If a political leader promised to reduce immigration levels, would they win or lose votes?
A new survey finds more Canadians would vote for a political leader who promised to cut immigration levels than would be repelled by this.
I can’t remember a time when so much debate and discussion in Canada has focused on immigration. In the last month, the Globe and Mail has published multiple opinion pieces arguing that Canada might need to reconsider it’s immigration targets because of housing and healthcare shortages (here, here, and here).
Yesterday, during a press conference, Pierre Poilievre was repeatedly asked whether he would reduce Canada’s immigration target. He didn’t answer the question outright, but argued Canada’s immigration system is broken and he would change the approach to immigration if he became Prime Minister.
As I’ve written before, I’m increasingly interested in the dynamics of public opinion on immigration sensing a shift in how people are talking about it. I wrote about hearing people start conversations about the subject with “I’m pro-immigration, but…”.
Last month I wrote about some new polling I did on public attitudes towards immigration. I found widespread concern about the level of immigration’s impact on housing, congestion, and healthcare. A clear majority of Canadians believe Canada’s target of 500,000 new immigrants a year is too high.
The question then is - could a political leader in Canada promise to cut immigration levels without losing support? It’s a hypothetical question that’s not easily answered but in my most recent Abacus Data survey, I asked a few questions to try and start to understand the answer.
The survey, fielded from July 20 to 25, 2023, sampled 2,486 Canadian adults online. The comparable margin of error is +/- 2.0%, 19 times out of 20.
Here’s what I found (full details below for paid subscribers):
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