Survey: climate change, COVID-19 bolster Liberals; economic issues and transparency boost CPC

VANCOUVER – As the verbal war of words heats up between party leaders over health care, Afghanistan, child care and mandatory vaccination, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds the top issue identified by voters in driving their ballot choice is climate change.

Notwithstanding discussion about a wave of early summer heat in western Canada and wildfires in B.C. and Ontario, the issue has yet to claim the a plurality of headlines during the two-week campaign.

Despite this, one-in-five Canadians (18%) say climate change is the most important issue to them when it comes to considering which party they will support in this federal election, while 13 per cent choose improving health care access and the amount of taxes they pay.

Are any parties poised to benefit based on voter priorities? Consider that two-in-five voters (41%) who say climate change is their top issue are also currently planning to vote for the incumbent Liberals, followed by the NDP at 36 per cent. Those choosing health care as their core concern give the Liberals an 11-point edge.

But for Canadians preoccupied with financial issues, Erin O’Toole’s Conservative party has an edge. A majority who say the amount of taxes they pay (50%) and management of the federal deficit (73%) are their top issues report that they intend to vote Conservative. O’Toole is also the choice (50%) for those who are most concerned with transparency and honesty in the federal government.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives appear to be the most galvanized of any party base. A majority (55%) of those who say they will be voting for O’Toole’s party say there is “a lot” at stake in this election, compared to 37 per cent of likely NDP and one-third of Liberal (33%) voters who say the same.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau continues to hold a position of strength in voters’ minds when it comes to his COVID-19 response. Three-in-five (59%) who choose the pandemic as their top issue say they will be voting Liberal, an issue a majority of Canadians (56%) rate a six or seven on a seven-point scale when asked how much they care about the issue personally.

Honesty is important

Three-quarters of Canadians rank transparency and honesty in the federal government as a six or seven on the seven-point scale, including: 86 per cent of CPC voters, 72 per cent of NDP voters and 68 per cent of Liberal voters.

Half of Bloc Québécois voters (48%) say not very much or nothing is at stake in this election, the highest number of any party’s supporters.