More Than One-in-Six British Columbians Are COVID Skeptics

Residents who think the pandemic is not a real threat are more likely to shun family and friends because of their views.

Vancouver, BC [March 9, 2021] – Residents of British Columbia who do not believe COVID-19 is a real threat are more likely to criticize politicians and the media and cut off friends and family members because of their position, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 82% of British Columbians consider COVID-19 a real threat, while 15% do not and 3% are undecided. 

“British Columbia’s pandemic skeptics amount to a tiny minority of the population, but there are some demographic pockets where these views are slightly more common,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “The group includes 18% of British Columbians aged 18 to 34, 29% of residents of Northern BC and 26% of residents of Southern BC.”

When British Columbians are asked about the performance of specific entities to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, majorities of respondents are satisfied with the work done by the provincial government (60%), municipal administrations (58%) and the federal government (53%). The numbers are lower for the official opposition in Victoria (32%) and Ottawa (also 32%).

Significant proportions of British Columbians are also satisfied with how their family (83%) and their friends (73%) have managed the pandemic.

More than half of the province’s residents are also content with the work of television news (63%), radio news (57%), newspapers (55%) and non-governmental associations (52%) during the pandemic. The rating drops to 35% for unions and 34% for trade associations, with a higher number of undecided respondents.

British Columbia’s pandemic skeptics express particularly low levels of satisfaction with how the provincial government (14%), the federal government (13%), television news (10%), radio news (7%) and newspapers (also 7%) have managed COVID-19 .

Across the province, 16% of British Columbians say that, because of a disagreement related to COVID-19, they have unfollowed a person on social media, while 13% ceased communication with a friend and 8% have stopped talking to a family member.

Among British Columbians who do not consider COVID-19 to be a real threat, the results on this question are significantly higher. About a third of pandemic skeptics (32%) have unfollowed a person on social media, while 26% have stopped talking to a family member and 25% have ceased communication with a friend because of a disagreement related to the pandemic.

Results are based on an online survey conducted from March 1 to March 3, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and here, and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.