Poll: U.S. voters shy the facts about Canada (11-20-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 20, 1943)

Poll: U.S. voters shy the facts about Canada

Poll finds friendly feeling, but little knowledge of dominion
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion

If Canada is to have a chance to play the role of interpreting the Old World to the New – our northern neighbor still has to spread a few facts about herself south of the border, and Americans must absorb them, judging from the results of a survey by the American Institute of Public Opinion.

Attention has been focused on Canada through the fact that the Canadian Legation in Washington and the U.S. Legation in Ottawa have been elevated to the rank of embassies. This move followed on the heels of a debate in the Senate on the Connally resolution, in which supporters of the resolution advanced the view that Canada and the other Dominions were actually not “free and sovereign nations.”

Americans need facts

In spite of these developments, and the fact that Canada has risen to fourth place among the United Nations on the basis of war production, most Americans still need some elementary facts about the Dominion.

For example, in the course of the survey, the Institute asked:

The population of the United States is about 134 million. What would you guess is the population of Canada?

Only 8% of the U.S. voters interviewed could come within a million of the correct figure – about 11,600,000. Estimates ran all the way from one million to even higher than the population of the United States. About half of those interviewed could not even hazard a guess.

Role in Empire

Canada also faces a fact-reading task in informing Americans as to her actual status within the Commonwealth. Although the Dominion has not paid any taxes to Britain for many years, some 72% of the American voting public think Canada still pays part of her taxes directly to Britain, or don’t know whether she makes any tax payments to Britain. Only 28%, judging from this survey, know that no taxes collected in Canada go to Britain.

What impressions U.S. voters do have about Canada, however, are generally favorable to the Dominion. For example, the largest single group of those with an opinion on the matter believe that Canada has been more successful in keeping the lid on prices than the United States.

Survey percentages

Representative Americans from all walks of life were asked:

Do you think that Canada has been more successful than we have in keeping prices from rising during the war?

More successful 38%
Less successful 7%
About the same 8%
No opinion 47%

A majority of Americans believe Canada’s war effort is “all out.” Field reporters asked:

Do you think Canada is doing all it possibly can to win the war?

Yes 59%
No 8%
No opinion 33%

In both factual knowledge about the friendliness toward Canada, states closest to the northern border rate higher than other sates. For example, 62% of the population interviewed in the border states area thought Canada was doing all she could to help win the war, as against 58% in other states.


The sad thing is in 80 years not much has changed in American knowledge of Canada


I more suprised they knew where Canada is.

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You’re telling me that Canada isn’t a state!


What?? It is not a state? No worries… We will make it one. Execute War plan Red!


As Rush sang in “Circumstances”:

Plus ça change,
Plus c’est la même chose
The more things change,
The more they stay the same.

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We’re allies now and we aren’t even allies you pay for (on lend-lease)!


Lend-lease wasn’t all outbound from the United States, as this snippet from Wiki shows:

The cooperation that was built up with Canada during the war was an amalgam compounded of diverse elements of which the air and land routes to Alaska, the Canol project, and the CRYSTAL and CRIMSON activities were the most costly in point of effort and funds expended.

… The total of defense materials and services that Canada received through lend-lease channels amounted in value to approximately $419,500,000.

… Some idea of the scope of economic collaboration can be had from the fact that from the beginning of 1942 through 1945 Canada, on her part, furnished the United States with $1,000,000,000 to $1,250,000,000 in defense materials and services.

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This was all dealt with in the Hyde Park Agreement. Due to wartime disruptions, the US/Canada engaged in a ‘managed trade’ arrangment. Imbalances in one material or product would be balanced by surpluses in another. Lend-Lease financing was not resorted to.