Canadians Unprepared for a Potential Trump Exit from NAFTA

January 12, 2018 --- Just 14% of Canadians expect NAFTA to be cancelled, despite rampant speculation in political circles and the editorial pages that President Donald Trump will do exactly that.  On the other hand, just 8% expect the current NAFTA deal will emerge unchanged.

A majority (52%) expect a new deal - although that majority is split down the middle over whether it will be generally fair to all three countries (25%) or overly favourable to the U.S. (27%). A quarter (26%) are not sure of what to expect of the trade talks.

A similar proportion (23%) is not sure whether the current NAFTA deal has been good or bad for Canada. But three times more Canadians feel NAFTA has been good for Canada (46%) than bad (14%).

These are the results from a new national survey conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights. The online survey was conducted from December 11 to 18, 2017 among a random sample of 1,207 adult Canadians.  As a guideline, a probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of ±2.8%, 19 times out of 20.  The margin of error is larger for sub-segments.

Canadians do not want the Trudeau Government to make a new NAFTA deal at any cost.  A majority (54%) prefer to make a deal only with moderate or minor concessions to the U.S., with just one-in-ten (11%) willing to make a deal that delivers major concessions to the U.S.

More Canadians (45%) approve of the Trudeau Government’s job performance on this file, with only a quarter (27%) expressing disapproval – although approval is higher in Ontario (47%), Quebec (50%), and Atlantic Canada (50%) than in Alberta (33%), Saskatchewan (37%), Manitoba (40%) and BC (42%)

About a quarter (28%) of Canadians are unsure, which is a consistent finding in most surveys on trade agreements – as about a quarter of the public appears largely unengaged in these matters.

Read Pollara's Report on Canadian Views on NAFTA

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New Year, New Beginnings

January 2, 2018 — New Year.  New Beginnings.

A note from Don.

The New Year brings the promise of new beginnings – or in my case, a new beginning rooted in the not so recent past.

I am excited to share that with the retirement of Pollara’s founder, the inimitable Michael Marzolini, I am coming home as owner of Pollara Strategic Insights.

Research has always been my first professional love, since my mid-term paper in Politics 101 more than thirty years ago.   And today’s research industry is surrounded by deep disruption and requires some fresh ideas on how to light a path forward.

I am convinced that the path charted by the team at Pollara, led by Executive Vice President Craig Worden is the right one:  Steering clear of political party work to focus the best and brightest research minds on the corporate, public, and third sectors.  That’s why Craig will be taking the reins going forward as President.

Craig and Chief Operating Officer Wendy Iwai have built a great team with such leading industry talents as Vice-President Lesli Martin, and Research Managers Daniel Dharmasurya and Mubashera Kothawala.

And I am thrilled to announce that one of Western Canada’s most esteemed pollsters and strategists, Mike McDonald, is coming on board at Pollara as Senior Associate, located in Vancouver, joining our terrific Research Associates Danielle Armengaud and Martin Redfern in Ottawa.

Pollara is a welcome complement to my ongoing work with Brian Topp, Ken Boessenkool, Marcella Munro, and a great team of public affairs advisors at KTG.

The addition of Pollara also rounds out my international work with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, with the role of Managing Director of GQR Canada passed to Elizabeth Sena in early 2017.  Pollara and GQR will be working closely together to bring the best research solutions to clients in Canada and abroad.

That’s all for now, but Pollara will have more exciting news in the days and weeks to come as we work to build up and build out on our strengths – experience, creativity and perspective in designing and interpreting public opinion and human behavior.

I want to close by saying that I owe Michael a tremendous debt of gratitude, as a mentor and supporter of my career.  There simply couldn’t have been a better place to learn and grow than the Pollara he led for so many years.

Happy 2018, and I hope to see you soon.