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Canadians split on impression of political groups on Facebook; many uncertain (Nanos Poll Completed February 8)

58 comments Latest by Zachary Smith

Although Canadians are split on their impressions of political groups organizing themselves on Facebook, they are more likely to agree that political Facebook groups should have little or no influence on government. The key takeaway is that observers should delineate between the ability of Facebook to politically mobilize and its true political heft.

The latest polling conducted by Nanos Research indicates that when asked to rate how much influence political Facebook groups should have on government, approximately one in every two Canadians believed they should have little to no influence (46.6% rated 1 or 2, out of 5). One in five Canadians was neutral (21.2% rated 3) and another one in five was unsure (20.9%). Only eleven percent of Canadians felt political Facebook groups should have an influence on government (11.3% rated 4 or 5).

When asked their impressions of political groups on Facebook, three in ten Canadians had positive or somewhat positive impressions (31%) of political groups making use of Facebook, while an equal amount of Canadians had negative or somewhat negative impressions (29.7%). Four in ten Canadians were unsure in their impression (39.3%).

The detailed tables and methodology are posted on our website. You can also register to receive automatic polling updates.

Influence of Political Groups on Facebook Question: On a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is no influence and 5 is significant influence, how much influence should political Facebook groups have on any government?

(Canadians= 1,001)

No influence (1) – 31.9%
2 – 14.7%
3 – 21.2%
4 – 5.7%
Significant influence (5) – 5.6%
Unsure – 20.9%

Impression of Political Groups on Facebook Question: As you may know, different political groups organize themselves on Facebook to share ideas, information and to help mobilize their activities. Do you have a positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative or negative impression of political groups on Facebook?

(Canadians= 1,001)

Positive 15.2%
Somewhat positive 15.8%
Somewhat negative 9.0%
Negative 20.7%
Unsure 39.3%

What do you think?


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You Tube, Facebook and the rest of the technoligical advances for communication ... more

Tom Good (British Columbia) 18 Feb 00:17

CAPP is not like a usual Facebook Group. Internal data gathering within the gro... more

Non-aligned in Toronto (Ontario) 18 Feb 12:20

Nik - One thing I'm struggling with is what are the comparators? If you asked pe... more

david_a_eaves (British Columbia) 18 Feb 07:12

You Tube, Facebook and the rest of the technoligical advances for communication ... more

Tom Good (British Columbia) 18 Feb 00:17

As you are aware of my views on facebook and that I rather doubt that we would f... more

Zachary Smith (Ontario) 18 Feb 13:04

You suggest that I hold the Liberals accountable, and indeed I do. I wrote: "The... more

Non-aligned in Toronto (Ontario) 18 Feb 13:50


Tom Good

You Tube, Facebook and the rest of the technoligical advances for communication are more the province of the young. If these devices get the young---meaning 40 and under---- involved in politics then GREAT. If the postings express an opinion, then I would suggest a wise politician would take note.

[updated Thu Feb 18 00:17:42 -0500 2010]

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18 Feb 00:17

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Nik - One thing I'm struggling with is what are the comparators? If you asked people how much influence should "a march" have on the government would you get a different result? (I don't have any idea - but would guess that the result would be the same).

So I'm not sure what conclusion we should be drawing from this survey.

At a minimum saying that Canadian's think "real" life activity matters more (like Valpy's piece in the Globe did) is serious over-reach...


[updated Thu Feb 18 07:12:25 -0500 2010]

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18 Feb 07:12

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Unlike traditional political discussions and influences, where I know I'm an expert :-), on this issue I have given very little thought. A cursory opinion would be that I would give a 5 and a positive answer.

However I can't see how any such group would have much influence on the government or political parties. In my experience we can't get politician to listen to us. Either the leader or the advisory group listen to their own advice only. This is much more true with Harper than any other previous leader or government. And it's a principal reason we don't get better governance.
I'm not aware of any such group apart from the prorogation group. I don't take part in any of them. I would if I knew about them and on seeing what they were about, I would decide if and how useful they might be and I'd decide how much I would get involved in them.
I would like to see one well moderated whereby those "crazies' are kept out.
Individuals or small groups certainly don't have much influence. A larger group, if it showed itself to be sensible and responsible, should have a better chance to have some influence and I would support it.

The more people who give their opinions to our politician the more likely politicians will, perchance, listen and we will get a better system of government.

[updated Thu Feb 18 08:33:57 -0500 2010]

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18 Feb 08:33

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Non-aligned in Toronto

CAPP is not like a usual Facebook Group. Internal data gathering within the group (substantiateed by a later EKOS poll of group members) indicates that the average age of a member of CAPP is around 40 to 45. I participated in the Toronto Rally on Jan. 23rd, and of the 10,000 plus in attendance there were far more greyheads than college students.

It is also a non (or more accurately) a multi partisan group with a great many who attach loyalty to no one party. It mat also surprise some that there are hundreds of Conservatives who don't like Mr. Harpers anti-democratic bent.

Indeed, while unneccessary proroguation of Parliament to duck the detainee issue was the Flashpoint for the Hundreds of Thousand who joined and the tens of thousands who participated in Rallies, it has long since faded as the focal point of the group.

These days, conversations on the CAPP discussion board centre on the overall decline in democratic institutions in Canada, with power being centralized in the PMO to the point where the PM ignores with apparent impunity, demands for documents from Parliament and orders from the Supreme Court.

Many (not all of course) CAPP members are an impressively committed crew, from mainly a demographic that both votes and influences others who vote.

Any political leader who ignores them, does so at their peril.

[updated Thu Feb 18 12:20:58 -0500 2010]

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18 Feb 12:20

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Branchez-vous, maudits électeurs.

That just about sums up my feelings. What the hell is going on? When you look at Ekos and see for the past month and a half that the Right Track-Wrong Track numbers have been consistently heading south, you have to wonder where people's heads are at.

Logic would seem to dictate that the Conservatives would not be rising under such circumstances but then again, neither are we. I haven't seen this much stagnation since Parliament was twice prorogued.

What are they waiting for? Hopefully, it's not the second coming of Jesus....Somebody, please take a shot. I certainly can't make heads or tails of it.

EKOS: 31.2 CPC, 29.0 LPC, 16.5 NDP, 11.8 GPC, 8.8 BQ.

[updated Thu Feb 18 17:57:58 -0500 2010]

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18 Feb 17:57

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Zachary Smith


I am sure where this came from, but I have to admit that I really do not have any idea as to why it came from there and I know from your conservations with my Dad that he felt that you had a better understanding of Quebec, so I thought I would ask you - what is up?

Now having said that, I am sure that there are many people outside of Quebec who are happy about this, but I am about as sure that it will not be playing very well within Quebec.

Because, all that I see from this is that where the sovereignty issue was just about dead - Ignatieff is, bring it back to the front burner and with it comes all the related tribal instincts of the Quebecers.

Can you shed some light as to why Ignatieff would be talking up Bouchard as his new hero in former separatist leader Lucien Bouchard."

Thursday, February 18, 2010 6:14 PM, Jane Taber; Michael Ignatieff lauds Lucien Bouchard

1) " “His statements will surely prompt further discussion on whether sovereignty is attainable or not,” Mr. Ignatieff writes."

2) “Mr. Bouchard had the courage to say what many have been thinking deep down,” Mr. Ignatieff wrote in a letter distributed by his office this afternoon. “Instead of passively waiting for a so-called ‘historic night’ [a yes vote in a referendum], it is crucial that Quebeckers actively participate in the changes happening within Canada.”

[updated Thu Feb 18 22:37:15 -0500 2010]

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18 Feb 22:37

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Wilf Day

Odd statement in your summary: "One in five Canadians was neutral (21.2% rated 3)." But the question had a scale of 1 (no influence) to 5 (significant influence). Isn't 3 a moderate or middling amount of influence, somewhat influential? Hardly a neutral position.

True, only 11.3% said the influence should be 4 (somewhat significant) or 5 (significant). Yet 15.2% had a positive impression of political groups on Facebook, plus 15.8% somewhat positive, total 31%. That compares nicely with the 32.6% who said the influence should be 3, 4 or 5: somewhat influential.

And 29.7% had a negative impression of political groups on Facebook, like the 31.9% who said they should have no influence; does that match Conservative supporters? Some Conservative supporters were uncomfortable with prorogation and cheered the Facebook group on. Did you cross-check the correlation?

[updated Fri Feb 19 02:46:34 -0500 2010]

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19 Feb 02:46

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Quebec Francophones: Still Uncertain As To Which Way To Go.

Former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard is widely known for a number of things -- some more flattering than others! But no one can deny that the man is always frank and more than willing to let us know how he sees the future for Quebec.

Is Lucien Bouchard still a sovereignist? Absolutely, right down to his bones. Is sovereignty for Quebec his preferred option for this province? No doubt about it. But Bouchard is also a realist -- a man who knows that the "gros morceaux" of the sovereignty movement failed to pull it off. Giants like Lévesque, Parizeau and even Bouchard himself, could not pull out all the stops to win independence for Quebec.

That my friends is noteworthy. That says more about Quebec than anything else. Do I doubt that in light of the bungling of the Olympic opening ceremonies that francophone support in favour of sovereignty is inching past fifty percent? Not for a moment. Do I feel that this is a serious threat to Canadian unity? The short answer is no.

Québécois have the idea that they should be respected in this country. They believe that it goes without saying that French should have an equal place in national events. They are justifiably proud of their particular legacy and many of them, of our joint heritage. Is it too much to ask that that be recognized in Vancouver, or anywhere else in Canada?

Moments like that breed frustration, exasperation and for some, contempt. This is another in a series of passing storms. It just so happens that Lucien Bouchard's comments added further heat to an already smoldering fire.

Québécois have a pretty good idea of what and where their place in Canada is. The rest of Canada, not so much...incredibly as that may seem in 2010!

But to get back to Bouchard: to my mind, it's not patently absurd to strive for excellence in Quebec with regard to delivery of government services. Quebec has a number of pressing concerns: unemployment, immigration, health and education, to name but a few. Bouchard, along with the rest of Quebec, expect the state to do its best for her fellow citizens. Can't say that I can argue with that.

In addition, Bouchard also wants to keep politics out of the debate regarding reasonable accomodation. He recognizes that Quebec is a tolerant society but he also knows what political demagoguery, à la ADQ, can do to undermine that. In short, he is wisely suggesting that politics be kept out of the debate in determining rights for newly-arrived and other immigrants to Quebec. We don't operate under Cullen-Couture for nothing.

No one in Quebec can accurately predict whether we will one day become independent. One can lay odds against it but it can never be ruled out. Lucien Bouchard, the sovereignist, is willing to wait. Meanwhile, he believes we should get down to the pressing economic and social concerns ahead of us. Count me in.

Finally, I see nothing wrong with Michael Ignatieff echoing Bouchard's views. Being a federalist does not mean that one's viewpoint must be mutually exclusive. Liberals are repeatedly on the record in favour of a strong and vibrant Quebec within a united Canada. It strikes me that both Bouchard and Ignatieff are saying that until sovereignty meets its next crossroad, that it's not entirely unreasonable to say that "il est temps de passer à autre chose."

[updated Sat Feb 20 14:31:15 -0500 2010]

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20 Feb 14:31

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Consertative Supporter

Issue of the Day and what has to be investigated, is why the Governor General insulted British Colombians by speaking French first in opening ceremonies of 2010 games,this region is "British" Columbian we speak "English" only, you would think people in the East would have learned this by now. Quebec still owes us tax dollars stolen over the last 100 years by a Civil Service that has far too many French Canadians working in it (source my brother is a former Deputy Minister in Ottawa) BC made a big mistake in 1871.

[updated Sat Feb 20 15:37:41 -0500 2010]

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20 Feb 15:37

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