The majority of Canadians have heard of aboriginal protest movement Idle No More, a new poll suggests, with more than half saying Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike won't advance the cause of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada.
The majority of people polled — 64.2 per cent — said they had heard of Idle No More, with 27.8 per cent saying they hadn't heard of it and 7.9 per cent unsure.
Despite the fact the movement is driven by young people, awareness was highest among older Canadians, with 80.1 per cent of those aged 60 and up saying they had heard of it, with awareness dropping in other age groups. Slightly less than half of Canadians aged 18 to 29 who responded to the poll — 47.6 per cent — said they were aware of it.
Idle No More seems to have penetrated deeper in western Canada. Poll respondents living in British Columbia were the most likely to have heard of the movement, with 75.6 per cent answering that they knew of it. On the Prairies, 69.7 per cent of those who responded to the poll said they knew of Idle No More, with Ontario following at 64.6 per cent, Quebec at 56.2 per cent and Atlantic Canada 55.4 per cent.
The Nanos Research poll, conducted online between Jan. 18 and 19, 2013, surveyed 1,000 people. There is no margin of error stated for the online survey.
Spence began a hunger strike Dec. 11, but will end it on Thursday morning, CBC News has learned. The poll indicates more than half of Canadians think it may have been in vain.
Asked to choose whether they thought the hunger protest by Spence "will advance or not advance the cause of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada," more than half of those who answered the poll — 54.1 per cent — said they didn't believe it will. Another 28.1 per cent said they were unsure, with only 17.8 per cent believing the hunger strike will advance the cause of aboriginal people.
The belief Spence's hunger strike won't help was strongest in British Columbia, at 62.8 per cent, and 14.8 per cent saying it will, and almost the same on the Prairies, with 62.7 per cent believing it wouldn't help and 10 per cent saying it would. The number of people who said the hunger strike would advance aboriginal issues was strongest in Atlantic Canada at 20.3 per cent, with 42.7 per cent saying it wouldn't.
Of those who had heard of the Idle No More movement, asked whether they had a positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative or negative impression, 40.6 per cent said they had a positive or somewhat positive impression. Another 45.5 per cent said they had a negative or somewhat negative impression and 13.9 per cent were unsure.