New nationwide poll: Majority of Liberals, New Democrats want leaders to commit to reversing cuts to foreign aid

66 percent of coveted NDP/Liberal swing voters say they are more likely to support a party that would reverse the cuts

OTTAWA – A new Innovative Research Group telephone poll for ONE, a global advocacy organization of 7 million members working to end extreme poverty and preventable disease in Africa and around the world, showed that while voters remain predictably split on the 19-percent reduction in foreign aid during leaner economic times, 54 percent of Liberals and 59 percent of New Democrats would be more likely to support a party that commits to reversing recent foreign aid cuts.

The poll showed an even more acute response from coveted swing voters. Sixty-six percent of eligible NDP/Liberal swing voters nationwide are more likely to vote for a party that would reverse recent cuts to Canada’s foreign assistance budget.

The nationwide phone poll of 1,000 eligible voters also found that the 38 percent of eligible voters plan to support the Liberal Party in Monday’s federal election. The Conservative Party receives 30 percent and the New Democratic Party receives 22 percent in the poll, which can be downloaded here.

Among the poll’s key findings:

  • 52 percent of Liberals and 55 percent of New Democrats oppose the 19-percent reduction in foreign aid over the last five years. (Only 35 percent of Liberals and 28 percent of New Democrats support the cuts.)
  • 54 percent of Liberals and 59 percent of New Democrats would be more likely to support a party that commits to reversing the cuts to foreign aid. (Only 22 percent of Liberals or New Democrats would be less likely.)
  • 41 percent of respondents are more likely to support a party that commits to reversing those cuts, compared to 31 percent who would be less likely.
  • 66 percent of NDP/Liberal swing voters nationwide are more likely to vote for a party that would reverse the cuts to foreign aid.

“Canadians are concerned about our place in the world,” ONE’s Canada director, Stuart Hickox, said. “Sadly, Canada seems to be stepping back from its historic leadership at a time when it really needs to be stepping up. With the economic downturn behind us, this poll shows that not only is restoring the foreign aid funding cut these last five years the right thing to do, but the public supports doing so. Eligible voters — especially key NDP/Liberal swing voters — are more likely to support a party that commits to reversing these cuts.”

“As the Liberals build their lead, anything that can help them unite the centre left is worth looking at,” Innovative Research Group Managing Director Greg Lyle said. “Reversing the current government’s foreign aid cuts could be just what they are looking for.”

The live-caller telephone poll was commissioned by ONE Action and was conducted by Innovative Research Group, Inc., using a landline-and-cell sample from October 6 to October 11. The survey spoke with 1,143 randomly selected Canadians, aged 18 and older. A final sample of 1,000 was weighted by age, gender, and region using the latest Statistics Canada Census data to reflect a representative sample of the demographic composition of Canada. A random probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The final sample size is comprised of 64 percent landline completes and 36 percent cell phone completes to ensure adequate representation of households who do not have landline telephones. The estimated response rate for this survey is 3.16 percent.

About ONE Action

ONE is an advocacy organization of nearly 7 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, ONE raises public awareness and presses political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demands greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.

About Innovative Research Group, Inc.

Innovative Research Group Inc. is a national opinion research firm with offices in Vancouver and Toronto.

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BACKUP

QUESTION 8

Over the past five years foreign aid has been reduced by 19 percent.  Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the Canadian government’s decision to reduce foreign aid spending?

The 19 percent figure is derived from official data published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and analyzed using ONE’s methodology (adding together net bilateral and multilateral flows, excluding debt relief, and adjusting each year to 2014 prices to exclude the effect of inflation). Based on this, Canada’s official development assistance was $5.75 billion CAD in 2010 and $4.64 billion CAD in 2014. The $1.11 billion CAD difference represents a decline of 19.3 percent.