Views on Political Correctness Are Similar in Canada and the U.S.

Majorities in the two countries agree with adding disclaimers to programs that may contain “outdated cultural depictions.”

Vancouver, BC [January 1, 2021] – Most Canadians and Americans share analogous views on “political correctness” but would stop short of modifying books or movies by removing words that are considered offensive, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples, 50% of Canadians and 53% of Americans support the use of “political correctness” in their respective countries.

Conversely, 33% of Canadians and 32% of Americans are opposed to “political correctness.”

The term “political correctness” has been used to describe language and/or behaviour that seeks to minimize possible offenses to racial, cultural and gender identity groups, among others. 

Support for the use of “political correctness” is particularly high among Canadians and Americans aged 18-to-34 (55% and 59% respectively).

A third of Canadians (32%) and 36% of Americans say they always act “politically correct” because it’s the right thing to do—including 43% of Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party in the 2019 federal election and 45% of Democrats in the United States.

Two-in-five Canadians (40%) and 37% of Americans say they sometimes act “politically correct” because it’s the safe thing to do.

Only 11% of Canadians and 15% of Americans do not act “politically correct” because it’s the wrong thing to do—including 17% of Conservative voters in Canada and 22% of Republicans in the United States.

Significant majorities of Canadians and Americans believe three specific groups in society should act in a “politically correct” manner “always” or “most of the time”: teachers (74% in Canada and 71% in the U.S.), politicians (73% in Canada and 66% in the U.S.) and journalists (66% in Canada and 64% in the U.S.). 

Only 38% of Canadians and 35% of Americans think comedians should act in a “politically correct” manner “always” or “most of the time”.

More than three-in-five Canadians (65%) and Americans (62%) agree with adding a disclaimer to explain that programs or movies are presented “as originally created” and “may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

Canadians and Americans disagree with two other measures: printing new editions of books that remove words that may be deemed offensive to a specific race or ethnicity (61% in Canada and 59% in the U.S.) and re-dubbing movies to remove words that may be deemed offensive to a specific race or ethnicity (62% in Canada and 57% in the U.S.).

Results are based on online studies conducted from December 3 to December 5, 2020, among representative samples of 1,000 adults in Canada and 1,200 adults in the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region in each country. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for Canada and +/- 2.8 percentage points for the United States.

Find our data tables for Canada here, the data tables for the United States here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.