More Americans have researched how to “move to Canada” following the reelection of President Barack Obama on Tuesday than at any other time since President George W. Bush won a second White House term in 2008.
The sudden spike in search engine traffic for the phrase -- and related terms “moving to Canada” -- is evident in the graphic above, which shows interest in the topic as measured by search engine Google. The recent spike has been logged by web users in deep-red states far from the Northern border like Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia, as well as liberal, urban outposts in California and Illinois.
Saying one will “move to Canada” if their preferred presidential candidate does not win the election is stereotypical hyperbole uttered by U.S. liberals around election time -- the implication being that Canada is a more egalitarian society and hence a more desirable place to live.
But it seems distraught Republicans have been fueling the émigré conversations this time.
Addressing the topic in a blog post for libertarian Reason magazine, Managing Editor J.D. Tucille wrote how various studies that have looked at “economic freedom” as expressed through low taxes and little regulation have found “assuming that the disappointed righties are of the sort that care more about economic freedom than banning abortions, Canada actually looks like a pretty promising destination.”
Reason wasn’t the only conservative outlet entertaining fantasies of leaving the States behind. On Wednesday, a traffic reporter in a Tulsa, Okla-based FOX News affiliate delivered a deadpan set of directions on how to make the multistate trip from Tulsa to Winnipeg, telling viewers -- and colleagues laughing in the newsroom -- that “this is serious stuff.”
The only thing American border-hoppers might find not so promising: Canadian immigration rules, which have become considerably tighter in recent years.
“Don’t just assume you will be able to cross the border because you don’t like it in the U.S. anymore,” Henry Chang, an immigration lawyer with Blaney McMurtry in Toronto, told Forbes before the election.
Of course, most people searching for the next flight to Quebec won’t get that far. David Cohen, a partner at the Montreal law firm Campbell Cohen who has been a specialist in immigration law for over 30 years, told ABC News only three or four people he’s ever consulted had made good on the threat to move to Canada for political reasons.
Admitting as much in the Reason blog, Tucille wrote that “it's unlikely that conservatives will head to the Great White North in any substantial numbers.”
“But it's worth knowing that Canada, far from being some two-dimensional pinko version of government-subsidized paradise, has more economic freedom than the nasty, uber-capitalist United States, in many ways.”