Half of Canadians are having trouble coping financially: Poll

Federal Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre signs a placard at the University of British Columbia on April 7, 2022. Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press.

Economic concerns have pushed aside the pandemic as a top source of worry for Canadian families, even as many Canadian cities battle a sixth wave of COVID-19.

Asked to name the number one thing that worries them and their families, 37 percent of Canadians chose cost of living, according to a poll designed by Public Square Research in partnership with The Hub.

With inflation coming in second place with 13 percent, the survey demonstrates that household finances are the dominant issue for half the country right now.

More than half of Canadians are also having trouble coping financially, with 51 percent agreeing that they are having difficulties. Thirty-six percent of Canadians say they are struggling a little and finding it hard to cope some days, nine percent of Canadians are struggling a lot, while three percent of Canadians say they are “close to breaking down,” and another three percent say they can’t keep going on like this.

On the other end of the spectrum are the 49 percent of Canadians who say they are managing well right now. The poll was conducted between April 8 and April 11.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, who has based his leadership campaign around cost of living concerns and removing “gatekeepers” in Canadian life, has seen his campaign buoyed recently by large rallies and strong social media engagement.

A recent Abacus Data1Abacus Data conducted a national survey with a sample of 2,000 Canadian adults from April 4 to 9, 2022 survey found that Poilievre’s launch video2I’m running for Prime Minister to give you back control of your life was generally well-received, even by voters who normally associate with other parties. The survey found that 52 percent of people agreed with the message of the video, while 24 percent disagreed and 24 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.

Poilievre also commands the support of Conservative voters on the question of who would make the best prime minister, according to The Hub‘s poll.

Respondents were asked to name the best choice for prime minister in a head-to-head battle against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and, in that scenario, Poilievre pulls in 53 percent support of Conservative voters compared to seven percent for Trudeau and with 40 percent choosing neither option.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown draws the support of 30 percent of Conservative voters, compared to seven percent for Trudeau and 63 percent choosing neither option. Jean Charest pulls in 27 percent support, with Trudeau getting six percent and 67 percent of Canadians choosing neither option.

Among the general population, Poilievre still leads the other leadership contenders in a head-to-head with Trudeau but appears to boost the prime minister’s numbers. Twenty-two percent choose Poilievre as the best choice for prime minister compared to 37 percent for Trudeau and 41 percent for neither option. On that question, Charest pulls in 14 percent support, compared to 34 percent for Trudeau and 52 percent for neither option.

As the Liberal government enters its seventh year in power, some eyes are turning to the question of who will succeed Trudeau as Liberal leader.

Among all Canadians, people are just as likely to say that deputy prime minister and finance minister Chrystia Freeland would make the best prime minister as Trudeau. Among Liberal voters, Trudeau is still dominant with 62 percent saying he’s the best choice, compared to 30 percent for Freeland.

The survey also asked Canadians how they feel about the recently signed governance agreement3How the Liberal-NDP agreement will work and what it might mean for Canadians between the Liberals and the NDP.

While 60 percent of Canadians said it was nice to see party leaders working together for a change, 51 percent of voters said it “feels like a power grab.” Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed that the NDP was acting wisely to “leverage their power to get things done,” although more Liberals agreed with this than NDP voters, with 82 percent and 81 percent respectively.

Responses about the agreement are heavily correlated with partisanship, with Liberal and NDP voters supporting it and Conservative voters seeing it as a threat.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have registered to participate in the Maru Voice online panel. The research involved an online omnibus survey of 1,567.4Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in the Maru Voice panel rather than a probability sample, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated.

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