Economy Poll: Half of Canadians say Harper win would have a negative impact
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, August 26, 2015 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 27, 2015 7:56AM EDT
A new poll suggests most Canadians (79 per cent) agree the country feels like it’s in recession, nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) believe “it’s time for change” and more than half think a victory by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives would be bad for the economy.
The findings are according to an exclusive new Nanos Research poll, conducted on behalf of CTV and The Globe and Mail.
Among the questions asked was: “Thinking of your vote in the upcoming federal election, would you say that it is time for a change or not time for a change?”
More than two-thirds of respondents (69 per cent) agreed “it is time for a change,” while 23 per cent said it was “not time for a change.” Eight per cent were unsure.
Nanos said those findings might hint that a problem is brewing for the Conservatives.
“Once those change numbers hit 70 (per cent) or above 70, usually the incumbent party is in trouble,” he said. “The good news for the Tories is that the election is not tomorrow; it’s on Oct. 19, so there is still time for them to recover.”
The number of those who appear to want change is up three percentage points from July, when 66 per cent of respondents agreed “it is time for change” compared to 24 per cent of those who said it “not time for change.” At that time, 10 per cent were unsure.
The research also looked at which party potential voters thought had “the best program” to manage the Canadian economy.
The Conservatives came out on top, with 30 per cent of respondents selecting the Tories, compared to 26 per cent for the NDP and 25 per cent for the Liberals. Sixteen per cent were unsure.
Regionally, support for the Conservatives as it relates to “best program to manage the economy” was lowest in Atlantic Canada (20 per cent) and highest in the Prairies (43 per cent).
But when asked what effect a “victory” for each of the three major parties would have on the strength of the Canadian economy, respondents were less positive.
Fifty-one per cent said a win by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper would have either a negative or somewhat negative impact on the economy.
Less than one-third (28 per cent) said a Harper victory would have a positive or somewhat positive effect on the economy.
In contrast, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair fared better, with 43 per cent agreeing a win by either man would have a positive or somewhat positive effect on the economy.
Thirty-seven per cent believe a win for the NDP would be bad for the economy, and 34 per cent believe a Liberal win would be bad for the economy.
Nanos suggested the contradicting results may come down to sentiment.
“What the polling shows is that average Canadians probably believe the Conservatives have the most experience,” said Nanos. “But when they look at the track record and they look at the recent economic news and think about how they’re feeling about the economy, they’re very grumpy.”
The poll also found that a majority (54 per cent) of Canadians support “a new round of deficit spending by the Government of Canada to stimulate the economy,” while 36 per cent were opposed/somewhat opposed and 10 per cent were unsure.
That news comes on a day when Mulcair and Harper both said they would balance the next budget, but Trudeau would not make such a commitment.
Nanos said the Liberal Leader appears to have a two-pronged strategy of appealing to “New Democratic or progressive voters” by saying he would is open to running a deficit, while also campaigning alongside Liberals with a strong economic track record.
“We saw Paul Martin come out,” Nanos said, referring to a Liberal campaign speech from Tuesday. “If you remember in 1993, Jean Chretien was seen as being weak (and) he brought in Paul Martin in order to help bolster his image on economic issues.”
Nanos conducted a RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between August 20th and 23, 2015, as part of an omnibus survey. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The regional numbers have sample sizes ranging from 100 respondents in Atlantic Canada to 300 in Ontario, which means they have a wider margin of error than the survey overall.