Canadians have less patience for Greek indebtedness than Americans, a new poll has found.
While a majority of Canadians and Americans place blame on the Greek government for the country's current economic woes, more Canadians felt Greece had spent beyond its means and creditors should take a hard line, according to a survey of 1,000 people in each country by the Angus Reid Institute. A total of 63 per cent of Canadians surveyed felt that way compared to 59 per cent of Americans. Just 37 per cent of Canadians and 41 per cent of Americans felt some of Greece's debt should be forgiven and the country should remain in the euro zone.
Canadians are slightly tougher than Americans on the sentiment – preferring to side instead with the creditors, which includes the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Union.
Respondents were asked to choose a stance on the statement "Greece has spent beyond its means and failed to repay its loans. The creditors should take a hard line on the debt and refuse more bailout money. Greece should have to return to the drachma as its currency."
When asked to choose who was at fault for the crisis between the Greek government and its creditors, more Canadians pointed to the Greek government, 45 per cent, compared to 30 per cent of Americans.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, political leanings seemed to have an influence on the responses. Voters for the Conservative Party in the 2011 election were most likely to be pro-creditors, though a majority of voters for the other parties also felt the same. Three-quarters of Conservatives supported the creditors, versus 61 per cent of Liberals and 56 per cent of NDPs.
In the United States, 67 per cent of Republicans and 63 per cent of independents were pro-creditors while Democrats were conflicted on their stance, with 50 per cent each way.
But regardless of whether it's the Greek government or the creditors that get their way, North Americans are overall pessimistic about upcoming prospects for Greece. Only slightly more than 10 per cent of Canadians and Americans believe that Greece will be better off in 2017. This has implications for the rest of Europe as well – approximately 30 per cent of both Canadians and Americans believe the European Union and the euro will be worse off in two years. In terms of negative influence closer to home, one in five Canadians felt that our economy will be affected by the crisis, compared to one in four Americans who felt the same about their economy.
And despite the potential side effects North Americans expect to spill over from the crisis, most don't foresee being personally affected – 54 per cent of Canadians and 39 per cent of Americans stated that they believe two years from now their individual situations will be around the same. Conversely, only one in 10 Canadians anticipate being worse off in two years due to the ongoing Greek crisis.