Young people lean toward pragmatism on abortion and same-sex marriage, suggests Manning Centre poll

A recent survey conducted for the Calgary-based Manning Centre for Building Democracy by the Harris/Decima polling firm and Carleton University’s André Turcotte received a lot of coverage in the past few days because of the implication that Canada was moving toward U.S. Republican Party style social conservatism.

I was somewhat skeptical of the media coverage from the start, having recently published a blog post that concluded that the Canadian religious right is not as threatening as it might appear to be.

One of the reasons why I concluded that the Canadian religious right’s future seemed troubled was the fact that relatively younger Conservative voters, born since 1965, were less likely to hold socially conservative views than older Conservative voters.

It was also noted on this blog that religious Canadians hold more conciliatory views than religious Americans on selected “hot button” issues, and that Canadian Conservative voters share more political DNA with American Democrats and Independents than they do with the Republicans.

If you do some digging into the results of the Harris/Decima-Turcotte findings, you’ll see two points at which it notes differences on the basis of age.

  • Page 26 of the report notes that: “Individuals aged 18-30 were more likely to ‘totally disagree’ [that abortion is morally wrong] (24%, compared to 9% of individuals aged 65 and older.”
  • Page 27 of the report notes that: “A greater proportion of individuals aged 65 and over indicated ‘total agreement’ [that marriage, by definition, can only take place between a man and a woman] (61%, compared to 43% of those aged 18-30)”

It seems as though younger Canadians have a pragmatic streak in them and are resistant to seeing the world in black-and-white, us-versus-them terms. It’s an encouraging sign that younger Canadians will be able to work through some of these issues in a less divisive way than in the past.

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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

One Response to Young people lean toward pragmatism on abortion and same-sex marriage, suggests Manning Centre poll

  1. bobaxford says:

    I am not sure the survey tells us much about this but I continue to take the view that Canada’s religious sector is maturing in its approach to civics and will continue to evolve as a more engaged force and one to be reckoned with.
    Whether or not they are actually viewing abortion as a defining issue is immaterial to the underlying more serious shift to be involved.
    This probably means that we can expect a number of someones to grab and run with various hot button items but if the right leadership surfaces the various religous factions will probably gravitate toward any credible flag

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