NATIONAL PULSE – Significant numbers in Canada, U.S. favour authoritarianism

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Nov. 7, 2022 – With mid-term elections looming in the U.S. and Canadians learning new details daily about the circumstances that led to the first-ever use of the Emergencies Act, people on both sides of the border are steeped in conversations – and often, heated debates – about democracy, systems of government, and rule of law.

Against this backdrop, a cross-border study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians still mostly fond of the democratic political system, but with a significant minority showing enthusiasm for non-representative forms of government. This sentiment is even more pronounced in the United States.

Overall, the vast majority in Canada – 86 per cent – say a democratic political system is a good way to govern, while six per cent disagree, and eight per cent are not sure. In the United States, just two thirds (64%) say the same of democracy while one-in-five (19%) say this is a bad form of government, and 17 per cent are unsure.

When it comes to the idea of authoritarian leadership – having a strong leader who does not bother with parliament (congress in the U.S.) or elections – 16 per cent in Canada say this would be good or great, while 12 per cent are unsure.

In the U.S., 15 per cent are unsure and 23 per cent are enthusiastic about the idea of strong leader who does not bother with elections. This adds up to 27 per cent of Canadians and 38 per cent of Americans who do not reject the idea of authoritarianism for their country.

Disenchantment with government drives such views. In Canada, among those who feel they are unable to have a real influence on the political decisions made around them, enthusiasm for this authoritarian concept rises to 19 per cent, with 11 per cent unsure.

South of the border, three-in-ten (28%) of those expressing this helplessness show a fondness for authoritarianism, while another 12 per cent do not reject it.

*Respondents asked about congress in U.S., parliament in Canada

More Key Findings:

  • A majority of Canadians (56%) say they don’t trust government in general to act in their best interests. This proportion has increased from 47 per cent when asked in 2016. In the United States, distrust rises to seven-in-ten (72%).
  • Two-thirds of Canadians (64%) say they don’t believe they can influence political decisions that influence their life. This sentiment is much more common among men aged 18 to 34 (77%) than other demographics.
  • In Canada, 18- to 34-year-old men are three times as likely as any other demographic to say, “some countries are better off with authoritarian rule”.
  • Belief in the superiority of democracy over authoritarianism is consistent across political lines: at least nine-in-ten past CPC, Liberal, NDP and BQ voters say democracy is always better than authoritarianism.
  • Socially isolated Canadians show less faith in the government and more disenchantment with the system. More than three-in-five (63%) of the most socially isolated Canadians say they do not trust in the government to act in their best interest. Half (49%) of the most socially connected Canadians say the same.

Link to the poll here:

About Mel Rothenburger (9652 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on NATIONAL PULSE – Significant numbers in Canada, U.S. favour authoritarianism

  1. R Marcus Lowe // November 7, 2022 at 7:38 PM // Reply

    Good for Canada. Democracy is Good. Democracy started in Greece and was obliterated by Rome’s murdering bullies. “Beware the Military Industrial Complex”, some American President said…Here we go again, OUR CHOICE…

  2. Terrifying stats.

    It makes some sense south of the border once you balance this with the knowledge that over 80% of the Republicans trying to win office in the midterms tomorrow … have publicly stated that they think the 2020 election was won by trump and the election was stolen … regardless of the fact that every single report of impropriety during the election has been investigated and every one of the 80 federal or state lawsuits attempting to overturn the result, failed miserably.

    Thats called rule of law in action … but they still harp on about it today.

    These trump lapping bandwagon clingers are only saying any of this to attract the voting populous that has become electorally active since 2016 … those referred to by Hillary Clinton as the ‘deplorables’, ie; those who vote trump.

    I would not be at all surprised if the stats here, especially the 23% of Americans prefer to have a strong leader who does not have to ‘bother with Parliament or Congress or elections’ … have been skewed by this voter group in particular.

    Any vote for trump or any one of his lap dogs,
    is a direct vote for authoritarianism.
    That much is abundantly clear.

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