Concerns about housing, rising interest rates, and income inequality may to blame.
Canada may have the fastest-growing economy in the G7, but that doesn’t mean Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government will get the credit, according to a recent poll. Just one-quarter of Canadians would describe Trudeau’s economic performance as good or or very good, according to a Nanos Research poll conducted for Bloomberg News.
More than a third of Canadians — 36 per cent — would rate his performance as poor or very poor. Another 36 per cent would mark it as average. Concerns about housing, rising interest rates, and income inequality may be to blame. More than eight in 10 Canadians are concerned or somewhat concerned about the impact of higher interest rates on their ability to pay down their debts.
About 84 per cent of Canadians are also concerned or very concerned about the widening gap between the rich and poor, and another 88 per cent are concerned or very concerned about housing affordability.
When asked what the federal government should be spending tax revenues on, Canadians were somewhat split, with 21 per cent saying it should be investing in social programs, 19 per cent on infrastructure, and 18 per cent on reducing personal income taxes.
But an overwhelming forty per cent of respondents believe Trudeau’s top fiscal priority should be reducing the federal deficit, which the government expects to hit $28.5 billion this fiscal year, or about 0.9 per cent of GDP.
Pollster Nik Nanos told Bloomberg News the survey shows there’s a “fundamental disconnect” between Canada’s macroeconomic reality and the “micro opinion” of Canadians. “For all intents and purposes, there’s quite a small minority of Canadians not concerned about housing and interest rates,” he said. “It’s a large, dark cloud that looms over the psychology of Canadians.”
Provinces were somewhat split on Trudeau’s economic performance. In areas hardest hit by the oil-price collapse — the prairies and Atlantic Canada — Trudeau was given a “poor” or “very poor” rating by 40 per cent or more of the population. Men were also more likely to look at Trudeau’s performance unfavourably — 40.1 per cent, compared to 32.8 per cent of women.
Nanos conducted the survey of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age or older over the phone and online Nov. 4-7, 2017. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.