Nearly nine in 10 Canadians believe the country has done a good job so far in dealing with COVID-19, according to a new study of pandemic response views in 14 advanced economies.
The survey, conducted by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center evaluating issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world, reported that at least seven in 10 people in countries including Canada, Australia and Italy give their nation’s response a positive review.
More than half in Belgium, France, Japan and Spain share this sentiment, the centre said.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, research associate Kat Devlin said the perception of Canada’s response to COVID-19 is fairly positive compared to other nations. The overall median of people citing a good job in the 14 countries was 73 per cent, she said.
“Just 11 per cent of Canadians feel their country has done a bad job dealing with the outbreak,” she said.
Those who identify on the political left in Canada voiced slightly more positive feelings, Ms. Devlin added, noting 89 per cent said they believed Canada has done a good job compared to 82 per cent on the political right.
“Both of those groups overwhelmingly still voice the opinion that Canada has done well with the coronavirus pandemic thus far,” she said.
In the United States, there is a much more divided view of how the country has handled the pandemic, Ms. Devlin said.
“In the U.S., it is just 47 per cent of Americans who say the U.S. has done a good job and 52 per cent of Americans believe that their country has done a bad job with the coronavirus thus far,” she said.
The Pew Center report also highlights high levels of political polarization on views of the government’s handling of this crisis in the United States.
Ms. Devlin said in the U.S., where President Donald Trump and the Republicans are in charge of the government, about three-quarters of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say the country has done a good job dealing with the coronavirus.
“On the other hand, just 25 per cent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents feel the same way,” she said. “So, definitely a large political split on that question.”
She also said there is a political gap in Canada on the question of national unity, noting that 72 per cent on the left believe that Canada is now more united than prior to the coronavirus pandemic, whereas on the right, just 58 per cent hold that sentiment.
“This is one example in Canada where we have a 14-point difference between those on the left and those on the right,” she said, while adding a majority of both groups still say they feel more united.
The centre said its analysis focused on cross-national views of how governments have handled the coronavirus outbreak in 14 advanced economies, as well as the pandemic’s effect on daily life and civic unity.
Because of COVID-19, it said face-to-face interviews are not currently possible in many parts of the world and it used data from nationally representative surveys of 14,276 adults from June 10 to Aug. 3.
All surveys were conducted over the phone with adults in the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Britain, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
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