Tales, truth in politics, and other noteworthy stuff
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Canadians want an independent investigation into robocalls, Angus Reid survey suggests
by Bobbie Saga
Most Canadians are calling for an independent investigation into robocalls, with a majority believing they are not isolated incidents limited to the riding of Guelph, a new Angus Reid poll shows.
The online survey, released today, reveals that most Canadians think Robocalls were used broadly in the last federal election, with four-in-five respondents calling for an independent investigation.
The survey shows respondents are divided on what impact robocalls may have had on the last federal ballot, with slightly less than half, or 44 per cent, agreeing that misleading messages definitely changed the outcome of the May 2011 federal election. Only 36 per cent of those polled disagreed that robocalls changed the outcome.
But half of those polled, or 50 per cent – including 61 per cent of Quebecers – believe every riding subjected to misleading robocalls should have a by-election as soon as possible. Moreover, four-in-five, or 81 per cent, want an independent investigation to find out exactly who was behind any misleading calls.
A breakdown of the poll, conducted from March 1 to 3, shows most opposition voters believe that robocalls definitely changed the outcome of the last federal ballot, a view shared by just 17 per cent of Conservative voters.
The survey also suggests almost two thirds of Canadians, or 64 per cent of those polled, think the Guelph occurrence is "probably" or "definitely" one of many that took place and where robocalls were a method used widely in the last federal campaign.
As well, 80 per cent of Canadians who voted for the Green Party, 78 per cent for the New Democratic Party, and 77 per cent for both the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois believe the robocalls extend beyond Guelph. Only 47 per cent of Conservative Party voters stated they believed the calls are an isolated incident.
Respondents were also asked which of the five major federal parties are likely to provide false and misleading information to voters through telephone calls with pre-recorded messages.
Only a third of respondents, or 32 per cent, think the Green Party and 33 per cent the New Democratic Party are "very likely" or "moderately likely" to rely on this tactic. In Quebec, 32 per cent of respondents think the Bloc Québécois is likely to use robocalls with misleading information.
A majority of Canadians, however, believe the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party are most likely to provide false and misleading information to voters through telephone calls. The Liberal Party chalked up 55 per cent on this question, while the Conservative Party came in at 63 per cent. Indeed, two-in-five Canadians, or 39 per cent, think the Tories are "very likely" to rely on this tactic.
Another question put to respondents is that of holding by-elections in affected ridings. At least three-in-five Canadians who voted for any of the four opposition parties currently want to hold by-elections in the ridings that were subjected to misleading robocalls. Only 31 per cent of Tory voters concur.
The survey also shows half of respondents say they have followed stories related to robocalls made during the last federal election campaign "very closely" or "moderately closely."
Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted the online survey among 1,001 randomly selected Canadian adults. The margin of error is 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.