OTTAWA – How a party pledges to handle climate change is more likely to influence female voters and voters in Quebec, and this could be bad news for the Conservative party, says pollster Nik Nanos.
According to a new Nanos Research survey commissioned by CTV News, nearly six in 10 Canadians surveyed say that climate change will influence how they will vote in the 2019 federal election.
"The party that is most likely to lose ballot box support could be the Conservatives depending on how they manage this," Nanos said on CTV’s Power Play on Thursday. "For the Liberals it's more of a mixed bag because during their tenure they've invested in a pipeline and tried to be environmentally sensitive."
The survey found that when asked to rate how climate change will influence their vote in the fall federal election on a scale from one to 10, with one being it would not at all influence their vote and 10 being it will very much influence their vote, women were more likely to say the issue will sway their vote.
Female voters surveyed gave climate change a mean score of 7.8 out of 10 on the vote influence scale, as did voters in Quebec.
The same survey found that voters in the Prairie provinces are least likely to say that climate change will influence how they vote. Canadians surveyed from these provinces gave climate change a mean score of 6.1 out of 10 on the vote influence scale. Male voters surveyed gave it a mean score of 6.7 out of 10.
Young people, those aged 18 to 34, also said that climate change will be a more influential issue than their older cohorts.
Both the governing Liberals and opposition Conservatives are angling to make climate change a key election issue, but from different perspectives. The Liberals plan to campaign on climate change being "a real and serious problem," and their plan, including a carbon tax is the way to fight it.
In a video Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna posted to social media on June 5, World Environment Day, Trudeau spells out the Liberals plan and cautions, "some politicians want to go back to the Harper years, when pollution was free, we have to do better than that, our kids are counting on us."
The Conservatives, with the backing of several conservative premiers, have launched a multi-pronged offensive on the carbon tax plan with the vow to scrap it. Conservatives are challenging it in court, and in Ontario, mandating anti-carbon tax stickers on gas pumps.
Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has yet to present his alternative plan to tackle climate change, it is going to be unveiled in the coming weeks but is not expected to prioritize meeting the Paris Agreement targets to reduce greenhouse gasses.
Coming at the issue from the other side, both the NDP and Green Party say the Liberals plan doesn’t go far enough to combat the climate emergency that Canada, and the world, is facing.
Overall, here is how all regions ranked the importance and sway power climate change will have on their vote:
- Atlantic voters: 7.5 out of 10
- Quebec voters: 7.8 out of 10
- Ontario voters: 7.4 out of 10
- Prairie voters: 6.1 out of 10
- British Columbia voters: 7.5 out of 10.
"Whenever there is wild fluctuations in the weather the environment as an issue skyrockets… and what we're seeing right now is that there's an increasing proportion of Canadians that put the environment as one of the key issues in the next election," Nanos said. "If there is any kind of significant weather event… it'll validate for those people that believe that this should be a top priority."
Methodology: Nanos Research conducted the hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years old and older, between May 31 and June 4 as part of an omnibus survey. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.