British Columbians Ponder Life Without the Harmonized Sales Tax

Half of British Columbians believe the end of the harmonized sales tax (HST) will be beneficial for their financial status, but not as many are convinced that the domestic economy will thrive as a result, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample of 803 British Columbian adults, 37 per cent of respondents believe scrapping the HST will hurt the provincial economy, while 28 per cent think it will help, and 23 per cent say it will have no effect.

Half of respondents who voted “Yes” in this year’s mail-in referendum claim that the HST will be beneficial for the provincial economy (51%), while four-in-five “No” voters (82%) think the outcome will have a negative effect.

When asked about their financial situation, half of British Columbians (50%) believe scrapping the HST will help their financial situation, while 27 per cent think it will have no effect and only 13 per cent expect to be worse off as a result.

Four-in-five “Yes” voters (80%) say the end of the HST will help their financial situation, but only 17 per cent of “No” voters concur. In fact, 44 per cent of “No” voters think the end of the HST will have no effect on their personal finances.

Across the province, half of respondents (51%) say they are satisfied with the outcome of the HST referendum, while 42 per cent claim to be dissatisfied. While three-in-four respondents who voted for the NDP in the 2009 provincial election (76%) cast a ballot for the “Yes” side in the HST referendum, the proportion of 2009 BC Liberal voters who backed the “No” side is smaller (67%). In fact, one third of BC Liberal voters in 2009 voted “Yes” in the HST referendum.


As expected, an overwhelming proportion of British Columbians who voted “Yes” on the HST referendum believe the end of the tax will provide tangible benefits for their households. However, these same “Yes” voters are not as confident about the effect the end of the HST will have on the domestic economy. Conversely, “No” voters are certain that the end of the HST will bring problems for the provincial economy, and only 27 per cent of these British Columbians feel their personal finances will be better off.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From October 4 to October 6, 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 803 British Columbia adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.5%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of British Columbia. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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