Stewart Holds the Upper Hand in Vancouver Mayoral Race

Two thirds of residents say housing is the most important issue facing the city.

Vancouver, BC [September 19, 2018] – With just over a month to go before Vancouverites elect their new mayor, the absence of a contender from the governing Vision Vancouver party appears to have benefited independent candidate Kennedy Stewart, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of City of Vancouver residents, 36% of decided voters say they will vote for Stewart in next month’s election, up 11 points since a Research Co. poll conducted in July.

Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) is in second place with 25% (-1), followed by independent candidate Shauna Sylvester with 17% (+6), Hector Bremner of Yes Vancouver with 7% (+2) and David Chen of ProVancouver with 4% (=).

Support is lower for Wai Young of Coalition Vancouver (3%, -5), Fred Harding of Vancouver First (also 3%) and Connie Fogal of Idea Vancouver (2%).

The level of undecided voters in the City of Vancouver stands at 31% this month.

The survey was conducted after the final list of mayoral candidates was released by the city on September 14. Vision Vancouver mayoral contender Ian Campbell—who had the support of 18% of decided voters in July—withdrew from the race on September 10.

Stewart holds a 23-point lead over Sim among female decided voters (44% to 21%), while Sim is slightly ahead of Stewart among male decided voters (32% to 29%).

“The departure of Ian Campbell from the mayoral race has definitely helped Stewart, who currently has the support of 45% of Vancouverites who voted for Gregor Robertson in the last mayoral election,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Sim is connecting well with the NPA’s traditional base, and is holding on to 49% of the voters who supported Kirk LaPointe in 2014.”

Across the city, two thirds of residents (67%) believe housing is the most important issue facing Vancouver, followed by transportation (9%), poverty (also 9%) and economic development (5%).

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from September 15 to September 18, 2018, among 400 adults in the City of Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in the City of Vancouver. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

 

 

Four-in-Five British Columbians Support a Handgun Ban

An even larger proportion of residents would forbid military-style assault weapons in their municipality.

Vancouver, BC [September 17, 2018] – An overwhelming majority of British Columbians would like to ban specific weapons in their municipalities, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, four-in-five residents (79%) support a ban on handguns within the limits of their municipality.

Last month, Montreal City Council adopted a motion calling for a nationwide ban on handguns and military-style assault weapons.

Across British Columbia, 86% of residents support a ban on military-style assault weapons in their city or town.

“Support for the course of action charted in Montreal is high across the entire province,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Women and British Columbians aged 55 and over are definitely more likely to be in favour of implementing these bans.”

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from September 2 to September 5, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

 

 

Greens, Independents Surge in Vancouver Council Election

Almost half of residents would like to see several parties represented in City Council.

Vancouver, BC [September 11, 2018] – As Vancouverites consider their choices in the election to City Council, the parties that traditionally formed the government in the city are not particularly popular, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of City of Vancouver residents, 46% say they will “definitely” or “probably” consider voting for Green Party of Vancouver candidates in next month’s election to City Council, while 39% will “definitely” or “probably” cast ballots for independent candidates.

About a third of Vancouverites (32%) would “definitely” or “probably” consider voting for City Council candidates from the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE). The ranking is lower for Vision Vancouver (30%), the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) (also 30%), Yes Vancouver (24%), One City (19%), Coalition Vancouver (13%), Vancouver First (12%) and ProVancouver (9%).

“The Green Party is definitely outperforming all others in Vancouver when it comes to City Council,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “There is also a large component of the electorate that is currently looking into independent candidates as viable options.”

Almost half of Vancouverites (47%, -3 since April) would “definitely” or “probably” prefer to see several parties represented in City Council, while 38% (+3 since April) would prefer a single party having a majority.

The survey was conducted before Ian Campbell of Vision Vancouver announced he was dropping out of the mayoral race. Across the city, the best ranked candidate is independent Kennedy Stewart with a score of +13 (23% think he is a “good choice” for mayor, while 10% deem him a “bad choice”).

Only two other candidates currently hold a positive score: independent Shauna Sylvester at +11 (19% “good”, 8% “bad”) and Ken Sim of the NPA at +4 (18% “good”, 14% “bad”).

David Chen of ProVancouver is even (11% “good”, 11% “bad”). The remaining candidates post negative scores, including Wai Young of Coalition Vancouver (-16), Hector Bremner of Yes Vancouver (-2) and Fred Harding of Vancouver First (also -2).

Vancouverites were also asked how much confidence they have in each of the declared mayoral candidates to help make Vancouver housing more affordable. 

Stewart is also ahead, with 33% of residents expressing “complete confidence” or “some confidence” in his ability, followed by Bremner (26%), Sylvester (also 26%), Sim (24%), Harding (22%), Chen (21%) and Young (19%).

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from September 4 to September 7, 2018, among 400 adults in the City of Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in the City of Vancouver. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

 

 

 

 

One-in-Six British Columbians Rely Solely on “Doctor Internet”

Women are more likely than men to search online for information on nutrition, exercise or weight control.

Vancouver, BC [September 5, 2018] – Many British Columbians are going online to seek information about health, but one-in-six are doing so without the added benefit of a visit to the doctor, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, 16% of residents acknowledge they went online to diagnose or treat a medical condition on their own, without consulting a doctor, over the past year.

Two thirds of British Columbians (68%) have searched online for information about a particular illness or condition over the past year.

There are some differences among specific demographic groups on what exactly residents are looking for online.

While 41% of British Columbians have sought information about prescription drugs online over the past year, the proportion climbs to 49% among those aged 55 and over.

More than half of women in British Columbia (54%) have searched online for information about nutrition, exercise and weight control, compared to just 41% of men in the province.

Across British Columbia, 23% of residents have sought information about mental health online, including 32% of those aged 18-to-34.

Millennials are also more likely to have searched online for information about sexual health (33%, compared to the provincial average of 18%).

More than a third of British Columbians (35%) have gone online to gather information before and after visiting their doctor,

“There is a generational gap when it comes to British Columbians who combine information from the Internet with a trip to the general practitioner,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Millennials are more likely to conduct research before they see their doctor, while Baby Boomers are more likely to go online after their visit.”

One-in-five British Columbians (22%) have sought information online about alternative or experimental treatments or medicines over the past year, including 35% in Northern BC.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 13 to August 14, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

British Columbians Enthralled by U.S. News in Trump Presidency

One-in-five residents have changed a brand of food they usually purchased to avoid buying from U.S. producers.

Vancouver, BC [August 30, 2018] – Some British Columbians have changed their news consumption and shopping habits since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, more than half of residents (52%) say they have paid more attention to American news that they did in years past since Trump’s election.

British Columbians aged 55 and over (64%) are more likely to say they are monitoring U.S. news more closely than those aged 35-to-54 (47%) and those aged 18-to-34 (42%).

Across the province, one-in-four British Columbians (25%) have changed a brand of food they usually purchased to avoid buying from U.S. producers—a proportion that includes 31% of residents aged 55 and over.

Almost one-in-five British Columbians (19%) have changed a brand of clothing they usually purchased to avoid buying from U.S. retailers—including 25% of those aged 18-to-34.

In addition, 16% of British Columbians have cancelled a planned holiday or vacation to the United States.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 13 to August 14, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

British Columbians Still Want Money Laundering Public Inquiry

Almost four-in-five would create an Anti-Corruption Commissioner, similar to the one currently in place in Quebec.

Vancouver, BC [August 23, 2018] – Most British Columbians remain adamant in their wish for a public inquiry into money laundering in the province’s casinos, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, three-in-four residents (76%, unchanged since June) believe the provincial government should “definitely” or “probably” call a public inquiry into money laundering in casinos.

“The appetite for a public inquiry into money laundering in casinos has not died down over the past two months,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “There is also an extremely high proportion of residents who want to create an office to prevent corruption in the public sector.”

Across the province, 78% of British Columbians think British Columbia should establish an office similar to Quebec’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner, which was created “to ensure the coordination of actions to prevent and to fight corruption in the public sector, including in contractual matters.”

On June 27, BC Attorney General David Eby released an independent report, which detailed how organized crime groups relied on casinos to launder illegal drug money. Videos released on that same day showed people dragging bags of cash into Metro Vancouver casinos.

When asked who is to blame for the current situation related to money laundering in casinos, almost half of British Columbians (48%) place “all of the blame” or “some of the blame” on the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC).

Almost two-in-five residents (39%) think the previous provincial government headed by the BC Liberals deserves “all of the blame” or “most of the blame”, while about one-in-four (23%) feel the same way about the current provincial government headed by the BC New Democratic Party (NDP).

Only 21% of British Columbians place “all of the blame” or “most of the blame” for the current situation on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

A majority of British Columbians (53%, +5 since June) say they have followed stories related to money laundering in the province’s casinos “very closely” or “moderately closely.”

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 13 to August 14, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Consumption of Frozen Treats Jumps in British Columbia Heat

More than four-in-five Millennials say they are spending more on ice cream, popsicles and freezies than they did last year.

Vancouver, BC [August 16, 2018] – In a summer when several temperature records have been broken in the province, British Columbians are opening their wallets in an effort to keep cool, a new Research Co. survey has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, more than seven-in-ten residents (72%) say they are spending more on frozen desserts—such as ice cream, popsicles and freezies—than they did last summer.

British Columbians aged 18-to-34 are leading the way in frozen treat consumption, with 85% of them saying they are spending more on these items than they did last year.

More than two-in-five British Columbians (42%) acknowledge that they are dining out more often this summer than in 2017, including 49% of Metro Vancouverites and 47% of Millennials.

Across the province, 15% of residents say they have spent more on appliances—such as fans and air conditioners—this summer than last, a proportion that climbs to 26% in the Fraser Valley.

In addition, 40% of British Columbians say they are spending more on cold beverages—including beer, cider and pop—than they did a year ago. In this category, residents of Vancouver Island (48%) and those aged 55 and over (43%) are the biggest consumers.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 13 to August 14, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

British Columbians Welcome Automated Speed Enforcement

The use of red light cameras to capture speeding vehicles is endorsed by seven-in-ten residents. 

Vancouver, BC [August 13, 2018] – Most British Columbians support the use of technology to enforce speed limits in the province’s roads, a new Research Co. survey has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, seven-in-ten residents (70%) approve of the use of speed-on-green cameras, or red light cameras that also capture vehicles that are speeding through intersections.

Automated speed enforcement works by using cameras or sensors to pick up a vehicle speeding. A ticket is then issued to the owner of the vehicle. Driver’s license points are not issued as the driver of the vehicle cannot be identified.

The provincial government announced last fall that red light cameras located at 140 intersections would record 24 hours a day. In the fall, the provincial government is expected to announce the number and locations of cameras that would be used to identify speeding vehicles.

In addition to the speed-on-green cameras, most British Columbians also endorsed three other types of automated speed enforcement.

Across the province, 71% of residents approve of using fixed speed cameras, or cameras that stay in one location and measure speed as a vehicle passes. These cameras can be placed in school zones or on other roads.

In addition, almost two thirds of British Columbians (65%) approve of using mobile speed cameras, which can be moved from place to place and measure speed as a vehicle passes.

A majority of residents (55%) also approved of point-to-point enforcement, which uses cameras at two or more distant points on a road. The average speed of vehicles that pass between points is calculated and tickets are issued to vehicles whose average speed over the distance was excessive.

“There is high support for all four types of automated speed enforcement across the province,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Point-to-point enforcement is the most contentious of all four, with more than a third of residents disapproving of its use.”

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 2 to August 5, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Most British Columbians Support Community Benefits Agreements

Seven-in-ten support building publicly funded projects through Community Benefits Agreements.

Vancouver, BC [August 9, 2018] – British Columbians are taking note of Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) and a sizeable majority endorses them for publicly funded projects, a new Research Co. survey has found.

A CBA prioritizes jobs to local residents, ensures employment opportunities for apprentices, Indigenous workers and women, and provides union wages and benefits.

In an online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, seven-in-ten residents (70%) either “strongly” (26%) or “moderately” (44%) support building publicly funded projects with CBAs, while 16% are opposed and 13% are undecided.

“Support for relying on CBAs for publicly funded projects is highest among Women (75%) and residents aged 18-34 (also 75%)”, says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Support was also highest among those who live in Southern BC (86%), where the first two projects—the Pattullo Bridge replacement and Hwy 1—have been announced.”

Two thirds of British Columbians (68%) either “strongly” (23%) or “moderately” (45%) support the Community Benefits policy of dedicating 25% of the workforce on public projects to apprentices, while 14% are opposed and 18% are undecided.

When asked how familiar the public is with CBAs, one-in-four residents (22%) said they are “very familiar” (4%) or “moderately familiar” (18%) with them. Men (30%), residents aged 18-34 (25%) and those who live in Northern BC (28%) are more likely to be familiar with CBAs.

This survey was commissioned by the BC Building Trades Council.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from August 2 to August 5, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

British Columbians Proud of Province and Fond of Cascadia

Three-in-four British Columbians believe they will stay in the province for the rest of their lives.

Vancouver, BC [August 6, 2018] – More British Columbians are expressing affection for their fellow cascadians, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, two thirds of residents (66%) think they have more in common with the people of Seattle and Portland than with those in Toronto or Montreal. This represents an eight-point increase since a similar survey conducted in 2016.

“When it comes to the way British Columbians feel about the residents of Washington State and Oregon, Millennials are the driving force behind positive perceptions,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Among residents aged 18-to-34, this sentiment reaches 72%, compared to 65% for those aged 35-to-54 and 64% for those aged 55 and over.”

Across the province, three-in-four residents (77%) believe they will stay in British Columbia for the rest of their lives, and 87% say they are very proud of the province they live in.

Three-in-five residents (61%) think the views of British Columbians are different from the rest of the country. Still, only 17% of residents believe the province would be better off as its own country—a proportion that rises to 22% among residents aged 35-to-54.

When asked who the best premier of the past three decades has been, almost two-in-five British Columbians (38%) cannot pick a single person. Mike Harcourt is in first place with 15%, followed by Gordon Campbell and John Horgan with 12% each, and Christy Clark with 11%.

BC Liberal voters in the last provincial election regard Clark (26%) and Campbell (22%) as the best recent provincial heads of government. Conversely, those who supported the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) in last year’s ballot select Horgan (28%) and Harcourt (26%).

Three-in-ten British Columbians (31%) pick Clark as the worst premier of the past three decades—a proportion that includes 42% of women and 43% of those aged 18-to-34. Horgan is second with 17%, followed by Bill Vander Zalm with 11%.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from June 27 to June 29, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Few Canadians Willing to Pay as News Content Shifts Online

Almost half say they do not visit any news sources that charge for online access.

Vancouver, BC [August 2, 2018] – Canadians have not embraced the concept of paying for news and information online, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, only 9% of Canadians say they are currently paying subscribers of at least one online news source that they find interesting—a proportion that rises to 14% among those aged 18-to-34.

Three-in-ten Canadians (31%) say they stop going to an online news source if there’s a limit on free articles and/or a paywall—including 39% of those aged 35-to-54.

“Content is increasingly moving online, but almost half of Canadians (47%) are not paying for any of it right now,” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “Those over the age of 55 are more likely to say they do not visit any news sources that charge for online access (56%) than those aged 18-to-34 (41%) and those aged 35-to-54 (41%).”

More than half of Ontarians (52%) say they do not visit any news sources that charge for online access. The proportion of non-subscribers drops to 49% in British Columbia, 47% in Alberta, 46% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 44% in Atlantic Canada and 36% in Quebec.

Only 13% of Canadians say they get news and information from a hard copy of a local newspaper on a daily basis, and fewer access a hard copy of a national paper (9%) or a hard copy of a magazine (5%).

When it comes to radio and television, 41% of Canadians say they get their news and information from local television newscasts and news channels. A slightly smaller proportion (37%) watch national television newscasts and news channels every day. One-in-five (26%) listen to local radio newscasts daily, and 11% listen to national radio newscasts every day.

Almost a third of Canadians (32%) say they get news and information from Facebook on a daily basis. This is a substantially higher proportion than other sources, including websites from television news providers (20%), Twitter (18%), websites from national and local newspapers (14% each), websites from independent online news providers (8%), websites from radio stations (7%), websites of magazines (6%) and blogs (also 6%).

More than half of Canadians (56%) support the federal government’s proposal to invest $50 million over five years to support independent, non-governmental organizations that are expected to focus on delivering local journalism in communities.

Majorities of Canadians who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) (65%), the Liberal Party (61%) and the Conservative Party (52%) in the 2015 federal election endorse the proposal.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 11, 2018, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Credit: Liis Saar

High Support for Vancouver’s Plan to Limit Use of Plastics

More than nine-in-ten residents think restaurants and coffee shops should provide recycling options for the disposable cups they give out.

Vancouver, BC [July 26, 2018] – Most Vancouverites hold favourable views of the recently approved plan to ban specific plastic items by June 2019 in the city, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of City of Vancouver residents, 85% of respondents agree with banning the distribution of single-use plastic straws, with appropriate exemptions for health care needs.

Similarly high proportions of Vancouverites agree with both banning expanded polystyrene foam (or “thermal”) cups and take-out containers (85%) and banning the distribution of single-use plastic utensils, unless they are directly requested by customers (84%).

The “Zero Waste 2040” strategy also contemplates action to deal with disposable cups, including plastic cups for cold drinks and polycoat paper cups for hot drinks.

More than nine-in-ten Vancouverites (93%) think it would be a “very good” or “good” idea to require restaurants and coffee shops to provide recycling options for the disposable cups they give out.

Residents are more divided when it comes to two other proposals.

A majority of Vancouverites (55%) think it would be a good idea for customers to pay an additional fee for the disposable cups they require when purchasing a beverage, but more than a third (36%) believe this would be a bad idea.

“There is a sizeable gender gap on this question,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Support for charging additional fees on disposable beverage cups reaches 62% among women, but only 49% among men.”

In addition, while 54% of Vancouverites think it would be a good idea to ban the distribution of disposable cups altogether, one third (33%) disagree.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from July 13 to July 16, 2018, among 400 adults in the City of Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in the City of Vancouver. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Sim and Stewart Nearly Tied, Many Still Undecided in Vancouver

Vancouverites think housing affordability and the influence of developers are worse in their city than in other Metro Vancouver municipalities. 

Vancouver, BC [July 19, 2018] – With three months to go before Vancouverites select a new mayor and council, two candidates have solidified their position as early frontrunners, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of City of Vancouver residents, 26% of decided voters say they will support Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA), while 25% will cast a ballot for independent candidate Kennedy Stewart.

Ian Campbell of Vision Vancouver is third with 20%, followed by independent candidate Shauna Sylvester with 11%, Wai Young of Coalition Vancouver with 8%, Hector Bremner of Yes Vancouver with 5% and David Chen of ProVancouver with 4%.

The level of undecided voters in the City of Vancouver has dropped, from 47% in the June Research Co. survey, to 35% this month. The survey was conducted entirely after Patrick Condon, who was seeking the mayoral nod for the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE), announced he was withdrawing from the race.

Among decided voters, Sim is ahead among men (32%), residents of the West Side (31%) and those aged 55 and over (36%). Conversely, Stewart holds the upper hand among women (30%), residents of the East Side (29%) and Downtown (32%), and those aged 35-to-54 (31%).

“There are still many voters who are in the process of getting to know the contenders,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Almost two thirds (63%) feel they do not have enough information about candidates and parties to cast all their votes in the municipal election.”

When asked about specific issues, four-in-five Vancouverites (82%) think housing affordability is worse in their city than in other Metro Vancouver municipalities, and more than half (57%) feel the same way about the influence of developers.

Two-in-five Vancouverites (40%) think quality of life is better in their city, and three-in-ten (30%) believe public safety is also superior.

Only 29% of Vancouverites are satisfied with the actions taken by the federal government to deal with housing issues in their city. The satisfaction rating is higher for both the municipal government (32%) and the provincial government (38%).

Three-in-ten Vancouverites (31%) agree with the idea of all Metro Vancouver municipalities amalgamating into one, like Toronto and Montreal have, while almost half (48%) disagree with this notion.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from July 13 to July 16, 2018, among 400 adults in the City of Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in the City of Vancouver. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

The new Mexican president will be defined by two major challenges

Originally published in the Globe and Mail on July 3, 2018.

The victory of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the Mexican presidential election is nothing short of historic. A political party that did not exist six years ago – the National Regeneration Movement or “Morena” – is poised to control the presidency and the national Congress, with the help of its coalition partners.

As the counting of ballots continues across Mexico, it appears that Mr. Lopez Obrador, or AMLO as most call him, will receive more than 50 per cent of the vote in the presidential race – a feat that eluded Vicente Fox in the so-called “change election” of 2000, which ended seven decades of single-party rule in the country.

This year, supporters of the defeated presidential candidates spent the last two weeks of the campaign arguing for an unsanctioned vote-swap that would propel either of them to victory. Talk of implementing a run-off in Mexican presidential elections has vanished, given the advantage that AMLO has over his rivals.

The primary focus of his campaign was to eradicate corruption. Many Mexicans have grown tired of jumping through endless bureaucratic hoops, and paying bribes along the way, so that the government can deliver the simplest of tasks.

Corruption, however, is not limited to government employees at service counters. The sight of eight different former state governors facing charges of embezzlement helped AMLO paint a picture of a Mexico where the well-connected thrive and the hard-working suffer. All eight governors were once members of the only two parties that have run the federal government.

In the end, Mr. Lopez Obrador capitalized on emotion in a way the other contenders could not match. He became a charismatic option who could point to the many misdeeds of past governments. The two other main presidential contenders were unable to defend themselves.

The youth vote – crucial in a country where 46 per cent of the electorate has not yet turned 35 – was particularly uninterested in which candidate had more experience or better credentials. AMLO outlined a country that was far more attractive than the CVs and university degrees of his rivals.

As proud as Mexicans should feel about their electoral process, there is a shameful reality that cannot be overlooked: violence. More than 130 candidates were killed in the nine months prior to election day. Since 2000, more than 100 journalists have brutally lost their lives.

Last year, drug-related violence claimed the lives of more than 29,000 people in Mexico. Retrieving the feeling of safety that Mexicans used to enjoy is directly related to AMLO’s key pledge: rooting out corruption.

During the campaign, Mr. Lopez Obrador suggested that Mexico should consider a form of amnesty for drug-related offences. This idea, which has not been satisfactorily explained, has befuddled Mexicans. After all, what the country is dealing with is not the aftermath of a state-sponsored campaign of terrorizing opponents for political gain, like in Chile, Argentina or South Africa. Just who, or what, will be forgiven is unclear.

The second challenge for the incoming Mexican president is handling the country’s finances. In February, as he was leading in voting-intention polls, AMLO asked to be part of the negotiating team that was discussing the future of the North American free-trade agreement with Canadian and U.S. officials.

It was unthinkable for the Mexican government to offer a seat to an opposition candidate, or his staff, at that particular point. Mr. Lopez Obrador’s cabinet will face a steep learning curve, which will be made even more difficult by the fact that they will be dealing with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Mr. Lopez Obrador is scheduled to take office on Dec. 1, just a few weeks after the midterm elections in the United States. He may encounter a weakened Mr. Trump if there are significant losses in Congress for the Republican Party. He will also deal with a Canadian federal government that may be in precampaign mode when bilateral discussions ensue.

The initial six months of the first purely leftist government in Mexico will require action on these two fronts. If the fight against corruption is not accompanied by tighter controls on the drug trade and a drop in violence, goodwill for the government will erode among voters. If the economy starts to tumble and the prospect of a devalued currency affects public mood, it will not be enough to argue that the country is “cleaner” than it was under previous administrations.

Credit: Diego Delso

Concerns About Crime Skyrocket in Surrey

More than half of residents say public safety in their city is worse than in other Metro Vancouver municipalities.

Vancouver, BC [July 2, 2018] – Public safety has emerged as a key issue as residents of Surrey prepare for October’s municipal election, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of City of Surrey residents, 45% of respondents identify crime as the most important issue facing their city—a proportion that rises to 58% among those who reside in Newton.

Housing is second on the list of municipal concerns with 26%, followed by transportation with 10% and poverty with 7%.

More than half of residents (56%) think Surrey should have its own municipal police force, while 27% disagree.

When asked to compare their city to other Metro Vancouver municipalities on seven issues, more than half of residents (55%) say public safety is worse in Surrey than in other cities.

More than a third of respondents (35%) believe the influence of developers is worse in Surrey than in other areas of Metro Vancouver, while one-in-four (25%) think Surrey is better on housing affordability.

“There are certainly issues where Surrey residents believe they are luckier than their neighbours in adjacent areas,”, says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “But public safety is definitely not one of them.”

Many residents of Surrey say they are dissatisfied with the actions taken by the provincial government (49%), the federal government (51%) and the municipal government (53%) to deal with crime in Surrey, and almost half (48%) disagree with the notion that the legalization of marijuana will ultimately lead to lower crime rates in their city.

A majority of Surrey residents (52%) say they would like to see Dianne Watts as the city’s mayor again, including 60% of men and 74% of South Surrey residents.

Tom Gill, recently named as the Surrey First candidate for mayor, is seen as a good choice to lead the city by 15% of residents, and a bad choice by 14%. The rating is similar for former interim BC Liberals leader Rich Coleman (Good 20%, Bad 19%), who is said to be considering a bid.

Doug Elford of the Surrey Community Alliance is regarded as a good choice for mayor by 17% of residents, and 15% feel the same way about former Surrey First councillor Bruce Hayne, who now sits as an independent.

More than a third of residents (36%) have a positive opinion of the governing Surrey First party, while 21% hold negative views. Three opposition parties hold similar positive ratings (28% for the Surrey Community Alliance, 27% for both Proudly Surrey and People First Surrey).

Most residents of Surrey (53%) think the proposed Surrey–Newton–Guildford Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is a great idea.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from June 24 to June 28, 2018, among 401 adults in the City of Surrey. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in the City of Surrey. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Photo Credit: Leoboudv

Canadians Have Differing Views on BBQ Drinking Etiquette

More than half say they only consume the beer or cider they bring to a party or barbecue. 

Vancouver, BC [June 29, 2018] – As the country prepares for Canada Day celebrations, the conduct of Canadians who consume alcohol at a “BYOB” party or barbecue differs greatly by gender, age and region, a new Research Co. poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample asked Canadians who drink beer or cider to suppose they had just arrived at a party or barbecue and placed a six-pack of beer or cider they brought into a large cooler that was being used by everybody.

Across the country, three-in-five respondents (62%) say they would only drink the beer or cider they brought themselves.

One-in-four respondents (25%) say they would help themselves to any beer or cider that is in the cooler, but making sure not to consume more than six cans.

One-in-twenty respondents (5%) say they would drink any beer or cider that is in the cooler, even if more than six cans are consumed.

Women are more likely than men to say they would only consume what they brought to the party or barbecue (69% to 55%).

Conversely, men are more likely to say they would try anything in the cooler and keep a six-can maximum (30% to 20%) or drink anything, even if it’s more than the six-pack they brought themselves (8% to 2%).

Respondents aged 55 and over are less likely to only drink what they brought to the party or barbecue (54%) than those aged 35-to-54 (58%) and those aged 18-to-34 (73%).

“Millennials have sometimes been labelled as egotistical,” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “But on this matter, they are more likely to steer clear of other people’s booze than their older counterparts.”

Atlantic Canadians are the most likely to say they would only drink what they brought to the party or barbecue (75%), followed by Albertans (72%), residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (70%), British Columbians (69%) and Ontarians (64%).

Quebecers are the least likely to only consume the six-pack they brought (47%, compared to the national average of 62%) and the most likely to consume more than six cans at the party (11%, compared to the national average of 5%).

Two thirds of Conservative Party voters in the last federal election (68%) would only consume what they brought, along with 64% of Liberal Party voters and 60% of New Democratic Party (NDP) voters.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 11, 2018, among 836 adults in Canada who drink beer or cider. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Photo Credit: DarrenBaker

British Columbians Call for Public Inquiry into Money Laundering

Supporters of all three of the province’s main political parties are in favour of this idea. 

Vancouver, BC [June 20, 2018] – A sizeable majority of British Columbians are in favour of establishing a commission to look into the issue of money laundering in the province’s casinos, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, three-in-four residents (76%) think the provincial government should “definitely” or “probably” call a public inquiry into money laundering in casinos.

Last year, a report produced by accounting firm MNP LLP, found several irregularities at the River Rock Casino in Richmond, including the acceptance of “single cash buy-ins in excess of $500,000, with no known source of funds.”

Support for this public inquiry is high across all demographics, including 83% of British Columbians who voted for the BC Green Party in last year’s provincial election, 78% of those who supported the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) and 69% of those who cast a ballot for the BC Liberals.

Almost half of British Columbians (48%) say they have followed stories related to money laundering in the province’s casinos “very closely” or “moderately closely.”

Two measures recently implemented in an effort to curb money laundering in British Columbia’s casinos are endorsed by most residents.

Two thirds of British Columbians (68%) support banning ”high limit” table gambling, where bets are higher than $10,000. An even larger proportion of residents (86%) favour declaring the source of any cash deposits over $10,000 at casinos.

“British Columbians welcome the first modifications to the way casinos operate in the province,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “However, the high level of support for a public inquiry into money laundering outlines a sense of embarrassment from residents and the expectation that a similar situation does not happen again.”

Three-in-five British Columbians (62%) think pending gambling developments should be postponed so that more research can be conducted on their benefits and drawbacks.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from May 27 to May 29, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Credit: GoToVan

Stewart, Sim and Campbell Battle in Vancouver Race

Almost half of Vancouverites are undecided when asked which one of eight mayoral hopefuls would get their vote this year.

Vancouver, BC [June 14, 2018] – With just over four months to go before Vancouver elects a new mayor, many of the city’s residents are undecided, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of City of Vancouver residents, 47% of respondents are not sure who they would vote for if the mayoral election took place tomorrow.

Among decided voters, New Democratic Party (NDP) Member of Parliament Kennedy Stewart is in first place with 26%, followed by Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) with 23%, and Ian Campbell of Vision Vancouver with 18%

Support is lower for current NPA councillor Hector Bremner (10%), independent Shauna Sylvester (9%), prospective Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) candidate Patrick Condon (8%), David Chen of ProVancouver (4%) and Wai Young of Coalition Vancouver (3%).

Male decided voters are more likely to be supporting Sim at this stage (30% to 22% for Stewart), while Stewart is ahead among female decided voters (29%, with Campbell in second place at 18%).

Stewart is seen as a “good choice” to become mayor by 18% of residents (+8 since late April), followed by Campbell (17%), Sim (16%), Bremner (11%, =) and Sylvester (also 11%, +4). Condon (8%), Young (7%, +1) and Chen (5%) are in single digits.

When asked about specific political parties, a majority of Vancouverites (54%, +6 since early April) have a positive opinion of the Green Party of Vancouver.

The rating is lower for Vision Vancouver (31%, +5), the NPA (30%, -2), COPE (28%, +1), One City (17%, +3), Coalition Vancouver (also 17%) and ProVancouver (11%).

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from June 9 to June 11, 2018, among 400 adults in the City of Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in the City of Vancouver. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

 

Photo Credit: Xicotencatl

Ontario: Who Won and Why?

Originally published in National Observer on June 8, 2018.

The 2018 Ontario provincial election has delivered a majority government for the Progressive Conservative Party, gave the New Democrats official Opposition status and raised questions about the viability of the Liberal Party, which was reduced to single digits in seats.

A Research Co. exit poll, comprising the views of 503 Ontarians who cast a ballot in this electoral process, shows the different motivations of voters, as well as the effect of the events of the final week of campaigning, which included Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Saturday concession and the $16.5-million lawsuit filed by Rob Ford’s widow.

One of the traits that made this provincial election so compelling was the answer to the “time for change” question, especially when compared to other recent ballots. In Alberta and Manitoba, we saw many voters (82 per cent and 67 per cent respectively) embrace opposition leaders and abandon sitting governments. In Saskatchewan, the incumbent premier had little trouble holding on to a massive majority. In British Columbia, three-in-five voters wanted change in an election that resulted in a tie on the popular vote.

Ontario was decidedly different. More than three-in-five voters (77 per cent) said it was time for a change in government (five points lower than the 82 per cent observed in Alberta in 2015, and eight points higher than Manitoba in 2016). The sentiment for change was astonishingly high for both PC and NDP voters (94 per cent and 92 per cent respectively). However, one third of Liberal voters (33 per cent) also thought it was time for new leadership in the province, a sign of a base that perhaps grew unenthusiastic after the sitting premier acknowledged she would lose the election in the final weekend of the campaign.

Wynne’s plea for Liberal votes without a Liberal government seemed to split the public on the concept of “strategic voting”. Across the province, 45 per cent of Ontarians said they voted for the candidate in their riding who had the best chance of defeating a party they disliked, even if the candidate they voted for was not their first preference.

The proportion of “strategic voters” was highest among NDP supporters (55 per cent), who ended up becoming the official opposition. Andrea Horwath held a higher approval rating than the other three leaders in the last two weeks of the campaign, much in the same way Jack Layton posted impressive numbers on this question before the 2011 federal election. Both ended up taking their parties from third place to second place.

When it comes to the lawsuit against PC leader Doug Ford, the effect was negligible. Perceptions about the party’s leader were positive enough to facilitate a victory. When asked about six possible motivators for their vote, one-in-four PC voters (25 per cent) said the most important factor was “the party’s leader.” Among both Liberal and NDP voters, this factor was ranked lower, at 22 per cent.

Liberal voters were more likely to say the most important factor was “the party’s candidate in the riding” (20 per cent, compared to a paltry 10 per cent and seven per cent among NDP and PC voters respectively). Incumbent ministers and long-time serving legislators sought to establish a powerful connection with some of the Liberal base, especially after Wynne appealed for a balance of power.

“The party’s ideas and policies” is, by far, the most important factor for supporters of the three main parties (44 per cent for Liberals, 39 per cent for NDP and 34 per cent for PC). “Desire for change” moved 19 per cent of PC voters and 13 per cent of NDP voters, but the New Democrats also benefitted—although not enough to score an upset win—from the 15 per cent of voters who said “disgust with other contending candidates” was their main motivating factor—a far higher proportion than the PCs (10 per cent) and the Liberals (five per cent).

Finally, we look at the situation that led to Doug Ford becoming leader of the Progressive Conservatives. Among all voters in the election, 37 per cent said they would have voted for the Progressive Conservatives if Patrick Brown was still their leader. This includes 59 per cent of those who ended up casting a ballot for the Ford-led party, but also a sizeable proportion of Ontarians who ended up voting for the NDP (32 per cent) and the Liberals (27 per cent). This would suggest that Brown, even after the allegations that forced him to quit as leader, would have had a similar result as Ford.

Polling methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted on June 6 and June 7, 2018 among 503 Ontario adults who voted in the 2018 provincial election. The margin of error — which measures sample variability — is +/- 4.4 percentage points for the sample of decided voters, nineteen times out of twenty.

Credit: DrRandomFactor

British Columbians Support Government’s Housing Measures

The opposition’s idea of a “Strata Pre-Sale Contract Flipping Tax” is backed by two thirds of residents.

Vancouver, BC [June 5, 2018] – A sizeable majority of British Columbians are in favour of specific housing measures announced by the provincial government in this year’s budget, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, three-in-five respondents (62%) think introducing a “speculation tax” of 2% of a property’s assessed value for vacant homes is a “very good” or “good” idea.

Two thirds of residents (67%) believe introducing a tax of 0.2 per cent on the value of homes worth between $3 million and $4 million, and a tax rate of 0.4 per cent on the portion of a home’s value that exceeds $4 million is also a “very good” or “good” idea.

A slightly higher proportion of British Columbians (69%) think increasing the property transfer tax from 3% to 5% for homes valued at more than $3 million is also a “very good” or “good” idea.

Three-in-four British Columbians (76%) say it was a “very good” or “good” idea to expand the foreign buyers tax to areas located outside of Metro Vancouver, and four-in-five (80%) feel the same way about increasing the foreign buyers tax from 15% to 20%.

The opposition BC Liberals have tabled the “Strata Pre-Sale Contract Flipping Tax Act 2018”, which calls for a provincial capital-gains tax on any profit from the sale of housing units before construction is completed. Almost two thirds of British Columbians (65%) think this is a “very good” or “good idea”.

Most residents who voted for the BC Liberals in last year’s provincial election are supportive of the current government’s measures, from a low of 53% for the “speculation tax” to a high of 77% for increasing the foreign buyers tax.

In addition, most residents who voted for the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) and the BC Green Party in the 2017 provincial ballot are in favour of the opposition’s pre-sale contract flipping proposal (62% and 73% respectively).

“In spite of some localized protests, the government’s housing measures are particularly popular with British Columbians,” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “Support for these guidelines, as well as the recent proposal from the BC Liberals to address condo-flipping, is strong among all age groups and voters of the three main political parties.”

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from May 27 to May 29, 2018, 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 full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

 

Ottawa’s Pipeline Actions Affect Views in British Columbia

Three-in-four residents are uncomfortable with using taxpayer money to subsidize a foreign company, half say they are now “less likely” to vote for the Liberal Party at the federal level, and a majority believes the provincial government has made the right decisions.

Vancouver, BC [May 31, 2018] – Many British Columbians appear disappointed about the way Ottawa has handled Kinder Morgan’s oil-tanker-pipeline proposal, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, three-in-four residents (76%) say they are uncomfortable with the idea of the federal government using taxpayer money to subsidize a foreign company.

The survey was conducted from May 25 to May 28, 2018, after the federal government expressed its willingness to “indemnify the Trans Mountain expansion against unnecessary delays”, but before Ottawa announced on May 29 that it was purchasing the existing pipeline and its expansion project for $4.5 billion.

Across the province, 57% of residents think the federal government made the wrong decision in announcing it would use taxpayer money to indemnify Kinder Morgan’s backers for any financial loss, and 49% say they are “less likely” to vote for the governing party in the next federal election—a proportion that includes 36% of residents who cast a ballot for Liberal candidates in 2015.

“British Columbians are evidently concerned about specific aspects of the pipeline proposal, but there are no conflictive views when it comes to the performance of the federal government,” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “The federal Liberals, who had one of their best performances in the province in 2015, now stand to lose more than a third of their support base.”

Across the province, 52% of residents say they agree with Kinder Morgan’s proposal to build new oil tanker-pipeline structure, while 44% disagree with it. However, 54% agree with the B.C government’s stance that Kinder Morgan’s oil-tanker-pipeline proposal threatens the health and safety of residents.

In addition, 50% of British Columbians believe the provincial government has made the right decision by filing a case in the B.C. Court of Appeal asking if the province has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory, and 51% disagree with the notion that the federal government should do “anything necessary to get the pipeline built”.

Methodology:
Results are based on an online study conducted from May 25 to May 28, 2018, among 1,255 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 +/- 2.8 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

 

Photo Credit: Peter Graham.

TV grapples with Netflix effect as more consumers cut cable ties

Originally published in Business in Vancouver on May 18, 2018.

At the end of the 2016-17 television season, The Big Bang Theory was the most popular television show in the United States, with a rating of 11.5.

This means that, whenever a new episode of the comedy show aired live, an estimated 11.5% of all television households in the country were watching it on their local station.

This might seem like a fantastic number for television producers, but it outlines a steady decline in traditional viewership.

Ten years earlier, in 2006-07, the most popular television show in the United States was the Wednesday edition of  American Idol, with a rating of 17.3. If we go back to 1996-97, ER topped the charts with a rating of 21.2. Ten years earlier, in 1986-87, the most popular television program in the United States was The Cosby Show, with a rating of 34.9.

At the time The Cosby Show managed to get more than a third of television households to tune in to NBC, a show with an 11.5 rating would not have made it into thetop 40. Its producers would have faced a reboot or cancellation. Now, reaching more than 10% of television households in a given night is cause for celebration.

The steep drop in live television viewership has been accompanied by advancements in technology. Personal video recorders and streaming video were still in their infancy in 1997, but became more prevalent 10 years later and are practically everywhere now. It is the ability to choose content that is making North American audiences abandon the tradition of waiting a week (or longer) for their favourite program.

Canada is not immune.

Most of the content Canadians can watch on prime time is shown on American networks and makes its way to our homes through cable television. A recent Research Co. survey shows that age and region play a role in the way we are reacting to the content that is at our disposal.

For starters, a third of Canadians (33%) have cut the cord and do not have cable television at home. More than seven in 10 Canadians aged 35 and over are keeping their cable, but millennials – a coveted group for advertisers – are looking elsewhere. Only 54% of Canadians aged 18 to 34 have a cable subscription.

This discrepancy presents a conundrum for advertisers, marketing managers and news content providers. Millennials are choosing other platforms for their content, with streaming services fast becoming a staple of their media consumption.

Among the cable subscribers we talked to, the feelings are not exactly pleasant. There is practically universal agreement with two thorny issues: 88% of Canadians say there are many channels included in their current cable television plan that they never watch and 85% agree with the notion of “paying too much money for cable television each month.”

The arrival of ultra-cheap cable packages has not made Canadians happier about their television content. Flipping through channels that are never watched can be cumbersome.

This unpleasantness is also reflected in the fact that a slightly smaller but still sizable proportion of Canadian cable subscribers (70%) say they are disappointed with the variety of programming they are getting from their cable television plan. The numbers are highest in Atlantic Canada (78%) and British Columbia (75%). This is not a stat that should be spurned by our province’s media providers: three-in-four B.C. residents with cable are dissatisfied with what they are paying for. If these current consumers become more aware of cable-less options, as millennials clearly have done, they might opt to cut the cord.

But cutting the cord has provided a different challenge for governments. With streaming services gaining prominence, the idea of a “Netflix tax” consumed a lot of airtime and ink last year. In the end, the federal government ultimately abandoned this idea, which is especially popular only in one province.

In Quebec, the provincial government has compelled streaming services to start charging the Quebec Sales Tax in 2019. The Quebec government seeks to generate approximately $270 million each year from this move and ensure that local content providers – which might have a hard time being featured on streaming services – can compete with American behemoths like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

At this stage, the Netflix tax seems like a distant memory in English Canada. But if consumers continue to walk away from traditional television, federal and provincial governments might consider following Quebec’s lead, even if protecting local culture is not invoked as the main reason for their action. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore