Newsweek | by Paul Bond | February 28, 2022
A U.S. version of Canada’s so-called Freedom Convoy, the People’s Convoy, is reportedly off to a slow start, but a poll set for release today says that, should a meaningful number of truckers show up near Washington, D.C. in the coming days to protest two years of COVID restrictions, they will have the support of the majority of Republicans and independents in the country.
The poll, conducted by Trafalgar Group, indicates that 50.3 percent of adult Americans are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to support the U.S. demonstration of truckers, a few of whom departed last week from various parts of the country for an expected 11-day trek to the nation’s capital. The support, however, breaks down largely along party lines.
According to the poll, the U.S. truckers have the support of 78.5 percent of Republicans and 68.6 percent of independents, but just 15.1 percent of Democrats.
The Canadian Freedom Convoy began last month when hundreds of truckers and their vehicles clogged many of the roads necessary to enter the United States in order to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s vaccine mandates. But roughly 90 percent of Canadian truckers were already vaccinated, thus the rallies quickly morphed into something broader—a statement against all ongoing restrictions imposed to combat coronavirus. This week, around the same time that a handful of U.S. truckers began their drive to the Washington, Trudeau ended the rally by invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act and empowering police to arrest and fine truckers, freeze their bank accounts and tow away and impound their vehicles.
An estimated two dozen convoys are now, or soon will be, headed for Washington, where they will be greeted by about 700 unarmed troops from the National Guard who are stationed there until March 7. Many truckers, however, have told media outlets that they’ll avoid confrontation by remaining on the outskirts of the city.
The U.S. trucker convoy was planned to coincide with the President Joe Biden‘s State of the Union address on March 1 and its purpose is to protest all perceived restrictions of freedom brought about by the pandemic, including vaccine requirements and “passports,” lockdowns and mask mandates, the latter two of which have largely disappeared from Republican-run states and have started to disappear as well from states run by Democrats.
The Trafalgar poll was commissioned by Convention of States Action, a group run by Mark Meckler that seeks to limit the size and scope of the federal government. The margin of error for the poll is 2.99 percent.
“We’ve seen other polls,” Meckler says, “in which Democratic voters support free speech for other protests—even violent ones—and therefore it’s important for all Americans to understand that free speech is either free to everyone, or free to nobody.”