Niqab controversy has clearly not helped Conservatives, shows Forum Poll

LOGO NIQABTWO- THIRDS of Canadian voters oppose allowing women to wear the face-covering niqab during citizenship ceremonies (67%), while fewer than a quarter favour the idea (22%). Just one tenth are undecided (10%), shows a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll among 1,370 Canadian voters.

However, Close to half of Canadian voters say the niqab is not offensive to Canadians in general (45%) and the majority do not find it offensive to themselves (57%). Four-in-ten say the niqab offends their countrymen (41%), but just a third say it offends them (36%). In each case, about one tenth have no opinion (14% and 8%, respectively).

Opposition to wearing a niqab in citizenship ceremonies is common to Gen X (45 to 54 – 76%), Boomers (55 to 64 – 75%) and seniors (65+ – 77%) but not the youngest (51%), the wealthier ($80K to $100K – 78%), in Quebec especially (87%), among Conservative voters (83%), among virtually every Bloc voter (96% – caution: small base size), Francophones (88%), Catholics (80%) and Evangelicals (80%).

The majority of Canadian voters agree the niqab is oppressive to women (57%), while just one quarter do not (24%). One fifth have no opinion (19%). Agreement women are oppressed by the niqab is common to Gen X (45 to 54 – 67%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K – 64%), in Quebec (73%), among Conservatives (70%), Bloc voters (78%) and Francophones (73%).

Belief the niqab is not oppressive is characteristic of the youngest (32%), in Atlantic Canada (39%), among Liberals (31%), past New Democrats (32%), and those who are religious but not Christian (39%).

“We can’t say that the niqab controversy has damaged the Liberals, but it has clearly not helped the Conservatives. While Canadians agree the niqab has no place in citizenship ceremonies, they do not find it offensive, either to themselves or to the others. It is likely that this issue, as it directly affects such a vanishingly small number of women, will be little more than a sideshow in the general election,” said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.