Most Canadians believe Russia is using social media to meddle in western elections: Nanos survey
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a press conference after the meeting of U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
According to top U.S. intelligence officials, there is no question that the Russian government ordered a sophisticated campaign to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.
With Canada’s federal election expected in 2019, Canadians largely believe that similar tactics are being used throughout the western world.
Nearly nine in 10 Canadians find it believable or somewhat believable that Russia is harnessing social media to meddle in elections of western democracies, according to a new Nanos Research survey for CTV News.
An overwhelming majority of Canadians – 69 per cent – find it “believable” that meddling is underway. Another 19 per cent call the idea “somewhat believable.”
Men and women are evenly split on the belief, at 88 per cent. Those living in Atlantic Canada are most likely to hold the belief, at 90.8 per cent, with those in the Prairies less likely but still overwhelmingly confident in Russian meddling, at 80.5 per cent.
In the U.S., Russian meddling isn’t up for debate – it’s a fact. Across party lines, both Democrats and Republicans believe intelligence officials who found that Russian cyberattacks targeted the 2016 election in a sophisticated campaign.
In January 2017, a U.S. intelligence assessment by the CIA, National Security Agency, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the campaign.
Despite this, U.S. President Donald Trump has questioned the finding from his own intelligence community.
“They said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump told reporters at a joint press conference following a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki.
“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Those comments drew criticism from within Trump’s own party. House Speaker Paul Ryan called out Trump, saying he “must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”
Trump later claimed he misspoke at the press conference and meant to say he didn’t see any reason why it “wouldn’t” be Russia that meddled in the election.
These observations are based on a hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between July 30th and August 5th, 2018 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.