Canadians vote Bush least-liked president

Raymond Chase r_chase at sympatico.ca
Sun Jul 13 13:16:45 MDT 2003


Canadians vote Bush least-liked president

SHAWN McCARTHY

The [Toronto] Globe and Mail

Saturday, July 12 - Online Edition, Posted at 2:11 AM EST

Ottawa - U.S. President George W. Bush is the most unpopular American
president in recent memory among Canadians, with more than 60 per cent
saying they have an unfavourable opinion of him, according to a new poll by
Environics Research Group Ltd.
Relations between Mr. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien have
been strained over the U.S. decision to invade Iraq, among other issues, but
most Canadians blame the American President for the worsening climate,
Environics said in a poll released exclusively to The Globe and Mail.

Environics senior associate Derek Leebosh said that, while Canadians
maintain a favourable attitude toward the United States, Mr. Bush is deeply
unpopular here. That's in contrast to his still high, though declining,
approval ratings among Americans.  [ ... ] Mr. Leebosh said. "He totally
personifies the essence of the side of the United States that Canadians tend
to dislike - the anti-intellectual Texan in a Stetson, social conservative."

Environics surveyed 2,018 Canadians between June 12 and July 6. A poll of
that size is considered accurate to within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times
out of 20.

Of those surveyed, 62 per cent said they had an unfavourable opinion of Mr.
Bush, including 37 per cent who said it was "very unfavourable." [ ... ]

Quebeckers and British Columbians are least supportive of Mr. Bush, while
Albertans are most favourable.

Mr. Leebosh said Mr. Bush is the most unpopular president in Canada since
Environics started asking the question in 1982, when the staunchly
conservative Ronald Reagan was in the White House.

Mr. Bush remains popular in the United States, though his support has
slipped since the spring. According to a CNN/USA Today poll released
yesterday, his support dropped to 61 per cent in June, from 71 per cent when
the war in Iraq was getting under way in April.
Despite a rising tide of anti-Americanism around the world, Canadians still
remain fond of their southern neighbour, though not unduly so. About 61 per
cent said they had a favourable view of the United States, but of that, 42
per cent said they were "somewhat favourable," and only 19 said "very"
favourable.

Mr. Leebosh said Liberal leadership front-runner Paul Martin - who has
promised to improve Canadian-U.S. relations - will have to avoid becoming
too chummy with the President.  "If he did that, he would just be creating a
huge opening for the [socialist] NDP, to be perfectly blunt. Martin should
walk carefully there."

And he said the [right-wing] Canadian Alliance - which has backed Mr. Bush
and criticized Mr. Chrétien's stand - is increasingly out of step with its
British Columbia constituents.   After Quebeckers, British Columbians - who
have been hammered by softwood-lumber duties and tend to be staunchly
antiwar - are most likely to blame Mr. Bush for the worsening relations
between Canada and the United States.

However, Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper - who was in Washington
this week lobbying for the lifting of the border closing to Canadian beef -
said the federal government can't afford to play to public opinion in its
dealing with the Bush administration.  "Canadians' views about George Bush
or other American figures, while interesting, I think should be irrelevant
to Canadian government policy vis-à- vis the United States."
[ ... ]

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