What will engage Canadians most in 2016? Many of the same issues that dominated 2015

What will engage Canadians most in 2016? Many of the same issues that dominated 2015

The federal election and the Paris attacks were the most-followed news stories of 2015.

January 1, 2016 – As the world turns its gaze toward 2016, the Angus Reid Institute is preparing its polling agenda for the next 12 months.

While ARI can’t foresee all of the stories it will ask Canadians about this year, many are likely to be continuations of the stories Canadians were most engaged with in 2015.

If you followed ARI’s countdown of the ten most-viewed stories on angusreid.org these last few weeks, you know that the biggest single story of 2015 was the federal election that swept Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party to power. But in terms of the degree of awareness Canadians claimed when asked about a variety of stories over the course of the year, the election was actually only the second-biggest story of the year.

The story that engaged Canadians the most in 2015 was the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13. More than half (55%) of Canadians surveyed said they were reading and seeing stories about it and discussing it with friends and family – the highest level of engagement on ARI’s news-awareness scale.

In comparison, the highest percentage of respondents who said they were following the 2015 election this closely was 47 per cent.

In 2016, issues related to the ongoing battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will surely continue garnering headlines and commanding the public’s attention.

Likewise, the issues that dominated the 2015 campaign are likely to remain in the news this year. One of these will undoubtedly be the ongoing resettlement of Syrian refugees. When ARI asked about the refugee crisis back in September, roughly one-quarter of Canadians (27%) said they were following it and discussing it with friends and family. That’s roughly half as many as said the same about the Paris attacks, but it’s one of the highest numbers the Institute recorded throughout the year for a story about something other than the election.

The only national, non-election, non-Paris-attack survey that yielded a higher percentage of people saying they had followed this closely was the anti-vaccination movement, which also seems likely to continue in 2016. See the table below for more awareness results from our 2015 surveys:

Angus Reid Institute

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