54% of Canadians Oppose Afghan Mission

The CBC poll released Thursday indicates that nationally 54% of Canadians oppose Canadian military participation in Afghanistan, while only 34% are in support. Opposition for the mission was strongest in Quebec with 73% opposed and support for the mission was highest in Alberta at 42%. This is a significant increase in opposition to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan since 2002 when Canadian soldiers were first sent overseas and approximately 20% of Canadians that were opposed to military involvement.

The EKOS study found that opposition was decisive in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, while Western Canada had a narrower gap between those who support the mission and those who oppose it. Commenting on the poll EKOS President Frank Graves stated that “The public outlook on Afghanistan has undergone a steady and radical transformation. From overwhelming public support at the outset of the mission we have seen an inexorable reversal to overwhelming public opposition. Opposition has grown from a trivial mid-teen level to nearly well over 50 percent.”

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54% of Canadians oppose Afghan mission: EKOS poll

CBC News, Thursday July 16, 2009

A slim majority of Canadians oppose the country’s participation in the war in Afghanistan, with the strongest opposition coming from Quebec, an EKOS poll suggests.
The poll, commissioned for the CBC and released Thursday, asked: “Do you support or oppose Canadian military participation in Afghanistan?”
Nationally, 54 per cent said they opposed it, while 34 per cent said they supported it, according to the poll. Twelve per cent were undecided.
Opposition was decisive in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, while Western Canada had a narrower gap between those who support the mission and those who oppose it, EKOS found.
The survey suggests the strongest opposition exists in Quebec, with 73 per cent of those polled saying they didn’t support Canada’s participation. Fifteen per cent offered their support.
Alberta had the strongest support for the mission, at 42 per cent, while 45 per cent were opposed, the poll suggested. In British Columbia, opposition was at 49 per cent while 40 per cent offered support. The sample size for Saskatchewan/Manitoba was considered too small to be conclusive.
Opposition was very high among women across the country, with 60 per cent saying Canada should not be involved in Afghanistan and 27 per cent saying it should.
When it comes to political leanings and support for the mission, Conservative voters were on top with 51 per cent saying Canada should be in Afghanistan. Liberal voters were second with 31 per cent, and Green voters were at 26 per cent. Twenty per cent of NDP voters said they supported participating in the mission, while 11 per cent of Bloc Québécois voters did.
As EKOS was conducting the poll, Britain announced eight of its soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan during a 24-hour period, one of the worst days for British forces since the war started.
When Canada first sent soldiers to Afghanistan in 2002, public opposition to the mission hovered around 20 per cent, according to EKOS tracking data. Since the mission started, Canada has lost 124 Canadian soldiers, two aid workers and one diplomat.

EKOS conducted the poll between July 8 and 14, 2009, surveying 2,713 Canadians from across the country over the age of 18. It’s the seventh in a series of weekly polls conducted by EKOS and released by CBC News. The margin of error for a survey of this size is plus or minus 1.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Copyright © CBC 2009

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