spark*insights

Inflation by far a bigger pain point for Canadians than interest rates. And people aren’t sure we are out of the woods yet.

Our latest research shows that when it comes to what is making them feel hardship, inflation is a worse problem for far more people.

déc. 05, 2023

Inflation hurts more

When asked which is causing them more hardship, 84% said inflation, compared to 16% who said it was interest rates. There are very few differences by age, education, region, gender, place on the political spectrum or voting intention. The only notable difference is around income, where those with household incomes less than $50,000 were 13 points more likely to cite inflation (89%) compared to those with incomes $100,000 or higher (76%).

Those who approve (84%) of the Trudeau government are equally likely as those who disapprove (85%) to say inflation is their bigger problem. More than 80% of Liberal, NDP and Conservative voters all say inflation is a bigger challenge.

Many fear that the worst of inflation isn’t over

As inflation rates recently dropped to 3.1% we asked people if they thought this development meant that the worst was over or that inflation might rise again.

The results show that fear is still very broad: only 18% said they felt the worst of inflation was over, compared to 82% who felt that the inflation rate might go higher again. Answers to this question did show some relationship with politics – Liberal voters were twice as likely as Conservative voters to say the worst was over – but in both cases a majority were worried that wasn’t the case.

Interest rate fear is moderating, but only so much

When asked if they believe the lower inflation rate will lead to a decline in interest rates, most people do not feel comfortable making that prediction. The majority said they thought interest rates would hold at current levels, while 26% said they will likely rise further, and only 15% said they will likely come down. On this question too, there is very little variation by age, region, income or other socio demographic variables. Liberal voters were slightly more likely to feel that interest rates will begin to drop (23%).

Our takeaway

The mood about the cost of living is grim and people do not yet feel comfortable that things are about to get better. The way people feel about the economy is not a function of their political views, but political preferences are likely influenced by how tentative or fearful people are right now. The next several months and the cost of goods and services, along with the direction of interest rates are likely to continue to be the surround-sound shaping politics in Canada.

About spark*insights

spark*insights is lead by Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading and most experienced public opinion researchers, along with Alex Kohut, former Senior Manager of Research & Advertising in the Office of the Prime Minister. From polling and research to analysis and guidance, we help organizations, uncover the factors driving or influencing public perception to gain valuable insights into the shape and movement of the landscape.

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