Canadians split on post-COVID economic priorities

Poll finds demographic differences of opinion with respect to budget deficits, taxes, and investment in government programs

Canadians split on post-COVID economic priorities

While the major political parties might listen to the voice of the people in determining Canada’s post-pandemic economic direction, a new poll shows just how divided that voice is.

In a new survey of 1,500 Canadians, Ipsos found a third of respondents (33%) believe the next federal government should focus on balancing the budget, even if it entails cutting spending or raising taxes. Demographically, that opinion was more prevalent among men than women (37% vs. 29%, respectively), and was relatively more pronounced among those whose household incomes were between $60,000 and $100,000.

A slightly higher percentage of participating Canadians (37%) said the next administration’s priority should be to lower taxes. That belief tended to decrease among those with higher education: while 56% of those who didn’t reach high school and 41% of those whose academic careers ended in high school held this view, only 36% of post-secondary school achievers and 23% of university graduates shared it.

The rest of the respondents (30%) said the next federal focus should be on investing in government programs, even if it means no tax cuts or a protracted period of budget deficits. Consistent with other results, women were more likely to adopt this view compared to men (33% vs. 27%).

Ipsos also found that while a quarter of the 35-54 age group (26%) favoured federal investment in government programs, that number increases to a third among 18- to 34-year-olds (33%) and older respondents (32%).

“This is likely a result of increased expenses the two cohorts face, whether that is post-secondary fees and the rental market, or health-care cost and retirement plans,” Ipsos said.

Through the lens of education, university graduates were also more likely to agree that the federal government should invest in government programs (41%) than those whose records ended in post-secondary school (29%), high school (27%), or pre-high school (23%).

“Notably, there is a higher proportion of university graduates who believe that the federal government should invest in government programs, compared to balancing the budget or lowering taxes,” Ipsos said.


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