Saturday, June 09, 2007

Afghanistan Poll

Angus Reid poll on Afghanistan, with some interesting results. Taken immediately after the Harper photo-op in Afghanistan, the survey finds little support for the government:
Q. The Harper government has effectively explained the mission in Afghanistan:

Agree 23%
Disagree 55%
Don't know 22%
Of note, 52% of Albertans Disagree, as do 17% of Conservative supporters.

Canadians support the idea of early withdrawal:
Canada should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before their mandate ends in February 2009:

Agree 50%
Disagree 32%
Not Sure 18%

By party:

NDP 64% agree, 18% disagree, 17% not sure
Lib 51% agree, 27% disagree, 22% not sure
Cons 25% agree, 61% disagree, 14% not sure

In what could be construed as a confusing finding, given the above, 43% of Canadians think Afghans are benefiting from our presence, 22% disagree and 36% unsure. Canadians also think we are shouldering too much of the NATO burden.

The fact this poll was taken in the aftermath of Harper's Afghanistan trip should be of particular concern. You would expect a slight uptick, with such a high profile, feel good visit. That there was no positive response, Canadians still don't show confidence in the government on this file, is relevant to the idea of view hardening.

I admit some surprise that so many Canadians would support the notion of early withdrawal. I would expect to see that opinion, if the question asked if we should stay beyond 2009, but it would appear Canadians are articulating Afghanistan fatigue.

17 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

Of note, 52% of Albertans Disagree, as do 17% of Conservative supporters.

What a condemnation of Conservative supporters. Practically anyone sensible, regardless of interest or political leaning, can correctly conclude that this mission, beyond the legitimate need to break up Al-Qaeda state-sponsored terrorism and as part of Canada's NATO commitment, has been badly sold to Canadians, and that's an accusation that can be leveled at three past governments. The official narrative from the Harper Conservatives (democracy, nation-building, women's rights, etc. etc.) are just so many motherhood statements that stop having any meaning whatsoever after a period of time. Yet the Conservatives still believe that *hoping* and *wishing* and vocal, showy support for lofty ideals and cheering on the team leader are the way to conduct military activities and foreign policy.

I'm glad to see most Canadians don't seem to find this all that persuasive; I wish more Conservatives would come back down to Earth and realise that being skeptical, critical, dissenting or simply doubtful are their democratic responsibilities as citizens of this country as well.

northwestern_lad said...

Wow... now who is saying that the NDP haven't been gauging the sentiments of Canadians properly??? 50% of Canadians agree with the principal that the NDP has been putting out there, of removing our troops.

wilson said...

The Conservative Government has NOT done a good job on communicating the 'good stuff' about the mission.
Canadians see lots about Candian casualties, detainee mistreatment, civilian deaths, and very little about the reconstruction and quality of life improvement of Afghans, BECAUSE of our brave soldiers.
Pointless to blame the media when PMSH controls the media (sort of).
Fire up ToryTV!

It is a war, PMSH called it that.

This on-line poll does not give the participant's over all voting intentions.
Do the number of NDP participants reflect the national voting intentions? Are, say 30%, of the participants dippers?

Anonymous said...

I find the NDP hypocritical - they constantly say Canada should honour it's committments (Kyoto, Kelowna) until it's a committment about Afghanistan. Either you honour your committments or you don't - you can't have it both ways.

Harper is the same - he wants us to honour our committment to Afghanistan, but not Kyoto, Kelowna, etc. - can't have it both ways.

What a joke.

Scott Tribe said...

I've updated my post that you've got a link to here Steve. This is another online survey. I again question the accuracy of it - whether it shows bad #'s for the Tories on this issue or not - and I'll wait till I see a more traditional poll (one whose methodology has proven to be accurate - unlike the online ones) before definitively saying that Canadian public opinion has solidly turned against this mission.

JimBobby said...

"I find the NDP hypocritical - they constantly say Canada should honour it's committments (Kyoto, Kelowna) until it's a committment about Afghanistan. Either you honour your committments or you don't - you can't have it both ways.
"


I find the Prime Minister hypocritical - he constantly says Canada should honour it's commitments (NATO, Afghanistan) until it's a commitment about Kyoto or Kelowna. Either you honour your commitments or you don't - you can't have it both ways.

JB

Steve V said...

scott

It's the same online survey that generally overstates Conservative support in the horserace numbers. For that reason, it seems less likely that the negative numbers are over-inflated.

knb said...

Canada should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan before their mandate ends in February 2009:

Agree 50%
Disagree 32%
Not Sure 18%

By party:

NDP 64% agree, 18% disagree, 17% not sure
Lib 51% agree, 27% disagree, 22% not sure
Cons 25% agree, 61% disagree, 14% not sure


It looks to me that Liberals reflect the over all numbers most closely, however, it is not the Liberal position to leave the mission pre '09.

Steve V said...

knb

That is the only question on withdrawal. I wish they had asked another question, say- "do you support Canada honoring its Afghanistan commitment until 2009?". Just a hunch, but I think that choice might have siphoned some off the other question.

Scott Tribe said...

Steve:

People who are politically active and who find out these online surveys are around and that one is able to sign up for them will do so - particularly if its an issue they feel passionate about. The survey pool at the start of this exercise was probably tilted with a lot of Tory partisans.. but due to some of us making a fuss about that, other partisans have no doubt joined, making it a possibility there are recruitment drives to get as many of one group of people on as possible (indeed, I've seen a couple of Liberal bloggers in the past publicly call at least 1 or 2 times for Liberals to join the Angus-Reid forum to give Liberal opinion more of a voice)

This is why I don't trust the online polls in general, and Angus-Reid's in particular. It has too much possibility of having skewed results.

Steve V said...

scott

I hear what you are saying, but here are the links for the last two provincial elections, that show the online polling to be highly accurate:

Quebec

Manitoba
Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Jack Layton is getting ready to go to Afghanistan to open peace negotiations with the Taliban, does anybody know when?

He'll be a hero if he can pull it off. If it doesn't work out, at least he will have put his money where his mouth is and tried.

Steve V said...

Link? I would view that move as completely irresponsible.

JimBobby said...

Hamid Karzai confirmed back in April that he is already negotiating with the Taliban.

Steve V said...

JB

Karzai can do what he wants, but I don't think the fourth party should be advocating Canadian policy abroad. Is this true about Layton?

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I ain't disagreein', SteveFeller. I figgered the anonnynumbnuts (1:55) was on the Taliban Jack theme. I don't reckon Jack's really that stoopid.

As fer Karzai doin' what he wants...

I ain't sure about Karzai holdin' secret talks with the same bunch that's killin' Canajuns. I reckon NATO's got a big stake an' NATO troops been dyin' to keep Karzai an' his warlord opium barons in power so maybe we oughta have a seat at any negotiations that's goin' on.

O' course, now the truth's comin' out wrt the CIA secret prisons in Yerp an' what's comin' out is that the prisoners, like the illegally held Gitmo prisoners, mostly came from Afstan.

Canajuns is fightin' an' dyin' fer a narco-state an' our biggest allies are war criminals. An' 61% of the Con's think it's just fine'n'dandy.

JB

Steve V said...

JB

Fair enough. I agree we should have a seat at any negotiation.