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Survey finds climate change is biggest issue for Guelph voters

'Probably Guelphites are more aware of the issue than many,' says executive director of Our Energy Guelph

Climate change is the most pressing federal election issue on the minds of prospective Guelph voters as they prepare to head to the polls, a recent survey found. 

“I think it’s something we suspected might be the case,” said Alex Chapman, executive director of Our Energy Guelph, which enlisted Mainstream Research to conduct the survey. “We wanted to make sure we had an unbiased, complete picture of how Guelphites in general see the issue.”

The survey was conducted between Sept. 3 and 5, with a sample of 599 Guelph adults participating in automated telephone and online surveys. A margin of error can’t be applied to the results, the Mainstream Research report states, explaining the margin of error for a probability sample of this size would be four per cent, with 95 per cent confidence.

“The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Guelph,” notes the report.

Just shy of three out of four people (73 per cent) said they believe Guelph should be a leader in the response to climate change, with 27 per cent saying it’s their top issue in the election.

“Probably Guelphites are more aware of the issue than many,” said Chapman, crediting the higher-than-average level of education in the community. “People with more education tend to follow the topic a little bit more.”

Women choose climate as their most important issue about 50 per cent more often than men who took the survey. Seniors and people ages 35 to 49 are more likely to make climate their top issue compared to people in the 18-34 and 50-64 age categories.  

At 21 per cent, health care had the second-most support as the top election issue, followed by pandemic response (18 per cent), jobs and economy (18 per cent), federal debt (11 per cent) and truth and reconciliation (five per cent).

Nearly 98 per cent of respondents said they intend to vote in the ongoing federal election, with 71 per cent having already made their mind up about which party will receive their support.

Of those two took the survey, 36 per cent believe the Liberals have the best plan to address climate change. The Conservative Party came second with 17 per cent, with the NDP in third at 13 per cent. 

Nine per cent of participants favour the Green Party plan, with three per cent selecting the “other party” option.

Our Energy Guelph is one of the groups behind the “Climate Crisis and Social Justice: Virtual Town Hall” set for Tuesday from 7 to 8:30 pm. Participating candidates include Michelle Bowman (Green), Aisha Jahangir (NDP), Lloyd Longfield (Liberal) and Ashish Sachan (Conservative).

To register for the virtual event, click here. People will have the ability to submit one question each during the registration process. Questions can be directed toward a single candidate or all candidates participating in the event.

The event is hosted by Guelph Wellington Coalition for Social Justice and Democracy Guelph, in collaboration with Retired Teachers of Ontario, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario-Wellington Chapter and Council of Canadians-Guelph Chapter, with support from several other organizations.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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