Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to "non-essential traffic" to combat the spread of COVID-19 at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge in Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada March 19, 2020. A new poll suggests that more and more Canadians are losing trust in the U.S. (REUTERS/Alex Filipe)

Survey suggests gaps between Canadians and Americans are widening

A new public opinion poll suggests that the trust Canadians hold for Americans is fast diminishing.

The online survey found that just 33 per cent of respondents in Canada expressed trust in Americans.

That compares with 58 per cent in a similar poll last November.

Notably, the survey also suggests that Americans trust Canadians slightly more than they trust their fellow U.S. citizens.

The Leger survey, which was conducted last Friday through Sunday for the Association for Canadian Studies, found that 71 per cent of the respondents living in the U.S. said they trusted Canadians.

Just 67 per cent expressed trust in their fellow U.S. citizens.

The U.S.-Canada border crossing is seen amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada April 17, 2020. A new survey suggests that four out of five Canadian would now feel uncomfortable taking a vacation in the U.S. (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

“You’re seeing a generalized diminishing of trust in the United States,” ACS  President Jack Jedwab told The Canadian Press’s James McCarten.

Jedwab cites the way the two countries have reacted to the COVID-19 crisis as a major factor in the growing distrust shown by Canadians toward Americans.

While the U.S. has been riven by partisan politics, political leaders in Canada have generally fallen in behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canadian and American flags are seen at the US/Canada border March 1, 2017, in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. (Photo by Don EMMERT / AFP) (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

“We haven’t seen the same type of division across the country as we’re seeing in the United States, where there’s already a political undercurrent between Republicans and Democrats, with an election not too far away … right now, it just strikes me that there’s probably a lot more solidarity and not as much of the partisan divisiveness,” Jedwab told McCarten.

A previous Leger survey, conducted in April, found that 66 per cent of Canadian residents who participated said they were worried about COVID-19 cases arriving in Canada from the U.S.

About 19 per cent of U.S. respondents felt the same way about the COVID-19 travelling south from Canada.

The April survey also found 34 per cent of Americans questioned would be comfortable taking a vacation in Canada when current travel restrictions are lifted, compared with 19 per cent of Canadians when asked about heading south of the border.

A ban on non-essential travel between the two countries has been in place since March, and Jedwab doesn’t see that being lifted anytime soon.

“I don’t know that our mindset is going to permit us to do that at this point,” he said.

 “I think the level of distrust is very high, and there’s also the concerns about travel generally, both ways. So I’m not persuaded we will.”

Pollsters questioned 1,515 Canadians and 1,012 in the surveys.

Polls conducted from internet panels do not carry a margin of error because they are not considered random samples.

With files from The Canadian Press (James McCarten), CBC News (Raisa Patel)

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