Rethinking the Top of the World: Arctic Security Public Opinion Survey
Full Title:Rethinking the Top of the World: Arctic Security Public Opinion Survey (Final Report)
Published:January 25, 2011
The current study provides a timely empirical perspective on one of the salient emerging issues of the 21st century. How do various publics understand the issue of Arctic security? How does the public understand and frame Arctic issues? What guidance would the public offer decision makers as to their preferences and priorities, and what would they emphasize for consideration in policy making?
Approximately 9,000 randomly sampled interviews were conducted in nine separate populations. The study begins with an in depth examination of the issues from the perspective of a large representative sample of residents of the three territories (the North). It then looks at some of these same issues from the perspective of the rest of Canada (the South). The study also has the unique advantage of offering comparative public opinion data from the eight member states of the Arctic Council.
Impressive is the relative consensus across a broad range of Arctic issues. While the survey found that there is support for increasing military assets in the Arctic, Canadians – both in the North and the South – indicated that they do not want this investment to take place at the expense of investing in the environment, health, education, and infrastructure. While it may be refreshing to see Canadian public opinion converge on at least one issue, the survey results also have more ominous implications when contrasted with public opinion of the other Arctic Council member states.