Politics

Proud Canadians Assess Global Role and Image

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

      -- Canadian National Anthem

Evidently so.

According to Gallup's latest Canadian poll*, fully three-quarters (76%) of Canadians take strong pride in their nationality, and 41% go so far as to say they are "extremely" proud to be Canadian. Furthermore, generational shifts in patriotism may be underway. Young adults in their late teens and twenties are even more likely than older Canadians to say they take extreme pride in being Canadian, by a margin of 51% to 39%.

Canadian patriotism is not rooted in machismo. Canadian women, in fact, are slightly more likely than Canadian men to describe themselves as "extremely" proud to be Canadian -- 45% compared to 37%.

Even among French-speaking Canadians -- the vast majority of whom are Quebecois -- a strong majority describe themselves as either "very" (40%) or "extremely" (17%) proud of their Canadian nationality. This is notable, given that Quebec came within a whisker of voting for quasi-independence from Canada ("sovereignty association") less than a decade ago. Another 26% of Canada's francophones describe themselves as "moderately" proud of their Canadian citizenship, and only small proportions describe themselves as "only a little" (10%) or "not at all" (6%) proud.

Canada's Current -- and Desired -- Role in the World

Despite their nation's modest population size, Canadians express at least as much satisfaction as Americans or Britons with the role their country plays on the world stage. Overall, three-fifths (60%) of Canadians say they are satisfied with the role their country plays in world affairs -- as do majorities of both Britons (58%) and Americans (55%).

Nor are Canadians isolationist in their sentiments. Nearly two-thirds (62%) say they want their country to play the leading role or a major role in international affairs and the resolution of international problems, with 6% saying Canada should take the leading role. Only a handful of Canadians (4%) think their country should take no role at all in this regard.

Furthermore, there appears to be wide acceptance among Canadians of the notion that its "hyperpower" neighbor, the United States, should exert a strong influence on global affairs. Over three-quarters of Canadians say the United States should take the leading role (23%) or a major role, but not the leading role (55%) in trying to solve international problems.

As reported in a recent Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing article (see "Unwilling Coalition? Majorities in Britain, Canada Oppose Military Action in Iraq" in Related Items), Canadians currently give Prime Minister Jean Chrétien mixed reviews for his government's handling of foreign affairs, with 49% expressing approval and 47% expressing disapproval. This appraisal is virtually identical to the level accorded by Americans** to President George Bush regarding his handling of foreign policy (49% approve, 46% disapprove), but significantly higher than that given by Britons*** to Prime Minister Tony Blair (33% approve, 60% disapprove). It is also worth noting that a strong majority of Canadians -- nearly two-thirds (65%) -- believes the country's armed forces are currently not as strong as they need to be.

Global Perceptions of Canada, and of Prime Minister Chrétien

One of the poll's most striking findings is the fact that Canadians are now considerably more confident than either Americans or Britons about the way in which they think the world views their country.

Only 9% of Canadians believe the world has either a "somewhat" or "very" unfavorable view of Canada, while 32% think Canada has a very favorable image abroad. Fifty-nine percent believe the world views Canada's image "somewhat" favorably. In contrast, 28% of all Britons and 41% of all Americans say they think the rest of the world has a predominantly negative view of their counties -- and only 12% of Britons and 11% of Americans now think their country's global image is very favorable.

Canadian assessments are more mixed, however, on how their prime minister is viewed by other leaders. Nearly half of all Canadians (46%) say they believe the world's leaders have respect for Chrétien, while a slightly higher proportion (52%) thinks other countries' leaders don't have much respect for him.

*Canadian results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of approximately 1,000 Canadian adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Feb. 3-9, 2003. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3%.

**U.S. results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,001 American adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Feb. 3-6, 2003. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3%.

***British results are based on telephone interviews conducted by the Gallup U.K. poll with approximately 500 respondents, aged 18 and older, from across Great Britain, conducted Jan. 29-Feb. 10, 2003. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±5%.

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/7957/Proud-Canadians-Assess-Global-Role-Image.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030