Budget reaction: Housing plan popular, capital gains tax divides, deficit disappoints.

New spark*insights polling shows support for some key budget policies, but low recall of budget measures among the young target audience.

Apr 24, 2024

Our public opinion research surrounding the federal budget reveals that some of the policy measures in this year’s budget were well received, but not all found broad support. The survey was conducted among 2,132 adult Canadians, online, between the dates April 18-22, 2024.

  • Six out of ten have seen, read or heard something about the budget. Men were more likely to have noticed the budget than women. Despite the government’s effort to target messages towards young people, only 39% of those under 30 said they had seen, read or heard anything about the budget.
  • A major factor influencing awareness of the budget is shifting media habits. The majority of young people who heard about the budget were informed via social media. For the population as a whole, TV news was the most important medium. Younger people were also considerably less likely than average to consume budget news via a newspaper.
  • Asked what they recalled from the budget, the top items were capital gains tax changes and housing measures, followed by “new spending” and “deficits.
  • Probing on a sampling of the items and policy choices included in the budget reveals broad support for measures to increase housing and the school meals program, as well as increases in defence spending and carbon rebates for small business.
  • Opinions are more divided on investments in Artificial Intelligence - past spark*insights polling has shown Canadians are slightly more likely to think A.I. will be more harmful to society (54%) than beneficial (46%).
  • However there was a split in opinion about the decision to increase capital gains taxes and twice as much opposition as support when it comes to the decision to run a $39 Billion deficit for the year. Among voters under 30, more people oppose than support increasing capital gains taxes and opinion was divided on the deficit.

Our takeaway

Bruce Anderson: “The effort to promote initiatives before the actual budget date appears to have created some positive awareness of some of the budget items, notably the effort to increase housing stock and the school meals program. However, the poor recall levels of the budget among people under 30 is a challenge for the government – given the degree to which this budget was described as designed to help them most. The housing push is popular, but the way it is being financed is not. There are considerable concerns about the size of the deficit and opinion is divided on the capital gains measure. Overall, it seems the budget has landed with less positive impact than hoped for overall, and among young people in particular, and the government’s tax measure has run into fears and skepticism that it will only impact a few.”

Alex Kohut: “This Budget was clearly intended to shift the economic narrative by showing youth that the government has plans for housing and affordability. Unfortunately for the Liberals, youth don’t tend to be consuming the news sources where Budgets are talked about the most and thus most young Canadians haven’t heard about the Budget measures targeted towards them. The Liberals will need to get creative if they’re going to get the message out to their target audience about the most popular policy measures introduced.”

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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