Most Americans don’t think it’s time to open the Canada-US border

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
September 29, 2020, 5:16 PM UTC

It’s been six months since the border between the United States and Canada closed to all but essential travel, and most Americans want to keep it that way. 

According to recent survey of more than 46,000 Americans, 54% say the crossings should remain closed, twice the number who say they should reopen (27%). About one in five (19%) don’t know. 

The two countries mutually agreed to keep the 5,525-mile border closed to curb COVID-19 transmission for 30 days beginning March 21, followed by subsequent extensions. The most recent agreement keeps it closed until October 21. 

Americans who think the COVID-19 situation is getting better globally or think it’s completely over are significantly more likely to be in favor of opening the border (34% and 50% respectively), compared to those who think the situation is getting worse (17%).  

Of the 13 states that border Canada, the only ones more likely than the national average to want the border re-opened are Alaska (37%), New York (33%), and Idaho (33%), however the notion does not have a majority in any state in the US.  

The relatively high number of Alaskans who want the border open may simply be a result of where it’s situated. Most travelers between Alaska and the contiguous US must go through western Canada. While the Canadian government has made accommodations, drivers must keep their travel time short. 

Other states more likely to want the border to reopen are Kansas (33%), Indiana (32%), New Mexico (34%), Arizona (31%), and Florida (29%). 

West Virginia (19%), Nebraska (20%), Iowa (20%), Mississippi (20%), Maryland (21%), Massachusetts (21%), Alabama (22%), Virginia (23%), North Carolina (24%), and Wisconsin (24%) are all less likely to want the border to reopen. 

YouGov’s COVID-19 monitor shows Canada’s citizens are nearly twice as likely as Americans to think their government is handling the coronavirus well (75% vs. 36%) 

In a separate snap poll of 227 Canadian YouGov Direct users, only one in 11 (9%) say they think the border should reopen. 

Methodology: The survey question, “The border between Canada and the United States has been closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in an effort to minimize non-essential travel. Given the current situation, do you think the border should be re-opened or remain closed?” was asked of 46,711 US adults ages 18 and over. Interviews were conducted online September 18 - 21, 2020. Results are weighted to be nationally representative.      

Image: Getty