Census Poll Report

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August 6th, 2010

CARP members across the country and across the political spectrum do not agree with the government’s decision to make the long form census voluntary, they do not have privacy concerns with the long form census and they claim they will punish the government at the polls if this policy is not reversed.

While opposition to, or acceptance of the census policy, is primarily driven by partisan affiliation, with significantly more Conservative party supporters taking the government’s side, nonetheless, even among Conservative supporters, opposition to the census policy is in the majority.

Three quarters of CARP members believe the government should reverse its decision to make the compulsory long form census a voluntary household survey, three quarters have no privacy concerns with it, two thirds do not find the long form intrusive and the vast majority believe the information the long form census provides is important for Canadian decision-making.

Fully two thirds do not believe a voluntary household survey will be as valid as the compulsory long form, and, as proof, say they themselves are much less likely to complete a voluntary survey.

When presented with the competing claims of Industry Minister Tony Clement and Chief Statistician Dr. Munir Sheikh, two thirds side with Dr. Sheikh, while only one-in-twenty agrees with Minister Clement. It is perhaps because of this perception that three quarters of members believe Statistics Canada should become an arms-length government agency like the Auditor General, outside Parliamentary control, to ensure no political interference.

Close to one half of those members who say they might otherwise be
predisposed to vote for the government in the next election say they will
not do so if the government doesn’t reverse its decision on the long form
census. In illustration of this, the Conservative party has lost 10 points in
voter preference since the last wave of polling, the Liberals have gained
ten points, and the two are now at par. It is thought this shift in voter
preference is entirely due to the census issue.

Keywords: government, census