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ATTENTION TO AFGHAN DETAINEE ISSUE FADING BUT SCEPTICISM OF GOVERNMENT REMAINS – March 25, 2010

SUPPORT FOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE STRONG AND RISING

[Ottawa – March 25, 2010] – It appears that the opposition parties have had little success in keeping the detainee issue central in the minds of Canadians. With little new evidence and time marching on, the incidence of people paying close attention is fairly low (16% pay “close” attention, 41% follow it “somewhat” closely). Although a strong plurality (48%) think the Iaboucci will not solve lingering doubts about government withholding evidence that they should have released, there appears to be a cooling of public concern as the issue has been passed off.

On an unrelated note, we continued to update some key indicators of social conservatism which are part of the central debate about national direction. As in the case of capital punishment and decriminalization of marijuana (which we tested last week), this week’s poll item also shows that it is the progressive view which is dominant and growing in Canadian society.

A strong majority of Canadians support same-sex marriage rights. Despite the recent controversy regarding the exclusion of same sex marriage in the new Citizenship Guide, in the broader society those who support same sex marriage outweigh those who oppose the right for gays and lesbians to marry each other by a margin of two to one (53% to 28%). Among Conservative supporters, the issue is evenly polarized but elsewhere, there is an overwhelming lean to supporting same-sex marriage.

Comparing these results to our past research, Canadians appear to be shifting towards a more liberalized view of same-sex marriage. Indeed, with opposition focussed among seniors and the growing level of support within the under 60 population, all indications suggest that this trend will continue.

Recent studies have claimed a shift to the right and more favourable attitudes to social conservatism. While debate about rising social conservatism is still very much open, these initial tests are suggesting we be wary of accepting the “blueing” of the centre thesis until more comprehensive testing is complete.

Click here for the full report: full_report_march_25

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