Does Party Affiliation Affect Views on Immigration?

Recently, the Conference Board of Canada published a series of articles relating to immigration. One of them, written by Nick Nanos, talks about extensive polling on Canadian opinions regarding immigration. It has been widely quoted in the media that while Canadians approve of immigration, they generally want the numbers to stay the same.

I made summaries of four of the seven questions that Mr. Nanos asked respondents. In making the following tables, I merged “% agree” and “% somewhat agree” into one category. I did the same for disagree.

The results are as follows:

Question 1. Immigration is a key positive feature of Canada as a country?

Voter Profile % Agree % Disagree
Liberal 87.8 10.5
Conservative 79.6 18.4
NDP 86.9 10.0
Bloc 77.1 22.9
Green 90.5 9.5
Undecided 73.9 21.1

Question 2. In 2008, Canada admitted 247,202 permanent immigrants. Do you think Canada should increase, decrease, or keep the same number of new permanent immigrants each year?

Voter Profile % Increase Numbers % Keep Same % Decrease
Liberal 21.7 40.0 31.6
Conservative 19.1 38.4 36.3
NDP 29.5 41.4 23.5
Bloc 17.3 47.8 31.1
Green 29.3 45.3 23.5
Undecided 18.6 33.2 36.1

What these two tables indicate is that Liberals and NDP voters are 10% more likely than Conservative voters to support immigration, and are also more likely to support increasing the level of immigrants admitted to Canada. However, the difference does not appear to be great enough to say that this is a key difference between supporters of the three parties. As well, it is worth noting that the “Undecided Vote” seems to be much less enthusiastic about immigration than any of the parties’ supporters.

Question 7. A Canadian citizen should be allowed to have another citizenship

Voter Profile % Agree % Disagree
Liberal 72.5 24
Conservative 65.4 28.2
NDP 74.7 24.8
Bloc 66.7 32.3
Green 77.8 20.8
Undecided 72.4 22

The issue of multiple citizenship is a topic that is dear to many immigrants who do not wish to lose their original citizenship.  The results are similar to those of general impressions regarding immigration. Conservative voters are less likely than other voters to support Canadian citizens having another citizenship.  Interestingly, on this issue the Undecided vote leans closer to the Liberal position.

Question 4. Governments should do more to help immigrants settle (e.g., language classes and labour market support)?

Voter Profile % Agree % Disagree
Liberal 66.7 30.8
Conservative 59.9 36.2
NDP 72.4 24.1
Bloc 80.7 17.8
Green 84.4 15.6
Undecided 59.6 35

Not surprisingly, the answers to this question correspond to the general stereotype about how each side views government support in general. NDP voters are 11% more likely than Conservative ones to favor increasing the amount of assistance provided to new Canadians, while the Liberal voters are somewhere in between.

Once again, the “Undecided Vote” leans closer to the Conservative position.

These summaries provide just a snippet of the data available at the Conference Board of Canada website, and I recommend checking out the original poll to look at other factors such as house ownership, age, region, etc.


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