Just 18% of us think politicians are motivated only by a desire to serve their communities
By Jennifer Hughes
With a federal election ahead of us, we’re going to be hearing a lot of politicians telling us a lot of things. If you suspect some of them might not be telling the whole truth or might have ulterior motives, you aren’t alone. According to a recent Angus Reid survey, 64% of Canadians agree that “most politicians can’t be trusted”; 20% strongly agree. The Angus Reid Institute is a Canadian non-profit independent public opinion research foundation.
The survey, which sampled nearly two thousand Canadians, also found that 32% of us feel that politicians run for office primarily for personal gain, rather than to serve their communities, though half of respondents think they’re motivated equally by both.
Across the country, those in Ontario (68%) and Alberta (67%) were the most skeptical of politicians; British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba came next at 63%, followed by Quebec (59%); those in Atlantic Canada were the least jaded, with 56% feeling that politicians aren’t trustworthy.
A negative view of politicians is most prevalent when it comes to the federal government; more than a third of respondents (38%) said that the quality of federal candidates in their area has deteriorated in the past five to 10 years in their area, while only 29% said the same about provincial politicians and 24% about municipal candidates.
Interestingly, respondents who would consider voting for the Conservative Party are much more cynical about politicians (71%) than those who lean NDP (58%) or Liberal (51%).
Baby boomers seem to be more distrustful of politicians than younger generations: 40% of men and 30% of women aged 55 or older are skeptical of politicians’ motives, while among 18- to 34-year-olds, the figures were 26% for men and 24% for women.