New social harmony index finds that nearly 75% of Canadians seek common ground

Study highlights national core values relate to social focus over individual focus

CALGARY, Alberta and TORONTO, Dec. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Contrary to the perception of growing national polarization, and just in time for the season of peace and goodwill—the first annual Canadian Social Harmony Index™ has benchmarked Canadians’ willingness to accommodate different points of view and find common ground. Across regions, the findings were surprisingly consistent:

  • 73% personally seek to find common understanding with others, even if they have different beliefs
  • 64% said that like-minded people should be willing to listen to others and compromise
  • 82% said our differences are not so large that we cannot find common ground

Older respondents and those who held both liberal and conservative views were significantly more likely to want to find common ground. Younger respondents, and those whose views were either strongly progressive or strongly conservative were more likely to want to fight for their beliefs. In all cases, the majority of all subgroups, even the polarized wings, favoured common ground.

Inspired by the work of More in Common, the survey was self-funded and conducted by RA2 in partnership with Cause & Effect Marketing, agencies that use technology, behavioural science, and positive psychology to support government, business, and social sector clients.

“As we say goodbye to 2020, these results suggest a healthy level of goodwill that can be built on to promote social cooperation, social harmony, and social good. The key to maintaining that goodwill in the year ahead is to communicate with one another as friends rather than enemies,” says Joni Avram, President of Cause & Effect Marketing.

The survey also measured the core values that influence how Canadians think, feel, and act. The results revealed that Canadians have a greater social focus than personal focus. These results were also consistent across regions:

  • 78% valued caring for others within local communities or the larger world
  • 58% valued independence which includes freedom, curiosity, or personal challenge
  • 55% valued social stability, safety, and social harmony
  • 54% valued self-enhancement related to personal achievement, enjoyment, or status

The study also showed that messages that align with these core values dramatically increased positive engagement and willingness to share messages with friends and family.

“When messaging to a broad range of people, continually repeating a single perspective doesn’t work well. Instead, multiple messages that align with different core values can make respondents engage more positively with information and make them more willing to share it,” says Cameron Raynor, Principal of RA2.

The online study, conducted in mid-November across four regions (Atlantic, Ontario, Prairies, BC), surveyed 1575 Canadians representative of the general public based on age, gender, region, and education. A summary of findings is available here. Professional development training on how to apply these results to specific organizational and sector messages will be offered December 16, 2020.

Note to Editors: SqueezeCMM will be measuring engagement with survey results and monitoring sharing activity among engaged audiences. The goal is to track Index measures annually. We encourage advocates, educators, and communicators to work with us to promote social harmony and move the Index up in 2021.

RA2 is a communications consultancy that uses machine learning and market research to enable clients to grow their reach using empathic communication strategies that align with universal human values. RA2 has a global reach that includes not-for-profits, political organizations, and private firms.

Cause & Effect Marketing is an internationally recognized social marketing agency that supports not-for-profit, philanthropic, and business sector clients engaged in social change across Canada. President Joni Avram holds a Masters in Behavioural Science from the London School of Economics.

For more information contact:

Jennie Avram
Avram Communications
P: (306) 539.4700