Sunday, July 15, 2007

Divided On Afghanistan

Ipsos-Reid poll out that shows a similar trend to other recent polls, but not to the same extent. In fact, the numbers find Canadians are equally divided:
The poll, conducted exclusively for CanWest News Service and Global National by Ipsos Reid, showed that half of Canadians — exactly 50 per cent — said they either “strongly” or “somewhat support” the use of Canada’s troops for security and combat efforts in Afghanistan.

Almost equally planted on the other side of the debate are 45 per cent of Canadians who said they either “strongly” or “somewhat oppose” the mission in Afghanistan. The remaining five per cent said they do not have an opinion one way or the other.

The latest numbers show a continuing drop in support for the mission since it reached a peak in the fall of 2006 at 57 per cent. In April 2007, support had slipped to 52 per cent, and now to 50, according to the polling firm’s data

I have to agree with this comment:
But even with the declining support, pollster Darrell Bricker says the conventional wisdom that as casualties mount, support will drop, is not necessarily proving true.

“I actually expected that the numbers were going to be quite a bit lower because of what happened last week,” Bricker said, referring to the six soldiers who were killed by a roadside bomb on July 4. “But I think what’s happened is that the issue is starting to transcend the issue of casualties.”

You could characterize a 2% drop in support since April as statistically irrelevant, which is surprising, given other polls that show a more measurable drop.

I would be nice to see some more of the internals, because the wording is such that it might be misleading. I mean, I could say that "somewhat" support the mission in general, because that is a complicated question. A more straightforward question would ask if you support the mission in its present configuration. There are a percentage of Canadians that support some presence, but not necessarily us as military vanguard. However, there might be value in this type of question, because it shows that our involvement is a complex issue that doesn't solicite an easy response.


wilson said...

The question was:
''...Canadians — exactly 50 per cent — said they either “strongly” or “somewhat support” the use of Canada’s troops for security and combat efforts in Afghanistan...''

'security and combat', no mention of reconstruction, so 50% is a high number without 'reconstruction' in the question.

Anonymous said...

Canadians are smarter than pollsters or media give them credit for, they realize that the Afghan people would suffer terribly without our troops and that Afghanistan cannot be allowed to become a base for international terrorist operations again. These polls are for headlines and simpletons.

Anonymous said...

Canadians aren't stupid. They listen to reports from other sources other than our government. Where's the money going? Why are we supporting Karzai and his corrupt government. We are being presented with a false picture of progress in Afghanistan. It's not that Canadians don't want to see the Afghan mission succeed - it's the fact that it isn't succeeding and doesn't look like it will succeed. Now, Harper/O'Connor are changing to the training of Afghan troops - ah, this has been done before "in Iraq" and we know how that's going.

I want to see better for the Afghan people, but I truly can't see how it will happen.

Canadian Tar Heel said...

Interesting poll, Steve.

Steve V said...

"'security and combat', no mention of reconstruction, so 50% is a high number without 'reconstruction' in the question."

Those numbers don't quite jive with all the other polls that show people think casualties are too high, and we should withdraw. I'm trying to reconcile the conflicting viewpoints, and the fact there is no "re-construction" component might just force opinion into a question they don't necessarily support.

Steve V said...

If support is as high as this poll suggests, then I don't think the government would be compelled to lament the need for moreinformation. According to this poll, the government still enjoys tremendous support, which begs the question, why such a complete about face on the mission?

wilson said...

'why such a complete about face on the mission?'

Perhaps because Dion gave PMSH an early out (no consensus, period), and didn't hold back until Feb 08 to say absolutely no, that may have given Dion the option to force an election on it??
Also, it will put a stop (hopefully) to all the negative talk from the opps, so as not to demoralize the troops.
The 'new' less combat focus mission, will be 100% Harper's, and to his credit, and an easy transition for the troops.
Our troops have been training Afghans since Oct 06, and officially handed the job in May 07.

Steve V said...

"that may have given Dion the option to force an election on it??"

Wasn't PMSH the one who threatened to go to the polls over the extension last summer?

Anonymous said...

when i read an ipsos poll for canwest, i completely disregard it as there is a strange pattern whereby ipsos's canwest polls are outliers relative to other firms' results. they consistently show higher support for the gov't or the gov't's positions then other firms' results. gee, i wonder why???


Steve V said...


You might be right, because we really should be seeing more of a drop in support, given the recent circumstances. Could be phrasing, maybe an outlier, maybe politically motivated, whatever the case I find it hard to believe more people support the mission than oppose at this point.