COVID-19 Restrictions: Canadians are Polarized on Right or Left Political Lines

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Canadians are divided on political lines over COVID-19 Restrictions as a Sixth wave appears likely

This is the most recent release from our Modalis public opinion research panel. Modalis is made up of real respondents drawn randomly from the Canadian population. These latest results are based on a sample of over 1,200 Canadians with an actual margin of error of +/- 2.8 per cent at a 95% confidence interval. The survey was conducted between March 1 and 18, 2022.

For or against with few Canadians in the middle

THUNDER BAY – COVID-19 Update – The most recent Modalis public opinion survey says that the views of Canadians on COVID-19 restrictions are very polarized.

The results suggest atet on a range of public health restrictions – eliminating vaccine passports, removing masking requirements, vaccine mandates – Canadians are sharply divided on easing restrictions.

Modalis says, “Rarely do we find such consistent polarization among Canadians. There are very few sitting on the fence when it comes to easing COVID restrictions. Canadians are either for it or against it in almost equal numbers.”

Divisions are most pronounced across left and right

The division is strongly along political lines with those on the political left opposed to lifting restrictions and those on the political right strongly favouring removal of restrictions.

  • Eliminating vaccine passports: 44% opposed, 45% support
  • Removing masking requirements: 44% opposed, 41% support
  • Eliminating vaccine mandates: 49% opposed, 38% support

Left and right are almost equally opposed or supportive of easing COVID restrictions, respectively.

Those self-identifying as on the left are most strongly opposed to lifting restrictions, while those on the right most strongly favour lifting restrictions. Interestingly, those in the centre – the majority – are evenly polarized.

Seniors, university educated and women are most strongly opposed to easing restrictions

While demographic differences on easing restrictions are not as pronounced as political orientation, the survey finds that opposition to easing COVID restrictions is strongest among those over 65 years of age, individuals with a university degree, and women.

As Ontario appears already in a 6th wave of the virus, and headed to a provincial election in June, this divide likely will have an impact on decisions made by the Ford Government.

The Progressive Conservatives likely are concerned over keeping a balance between public health and the core supporters of the party.

After two years of the pandemic, many people are simply at a stage where they want things to return to normal.

Dr. Peter Jüni, the head of the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table states that Ontario likely to start seeing over 100,000 new cases daily. He also estimates that at least five per cent of Ontario’s are currently infected with the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Jüni stated to media that, “Based on our wastewater analysis, we just reached the peak we were at in early January and at that time, we were at about 100,000 to 120,000 new cases per day,”

Perhaps the difficulty of adding political opinions to the information cycle is that opinions are not scientific facts.

Remaining focused on the science might not be as easy, but it is as Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame might have said, more logical.

James Murray