Canadians who are vaccinated against COVID-19 feel a growing animosity towards those who are unvaccinated, according to a new poll, with other polling data suggesting Canada is generally more divided since the recent federal election.
Conducted by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies, the survey found that more than three in four respondents hold negative views about those who are unvaccinated.
The relationship between the two camps of Canadians is also seen in a negative light by two out of three survey respondents, says association president Jack Jedwab.
“There’s a high level of I would say antipathy or animosity toward people who are unvaccinated at this time,” Jedwab said.
“What you are seeing is the tension played out among family members and friends, co-workers, where there are relationships between people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.”
The online poll, which surveyed 1,549 Canadians between Sept. 10 and 12, found vaccinated people consider the unvaccinated to be irresponsible and selfish, a view contested by those who are not vaccinated. It also found divisions among people who are unvaccinated, with roughly one in four unvaccinated respondents holding negative views towards others with the same status.
Jedwab said he expected tensions between the vaccinated and unvaccinated to further spiral as employers and governments continue to push to have more people vaccinated.
The survey also suggests that the tension rising from the vaccination issue has become equally fierce as some of the other social, racial, and cultural issues that divide the Canadian population.
“My sense is a lot of negative sentiment people feel towards certain groups is getting displaced by their feeling of antipathy toward those people who are unvaccinated,” Jedwab said.
This finding resonates with a separate survey by Maru Public Opinion that shows 77 percent of Canadians find the country more divided now than it was before the federal election held last week.
Those who believe that the country is more divided than before the election was called are represented in every dimension of the country, according to Maru. Those most likely to hold this perspective reside in Alberta (88 percent), followed by those in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Manitoba, (79 percent), then British Columbia (77 percent), Atlantic Canada (70 percent), and Quebec (69 percent).
Men (78 percent) and women (76 percent) equally share this view; the youngest group of Canadians (aged 18 to 34), are less likely to take this view than the oldest Canadians (aged 55 and above) who are more likely to believe it is the case.
A slim majority (52 percent) of Canadians believe the democratic process is broken and needs a major overhaul, whereas a minority (48 percent) believe Canada’s democratic process remains intact.
The Maru Public Opinion polling surveyed 1,510 randomly selected Canadian adults, 18-year-old and above, between Sept. 20 to 21, with an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent, 19 times out of 20.
There is no margin of error for the Leger survey, as online polls are not considered truly random samples of the population.
With files from The Canadian Press