Poll Position: Plurality Disapprove of Carding
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Poll Position: Plurality Disapprove of Carding

Torontonians narrowly disapprove of the controversial police practice.

“When police create a record in a police database of someone they’ve interacted with the practice is called ‘Carding’. Critics say this practice unfairly targets and detains minority groups while supporters say it is a necessary tool to ensure public safety. Do you approve or disapprove of ‘Carding’?”

Approve: 42%

Disapprove: 47%

Not Sure: 11%

Poll taken: January 11, 2015
Sample size: 2,320
Margin of Error: ±2.03%, 19 times out of 20
Methodology: Interactive voice response telephone survey
Conducted by: Mainstreet Technologies

NOTES: A plurality of Torontonians disapprove of the police practice of carding, according to a poll released by Mainstreet Technologies. Carding is the controversial police practice of documenting non-criminal encounters, and is used predominantly in racialized communities. Investigations over the years, most notably by the Toronto Star, and reports from community groups have detailed the negative impact that carding and racial profiling has had on marginalized Torontonians.

Last week, the Toronto Police Service quietly suspended the practice of carding. While critics say the move isn’t enough and that racial profiling as a whole must end, the Mainstreet Technologies poll shows Torontonians are split on the issue.

Among decided respondents, 53 per cent don’t approve of carding, while 47 per cent approve. Approval of the police practice is highest in Scarborough, where 55 per cent approve and 37 per cent disapprove.

The poll also shows that Toronto Police enjoy a 69 per cent approval rating overall—73 per cent among decided residents.

When asked whether they thought crime was increasing, 61 per cent of decided respondents said yes, 21 per cent said no, and 18 per cent said the crime rate was about the same. Scarborough residents were most likely to say crime was increasing.

This is not the case. Crime rates in Toronto, and in cities across North America, have steadily declined over the past two decades. The public perception that crime is increasing in spite of data showing otherwise is consistent with the findings of recent U.S. polls.


Understanding Political Polls