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COVID-19, Trump main factors behind Canada-wide decline in view of U.S.: poll

Last Updated Jul 28, 2020 at 12:38 pm PDT

FILE - President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

New polling by Research Co. shows just 32-percent of Canadians now hold a favorable view of the United States

The pandemic -- and the White House's handling of it -- has pushed that number down from nearly 50-percent, poll finds

The same survey finds 71 per cent of British Columbians hold a negative view of the U.S.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Canadians have had an increasingly negative opinion of the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Research Co. poll has found.

Just 32 per cent of Canadians have a positive opinion of the U.S., down 15 points since a similar survey in December.

The pandemic hit B.C. around the middle of March.

The survey has also found 71 per cent of British Columbians hold a negative view of the United States.

“Definitely, the situation has been affected, not only because of the political aspects of the White House, and Donald Trump himself, but also because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mario Canseco, president Research Co.

“So we are definitely more aware of what is happening in the U.S., and a little bit more afraid of what the future might bring.”

Part of the reason for the decline, he added, may also be due to the on-going international border closure.

“We don’t have many tourists coming in. We don’t have many Canadians who are going to the United States. In our surveys that we’ve asked, we see that there’s not a lot of people who want to travel to the United States. So we have lost that level of rapport that we used to have.”

Before COVID-19, close to half of Canadians held a favourable view of the U.S.

Canseco said polling also found Canadians are generally afraid of the policy directions coming from the White House.

“Where they want to open some schools and they want to re-open economic matters, and there are many Canadians who are terrified of something like this happening, and definitely not happy with the notion of the borders being open again,” Canseco added.

Other countries

At least two-thirds of Canadians hold favourable views on five countries that are part of the Group of Seven (G7): the United Kingdom (73 per cent), Japan (70 per cent), Italy (69 per cent), France (69 per cent), and Germany (67 per cent).

A majority of respondents also have a positive opinion of South Korea (61 per cent) and Mexico (54 per cent). The rating is lower for India (37 per cent) and Venezuela (33 per cent).

Only 26 per cent of Canadians have a positive view of Russia, which is unchanged, while 57 per cent hold negative views.

Perceptions of China have also dropped, from 27 per cent in December to 21 per cent this month.

In a separate survey conducted in May, Research Co. found that three-in-four Canadians opposed the participation of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei in Canada’s 5G spectrum.

Across Canada, 67 per cent of respondents have a negative view of China.