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Canadians split on concerns over U.S. potentially increasing border security measures: survey

Motorists pass through the Peace Bridge Port of Entry in Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston Motorists pass through the Peace Bridge Port of Entry in Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

With the American presidential election on the horizon, a new survey shows that Canadians are split on concerns over the U.S. potentially increasing security measures at the border with Canada.

The survey, conducted by Nanos Research, found that 46 per cent of respondents across the country said they were concerned or somewhat concerned about the U.S. potentially increasing border security measures for Canadians wishing to visit the U.S., while 52 per cent said they were not concerned or somewhat not concerned.

"You know, we are a border country. Ninety per cent of Canadians live within a one-hour drive of the border," Nik Nanos, chair of Nanos Research and CTV News' official pollster, said on the latest episode of Trend Line. "The border is important to Canada and we're very sensitive to any changes."

Concerns were highest in Atlantic Canada, where 52.6 per cent of respondents said they were concerned or somewhat concerned, followed by Ontario at 49.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Prairies had the highest percentage of respondents (58.2 per cent) who said they were not concerned, followed by Quebec at 54.2 per cent.

Women were also more likely to express concerns about potential border security measures (50.5 per cent) compared to men (41 per cent). Concerns were also higher among those 55 and older (50.8 per cent) and lower among Canadians aged 18 to 34 (40.7 per cent).

(Nanos Research)

With the Republican presidential primaries underway, several candidates have expressed support for tightening security at the Canadian border.

Presidential candidate and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley has pointed to numbers from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol that show more people on the terrorist watchlist have been apprehended at the Canadian border compared to the Mexican border. Front-runner and former president Donald Trump has also said border security at the northern border is "not exactly doing too well," while former candidate Vivek Ramaswamy went as far as promising to build a border wall between Canada and the U.S.

Some U.S. state officials have also been sounding the alarm about security at the Canadian border. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who is backing Haley, announced in October his state would increase state patrols along its sparsely populated 97-kilometre-long border with Canada.

"Canadians are worried and they're focused on the U.S. election. You know, right now, we don't know what will happen… regardless of who the winner is in the next election. So, they're thinking about trade and the border," said Nanos.


Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,114 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between Jan. 29 to 31, 2024, as part of an omnibus survey. The margin of error for this survey is ±2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. This study was commissioned by CTV and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

Watch the full episode of Trend Line in our video player at the top of this article. You can also listen in our audio player below, or wherever you get your podcasts. The next episode comes out Wednesday, Feb. 20. Top Stories

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