Canadians supportive of government response to Ukraine-Russia conflict, but many say more is needed

Canadians supportive of government response to Ukraine-Russia conflict, but many say more is needed

Half (47%) have shown support or donated to Ukraine personally since conflict began


May 9, 2022 – The war in Ukraine has entered its third month, leaving thousands dead, millions seeking refuge, and billions feeling the economic impacts of an unsettled global economy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived for a surprise one-day visit to the capital city Kyiv yesterday, as both the Canadian and American embassies reopened for the first time since the war began.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians mostly supportive of the fashion with which their government has responded and sought to support Ukraine, while many say they are doing their own bit to help.

Indeed, one-quarter of Canadians (27%) say they have donated money to support efforts to help Ukrainians since the war began in late February. Those over the age of 54 are most likely to be following the conflict and to have opened up their wallets. On the more symbolic side of this scale, nearly the same number (28%) have posted something in support on social media. A handful of Canadians (3%) say they have sponsored or supported a Ukrainian refugee or refugee family.

At the governmental level, where policy decisions can wield much more considerable influence, Canadians are largely supportive of efforts made to this point. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been offered in both weaponry and financial assistance, in addition to sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs and businesses. Three-in-five (61%) say they approve of the way the government has responded, while 22 per cent disapprove and 17 per cent are unsure. Notably, vast majorities of past Liberal and NDP voters are joined by half (47%) of past Conservative voters in praising the government’s approach to the crisis.

That said, many say Canada should do more. Ukrainian officials have requested more weaponry and support in recent weeks, while others say the Canadian government has been slow to commit to offering much needed heavy weapons. Two-in-five (38%) say this country has not done enough, the same number who say it has offered about the right level of assistance.

More Key Findings:

  • Women over the age of 54 are the most likely to report doing something – donating, posting on social media, etc. – in support of Ukraine since the war began at three-in-five. Meanwhile, two-thirds of men aged 18- to 34-years-old have kept their money in their wallet and socials free of Ukrainian flags.
  • One-in-five past Conservative Party voters (19%) say that Canada has done “too much” to help Ukraine and should do no more. Past Liberal (5%) and NDP (5%) voters are approximately four times less likely to say this.
  • Four-in-five Canadians (81%) say that they remain concerned about the possibility of a broader conflict involving Russia and western allies.

 

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

 

INDEX

Part One: Many Canadians following conflict, supporting Ukraine

  • Two-thirds closely or very closely monitoring war

  • One-quarter have donated, half have shown support in some way

Part Two: The government response

  • Majority – including half of Conservative voters – approve of federal gov’t response

  • Still, two-in-five want Canada to provide more support

  • Concern continues to be high of potential for wider conflict

 

Part One: Many Canadians following conflict, supporting Ukraine

Two-thirds closely or very closely monitoring war

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. In the over two months since, while media coverage has declined from the initial deluge, most Canadians are still following the conflict. Two-thirds of Canadians say they’ve been following developments in the war over the last two weeks either closely or very closely. One-third, however, have not been paying as close attention. Men – especially those older than 55 – are more likely than women to be reading stories and discussing the situation with friends. Half of women under the age of 55 say they aren’t keeping tabs on the conflict:

One-quarter have donated, half have shown support in some way

Since the war began, fundraisers for Ukraine have been ubiquitous across the country. Canadians have held bake sales, concerts, and 50/50s to help raise funds for relief efforts. More than one-quarter (27%) of Canadians say they’ve donated money to Ukraine in recent months. In total, approaching half (47%) of Canadians have done something to support the victims of the conflict, including three-in-ten (28%) who have posted on social media and more than one-in-20 (7%) who have attended a rally or put up a flag.

Overall, women over the age of 54 are the most likely to have done something in support of Ukraine, at three-in-five. Conversely, two-thirds (64%) of men under the age of 35 say they haven’t:

One-third of those living in households earning between $100,000 and less than $150,000 say they’ve donated money to support Ukraine, the most of any income bracket. Those in households earning more than $100,000, but less than $200,000, are also the most likely to say they’ve sponsored or assisted a Ukrainian refugee family, at one-in-20:

Part Two: The government response

Support from the Canadian government for Ukraine in its fight against Russia has ranged from military – more than $118 million in surveillance equipment, body armour, weapons, and ammunition – to humanitarian – $245 million in assistance – to a lengthy list of economic sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs, politicians, businesses and exports.

The spring federal budget, too, saw the country commit a further $500 million in military aid.

Majority – including half of Conservative voters – approve of federal government’s response

These efforts are being met with majority approval from Canadians. Three-in-five (61%) say they approve or strongly approve of the federal government’s response to the invasion, a rate nearly triple those who instead offer the Liberal government a thumbs down (22%).

Even amongst the current government’s typical detractors – past Conservative voters – half (47%) say they believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has done well in supporting Ukraine. Approval is higher for the response among past Liberal, Bloc and NDP voters:

One-third of men aged 35- to 54-years-old disapprove of the federal government’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the most of any demographic. Still, half (51%) of men that age approve of what the federal government has done on that file in recent months. They are joined by at least half of all other age-gender groups:

Regionally, there is also broad approval of the government’s assistance for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. The Prairies are home to the largest minorities of disapproving respondents, but still those groups are significantly outweighed by those who approve of the federal government’s efforts. (See detailed tables).

Still, two-in-five want Canada to provide more support

Despite the majority level of approval of what the federal government has done so far, there is significant belief that Canada should be doing more. Two-in-five (38%) say Canada is not providing enough support to Ukraine. Few (13%) would like to see Canada scale back its efforts backing Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

That latter group includes a significant number of past Conservative voters (19%), who are four times as likely as those who voted Liberal (5%) or NDP (5%) in last fall’s election to say that Canada has done too much in support of Ukraine. However, among Conservatives, that is still a minority opinion:

One-in-five (21%) 18- to 34-year-old men believe Canada has done too much in support of Ukraine, the most of any demographic. As well, that demographic includes the lowest proportion (27%) who believe Canada should be doing more. For all others, those who believe Canada should provide more support at least double those who want Canada to do less:

Approaching half (47%) of Albertans, the most in any region in the country, believe Canada should provide more support to Ukraine. That is also the plurality opinion in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Atlantic Canada. The Prairie provinces were early homes for immigrating Ukrainians and boast significant populations of Ukrainian Canadians:

Concern continues to be high of potential for wider conflict

The belief Canada could do more to help Ukraine in its war efforts against an aggressive Russia perhaps is influenced by a worry that the fight could spread outside of Ukraine’s borders. Prior to the invasion, four-in-five (78%) Canadians worried their country and its allies could be drawn into a broader conflict. Though the war has more or less remained a regional conflict in the more than two months of engagement, the rhetoric coming from Russia remains alarming, and fear of broader conflict has not been quelled.

For all demographics, concern remains high, peaking at nine-in-ten (92%) of women over the age of 54 who say they are concerned or very concerned the Russian invasion of Ukraine will eventually draw in Canada, its western allies and the United States:

Survey Methodology:

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 4 – 6, 2022 among a representative randomized sample of 1,992 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here.

Image – Adam Scotti/Prime Minister’s Office

MEDIA CONTACT:

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821 dave.korzinski@angusreid.org

 


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