Public’s fear of war declines, while military leaders’ grows
The number of Canadians who say “peace” or “fear of war” is their top issue of concern is barely measurable, according to the latest weekly poll by Nanos Research. Nanos tracks unprompted issues of concern, and surveys over 1000 people each week.
When asked, “What is your most important NATIONAL issue of concern?” in early December, only 1.4% replied peace or fear of war was their most important concern.
By comparison, health care (16.%), jobs and the economy (15.1%), and inflation (14.7%) were the top three issues mentioned by those polled.
Military leaders grow more worried
The apparent lack of concern amongst the Canadian public is misaligned with the danger perceived by world leaders.
This week, the head of NATO expressed worry that the fighting in Ukraine could spin out of control and become a war between Russia and NATO. “If things go wrong, they can go horribly wrong,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.
“It is a terrible war in Ukraine. It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between NATO and Russia,” he said. “We are working on that every day to avoid that.”
Peace or fear of war began climbing as of top concern in the days following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian Federation military forces on February 24, 2022. Pollster Nik Nanos noted at the time, “People are increasingly concerned about jobs/the economy and peace/fear of war.”
Decline in media coverage
That level of concern may have also been prompted by the non-stop media coverage of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his impassioned address to Canada’s Parliament on March 15, 2022.
“Imagine that Canadian facilities have been bombed similarly as our buildings and memorial places are being bombed,” Zelensky was quoted by CBC. “A number of families have died. Every night is a horrible night.”
In the days that followed, peace or fear of war grew as a major issue of concern, reaching a high of 8.3% on Nanos’ week poll.
But media coverage has declined after the well-reported speech and series of major announcements of military and financial aid to Ukraine and Russian sanctions.
Today, Canadian newscasts contain very little coverage of the brutal war in Ukraine, potentially lulling people that the greatest danger has passed, when it has actually become much worse.