2022 Edelman Trust Barometer – highlights

I’ve summarized (more like “highlighted”) the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, a world survey of public opinion. Canadian results are foregrounded.

-9 countries out of 27 surveyed sit at “all-time lows” of economic optimism and only 34% of Canadian respondents answered affirmatively to the prompt “My family and I will be better off in five years’ time”

-trust in social media has fallen sharply to just 37% globally (a stark 21% in Canada)

-Canada’s overall trust level (54%) is a full eleven points higher than the same indicator in the USA (43%)

-“distrust is the default” as 59% of respondents worldwide indicate a tendency to distrust

-48% of respondents globally say government is a “dividing force in society” and 52% affirmed that “Capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world”

-big majorities in every country are worried about “fake news being used as a weapon”

-“Government leaders” are generally not trusted by respondents (42%) while “My coworkers” (74%) and “Scientists” (75%) sit at the other end of the trust spectrum

-large and growing majorities of respondents worry that “Journalists,” “government leaders” and “Business leaders” are “purposely trying to mislead people”

-USA: only 24% of Republicans trust the media vs. 55% of Democrats

-Germany and the Netherlands share two telling trends: falling overall trust and significant “trust inequality” (the gap in trust between high income and low income) Germans are also very distrustful of their central bank with only 47% of respondents indicating trust, the fourth lowest result of 27 countries

Public opinion: the 905 vs. the 416

Note: This is a mini-essay derived from the report titled The 905 vs. the 416: Analysis of Portraits 2017 Regional Differences in Ontario published by the now defunct Mowat Centre. The report came out in 2017. The “905” is General Toronto Area shorthand for the immediate suburbs of Toronto proper.

It’s obvious that Toronto is very different from much of the rest of Ontario. But do Torontonians hold different beliefs compared to other Ontarians? Yes, the cliché is true, Toronto is a bubble.

It goes without saying that opinion in Toronto would differ from rural Ontario but how does Toronto compare to its vote-rich suburbs? As it turns out, quite a bit.

For one thing, residents of the 905 are much more likely to say that government has a negative impact on people’s lives at 47% of respondents with government-friendly Torontonians clocking in at a modest 33%. On a related note, the 905 is much more gung-ho about cutting taxes at 39% of respondents compared to Torontonians who ring in at a more complacent 31%.

Torontonians are inclined to rank climate change as a high priority (53%) whereas 905ers tend not to (39%). Torontonians are more likely to say the national economy is improving at 40% with the 905 registering a more pessimistic 33%. And finally, Torontonians are warmer towards accepting immigrants from conflict zones (56%) vs. the 905 (42%).

These results are all the more interesting when you consider that Toronto is divided between the wealthier areas along subway routes and the “inner suburbs” which—based various political outcomes—have at least as much in common with the 905 as with their bougie civic-fellows.

In conclusion, it seems there is a “bleeding heart” element to Toronto public opinion as compared to the 905. Toronto registers a more positive view of the role of government generally speaking. This is a predictable urban/collective vs. suburban/self-sufficient cleavage.

One last note: a major Conservative pollster and campaign operative is fond of saying that “Conservatives in Toronto are not like Conservatives in the rest of Canada.” So to some extent Toronto’s squishiness is bipartisan.