Counsel Public Affairs Poll Reveals Ontarians’ Thoughts on Inflation and Government Pandemic Response
Toronto – February 4, 2022
New data from a public opinion poll conducted by Counsel Public Affairs sheds light on the issues of most concern to Ontarians as the province heads towards a June election.
The poll of 2,273 Ontarians who are eligible to vote was conducted from January 21 – 23, 2022. While data released last week suggests Ford is on track to win a slim majority, with under 17 weeks to election day there is still plenty of time for key issues to impact the landscape.
Newly-released data delves further into issues of key concern for Ontarians, as well as opinions related to COVID-19 and inflation.
“Topping the list of most important issues facing Ontarians, across all party affiliations, is cost of living, followed by housing affordability, COVID-19 and the healthcare system,” notes David Murray, Senior Consultant with Counsel Public Affairs. “Cost of living could easily define this election.”
Ontarians continue to feel the pressure of inflation on their daily lives, with 78% indicating groceries among the top five expenses impacted by inflated prices.
“Ontarians are not only feeling the effects of inflation, they believe federal and provincial government spending and policies are major contributors to the problem,” says David Murray, “A majority of Ontarians of all political affiliations believe government actions have significant impact on increased inflation.”
80% of Ontarians believe inflation is an invisible tax, and 60% support eliminating inflation to make life more affordable. The remaining 40%, while feeling the effects, believe some inflation is necessary for economic growth.
“Inflation is a politically-potent issue, and it’s clear why leaders at all levels of government are showing increasing concern. People experience it every time they spend money, so the issue is repeatable and understandable. It also is not limited to a particular phase of life or demographic – everyone experiences it, especially those with limited means,” says Murray.
The poll also explored Ontarians’ opinions on government efforts to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked to rate management of the COVID-19 pandemic on a scale from 0 to 10, Ontarians scored their local mayors most favourably (averaging 5.2). Premier Ford’s management of the crisis was scored similarly to Prime Minister Trudeau’s (both averaging close to 4.7).
The majority of Ontarians support vaccine mandates and lockdown measures. Significant figures include:
- 60% of Ontarians support employers having the ability to terminate unvaccinated employees.
- 57% of Ontarians support taxing the unvaccinated. This includes 66% of Ontario PC swing voters. If unvaccinated tax money were to be specifically used to support healthcare resources, support increases to 63% province-wide.
- 62% of parents who have children that live at home support mandatory online learning for students as part of the lockdown measures.
- Over 70% of Ontarians, including over 40% of those who are unvaccinated, support the recent lockdown measures of limiting indoor gatherings and restricting retail and restaurant capacities.
The full summary of findings and analysis from Counsel’s poll can be found at counselpa.com/counsel-research.
Counsel Opinion Research
In the coming days, Counsel Public Affairs will release further polling data on additional issues of concern to Ontarians, including housing affordability. Counsel Public Affairs is excited to add opinion research to its suite of services, including government relations and communications. In the lead-up to the June 2, 2022 Ontario General Election, Counsel Public Affairs will conduct additional polling to help you and your organization understand Ontario’s ever-changing political landscape.
Counsel surveyed 2,273 people over the period of January 21 – January 23, 2022, using the Lucid Exchange Platform, which blends a variety of partner panels. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.1 percent, 19 times out of 20. Results were sub-regionally weighted to the 2016 Census for age, birth sex, and education, along with 2018 provincial vote.