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Bashing the CBC no recipe for Tory growth

May 24, 2017

For immediate release

Toronto – A new set of polls released this morning demonstrates that while CBC bashing may be good politics for those vying to lead the federal Conservative Party, this approach will be counter-productive if not dialed back once a new leader seeks support from the general public. 

FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting commissioned Mainstreet Research to survey members of the Conservative Party who are currently voting to elect the next leader of their party.  At the same time, FRIENDS commissioned Nanos Research to ask a representative sample of Canadians the same questions.

The two polls reveal a wide gulf between Conservative Party members, many of whom dismiss the importance of the CBC and would cut its funding, in contrast to Canadians who value the CBC and would increase or maintain its funding. While 82% of Canadians favour increasing (43%) or maintaining (39%) CBC funding, and 54% of Canadians who would consider voting Conservative share this view (20% increase; 34% maintain), only 27% of Conservative Party members favour this policy (8% increase; 19% maintain).

Of particular interest to the new Tory leader will be the Nanos finding that among voters most accessible to the Conservative Party – those who say they would consider voting Conservative – the view that CBC is unimportant and its funding should be cut is far less prevalent than among party members.

“Several of those with ambitions to become leader are appealing to the much more extreme views of Conservative Party members right now.  It is clear that the new leader will need to appeal to a broader coalition of voters to win an election, including the vast majority of Canadians who value public broadcasting and understand its importance”, said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting.

Nanos and Mainstreet quizzed their respective samples about the importance of the CBC.  Similar to the question regarding funding CBC, a huge gap separates Conservative Party members and Canadians.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
Now that virtually all private news media in Canada are owned by only a few large corporations, it is more important than ever to have a strong and vibrant CBC.
 Canadians (Nanos)Consider voting Conservative  (Nanos)CP members (Mainstreet)
Agree67%40%22%
Somewhat agree19%26%13%
Somewhat disagree2%8%8%
Disagree8%24%53%
The CBC plays an important role in strengthening Canadian culture and identity.
Agree68%42%19%
Somewhat agree20%27%21%
Somewhat disagree2%6%12%
Disagree8%22%45%

“Will the new leader of the Conservative Party dial back the CBC bashing?  Only time will tell.  But, these data suggest doing so would be prudent,” Morrison said.

FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.

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For information:

Jim Thompson
613-447-9592
jim@friends.ca

The Mainstreet Research and Nanos Research reports are available. 

Background

The following charts and tables combine the results of the Mainstreet and Nanos surveys.

Nanos and Mainstreet also posed questions about the CBC’s independence.

Would you say that the CBC’s independence as a broadcaster has increased, decreased, or stayed the same over the past four years?
 IncreasedDecreasedSame
Canadians (Nanos)15%36%32%
Would consider voting Conservative (Nanos)13%43%27%
Conservative leadership voters (Mainstreet)6%51%27%

 

Thinking specifically about the CBC, which of the following two statements is closer to your own opinion? The Prime Minister’s power to appoint the CBC President and Board of Directors gives the government too much influence over the nature and content of programs broadcast on the CBC or the CBC is independent and it doesn’t matter who appoints the Board of Directors and President.
 Too much powerIt doesn’t matterUnsure
Canadians (Nanos)54%26%20%
Would consider voting Conservative (Nanos)68%16%16%
Conservative leadership voters (Mainstreet)71%15%14%