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Canadians on the CBC by Nanos Research

Mar 23, 2012

Executive Summary

Canadians are generally satisfied with the programs and content provided by the CBC. They are more likely to support maintaining current funding compared to a cut or increase and believe that possible cuts would likely have a negative impact in terms of Canadian content, local news and national news. These are the key findings of a study conducted by Nanos Research for the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

The results presented here are based on a representative online survey of 1,004 Canadians conducted between March 9th and 12th, 2012 weighted to approximate Canadian opinion. The research was completed in accordance with the standards of the MRIA and should be considered an accurate representation of opinion at the time of the survey.

Key Findings

Perceptions of the CBC

  • Overall satisfaction with CBC Television – More than eight in ten Canadians said they either regularly or occasionally watch CBC Television (86%) and are satisfied or somewhat satisfied (80%) with the programs broadcast.
  • Strong listenership of CBC Radio – More than one in two Canadians (53%) never listen to CBC Radio, while four in ten (45%) said they regularly or occasionally listen to CBC Radio. Quebecers are comparatively more likely to listen, with 58% saying they listen regularly or occasionally. A majority (82%) of Canadians who listen are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with programs broadcast.
  • CBC.ca website less popular than Television and Radio – More than one in two Canadians (58%) said they have never visited the CBC.ca website, while about four in ten (40%) said they either regularly or occasionally visit the website. These results are consistent across regions, gender and age groups. Overall, those who visit the website are satisfied or somewhat satisfied (80%) with the content available.

Perceptions on impact of cuts

  • Canadians believe cuts to the CBC would have a negative impact– Nearly one in two Canadians believe possible government cuts to the CBC would have a negative or somewhat negative impact on the creation of Canadian content (47%), while about four in ten feel the same way in terms of the delivery of news of their region (44%) and national news coverage (41%). Of note, when asked what they like about CBC Television, Radio and CBC.ca, noticeable proportions of Canadians said they like the news coverage for all three components of the broadcaster (21% for CBC Television; 23% for CBC Radio; 24% for the CBC.ca website). Hence, many Canadians believe cuts to the CBC would have a negative impact.

Perceptions on the path forward

  • Canadians support the government’s promise to maintain or increase support for the CBC – Six in ten Canadians (59%) support or somewhat support the position taken by the Heritage Minister James Moore to maintain or increase support for the CBC, while one in four (24%) oppose or somewhat oppose this position.
  • Noticeable proportion of Canadians oppose cuts to the CBC – Four in ten Canadians (43%) oppose or somewhat oppose cuts to the CBC, while more than one in three (38%) said they support or somewhat support cuts in order to help achieve the Government of Canada’s fiscal objective. Quebecers are the most likely to oppose (51% oppose or somewhat oppose) and the least likely to support cuts to the CBC compared to other Canadians (26% support or somewhat support, versus 38% for all Canadians). Additionally, men are comparatively more likely to support cuts to the CBC (46% support or somewhat support) than women (30% supported or somewhat supported).
  • Canadians believe CBC funding should be maintained or increased – About half of Canadians (53%) support the idea of maintaining or increasing funding to the CBC, and nearly one in two (46%) said they would advise their federal Member of Parliament to maintain funding for CBC at current levels. A majority (56%) however believe the government has a fiscal deficit and every department and agency, including the CBC, must do its part to get spending under control.

Key Insights

  • Perceptions of the CBC: Overall, Canadians are satisfied with CBC Television, Radio and CBC.ca. Among the three components of the national broadcaster, the Television network is the most popular with Canadians, followed by CBC Radio and CBC.ca.
  • Perceptions on impact of cuts: Canadians believe possible cuts to the CBC would have a negative impact on Canadian content and delivery of local and Canadian news.
  • Perceptions on the path forward: Overall, Canadians oppose cuts to the CBC and support the idea of maintaining funding at current levels. They also believe the CBC should do its part to get spending under control as the government faces a fiscal deficit.

Related Documents:

A full-page ad that appeared in The Hill Times highlights new opinion research showing that 6 in 10 Canadians want the Harper Conservatives to keep their election promise to increase or maintain funding to the CBC. 

A new Nanos survey has found a majority of Canadians support or somewhat support the position staked out by Heritage Minister James Moore one day after the election that the Conservative government will maintain or increase CBC funding.