Shaken but not suffering – Canadians’ reaction to the economy
By CNW Group
By CNW Group
Jan. 7, 2009, Toronto – A majority of Canadians expect 2009
to be a year in which the economy worsens in every way. Despite this high
pessimism, Canadians report that their personal financial situation was better
than they expected in 2008, and they anticipate personal financial growth in
2009, according to an annual national poll.
These findings are from a national poll released this
morning by Michael Marzolini, chairman of POLLARA Strategic Insights. The poll
has been conducted every year since 1985.
The poll indicates that:
– 91% of Canadians
believe Canada is currently in a recession, up from 22% in January 2008.
– 57% believe the Canadian economy will
worsen over the next twelve months, compared to 20% who think it will improve.
– 68% believe the U.S. economy will
worsen over the next twelve months, compared to 15% who think it will improve.
– 68% of Canadians expect their
country's employment situation to worsen, versus 12% who expect improvement.
– 50% expect inflation to increase,
versus 21% who expect the recession to be deflationary.
– 49% expect taxes to increase,
compared to 13% who expect tax reductions.
– 80% expect the national debt to
increase, compared to 4% who think it will be reduced.
– 59% expect the Canadian dollar to
depreciate in value against the U.S. currency, versus 16% who think it will
– 31% expect that they or a member of
their immediate family may lose their job in 2009, an increase from 19% in
Yet at the same time:
– Some 17% of Canadians report their personal
financial situation improved in 2008 (up 1% from 2007), 45% kept pace in 2008
(up 3%), and 36% fell behind in 2008 (down 3%)
– With respect to
household income versus the cost of living, 8% of Canadians expect their income
will outpace the cost of living in 2009 (unchanged from 2008), 41% will keep
pace in 2009 (up 4%) and 48% will fall behind in 2009 (down 2%).
The poll also showed an expectation that the recession will last
about 18 months, though three in 10 Canadians expect it to endure as long as
"There seems to be a perplexing disconnect in current
public opinion. While Canadians overwhelmingly feel the economy is in deep
crisis, on average many feel unaffected to date, and in fact expect their
personal financial situation to be maintained or even improved in 2009. But
don't for a minute think that they are laidback about the situation – they are
truly alarmed for the country as a whole – they just don't think it will happen
to them," says Marzolini.
Marzolini also pointed out that the Canadian public is
currently favorable toward almost any step that government could take to boost
"They are firmly interventionist, in a way we haven't
seen since the 1980s. They don't know the solution to the current crisis, but
currently endorse all types of direct government intervention including
infrastructure spending, job retraining, tax cuts, and even bailouts and