Public Stress About Inflation Is High, but Not Rising Much

In July, and then again last week, we measured public sentiment about the economy and inflation.  Here’s what we found.


Today, 9% say the economic conditions for them personally are relatively good, while 53% say things “could be better but are not really difficult.” Just over a third (38%) say things are really difficult for them at the moment.

The number of people who say things are “really difficult“ is exactly the same as in July.  There has been a five-point increase in the number who said things for them “could be better but were not really difficult” and a corresponding drop in the number who feel things are relatively good.


When asked about the impact inflation is having on them, 44% say it has caused them to consider making difficult choices to make ends meet.  That number was 46% in July.

A bare majority – 51% – say “I notice it, but it hasn’t really been a challenge to live my life as I normally do.”  That was at 48% in July. One in 20 (5%) say “I don’t really notice it”.  That number was 6% in July.  Women and those with household incomes under $50,000 show substantially higher negative impacts of inflation.


When asked how Canada is faring compared to our major competitor countries, one in four (25%) think inflation is worse here (30% in July), while 59% say things are about the same, and 16% say things are worse in other places.


Half of those polled (52%) believe decisions made by the federal government in the last couple of years have made inflation worse than it would otherwise be, while 41% say those decisions had not really affected inflation and 7% think Ottawa’s moves have lessened inflation.  This represents a five-point drop from July in the number who think Ottawa has made things worse.


Just over half (53%) believe “it will take some time to work itself out but eventually inflation will come down to more normal levels” while 48% think “it is a really serious problem that will continue to worsen with no end in sight”.   In July, the split was virtually identical, at 51%-48%.


According to Bruce Anderson: “Interest rates have been rising, and inflation has been stubbornly high in the 7% range.  Inflation is making life difficult for millions of Canadians and is the most prominent public concern today.  At the same time, continued high inflation has not increased the number of people who indicate they are severely affected, and neither have additional rises in interest rates, at least to this point.  This may be interpreted as an indication that consumer demand will remain a driving force of inflation in the near term, even though many are already having trouble making ends meet.  If there is one piece of data that is encouraging for governments in Canada it lies in the fact that most people think inflation is at least as bad in our competitor countries.”


The survey was conducted with 1,500 adult Canadians, between September 28 and October 1. 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 +/- 2.6%, 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.


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