VANCOUVER – Far more Canadians say they would more likely cast their ballots for a Conservative Party that keeps in place Canada’s climate measures than one that rolls them back, according to a new poll conducted by Abacus Data for Clean Energy Canada.
A commitment to at least maintaining Canada’s current climate and clean energy ambitions is more popular than the opposite approach with respondents from every single province, age group, and gender. It is also more popular with supporters from every political party—including, by a small margin, Conservative voters.
In total, 42% of Canadians say they would be more likely to vote for a pro-climate Conservative Party compared to 13% who would be less likely. In contrast, an anti-climate Conservative Party would deter more voters than it would attract—including 16% of current Conservative voters.
When it comes to costs and clean energy solutions, a majority of Canadians (63%) correctly recognize that opting for an electric vehicle and a heat pump is cheaper than choosing fossil-fuel-powered alternatives. This proportion is especially high in Quebec—a province with above-average EV adoption.
When asked which kinds of power generation they support, Canadians overwhelmingly prefer power from clean energy sources. Majorities say they support solar (74%), wind (67%), and hydropower (67%) compared to just 46% who support natural gas and 18% who support coal (when referred to as “fossil gas,” another term for natural gas, support drops to 25%).
Regarding who is responsible for making the energy transition happen, Canadians overwhelmingly believe that federal and provincial governments are both responsible, with 90% of Canadians seeing the federal government as very or somewhat responsible compared to 89% at the provincial level. It is a view held more or less consistently across age and location. Canadians also see a clear role for municipal governments, with 84% believing they bear responsibility.
Finally, 90% of Canadians think the clean energy sector is important to the Canadian economy, with half of that group describing it as very important. What’s more, 84% of Albertans see the clean energy sector as important, despite an ongoing moratorium on new clean energy developments.
“If you’re the Conservatives looking at these results, there’s both risk and reward.
On the one hand, they could likely gain support and solidify current support if they can convince people they will be as ambitious as the current government in their climate agenda.
On the other hand, there’s also risk in these numbers. They could lose up to 16% of their current support if those supporters feel their climate plan is insufficient or roll back what is happening now. That could be the difference between a majority and minority government and the difference between being able to govern and not.”
—David Coletto, Chair and CEO, Abacus Data
“Climate change and the affordability crisis are two political mountains that, far from being at odds, must be climbed together. A wealth of research shows that the clean energy transition will result in lower energy bills for Canadians, while real-world examples have proven that conservatives can be—and indeed benefit from being—climate champions.”
—Trevor Melanson, Communications Director, Clean Energy Canada
The survey was conducted with 2,200 Canadian adults from October 27 to November 1, 2023. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.1%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
Slide deck | Full results