Canadians Fairly Optimistic About Prospects for National Economy

Conservatives are still preferred over Liberals to handle national finances.

Most Canadians think the country’s economy is in good shape and many expect it to improve further, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,007 Canadian adults, 58 per cent of respondents say the national economy is in good or very good shape. However, almost two-in-five Canadians (38%) disagree.

Six-in-ten respondents (60%) are comfortable with their current financial situation, whereas 38 per are not.

Three-in-ten (29%) Canadians say the economy will improve over the next six months, half of them (50%) expect it to remain the same, and only 15 per cent say it will decline.

Over a fifth of respondents (22%) say Canada is already out of recession and 18 per cent think it will be by the end of this year. However, 41 per cent of Canadians say the recession will not be over until 2011 or after.

Current Concerns

Compared to the Angus Reid Public Opinion Economic Panorama conducted in April, a large proportion of Canadians continue to report that they have recently worried about the safety of their investments (44%) and the threat of unemployment hitting their household (40%).

Fewer but still a significant proportion of people have recently worried about the safety of their savings (37%), their employer running into serious financial trouble (24%), or being unable to meet rent or mortgage payments (24%).

Inflation and Debt

A large majority of Canadians continue to think that gasoline (76%) and groceries (75%) will become more expensive in the next six months. Many people also foresee higher prices for real estate (52%), a new car (35%), and a new television (24%).

Respondents were asked what they would do with an allowance of $1,000. On average, they would allocate the biggest amount towards paying down debt ($385), followed by covering daily expenses ($189), savings ($180), buying big items like a car or a home renovation ($86), buying personal gifts or treats ($85), investing in mutual funds ($42), and investing in individual stocks ($34).

Political Leadership

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has the confidence of 39 per cent of Canadians to handle the economy. But 49 per cent of respondents say they do not trust him to do the right thing in this area. Liberal and Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff has lower numbers. One-in-five Canadians (21%) trust him, but two thirds (65%) do not. Conversely, half of Canadians (49%) trust Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney to make the right economic decisions.

The Conservative Party holds and advantage over the Liberal Party as the preferred group to rein in the national debt (37% to 24%), end the recession (37% to 19%), and control inflation (39% to 21%). Both parties are tied in the category of creating jobs (both at 32%)

Canada vs. Other Countries

Overall, respondents tend to think that the Canadian economy is in better shape than that of many other industrialized economies. Many respondents think Canada is doing better than the United States (75%), the United Kingdom (53%), France (49%), Japan (36%), Germany (36%), and Australia (24%). The only country that does not compare well with Canada is China, with 28 per cent of respondents saying Canada’s situation is worse.

The findings in Canada stand in stark contrast with the Angus Reid Public Opinion Economic Panorama conducted in the United States. The results can be accessed here.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From May 25 to May 26, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,007 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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