According to a new national survey conducted from January 14 to 18, 2014 by public opinion firm Abacus Data, more Canadians describe the state of the Canadian economy as poor than they did in October 2013. When asked how the three main federal political parties would do in managing Canada’s economy a majority of Canadians believed that all three would do at least an acceptable job with the Liberals having a slight advantage over the NDP and the Conservative s.
Perceptions about the Canadian Economy
Perceptions about Canada’s economy have softened since late October 2013. Overall, 59% of Canadians describe the current state of Canada’s economy as very good (2%) or good (56%), down 9-points since October. Forty-two percent, in contrast, describe Canada’s economy as either very poor (5%) or poor (37%), up 9-points since October.
When asked about the future performance of the Canadian economy in the next six month, 23% of respondents believe things will get better while 19% think things will get worse while the majority (59%) of Canadians believe things will stay pretty much the same as they have been.
Of note, those who rate the current economy as good are also more likely to believe things will improve in the next six month while those with a more negative assessment of the current economy are more likely to think things will get worse. Only 11% of those who rate the economy as poor/very poor believe things will improve in the next six months.
Expected Performance on Managing the Economy
Respondents were also asked to rate how well they believed each party and leader would do at managing Canada’s economy. While none of the three parties scored particularly well, none of them were perceived to do a poor or very poor job by a majority of respondents.
One in four respondents (24%) said that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party would do an excellent or good job compared with 21% for Tom Mulcair and 27% for Justin Trudeau.
The difference between perception of the three leaders was most pronounced in the polarization of opinions towards the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party. In contrast to the Liberals and NDP, respondents were more likely to perceive Harper and the Conservatives as doing a poor or very job managing the economy (40%).
On the surface, the results suggest almost a stalemate between the three parties, with no one party having a significant advantage on the “managing the economy file.” The data does show that the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party are perceived somewhat less favourably on the economy but most of those negative feelings come Canadians who tell us they would not consider voting Conservative.
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