Canadians split on Bill C-51

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Canadians split on Bill C-51

Liberal support for bill moves some votes to NDP

TORONTO June 23rd, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1268 Canadian voters, almost equal proportions support (39%) and oppose (41%) Bill C-51, the new anti-terrorism legislation. It must be noted that fully one fifth of voters have no opinion on this hotly contested issue (20%). Support for the bill is characteristic of the oldest (55 to 64 - 44%, 65+ - 46%), the less wealthy ($20K to $40K - 51%), in Quebec (45%) and Alberta (50%), among Conservatives (69%) and some Liberals (43%), but not New Democrats (18%), among French Canadians (46%) and the least educated (47%). Opposition to the bill is common to the youngest (49%), males (44%), the wealthiest ($80K to $100K - 49%, $100K to $250K - 47%), in BC (58%), among New Democrats (63%) and the best educated (55%).

Vote switching favours NDP

A total of 3-in-10 voters (30%) are either “less likely to vote Liberal” (8%) or “more likely to vote NDP” (22%) because of the passage of Bill C-51. On the other hand, about 2-in-10 (18%) are more likely to vote Liberal (12%) or less likely to vote NDP (6%) for their opposition to the bill. This adds up to a 12 point advantage in vote switching behaviour for the NDP. Among current Liberal voters, just one tenth are more likely to vote NDP because of the bill (9%), while  very few are less likely to vote Liberal (3%), for a total of about 1-in-10 (12%) switchers. Among those who voted Liberal in 2011, however, fully one quarter are less likely to vote Liberal (24%) and about a twentieth are more likely to vote NDP (6%), for a total of 3-in-10 past Liberal voters (30%) who may have switched their preference. Very few Liberals or New Democrats will vote Conservative to support Bill C-51.

"While the effect is not as drastic as some describe, and it may not be the entire reason for the NDP’s leadership in the polls, there is no question that Liberal support for Bill C-51 has had some effect on their electoral support, and while it may count for about 10 points of switching behaviour between parties, it also may contribute about 5 points overall to the NDP vote at the election," 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.