They’re tuning out in Quebec and glued to their sets in British Columbia, a recent Harris/Decima survey on the Stanley Cup playoffs suggests.
Nationally, 35 per cent of Canadians say they will be watching the playoffs either very or somewhat closely. That plunges to just 20 per cent in Quebec and soars to 55 per cent in British Columbia.
“It does seem to be the case these days that if Montreal is out of the playoffs . . . that Quebec residents are a lot less inclined to be following other teams out there,” said pollster Doug Anderson
The Harris/Decima senior vice-president grew up just outside Montreal and remembers the heady days when the Canadiens were regularly in the race for the Cup.
Nationally, 64 per cent of those surveyed say they won’t be watching the playoffs that closely or not at all closely.
“It’s not necessary that to be a Canadian you must be a hockey fan,” concedes Anderson.
As to who they want to win a Stanley Cup, most Canadians picked one of the only two Canadian teams that made it into the playoffs.
Not surprisingly, the Vancouver Canucks draw most of their support from the western half of the country and the Ottawa Senators from points east.
The Canucks have the edge nationally, 39 per cent to 30 per cent for the Senators.
Given the odds on either of the two teams actually winning the Cup, Anderson admits he was a bit surprised at the support the Senators maintain.
“Beforehand, water cooler chatter around here at the office was we pretty well thought Canadians would be cheering for Vancouver.”
In British Columbia, 80 per cent of respondents picked the Canucks, five per cent opted for Ottawa and nine per cent have other favourites.
As for that five per cent, “maybe it’s people from Ottawa who moved out to B.C.,” suggests Anderson.
In Ontario, only 42 per cent picked the Senators and 29 per cent still picked the Canucks.
The omnibus phone survey of 1,000 people this month is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.