home | Feature Articles | UWO Study Canada-"Moving Closer . . .
 

UWO Study Canada-"Moving Closer or Drifting Apart? Assessing the State of Public Opinion on the U.S.-Canada Relationship

UWO Study Canada-"Moving Closer or Drifting Apart? Assessing the State of Public Opinion on the U.S.-Canada Relationship

Printer-Friendly Format

By University of Western Professors Cameron Anderson and Laura Stephenson

Western launches new Canada U.S. Institute with release of first study

Executive Summary


In "Moving Closer or Drifting Apart? Assessing the State of Public Opinion on the U.S.-Canada Relationship," co-authors Cameron Anderson and Laura Stephenson -- both faculty members from Western's Department of Political Science and researchers at the new Institute -- examine a host of key policy issues based on results from an extensive cross-border survey.  Those results include:
  
• 64 per cent of Canadians describe the Canada-U.S. relationship as "friends, but not close," compared to 61 per cent of Americans. A further 15 per cent of Canadians say the relationship is like "best of friends," and a comparatively greater number (28 per cent) of Americans believe this is an accurate description.

• The future of the relationship seems more positive than negative as 31 per cent of Canadians and 25 per cent of Americans say the relationship will get better in the next five years compared with only 10 per cent of Canadians and three per cent of Americans who believe it will worsen.

• Both American (80 per cent) and Canadian (83 per cent) respondents overwhelmingly think that more should be done for the American economy. Despite record deficit and debt levels currently experienced by the American government, the demand for continued and strengthened government involvement in the American economy appears insatiable.
 
Don Abelson, Director of the Canada U.S. Institute, says the study speaks to how Canadians and Americans feel about how effectively their leaders are coping with pressing domestic and foreign policy matters.
 
"This report helps further our understanding of the various factors that shape one of the world's most important and enduring economic and political relationships," says Abelson. "In doing so, the authors have laid the foundation for additional studies intended to explore the complex nature of Canada-U.S. relations."
 
The new Canada U.S. Institute is the first Canadian institute/think tank dedicated solely to the study of the relationship between the two countries.  It will focus on the political, economic, legal, cultural and historical dimensions of the Canada-U.S. relationship by undertaking research, policy development and education. A centre for public opinion and voting behaviour will also be developed at the Institute. 
 
The complete study, "Moving Closer or Drifting Apart? Assessing the State of Public Opinion on the U.S.-Canada Relationship," can be found at
http://uwo.ca/local_files/downloads/20100413-can-us-study.pdf
 
Other highlights of the study include:
 
• Almost 26 per cent of all respondents believe the American government was "not at all" influenced by Canada on the economy. However, and perhaps a little surprising, just over 41 per cent of American respondents say Canada exerts "somewhat" or "a lot" of influence on American policymaking in the context of the economy.

• 25 per cent of both American and Canadian respondents identify border security as the first or second most important issue facing the Canada-U.S. relationship.

• Canadians say the U.S. exerts considerable influence on Canadian environmental policy decisions: 41 per cent think the U.S. has somewhat of an influence and 32 per cent believe the U.S. exerts a lot of influence. By contrast, 40 per cent of U.S. respondents say that Canada has somewhat or a lot of influence on American policymaking on the environment.

Printer-Friendly Format