A new survey suggests Canadians prefer strict economic lockdowns in regions where COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising rather than a more hands-off approach that allows businesses to remain open while the virus spreads.
The survey, conducted by Nanos Research and commissioned by CTV News, asked more than 1,000 Canadians how they think spiralling caseloads should be handled in parts of the country experiencing the highest spread.
Fifty-five per cent of respondents supported a very strict lockdown that involved closing all but the most essential parts of the economy in order to manage the spread, while 39 per cent preferred keeping the economy partially open and allowing the virus to run its course. Another six per cent said they were unsure.
Support for strict lockdowns was most popular in Atlantic Canada, at 72 per cent, where 14-day quarantines are mandatory for anyone who enters the region or travels within the provinces. In Quebec, where Christmas gatherings were recently banned in red zones, respondents were least supportive of strict lockdowns, at nearly 44 per cent in support.
Canadians older than 55 were most likely to support strict lockdowns, with 60 per cent supportive, compared to those aged 18-34, who were 49 per cent supportive.
When it comes to the fear of the virus, Canadians appear far more concerned about contracting the virus than its impact on the economy. Sixty-three per cent of respondents said they were more concerned about the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 or a loved on testing positive, while 33 per cent said they were more afraid of the economic implications. Four per cent said they were unsure.
Respondents in Atlantic Canada (74 per cent) and Ontario (68 per cent) were most concerned about catching the virus, while those in Quebec (55 per cent) and the Prairies (59 per cent) expressed less but still significant levels of concern.
Across all age groups, Canadians appear similarly worried about contracting the virus, with 61 per cent of those 18-34 concerned, 62 per cent of those aged 35-54 concerned, and 65 per cent of those agent 55 and over concerned.
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered in Canada on Monday, and Canadians appear keen to get their shots. A strong majority of Canadians are interested (64 per cent) or somewhat interested (17 per cent) in getting the vaccine once its available. Ten per cent of respondents said they were not interested, while six per cent said they were somewhat not interested. Four per cent said they were unsure.
Canada is set to receive up to 200,000 more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and potentially up to 168,000 Moderna vaccine doses by the end of December. Overall, the government has secured access to 20 million Pfizer doses, four million of which are set to land by the end of March, and 40 million Moderna doses, with options to buy thousands more from each manufacturer if needed.
Canadians are generally confident in the countrys vaccine delivery plan, the survey suggests. Sixteen per cent of respondents nationwide are confident and 40 per cent are somewhat confident that the country has a well-organized plan to deliver vaccines as quickly as possible. Nineteen per cent said they were somewhat not confident and 21 per cent said they are not confident. Four per cent are unsure.
Confidence appears highest in Quebec, where 73 per cent of respondents said they are confident or somewhat confident, and lowest in the Prairies, where 45 per cent are confident or somewhat confident.
With Christmas 10 days away and multiple provinces and jurisdictions advising against or outright banning holiday gatherings, Canadians overwhelmingly said they will see fewer friends and family this year. Eighty-three per cent said they will see fewer loved ones than usual, while 13 per cent said their holidays get-togethers will be the same as usual. Just two per cent said they will see more people than usual in 2020, and another two per cent were unsure.
Those living in B.C. are most likely to say they will see family less, with 88 per cent of respondents reducing their holiday get-togethers, compared to Quebec, where 75 per cent of respondents are limiting the Christmas contacts.
Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,096 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between November 26th and 29th, 2020 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.
Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs. The margin of error for this survey is ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.
With files from’s Rachel Aiello in Ottawa