It probably comes as little surprise that international trade and international relations issues were the most polled topics when it comes to national public policy issues in Canada for 2017. More than one in five polls were about our external relationships.
International trade — The 11% of all national public policy polls reflects our preoccupation with NAFTA (11 of the 19 international trade polls were about NAFTA).
International relations — There is no better indication of the Trump effect in Canada then the number of polls which pertained to our relationships with other countries. Ten per cent of all polls were about these non-trade relationships and a third of these were directly about Can-US relations. While foreign policy writ large was the topic of some attention, notable issues like Israel, Syria, Rohingya and North Korea were only the main issue focus for one poll release each.
Marijuana — The 9% of poll releases on drug and alcohol issues were almost all about the Liberal promise to legalize marijuana. When you factor in the additional local and provincial polls on marijuana there were in fact 19 separate polls on marijuana in 2017. This make it really the issue of the year when it comes to polling.
Democracy and governance — The 8% of all national policy releases cover a range of issues from party financing, to the monarchy and others.
Refugees and immigration — A total of 7% of all national releases were about this and this was primarily driven by the asylum seekers Almost all were about the spike in asylum seekers from the U.S. making it a significant national issue.
A total of 177 national polls were released on public policy issues in 2017 which represents almost a poll every other day. Q4 witnessed a significant decline in the number of publicly released polls on policy issues. Of course, not all of these polls get national coverage, but they do show there is considerable content out there about what Canadians think.
Canadians offered their opinions most often on nafta, marijuana and the asylum seekers.
A national public policy poll is any poll which was conducted with a national sample and which was primarily about policy issues. All polling releases are characterized as being either Electoral and Party Competition, Public Policy, Economic Confidence, or Perceptions of the World. Inevitably, there is some overlap of these categories (especially where a poll on party performance has some issue content) so it is a judgment call as to what the primary topic of the poll is for these purposes.