March 29, 2011
The Conservative Party remains tied with the Liberals in electoral preference among our members, and the budget has not improved the party’s standing in this poll or its expectations in the election.
Just one third of members say they agree with this budget overall and the wide majority say the budget has not improved their poor opinion of the government since the ethical lapses of the last weeks
Only about one third of members feel this budget will benefit older Canadians, is one the opposition should support or is one that will promote economic growth, which means the government missed on all its desired marks.
More than twice as many members say the budget will make them vote against the government as say it will make them vote for the government, and more than one half of members agreed all three opposition parties should vote it down (which occurred subsequent to the poll). There is wide agreement the opposition parties will offer benefits as good or better than those contained in the government’s budget.
As they expected, most members found the budget full of targeted spending to specific electoral constituencies, and the majority describe it as an election platform rather than the deficit cutting, stimulus-specific, retirement security or job creation budget they wanted to see.
Of the specific budget measures they assessed, CARP members are most favourably disposed to continuation of the eco-retrofit program, the initiative to forgive student loans for doctors and nurses and the pledge to end mandatory retirement. They are less favourable about the tax credit for family caregivers or, especially, the corporate tax cuts. These tax cuts make them more than twice as likely to vote against the government as for it and more than two thirds say the government’s move on mandatory retirement are appropriate.
The plurality of members agree with CARP’s comprehensive strategic approach to ensuring no one lives in poverty, while about a quarter favour tax credits for low income groups. Few agree with the budget’s approach of narrowly targeted aid to small groups.
The proportion of members who think Canada needs an election now has grown steadily over the last six weeks, and two thirds agree this election will be about government ethics and respect for democracy, rather than about this budget.
The Conservatives continue to be tied with the Liberals and this spells trouble for them, in that our membership customarily demonstrates a comfortable preference margin for the Conservatives, and a tie in our poll usually indicates a lead for the Liberals among the general population.
Keywords: election, budget, seniors