Large majority opposed to carding

| Filed under: Toronto

Large majority opposed to carding

Few find Chief Saunders credible on the issue

TORONTO, MAY 6th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 822 Toronto voters, 6-in-10 oppose the practice of “carding” (60%), and just fewer than half this proportion support it (29%). One tenth have no opinion (11%). Approval of carding is common to Gen X (45 to 54 - 41%), the wealthy ($80K to $100K - 42%), supporters of both Doug Ford (39%) and Mayor Tory (36%) in the last election, but not Olivia Chow voters (14%), in North York (36%) and among voters with a non-British European background (38%). Opposition to the practice is characteristic of the youngest (77%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 73%), Olivia Chow voters (79%), in the downtown (76%), South Asians (72% - caution: small base size) and black voters (81% - caution: small base size).

Few find Chief Saunders credible on carding

Just 3-in-10 voters find Chief of Police Mark Saunders’ view that ending carding will lead to increased crime is credible (31%), where more than 4-in-10 find it not credible (43%). One quarter have no opinion on this (26%).

One half think carding ineffective at preventing crime

One half of Toronto voters say carding is ineffective at preventing crime (52%), and just one quarter think it effective for this purpose (27%). Those who think carding is effective tend to be the same group that favours the practice.

Plurality agrees blacks get carded more

Slightly more voters agree black Torontonians are the focus of too much police enforcement (41%), while just more than one third disagree with this (36%). As many as a quarter don’t share an opinion (24%). Among black voters, three quarters agree (74% - caution: small base size).

Even split on whether blacks disproportionately responsible for crime

Just more voters agree blacks are disproportionately responsible for crime in the city (39%) than disagree this is the case (34%). One quarter don’t express an opinion (27%). Among black voters, fewer than one quarter agree (22% - caution: small base size) while one half disagree (51% - caution: small base size).

Two thirds see lack of trust between police and black community

Two thirds of voters agree there is a lack of trust between the Toronto police and the black community in the city (64%), while just 1-in-7 disagrees (14%). One quarter don’t have an opinion (22%). Those who agree are most likely to be the oldest (72%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 79%), the wealthiest ($100K to $250K - 70%), downtown (80%), among Chow voters (76%), among those who identify their ethnic background as Canadian or British (72% each) or black (77% - caution: small base size).

Better communications seen to be answer to lack of trust

When asked to select from a list of possible solutions to the lack of trust between Toronto police and the black community, those who see this as a problem are most apt to choose “better communications with community” (24%), followed by “sensitivity training for all officers” (22%) and “more foot patrols in at-risk areas” (21%). Other solutions less likely to be selected include ending carding (11%), hiring more black officers (8%) or assigning officers to protect at-risk buildings (4%). Among black voters, preferred solutions are the same.

One quarter claim to have been carded by Toronto police

Just fewer than one quarter of Toronto voters claim they have been stopped by Toronto police and asked for their personal information even though they were not committing an offence (22%), and this is especially the case among the youngest and males (27% each), the least wealthy (less than $20K - 28%, $20K to $40K - 35%), in Scarborough (28%) and among Doug Ford voters (33%), among those who disapprove of John Tory (28%), black voters (49% - caution: small base size) and, surprisingly, those who support carding (30%), but not those who oppose it (21%).

"It’s clear Torontonians don’t like the idea of carding and they don’t think it works and they don’t believe their new police chief when he says it’s necessary. More serious though, is the overall lack of trust perceived between the black community and the police force. When the entire population, not the aggrieved group only, sees sensitivity training and better communication as necessary to improve relations, you know there’s a problem. And carding is not just a problem for the black community only, when we have nearly a quarter of Torontonians claiming to have experienced it," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.