OTTAWA — A new poll suggests nearly half of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque as the cost of living crisis continues to squeeze household budgets, and young people are more likely to say their finances are in poor shape.
It also suggests the Conservatives, who are hammering home a message about affordability, are gaining popularity, with 38 per cent of respondents saying they’d vote for the Tories if an election were held today.
And support for the Liberals, who focused their recent cabinet retreat on the housing crisis, is slipping.
The poll by Leger shows that 47 per cent of respondents say they’re living paycheque to paycheque, including 53 per cent of those aged 18 to 35 and 57 per cent of people between the ages of 35 and 54.
The poll suggests high prices are hitting people in Atlantic Canada, Manitoba and Saskatchewan the hardest — more than half the respondents in those regions say they’re just getting by on each paycheque, compared to 38 per cent of Quebecers and 42 per cent of people from British Columbia.
Sixty per cent of respondents described their household finances as good or very good, while 36 per cent said their finances were poor or very poor. Another four per cent said they were not sure.
People over the age of 55 were most likely to say they were faring well compared to younger age groups, and more men than women reported that their finances were in good shape.
Nearly half of respondents under the age of 35 reported being worried about losing their job in the next year, at 47 per cent, compared to 35 per cent of people aged 35-54. Men were more worried about losing their job than women, according to the data. Anxieties were highest in Ontario and lowest in Quebec.
Younger people were also most likely to say they think Canada is in an economic recession. In all, 61 per cent of people who took the poll said yes to that question, while 16 per cent said they don’t know and 23 per cent said no.
Leger surveyed 1,597 Canadians last weekend. The poll cannot be assigned a margin of error because online surveys are not considered truly random samples.
It also suggests the Conservative party’s support is at 38 per cent — three percentage points higher than it was in the last poll in late July.
That continues a trend that has seen the Tories rising in Leger polls since late May, when they were at 31 per cent, and puts support for the party four points higher than it was during the last federal election in 2021.
Liberal support among decided voters was nine points behind the Conservatives at 29 per cent, the same as it was in July, and the NDP was top choice for 18 per cent of those polled. Support for the New Democrats was down two points from July.
Still, 34 per cent of those polled say they’re either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. Another 24 per cent said they were somewhat dissatisfied, while 35 per cent said they were very dissatisfied.
Only 35 per cent of women polled said they were satisfied with the government, while 57 per cent said they were dissatisfied.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2023.
Sarah Ritchie, The Canadian Press