March 28, 2019
Affordability concerns will dominate the federal election, new research shows
CANADA — Public opinion research released today shows that almost half (48%) of Canadians are worried about the rising cost of living and not having enough income to cover their expenses. Over half (57%) listed issues of affordability, economic inequality, wages and taxes, as their top vote drivers for the upcoming federal election. Pharmacare and healthcare costs also rated highly.
The poll was conducted by Abacus Data, and presented at the Broadbent Institute’s Progress Summit in Ottawa to shed light on the roots of rising populism and explore progressive solutions to the problems that worry Canadians most.
“Most Canadians believe that while cost of living and income inequality has gotten worse over the last few years, corporate profits are doing fine,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data. “What’s quite striking in the results is that both political leaders and corporate Canada are being held responsible for the worsening financial circumstances many Canadians are experiencing.”
“It’s clear both from the polling and from events here and around the world, ignoring rising affordability fears comes with great risk,” said Katrina Miller, Program Director for the Broadbent Institute.
When shown options to improve affordability, good jobs, healthcare costs, fairer taxes, reducing costs of products and services received the strongest level of support.
“Many of the affordability concerns people have are natural ground for progressives,” and stagnant wages,” said Miller. “The research tells us we need to offer concrete proposals on issues like housing, healthcare, good jobs, fairer taxes to address affordability in the short and long-term.”
The survey also found a strong link between affordability anxiety and broader opinions and attitudes about the future economy, immigration, tax rates for the rich, and government regulation of corporations.
“We have to be careful. If affordability anxiety grows and people feel left out of the economic shift underway, they will be suspectable to divisive rhetoric that pits people against each other,” said Coletto. “There’s a growing group of what I call ‘anxious populists’ who will have a big influence of the next election. They are the least partisan and most persuadable group, so in a sense they are up for grabs for whoever can make them the best offer.”
“We can’t stand by and allow the politics of division to take hold,” said Miller. “Progressive movements and leaders must listen closely to what ‘anxious populists’ are saying and provide a well-marked path to economic inclusion that gives them hope for the future.”
The survey was conducted online with a nationally representative sample of 2,500 Canadians. It was conducted from March 3 to 11, 2019. A comparable probability-based sample of 2,500 would have a margin of error of + 2.0%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was weighted to match Canada’s population by age, sex, region, education, and official language.
About the Broadbent Institute
The Broadbent Institute is Canada’s leading progressive, independent organization championing change through the promotion of democracy, equality, and sustainability and the training of a new generation of leaders. For more information about the Progress Summit, underway from March 27th to 29th, click here.
About Abacus Data
We are the only research and strategy firm that helps organizations respond to the disruptive risks and opportunities in a world where demographics and technology are changing more quickly than ever.
We are an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to our clients. We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.