Little downside for Tories in Canada Post cuts: poll

Those affected don't vote Conservative, says Angus Reid survey

Nathan Denette/CP

How do Canadians feel about service cuts at Canada Post? Depends on how they receive their mail now—and evidently, how they vote.

An Angus Reid Global poll released today found that 58 per cent of respondents disapprove of changes that, among other things, would see door-to-door service eliminated for the one-third of customers lucky enough to still get it (full results and methodology can be found here). Overall, we appear rueful about these reforms to a national institution. Drill down, though, and you get some telling results:

• More than half of Conservative voters, 53 per cent, support the end of door-to-door in urban areas, while less than a third of Liberal and NDP supporters do.

• Fully 59 per cent of respondents who already pick up their mail at community mailboxes support the changes. I’ll be the cynic and suggest that these two findings are not unrelated: the Tories are strongest in suburban and rural ridings. Suburban and rural residents aren’t losing much from the end of door-to-door. You don’t suppose the government-appointed bosses at Canada Post took that into account when they hatched this plan, do you?

• Only 48 per cent of those polled consider Canada Post to be an “essential service” and even these believers aren’t using it much; 72 per cent said they send mail less often than four times a month. Two in five do so less than once a month.

• Men seem a lot less worried about mail service than women. Of the 17 per cent of respondents who said they were unaffected and unconcerned by the changes, fully 73 per cent were men. Nearly six in 10 who consider Canada Post an essential service are women. These findings should not surprise guys like me, who haven’t sent a birthday card since the Chrétien years.

• Some 38 per cent of respondents said Canada Post should be privatized, which strikes me as a lot.

In short, even a lot of those angry about the reforms aren’t using the mail enough to make this a ballot-box question in the next federal election. Those affected probably aren’t living in Tory-held ridings, meaning the moves are unlikely to cost the Harper government seats. As Shachi Kurl, vice-president of Angus Reid Global, put it: “These changes appear to give Prime Minister Stephen Harper less trouble with his base.”

All very revealing—though you have to think the political implications were well understood before the first letter of the plan was written.