A majority of Americans have a favorable perception of Canada and Canadians, but only a quarter support merging the United States and Canada into one country.
Last week Diane Francis released a new book entitled Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country. Ms. Francis' belief that the two nations should become one has sparked some debate, with people weighing in on the pros and cons of such a hypothetical "Northern Union".
According to the latest YouGov research, 38% of Americans oppose a potential merger of Canada with the United States, against 26% of those who support it. Democrats are more supportive of the merger than Independents and Republicans. Democrats are also the only group where more support the hypothetical merger (34%), than oppose it (29%).
Many Americans are unsure of some key facts about Canada. When Americans were asked to give the population of Canada, the average answer was 63 million, when there are less than 35 million Canadian residents. When asked who the Prime Minister of Canada is, a majority of Americans (62%) did not know, while about one in four (24%) knew the Prime Minister is Stephen Harper.
Answers improved when asked about the value of the Canadian dollar compared to the American dollar. Currently, one American dollar is equal to 1.04 Canadian dollars. A majority (52%) of Americans were correct in answering that a Canadian dollar is worth less, or about the same as its American equivalent.
Most people in the United States (72%) think that Canadians are pretty similar to Americans. Nearly half (47%) think that there are small but significant cultural differences, between the two peoples, while only about 1 in 5 (17%) think that Canadians are very different from Americans.
Americans' impressions of Canadians tend to be positive. Over half of Americans associate Canadians with friendliness (65%) and ice hockey (%55), and about half (48%) also associate Canadians with politeness.
With such phrases like "friendly", "polite", and "like us" affiliated with Canadians, it is unsurprising that 88% of people consider Canada to be an ally of, or at least friendly with, the United States.