Canadians worry US democracy cannot survive Trump’s return to White House, poll finds

OTTAWA: About two-thirds of Canadians surveyed this month said American democracy cannot survive another four years of Donald Trump in the White House, and about half said the United States is on the way to becoming an authoritarian state, a poll released on Monday said (Jan 15).

The November US election is likely to pit President Joe Biden against Trump, who is the clear frontrunner to win the Republican nomination as voting in the presidential primary race kicks off in Iowa on Monday.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents in the Angus Reid Institute poll of 1,510 Canadians said they agreed with the statement: “US democracy cannot survive another four years of Donald Trump.” Twenty-eight per cent disagreed.

The Jan 6, 2021 attack on Capitol Hill by Trump supporters seeking to block certification of Biden’s 2020 election win shocked many Canadians, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly blamed Trump for inciting the mob.

Trump has vowed if elected again to punish his political enemies, and he has drawn criticism for using increasingly authoritarian language.

Three times as many Canadians say a Biden victory would be better for Canada’s economy (53 per cent) than a Trump win (18 per cent), according to the poll which was seen exclusively by Reuters. The poll, taken between Jan 9-11, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points 

Forty-nine per cent of people said the United States is on the way to becoming an authoritarian state and 71 per cent of Canadians say the concept that the rule of law applies equally to everyone is weakening in the United States.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the poll.

“What we’re seeing is people quite alarmed about the prospect of a return of Donald Trump,” said Shachi Kurl, president of Angus Reid Institute.

The polling is also “an indictment” of “how poorly Canadians now view the democratic institutions and the checks and balances that in the past people on both sides of the border took for granted,” she added.

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