Only One in Ten (8%) Americans and Canadians Believe the World Can Tolerate a Nuclear-Capable Iran; Most (92%) Believe it Cannot be Tolerated

Canadians Not Satisfied With the Quality of Public Debate Generally: Majority (74%) of Canadians Believe Canadians are Too Reserved When it Comes to Debating Important Issues, Public Debate is One-Sided (69%)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Toronto, ON – As Iran continues their uranium enrichment process despite international sanctions continuously levied against them, most Canadians and Americans are in strong agreement that the world cannot tolerate an Iran with any nuclear weapons capabilities, according to a new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of The Munk Debates.

Only one in ten (8%) Americans (3% strongly/5% somewhat) and Canadians (3% strongly/6% somewhat) ‘disagree’ that the world cannot tolerate an Iran with nuclear weapon capabilities. Nearly all (92%) Americans (63% strongly/29% somewhat) and Canadians (59% strongly/32% somewhat), however, ‘agree’ that a nuclear-capable Iran is intolerable for the world.

The survey was commissioned by the Munk Debates for release today as 3,000 people convene at Roy Thompson Hall to take part in the Munk Debate on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and Middle East scholar and former diplomat Vali Nasr will argue against the debate motion “the world cannot tolerate an Iran with nuclear weapons capability”. Their opponents will be columnist Charles Krauthammer and former head of Israeli military intelligence Amos Yadlin. – more information at

Americans and Canadians’ negative attitudes towards the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran include a willingness to act militarily. A similar poll conducted last month by Ipsos Reid on behalf of The Munk Debates revealed that a majority (59%) of Americans and a slight minority (41%) of Canadians said they would support their country’s military participating in a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities. Each country also ranked a nuclear-armed Iran in their top three among a list of global threats (America – 2nd, Canada- 3rd).

The Landscape for General Debate in Canada

To mark the convening of its 10th semi-annual contest taking place in Toronto today, the Munk Debates also commissioned Ipsos Reid to ask Canadians a series of questions gauging their attitudes about the quality of public debate in Canada more generally.

When it comes to the landscape for general debate in Canada, many Canadians are left wanting. While Canadians are renowned for being moderate on the world stage, many Canadians at home wish this wasn’t the case. Three-quarters (74%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (19% strongly/55% somewhat) that ‘as a people, Canadians are too reserved when it comes to debating important issues’. Conversely, just one-quarter (26%) ‘disagree’ (3% strongly/24% somewhat) that Canadians are too reserved when debating important issues.

A potential reason many Canadians might be reserved in debating important issues is because they feel their opinion won’t be heard or taken seriously. Seven in ten (69%) ‘agree’ (16% strongly/53% somewhat) that ‘public debate of political and cultural issues in Canada today is superficial and one-sided’. Three in ten (31%), however, ‘disagree’ (3% strongly/28% somewhat) that political and cultural debate in Canada is superficial and one-sided. Despite their views on the topic, last month’s Munk Debates poll revealed that a majority (60%) of Canadians believe the debate around Iran and its nuclear-enrichment program to be one-sided, while only 40% believe the debate to be fair and balanced.

While a majority believe that Canadians are too reserved and debate is too one-sided, this has not changed the inquisitive nature of Canadians. More than eight in ten (82%) ‘agree’ (23% strongly/59% somewhat) that they ‘enjoy being exposed to people and ideas that challenge the way they look at the world’. Only two in ten (18%) ‘disagree’ (3% strongly/15% somewhat) that they enjoy being exposed to people and ideas that challenge the way they look at the world.

These are some of the findings of Ipsos Reid polls conducted between October 2nd and 7th and November 12th to 18th, 2012, on behalf of The Munk Debates. For these surveys, samples of 1,007 Canadians and 1,002 Americans in October, and 1,007 Canadians and 1,007 Americans in November, from Ipsos' Canadian and American online panels were interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls are measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the polls are accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points of the total Canadian and American populations. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid Public Affairs

Rudyard Griffiths
The Munk Debates

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world’s third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

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Only One in Ten (8%) Americans and Canadians Believe the World Can Tolerate a Nuclear-Capable Iran; Most (92%) Believe it Cannot be Tolerated


John Wright
Senior Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs