Canadians Split (50%/50%) on Whether They’re Better off Now than in 2015, When Trudeau was Elected PM

Seven in Ten (68%) Say They’re Not Able to Get Ahead Financially, citing Cost of Goods (65%) and Lagging Incomes (57%) as the Main Culprits

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, October 10, 2019 — Canadians are evenly split (50% agree/50% disagree) on whether they are financially better off now than they were in 2015, when Trudeau was first elected Prime Minister, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News. Liberal (62%) and NDP voters (53%) are most likely to say they’re better off now than they were in 2015, while only a minority of Conservative (44%), Green (43%) or Bloc (38%) voters say they’re now better off after 4 years of a Trudeau government.

A majority of those in Quebec (54%) and Ontario (52%) say they’re better off than before, while only a minority in BC (48%), Atlantic Canada (47%), Alberta (41%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (40%) say they same. Those aged 18-34 are considerably more likely (63%) than those aged 35-54 (50%) or 55+ (40%) to say they’re better of than in 2015 – which follows the same trend as voting intentions for the Liberal party more generally.

Pocketbook issues remain important to Canadians in this election campaign, with affordability (26%), taxation (26%) and the economy (25%) being the third, fourth and fifth-most important issues driving Canadians’ vote, respectively. Ipsos polling released yesterday reveals that on affordability, no party has a significant edge, but on taxation and the economy, the Tories are chosen as the party best able to manage these files among those who say that these issues are driving their vote.

Most (85%) Canadians agree (28% strongly/57% somewhat) that addressing affordability is an important issue to them in this federal election campaign, so they’re looking to the party leaders to offer solutions on how to make life more affordable.

Most (82%) Say Things are Becoming Less Affordable

Underscoring the relative prominence of affordability in this campaign, eight in ten (82%) agree (32% strongly/49% somewhat) that they are concerned that things in Canada are becoming less affordable for people like them. In fact, seven in ten (68%) Canadians agree (24% strongly/44% somewhat) that they feel like they are not able to get ahead financially. Conservative (73%) voters are the most likely to say they can’t seem to get ahead, as are those with a household income of less than $40,000 (78%). Those with kids in the households (73%) are also more likely than those without kids (66%) to say they’re struggling to get ahead.

Among those who say they are not able to get ahead, the primary culprits are the belief that the cost of goods and services is rising too quickly (65%) and that they’re simply not making enough money (57%). Other reasons include having too many unexpected expenses (39%), that their investments aren’t making money (16%), that they spend too much money on trying to keep up a certain lifestyle (9%), don’t know how to budget (8%), or some other reason (7%). But 4% of Canadians don’t know why they’re not able to get ahead – they just aren’t.

Only three in ten (30%) Canadians agree (6% strongly/24% somewhat) that their income is increasing fast enough to keep pace with the rising cost of the things they need. Most Canadians (70%) disagree (31% strongly/39% somewhat) that their income is rising at the same rate as inflation.

Most Canadians Unaware of Canadian Economic Facts

Canadians were put to the test, to ascertain how much they know when it comes to the current economic situation in Canada. After all, one’s perceptions of the current economic situation likely informs their opinions about the incumbent Liberals and their performance on the economy file:

  • Only 59% of Canadians know that Canada is not currently in a recession. One in ten (14%) believe we are, while 27% don’t know either way. Liberal voters are most likely to know for certain that Canada is not in a recession (71%); Conservative (57%) and NDP voters (54%) are least likely to know.
  • Three in ten (28%) erroneously believe that the unemployment rate is higher now than it has been in the last five years. Four in ten (41%) know this to be false, while 30% don’t know. Tory voters (40%) are by far the most likely to believe this to be true.
  • Two in ten (18%) erroneously believe that the inflation rate right now in Canada is 4%. Most (57%) don’t know either way, while only 26% know this to be false.
  • Most (70%) Canadians know that the Government of Canada is NOT running a balanced budget. Just one in ten (10%) think it is balanced, while 21% don’t know. Interestingly, two in ten (19%) Liberal voters believe the federal budget is balanced.
  • Four in ten (41%) correctly acknowledge that interest rates in Canada are near an all-time low. Conversely, 26% believe this to be false, while 33% don’t know.
  • While governments often say that a falling debt-to-GDP ratio is more important than balancing budgets, most Canadians (55%) do not know whether Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio is falling. Two in ten (21%) believe it to be true, while three in ten (27%) believe this claim is false.

Given the apparent lack of knowledge among Canadians about the current economic situation in Canada, it’s perhaps not surprising then that only 48% agree (7% strongly/41% somewhat) that they pay attention to economic statistics such as GDP growth, Debt-to-GDP ratio, unemployment rates and inflation.

Moreover, only half (52%) of Canadians agree (6% strongly/46% somewhat) that they trust economists when they say that the Canadian economy is strong. The other half (48%) of Canadians disagree (10% strongly/38% somewhat). This likely harkens back to the to the fact that 68% of Canadians feel like they can’t get ahead – so no matter what economists say about economic strength, this is not the feeling among most Canadians.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 4 to 7, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of n = 1502 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources. Respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe (weighting efficiency = 62.6%). The precision of Ipsos polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. Ipsos abides by the disclosure standards established by the CRIC, found here:

© 2019, Ipsos Limited Partnership

This polling release and the data contained in it are the sole and exclusive property of Ipsos. They are NOT designed to support any election outcome or prediction model and no license to use the polling release or the data is either granted or implied by their publication. Ipsos does not endorse, and has no responsibility for the accuracy of, the result of any predictive model that incorporates this polling data. Furthermore, any use of this information to produce polling aggregations or election models without Ipsos’ written permission will be considered a violation of our intellectual property, and Ipsos reserves the right to take appropriate legal action. Detailed tabular data tables can be found here:

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD

CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs


[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people. Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD). ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs