Where the votes are, aren't - Macleans.ca

Where the votes are, aren’t


Nanos released the results of a new poll overnight; the question was  “what is your most important NATIONAL issue of concern?”

It turns out that healthcare is back on top as our number one priority (27.1%)  followed by jobs and the economy (23.6%). No other issue hit ten percent; the environment was third at 8.8% (which, probably not coincidentally, is pretty much where the Green party is polling these days).

In his analysis, Nik points to the improving economy and growing worries over H1N1 as factors affecting the shifting priorities, but the lack of concern for the environment is really surprising. As the chart shows, in early 2007 the environment was the most important issue of all, with 35 percent of Canadians listed it as number one.

But that was clearly an unnatural spike driven by Dionmania;  it looks like the environment is moving back to its long-term status as a matter of tertiary national importance.   Anyone looking for a sense of what is guiding the government’s complete indifference to Copenhagen need look no further. Harper doesn’t care, because Canadians don’t.

Two positions for debate:

1. The point of political leadership is to tell people truths they don’t want to hear.

2. You can only lead where the people will follow

Here’s the Nanos release:

Nik on the Numbers

Since the fall of 2008, the economy has dominated the issue frame of Canadians. It is significant that for the first time in a year, another issue has registered as a more important unprompted issue of concern among Canadian. This is likely indicative of a number of factors at play. First, as unease about the economic downturn diminishes, fewer Canadians are worried about the economy and jobs. Second, the focus on H1N1 has helped healthcare as a comparative concern in November.

It will be important to watch to see if the downward pressure on the economy as a national issue of concern continues. If it does, it may be an early signal that other issues, beyond economic, may be able to reclaim some public attention.

To chat about this poll join the national political online chat at Nik on the Numbers. The detailed tables and methodology are posted on our website. You can also register to receive automatic polling updates.


Nanos conducted a random telephone survey of 1,005 Canadians, 18 years of age and older, between November 7th and November 10th 2009. A survey of 1,005 Canadians is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

Top Issue Question: What is your most important NATIONAL issue of concern? [unprompted] (Change between current and previous waves of research in brackets)

Healthcare 27.1% (+1.8)
Jobs/economy 23.6% (-6.1)
The environment 8.8% (+0.6)
Education 3.6% (-0.4)
Unsure 5.4% (-7.3)

Feel free to forward this e-mail. Any use of the poll should identify the project as the latest “Nanos Poll.”





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