Most urban Canadians want Trump’s name gone from towers in Toronto, Vancouver

Most urban Canadians want Trump’s name gone from towers in Toronto, Vancouver

One-third of Canadians overall agree with GOP presidential candidate’s call to ban Muslim immigration

 December 18, 2015 – Donald Trump may be leading the pack among U.S. Republican presidential candidates – but his policies and statements are having a chilling impact on Canadian city-dwellers – the majority of whom want the divisive entrepreneur’s name de-coupled from landmark hotel towers in Vancouver and Toronto.

A new public opinion poll from the Angus Angus Reid InstituteReid Institute shows nationally, a narrow majority (56%) of Canadians say Trump’s name should not continue to appear on buildings in Toronto and Vancouver, while actual residents of those cities are much more decisively in favour of ditching the name.

Other Key Findings:

  • Two-thirds of Canadians (67%) disagree with Trump’s statement calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” including nearly half (49%) who disagree “strongly”
  • Almost the same two-thirds proportion (63%) say Trump’s statement is “bad for society” because it encourages fear and hatred of Muslims. The rest (37%) take the opposite view, saying Trump is good for society because he’s bringing “politically incorrect” topics into public discourse
  • Regardless of how they feel about Trump himself, Canadians overwhelmingly see his campaign as receiving too much attention (74% say this)

Should Trump branding be removed in Canada?

Donald Trump’s public statements on the GOP campaign trail have arguably grown increasingly divisive (think back to his comments on Mexican immigrants over the summer).

Now, his call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” has drawn swift and global condemnations. Presidential candidates from both parties expressed disgust and dismay. A petition was started to ban Trump from the United Kingdom. And in Canada, local councilors in the two cities with Trump-branded towers called on those buildings’ owners to remove his name from them.

Asked whether the Trump name – which developers license from Trump, whose personal involvement varies from project to project – should stay or go from two hotel towers in this country, most Canadians (56%) choose the latter. This sentiment is especially strong among residents of central Toronto (71% of those who live in the 416 area code) and in Metro Vancouver (60%). This feeling ebbs to a more split sentiment among those who live outside the cities, and in smaller communities.

In general, urbanites are more likely to say Trump’s name should go, as seen in the following graph:

Donald Trump Poll

Younger Canadians (those ages 18 – 34) and women are more likely to say the Trump name should go, as are those with a university degree and those with household incomes less than $50,000 per year.

In contrast, narrow majorities of men and those with household incomes over $100,000 (51% of each group) say the Trump name should stay (see comprehensive tables).

Practically speaking, the cities of Toronto and Vancouver can’t force their Trump towers to be renamed, though they can exert pressure on the owners of the buildings – as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has attempted in his letter to developer Joo Kim Tiah obtained by media this week.

To gauge the impact Trump’s name might have on the businesses that license it, the Angus Reid Institute asked respondents whether the Trump brand makes hotels more or less appealing to them. On this question, most (55%) say his hotels are less appealing to them because of it, while only one-in-ten (10%) say these hotels are more appealing because of the Trump brand (see comprehensive tables).

Ultimately, these views may make little difference from a business-case standpoint if these towers are being marketed not to local residents, but out-of-town buyers and tourists. On the other hand, companies are not blind to the necessity of social license in the communities in which they do business.

Trump’s call to action resonates with a significant number of Canadians

As noted above, two-in-three Canadians (67%) disagree with Trump’s statement calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” including nearly half (49%) who disagree “strongly”.

That leaves a significant segment of Canadians – though in the minority – who say they’re onside with Trump’s proposal. Asked whether they personally agree or disagree with Trump’s words calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” fully one-in-three (33%) say they agree (though only 13% strongly, 20% moderately).

Who are those most likely to find accord with these views? See the following graph:

Angus Reid Poll

Views also fall out along regional (46 per cent of Saskatchewan residents say they agree with Trump’s words) and political lines.

While past voters of all federal parties boast notable amounts of people who feel this way (roughly one-in-five past Liberal and NDP voters) – the sentiment is especially noticeable among people who cast their ballots October 19 for the Stephen Harper-led Conservative Party of Canada. Among this segment, 55 per cent say they agree with a ban on Muslim immigration in the US.

That said, it must be underscored that the party’s current leader, Rona Ambrose, has herself unequivocally rejected this on behalf of the CPC. Indeed, it remains to be seen whether Ambrose’s efforts and statements will have a softening impact on the thinking of voters who followed the Conservatives under a different leader or whether this is a segment of the population now at odds with the party it once supported.

Trump talk: good or bad for society?

By calling for the exclusion of a specific religious group from his country – and not ruling out requiring members of the group who already live there to carry special identification – Trump’s policy proposals have echoed those of far-right nationalist parties in Europe.

But is Trump’s proposal – and the discussion about it in this country – a good or bad thing for Canadian society? Is it an important component of free and open debate regarding timely issues without fear of political correctness? Or the tacit encouragement of fear and hatred towards Muslims?

This survey put these two arguments to Canadians, and asked which one is more persuasive. Most (63%) say Trump’s rhetoric is “bad for society,” while a substantial minority (37%) say it is good. The same demographic groups that are inclined to say they agree with Trump’s words are also more likely to say his ideas are “good for society.” They are:

  • Saskatchewan residents (53% versus 41% or fewer in every other province)
  • Canadians from rural areas (43% versus 30% of those in Canada’s three largest cities)
  • Men (40% versus 34% of women)

Angus Reid Institute

The Canadian public is quite unequivocal in its belief that Trump and his controversial statements are getting too much attention.

Nearly three-quarters of Canadians (74%) say this about the Trump campaign, including nearly half (45%) who say it’s been receiving “way too much.” The rest would say the candidate and campaign have been getting “the right amount” of focus. Almost no one (2%) thinks the Trump campaign has been receiving too little attention.

Angus Reid Institute

Click here for the full report including tables and methodology

Click here for comprehensive data tables

Click here for the questionnaire used in this survey

MEDIA CONTACT: Shachi Kurl, Senior Vice President: 604.908.1693