Albertans’ Views on China Annual Survey

Analysis Summary of the 2011 Albertan Survey

Albertans hold a generally positive view of the significance of China and Asia to Alberta’s economy. In all, 10 statements were posed. When asked to agree or disagree, a majority of respondents (>50%) held affirmative attitudes regarding China in every case. Among the issues which garnered high agreement rates: 79% of respondents agreed that China is an important export market for Alberta goods and services; 64% agreed that China’s increasing economic strength benefits Alberta; and 62% agreed that Alberta should build stronger ties with China.

While a majority of Albertans agreed that China is important to the province, they were more cautious about statements that detailed possible approaches to building stronger economic ties with China. While 75% agreed that Alberta should diversify its economy by boosting trade with Asia, only 57% agreed that Alberta should decrease its economic reliance on the U.S. market as a means of diversifying its economy. On this latter issue, however, this does not mean 43% of respondents disagreed with decreasing economic reliance on the U.S. Only 27% disagreed, while 16% were undecided, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

It is important to note that even though Albertans were more cautious in agreeing with particular approaches to strengthening economic ties with China, agreement rates in all questions more than doubled disagreement rates. For instance, even when asked whether Alberta should welcome Chinese investment in energy and other resource sectors of the province, a sensitive issue, 52% of Albertans agreed, whereas only 25% disagreed.

Various demographic and socioeconomic factors, such as area of residence, political affiliations, income, age, and education among others, influence how respondents viewed individual issues. For example, the area of residence in the province and provincial political affiliation were significant factors in how respondents viewed the issue of Chinese investment in Alberta’s energy and resource sectors. The relationships between survey questions and demographic and socioeconomic variables are detailed below.