A majority of Albertans did not support the goals of the Freedom Convoy, or the means used by protesters to try to achieve them, according to a recent University of Alberta poll.
The online survey was conducted in the spring, in partnership with research firm Pollara, and received 2,224 responses.
“We wanted to see… once people had time to reflect and digest what happened, were they still supportive of the convoy’s goals and methods? said Feo Snagovsky, assistant professor of political science at the University of Alberta.
“We found overwhelmingly that they didn’t.”
Sixty-one percent of those who responded said they disagreed with the convoy’s goals.
Sixty-seven percent said they opposed the convoy’s methods, which included closing the area around Parliament Hill in Ottawa and blocking border crossings between Canada and the United States.
Lori Williams, an associate professor of political studies at Mount Royal University, said the research adds a more nuanced understanding of Albertans’ political views.
“In light of recent events – including the verbal attack on Chrystia Freeland, the fact that Tamara Lich and others associated with the convoy live in Alberta and are associated with some elements of Alberta – this paints a more balanced picture of where the Albertans as actually sat on the convoy,” said Williams, who was not involved in the research.
“A lot of those who support some of the concerns that have been raised, don’t support the tactic.”
The survey found that people’s views on the convoy varied depending on factors such as political affiliation and geography.
New Democrat respondents were overwhelmingly opposed to the convoy, while United Conservative Party supporters were more divided.
Fifty-six percent of UCP respondents supported the convoy’s goals and 48 percent supported the convoy’s methods.
In comparison, only 14% of NDP respondents supported the convoy’s goals and 7% supported the group’s means of achieving them.
There was slightly more support for the convoy protesters’ goals in rural areas than in urban areas.
Snagovsky noted that’s likely because rural areas tend to be more conservative.
“So where you have more conservative identities, more people who see themselves as centre-right, you’re also going to have more people who support the convoy,” he said.
In Edmonton, 70% of survey respondents said they opposed the convoy’s objectives. In Red Deer and areas outside of the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, these goals received 53% support.
Similarly, when asked about the convoy’s methods, 76% of Edmontonians surveyed said they opposed it. But in areas outside the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, there were 55% opposition and 45% support.
Was it successful?
Snagovsky noted that there has been some debate about the success of the freedom convoy, in part because some COVID-19 restrictions were dropped around the time of February protests in Ottawa and the Canada-Canada border blockade. American in Coutts, Alberta.
“There was a debate about whether the convoy had achieved its objectives or if it was just really good timing,” he said.
But surveying Albertans, Snagovsky found that just under a quarter (23%) of Albertans polled thought the protest had been a success, while 58% considered it a failure and 19% said it wasn’t. was neither.
“Based on whether it changed hearts and minds, I think we can conclude that he probably didn’t achieve his goal,” he said.
As ballots for the United Conservative Party leadership race are sent out, Williams said the results of this survey could be meaningful for voters and candidates.
“[It’s] put into perspective the position of most Albertans and the need to respond not only to those who are, say, on the extreme right of the spectrum, but as the leader of the party and the premier of the province, one would have to represent the Alberta as a whole,” she said.
As for Snagovsky and his team at the University of Alberta, he said this will be the first in a series of research notes on who supported the Freedom Convoy and how they will engage in Canadian politics in the future.
“This cohort of people is going to play a big role in Canadian politics going forward and it’s important to start looking at them,” he said.