Budget reaction: most think they will pay more, and only 1 in 10 think they will benefit.

spark*insights post-Budget research shows Canadians are worried the 2024 Budget will cost them more.

Apr 23, 2024

Our public opinion research surrounding the federal budget reveals the Liberals face challenges in convincing Canadians they are on the right track with their latest budget. These findings are based on a national online survey of 2132 adult Canadians, conducted online, between the dates April 18-22, 2024.

  • Six out of ten have seen, read or heard something about the budget. This is a few points higher than average for recent budgets. However, among younger people – which the Liberals made clear was their most important target audience – only 39% said they had heard about the budget. Young people (under 30) were most likely to learn about the budget via social media (59%) while those over 30 said the main source of budget knowledge for them was TV news stories.
  • 16% say the budget makes them more inclined to vote Liberal in the next election, while 41% it makes them less inclined. Among those under 30, the net effect was -4 (30% more inclined, 34% less inclined). Among those over 30 the net was -28. (14% more inclined, 42% less inclined).
  • Among lapsed Liberals (people who voted Liberal in the last election but are not planning to vote Liberal in the next one) the Budget failed to win many back – in fact it was more likely to alienate those voters (10% more inclined vs 53% less inclined).
  • One in five (21%) say the budget was a “good one for the country” while 34% said it was bad. Among lapsed Liberals, the net was -20 (14% good, 34% bad).
  • In terms of how people think it will affect them personally, 11% felt they would benefit, compared to 28% who thought it would be harmful to them. Among those under 30, 18% felt it would be helpful, and 24% said it would be harmful.
  • When it comes to taxes, half (50%) feel the budget will be costly to them personally, while 44% felt it would have no effect and 6% thought they would end up saving money. Even among lower income households, almost half felt they would end up paying more.
  • Asked specifically about the capital gains tax change, a solid majority feel they will end up paying more either immediately when the change takes effect (29%) or likely in the future (37%). A majority of all income levels feel they will end up paying more because of this change. Notably, young people were especially likely to say it will cost them money.
  • Finally, when asked if the capital gains tax would cost “only the rich” more money, or would end up costing “almost everyone” more, fully 71% said “almost everyone”. This includes just over half of Liberal voters and 72% among people under 30

Our takeaway

Bruce Anderson: “While some budget measures were well regarded (these will be the focus of our next release), the overall picture in these findings suggests the Liberals have so far not been convincing that it was the right policy mix for the country. The extensive debate about the capital gains tax change has gone badly for the government to date, either people haven’t heard or haven’t believed the government’s assertion that only a few people will be paying more. Instead of feeling the budget will make the rich pay and everyone else will benefit from the budget, the prevailing tendency among those have heard of the budget is that most people will pay more and few will feel a benefit from the budget personally.”

Alex Kohut: “With Canadians focused on affordability issues, the Liberals needed to deliver a message with Budget 2024 that they are making life less expensive for Canadians to win back voters that have been moving toward the Conservatives. Our polling shows the initial budget roll-out has failed to do this and the Liberals will need to bring more attention to the affordability measures in the legislation to win back support from lapsed Liberal voters.”

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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