Public Opinion on the Environment in Canada
- Stickland, Sarah (Conestoga College)
- Mathan, Pranol Kunjumon (Conestoga College)
- Singh, Suhani (Conestoga College)
- Pikulski, Natalie
- Piscitelli, Anthony (Conestoga College)
AbstractThis study curated publics attitudes towards the environment within Canada from 1980 to 2017. This study examined eight topic areas:
- Acid rain
- Climate Change
- Environmental protection
- Ozone depletion
- Water quality
- Wildlife Protection
1980-01-01 / 2016-12-31Time Period: Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1980--Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2016
1980-01-01 / 2016-12-31Collection Date(s): Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1980--Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2016
This section outlines the approach used to gather survey questions for analysis and subsequent analysis. Data sets were gathered from ODESI and Forum Research. Dataverses and ICPSR were searched for datasets, but it did not contribute to the collected data. When searching for data on ODESI, all the collections were selected (Statistics Canada, Public Opinion Polls, CORA, ICPSR, Canadian Dataverses, and Other Data), and the time was set such that the all survey results were included. When searching on Forum Research, and other databases, terms were used in the search tool. The following search terms were used when searching for data on the topics:
Every survey was reviewed from the results that were generated, with the exception of the data that required private access. Every survey was reviewed thoroughly for questions related to the topic. All the questions that were relevant were recorded into a word document.The file called “term tracker” contains a record of the results of these searches. Originally, individual files were kept for each topic (these were later merged into a single file). The purpose was to avoid duplicated questions, group like questions, and allow for duplication of work. The term tracker records the date searched, the number of results found, the question, the variables (answers), who was asked, and the firm that conducted the survey.
- The topic of climate change, the terms were: climate, greenhouse gas, global warming, ozone layer, emissions, and environment
- The topic acid rain, the terms were: acid rain
- The topic deforestation: the terms were: deforestation, loss of forest, and clear cutting
- The topic environmental protection, the term was: environmental protection
- The topic ozone depletion, the terms were: ozone layer and ozone depletion
- The topic water quality, the terms were: water quality, water pollution, drinking water, and fresh water
- The topic wildlife, the terms were: wildlife, and endangered species
The data was then recorded into excel sheets. Most questions recorded the topline results only. These questions tracked the total sample data, with each survey firm’s data being stored in a separate excel file. Within the file, each question asked had a separate sheet. Each sheet contained the question asked, the term searched, the date(s) asked, the answers/variables, type of survey, and link to the survey. The data was recorded in raw numbers. For a few questions, crosstabs were recorded allowing comparisons to be made between different categories. These questions were selected based on the interest of the research team. When a crosstab was conducted a separate file was created for each survey question. Sheets were created for each independent variable: sex, age, region, and political party. Age categories were manually calculated into age groups, unless already collapsed. Region categories were manually calculated by adding provinces together.
If the data was in percentage, the percentage was changed to an estimated whole number based on the percentage and total sample. The date was recorded as day-month-year. If no day was provided, 01 was assigned; if no month was provided, a month was assigned based on the survey quarter: First quarter was assigned 03, second quarter was assigned 06, third quarter was assigned 09, and fourth quarter was assigned 12. If no quarter was assigned then 01 was assigned.
- Age categories: 18-35, 36-50, 51-65, 66+
- Center Region: Ontario and Quebec
- West: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba
- Atlantic: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador
Questions that were asked two or more years were analyzed using the Dyad Ratios Algorithm by James Stimson (http://stimson.web.unc.edu/software/). (See for example: Stimson, J. A. (1991). Public opinion in America: Moods, cycles, and swings (Vol. 12). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Or Stimson, J. A. (2004). Tides of consent: How opinion movements shape American politics. Cambridge University Press.) The purpose was to gather data to run on the software Wcalc (http://stimson.web.unc.edu/software/). Each topic had a separate excel file and a file was created combining all of the other files to look at overall attitudes towards the environment. Each file contained the date asked (month-day-year), the total sample size minus the “don’t know” and “refuse”, percentage of the response in favour of the topic (this included the responses agree, somewhat agree, strongly agree, etc.), and a recoded variable name. The recoded variable name corresponded with survey firm and the question asked.
Index = (Percent Agree) / (Percent Agree + Percent Disagree) *100
- Cgall- Canadian Gallup Poll
- Deciq- Decimal Quarterly
- Envir- Environics
- Nangr- National Angus Reid Poll
The excel sheet was then saved as a text file. Wcalc was used to run a time series of the data. When creating the time series, annual was selected and smooth on raw data series. Wcalc produced an excel file with an average of the years, and a log file interpreting the results (see wcalc files for the results). This was repeated eight times, for each topic. WCalc can be downloaded directly from James Stimson’s website (http://stimson.web.unc.edu/software/). Also included in this package is the code for the program R, which can also be used to run the Dyad Ratios Algorithm (see Extract.r.zip and ExtractDoc.pdf; Shared with permission of Dr. James Stimson).
A quality control check was completed after all the data was inputted. The individual duplicated the results by following the term tracker. The individual noted any missing data and incorrect results. A third individual then verified whether the results were incorrect.
Update Metadata: 2019-07-30 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-07-30