'People will have to choose': Voters split on climate change and energy development: poll
Published Thursday, September 5, 2019 10:41AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, September 5, 2019 6:44PM CST
With a federal election around the corner, hopeful parties are constantly trying to figure out what voters are thinking, and according to a new Angus Reid poll, most voters are focused on two main issues that almost rival each other.
Voters who responded are in support of both more climate change action and more oil and gas development.
"I think the way that the sides and the interests are digging in on this one, people will have to choose,” University of Regina politics and international studies associate professor Jim Farney said. ”The important question is not do you like both of these things, but which one do you prefer over the other."
The poll finds seven-in-10 Canadians, including four-in-10 Conservative Party supporters, say climate change should be a top priority for whichever party forms government.
In the September 2015 election, polling found 44 per cent of Canadians chose the economy as their top issue. Farney thinks the switch is a result in voters under 30 years old caring more about climate change.
"Millennials who are now a very large part of the electorate, care deeply about climate change in a way that folks who are now 40, didn’t 10 years ago,” Farney said.
But at the same time, six-in-10 (58 per cent) say oil and gas development should be a top priority alongside climate action.
Of those who said climate change should be prioritized, three-quarters (75 per cent) expressed a want for some investment in the oil and gas sector.
Meanwhile, responders who said the energy industry should be the next government’s main focus, 80 per cent still want to see at least some investment in climate change efforts.
The poll also shows 76 per cent of voters want to see whichever party wins the federal election to follow through on a single-use plastics ban by 2021.