Government response to the crisis, almost 1 in 2 Canadians disapprove of the government’s response (48%). The highest approval comes from Alberta with 48% followed by the Prairies with 42%. Disapproval is highest in Quebec with 53% followed by Atlantic Canada and Ontario at 49%. This suggests approval is correlated with federal voting intention.
Almost half of Canadians want Canada to accept over 30,000 refugees from Syria, significantly more than Canada’s current commitments. Another 13% indicate Canada should accept between 20,000 and 30,000 and 11% said between 10,000 and 20,000 while just 13% indicated less than 10,000 Syrian refugees should be taken in.
When asked what role Canada should play in the continuing crisis, more Canadians want to see efforts focused on refugee resettlement (31%) than military deployment (18%).
“Canadians clearly want to see more action taken on refugee resettlement,” continued Maggi. “They believe it is the best way Canada can help and almost half of Canadians support resettling over 30,000 refugees. These are significant numbers.”
More Canadians believe that Tom Mulcair would be most effective in addressing the refugee crisis, with 26%, followed closely by Justin Trudeau at 24% and Stephen Harper with 21%.
48% believe Canada is not doing its fair share and 39% feel the same about Europe. This may change as media coverage of the European response becomes more positive following policy changes in Hungary that have allowed migrants to reach Austria and Germany.
In the case of the Kurdi family that made international headlines after two children drowned while attempting to escape from Syria, 44% do not believe the Government acted appropriately.
“What the effects of the crisis and the case of the Kurdi family will be on the outcome of this election is yet to be seen. What appeared to be a turning point in this campaign last week has been changed as further details emerge. It appears that the Government has managed to avoid the eroding of its support, although perhaps further polarized the opposition and provided further motivation for people to vote before October 19,” finished Maggi.