It also shows that the Arctic Council, a forum for the eight nations to manage mutual Arctic concerns and interests, is only vaguely known, if at all, among citizens in the countries surveyed. Governments, on the other hand – including non-Arctic states – and other stakeholders, are according the Council increasing political priority given the North’s vast natural resources, centrality to global climate change, and potential as a far shorter route for shipping goods between the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Commissioned by the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program based in Canada and the Institute of the North in Alaska, and conducted by EKOS Research Associates, the polling uses many of the same questions used in their 2010 survey, revealing how public opinion has changed over the last five years.
Citizens acknowledge in this survey the reality of rising geopolitical tensions and their implications for the Arctic. While they include a strengthened military as one response, the favoured option is diplomatic and co-operative approaches. This is evident in a specific question on how best to deal with Russia and in general, support for the “softer” approaches of negotiation and co-operation are endorsed particularly in the Nordic countries.
It also sheds light on divides between Canadians living in Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut and their northern American neighbours in Alaska. It highlights the differences between the northern and southern citizens of Canada and the U.S.
For an overview of the poll results and more information, see the full press release.
Watch highlights of the results here.