The Cable

Surprise: Canadians Fear and Loathe Donald Trump

Most Canadians think that a Trump presidency would be bad for Canada.

MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 09:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets people as he visits a polling station as voters cast their primary day ballots on February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The process to select the next Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates continues.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets people as he visits a polling station as voters cast their primary day ballots on February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The process to select the next Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates continues.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Disgruntled U.S. voters often recycle a hollow, hyperbolic refrain: “If so-and-so wins, I’m moving to Canada.”

Canadians already have the luxury of living there.

From the safe distance of their northern perch, they’ve turned their gaze upon New Hampshire, where the first state presidential primary is underway. According to a poll released Tuesday, the majority of them are unhappy with the direction U.S. presidential politics have taken.

In the poll, conducted by Canadian firm Léger, in cooperation with Montreal newspapers Le Journal de Montréal and Le Devoir, 65 percent of Canadians said they feared the prospect of New Hampshire GOP frontrunner Donald Trump winning the presidency. Only 13 percent said they held a favorable view of the candidate. The poll surveyed over 1,500 respondents, with a 2.1 percent margin of error.

The majority of Canadians, according to the poll, think Hillary Clinton will be the next U.S. president. Some 36 percent said they had never heard of Ted Cruz, who was born in Calgary (and faces persistent questions about whether his Canadian birthplace leaves him ineligible to be president.) More people hadn’t heard of him than had positive or negative feelings toward him.

“The fact that [Canadians] have a preference for or a great affinity with a Democrat is not a surprise,” Christian Bourque, the executive vice president of Léger, told Foreign Policy. “What was a surprise was the extent to which they reject Donald Trump. Not that I expected Canadians would be in love with Donald Trump, but I was surprised by the high level of rejection of him as a political leader.”

According to another poll, conducted by Insights West, 67 percent of Canadians thought Trump was “bad for Canada,” the CBC reported, while 49 percent said he was “very bad.”

“His style is totally at odds with anything Canadian,” Bourque said. “There’s no way to reconcile the public persona with how Canadians view the way a politician should be.”

Trump, who is widely expected to win in New Hampshire, does not enjoy a good reputation in other parts of the anglophone world either. British parliamentarians tried to ban him from the United Kingdom. Some 73 percent of Australians would support a similar measure, the ABC reported.

Canadians have their warm, fuzzy feeling toward Justin Trudeau, elected last year and still widely popular, to get them through the frigid winter. But they’re keeping a wary eye on Trump.

Americans, meanwhile, have no idea what’s going on in Canada.

“The percentage of Americans who knew who the prime minister of Canada was didn’t even reach the teens, if I remember correctly,” Bourque said, referring to research he conducted earlier in his career. “I myself don’t know why Americans would pay attention to Canadian politics. There’s no need to really worry about Canada.”

Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Benjamin Soloway is an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @bsoloway

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