Most respondents rely on television, print newspapers and radio to make informed choices before an election.

British Columbians express a preference for unbiased journalism from established news organizations, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted in partnership with the Jack Webster Foundation has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 800 British Columbians, almost four-in-five respondents (78%) say they prefer getting news from sources that do not have a particular political point of view, while one-in-ten (10%) favour news from sources that they consider closer to their political point of view.

Three-in-four BC residents (74%) say they prefer to get news from established news organizations, such as newspapers, television stations or radio stations. Conversely, 12 per cent of all respondents—but 20 per cent of those aged 18-to-34—like to get news from organizations or people who are not affiliated with a newspaper, television station or radio station.

Three-in-five British Columbians (59%) report having watched a news program on broadcast television the day before, and at least two-in-five read a printed version of a newspaper (47%), watched a news program on cable television (45%), listened to a radio news program (44%) or visited the online portal of an established news organization (40%). Fewer respondents say they visited a blog or other current events online portal that is not affiliated with a newspaper, television station or radio station (22%), used Twitter to get news (10%) or read a current events magazine (10%).

Breaking News

Respondents were presented with three scenarios for breaking news stories, and asked where they would turn to for more information. In the event of a blockbuster trade in the National Hockey League (NHL), almost two-in-five British Colombians (38%) would go on the Internet, while one-in-four (23%) would seek news on television.

If a high-profile Canadian politician were to quit, 43 per cent would go online to find out more, and 40 per cent would watch television. If a terrorist attack outside Canada took place, almost half (49%) would seek more information on television, while 41 per cent would look on the Internet.

Politics and the Media

A majority of respondents in British Columbia say they rely on television (72%), print newspapers (57%), radio (51%) and online portals of established news organizations (50%) to make an informed choice about which candidate, or party, they would support in an election. About a third (32%) say they rely on non-affiliated online portals, while one-in-four (26%) rely on social media.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)


Mario Canseco, Vice President, Angus Reid Public Opinion
+877 730 3570

Methodology: From October 17 to October 18, 2012, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 800 randomly selected British Columbia adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.