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(04/21/10) -

Support for Afghanistan Mission Falls Markedly in Canada

Half of respondents believe the federal government has not provided enough information about the war.

Half of respondents believe the federal government has not provided enough information about the war.

More Canadians are voicing opposition to the country’s military commitment in Afghanistan, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample of 1,007 Canadian adults also shows that a majority of respondents believe the federal government has provided too little information about the conflict.

The Mission

This month, 39 per cent of respondents (down eight points since February) say they support the military operation involving Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, while 56 per cent oppose it (up seven points).

Alberta (50%) and Atlantic Canada (54%) are the only areas where at least half of respondents support the mission. The level of opposition is highest in Quebec (75%) and British Columbia (56%).

Canadians remain divided on whether the country should have sent military forces to Afghanistan, with 36 per cent believing this was the correct decision, and 42 per cent stating that the operation was a mistake. Overall, 57 per cent of Canadians say they have a clear idea of what the war in Afghanistan is about, a proportion that has remained stable since February.

When The War is Over

When asked about what they think will be the most likely outcome of the war in Afghanistan, eight per cent of Canadians expect a clear victory by U.S. and NATO forces over the Taliban, 31 per cent foresee a negotiated settlement from a position of U.S. and NATO strength that gives the Taliban a small role in the Afghan government.

In addition, 15 per cent of respondents believe the Taliban will play a significant role in Afghanistan after the war is over, and a further 13 per cent believe U.S. and NATO forces will ultimately be defeated by the Taliban.

The Media and the Government

Canadians remain content with the way the country’s media outlets have covered the ongoing conflict. A majority of respondents (51%) claim that the media has provided the right amount of attention to Afghanistan, while 22 per cent think it has been too little, and 15 per cent say it has been too much.

Just one-in-four Canadians (27%) think the federal government has provided the right amount of information about the war in Afghanistan, while more than half (53%) claim it has been too little.

Obama’s Plan

Canadians are not certain that the plan for Afghanistan outlined by U.S. President Barack Obama will be successful. Just over a third of respondents (36%) are very or moderately confident that the Obama Administration will be able “finish the job” in Afghanistan, while a majority (54%) are not too confident or not confident at all. These numbers show little fluctuation since December.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

CONTACT:

Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs
+877 730 3570
mario.canseco@angus-reid.com

Methodology: From April 8 to April 9, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,007 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.