As federal leaders make their case to Canadian voters, a new Maru Public Opinion poll has found that improving cost of living and affordability is the top election issue on the minds of Canadians.
The poll, released on Thursday, found that 28 per cent of Canadians surveyed said making the cost of living and affordability better for themselves and/or their family is the top issue in the federal election. Tackling climate change was cited as the next most important issue, with 23 per cent of Canadians saying preserving the environment, reducing greenhouse gasses and reversing climate change is a top ballot box issue.
According to the Maru poll, the next top election issues are curtailing government spending so the deficit does not grow (19 per cent), creating jobs and growing the economy (17 per cent), and keeping Canadians safe from COVID-19 (15 per cent).
Maru executive vice-president John Wright said that the Conservative and NDP campaigns are more in line with what voters are concerned with than the Liberal campaign, which has stressed its low-cost childcare program in recent days, among other things. The poll found that just 2 per cent of surveyed Canadians cited providing the province with funding for a low-cost daycare program as a top election issue.
"Affordability and the cost of living has emerged as the most important ballot driver, along with jobs and the economy and the deficit in the top three of the four major issues," Wright said.
"These are pocket book issues that the NDP and the Conservatives have made so much more pronounced on their campaign themes which means the Liberals are not playing to what most Canadians want to talk about."
The survey of 1,511 Canadian adults was conducted between Aug.13 and Aug. 15 and has an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Canadians were asked by Maru to select the top two issues that need to be addressed by the federal leaders and are currently shaping their election choice. The other top election issues were:
To do more to look after Canada's seniors (14%)
To not increase or reduce personal income taxes (11%)
To produce a COVID vaccine passport/identification certificate (9%)
To provide more social housing and support for people in need (9%)
To solve issues affecting Indigenous peoples (7%)
To address international concerns caused by countries like China (6%)
Paying attention to the needs and aspirations of the people who live in my province (5%)
To keep the COVID personal, business, and other financial programs in place (4%)
To mandate that employees in all of the federal government and its regulated companies, agencies (including the RCMP) be fully vaccinated or be fired (4%)
To stop racism and promote immigration (3%)
To do more to restrict the use of firearms (2%)
To provide your province with funding for a low-cost daycare program (2%)
To invest in infrastructure projects like transportation and recreation sites in my community (2%)
The survey comes as inflation rose 3.7 per cent year-over-year in July, compared to 3.1 per cent in June, the strongest rise in prices since May 2011. Prices increased at a faster year-over-year pace in six of the eight major components, according to Statistics Canada. Food prices increased 1.7 per overall, while food purchased from restaurants was up 3.1 per cent.
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.