Abacus Election Bulletin: Top issues for men vs. women in this election.

Each day during the 2021 Federal Election campaign, researchers at Abacus Data will share insights and analysis from our polling in concise, insights-focused reports. To never miss our polls and analysis, subscribe to our newsletter.

Keeping with our weekly theme of top election issues, we wanted to know if there were any difference between men and women. As a note, the analysis below compares just men vs women as sample sizes for others were too small for analysis.

Unsurprisingly, cost of living tops the list for both men and women, though more women are including it in their top 5 than men (64% vs. 59%).

The differences between what men and women are prioritizing don’t end there. In addition to cost of living, women are prioritizing healthcare more than men, while men tend to be more likely to prioritize issues like an economic plan for Canada’s future, taxes, and government spending.

Does age have any impact on how men and women view the top issues?

Among the boomer generation, men and women have the same top five issues, but for four of them, place very different levels of importance on each. Among the top 5 issues, boomer women are more likely to prioritize cost of living, access to healthcare, climate change & the environment and the post-pandemic recovery plan. While men are distributing their priorities a little more evenly throughout the list, and placing more priority on taxes, government spending and pipelines.

And for millennials? There are some differences between men and women for sure, but they are not as stark as those seen among boomers.

Among millennials, women are more likely than men to be prioritizing cost of living and access to healthcare, and men are more likely to prioritize an economic plan for Canada’s recovery, but that’s where the large differences end. It seems that among this generation specific age is a better determinant of issue prioritization than gender.

THE UPSHOT According to Oksana Kishchuk: Like much of our other analysis, cost of living continues its dominant position as the top election issue, including both men and women. Still, it’s important to note it is a priority for more women than men.

This difference, and many of the other differences we see between men and women are not surprising, and in fact look very similar to numbers we saw just before the federal election in 2019. During that election we also saw women prioritizing healthcare and climate change more than men, and men more likely to prioritize taxes and government spending.

Given that these priorities have held steadfast for many years, and even through a pandemic, it’s likely that they will more or less remain the same throughout the campaign. Knowing this, we will be watching closely to see how each of the parties try to sell their ideas, especially those that are more of a priority for one gender than another.


The survey was conducted with 3,000 Canadian adults from August 6 to 11, 2021. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 1.8%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:  https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/


We are the only research and strategy firm that helps organizations respond to the disruptive risks and opportunities in a world where demographics and technology are changing more quickly than ever.

Find out more about what we are doing to help clients respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are an innovative, fast-growing public opinion and marketing research consultancy. We use the latest technology, sound science, and deep experience to generate top-flight research-based advice to our clients. We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and exceptional value.

We were one of the most accurate pollsters conducting research during the 2019 Canadian Election.

Contact us with any questions.

Find out more about how we can help your organization by downloading our corporate profile and service offering.

Related Articles