Election Issues Poll Report

October 23, 2009


CARP members see the three main issues which could put the government over the top to a majority as:

• Substantial increase to CPP/OAS rates
• Establishing a Universal Pension Plan
• Tightening rules for refugees

Of these three issues, both increasing CPP/OAS and tightening refugee rules have the emotional impact to propel them beyond policy preferences to emotional resonance.

While one fifth initially say they don’t want a majority government, being given an opportunity to select an issue which resonates emotionally reduces this opposition by half.

Issues Which Should Result In A Majority

We asked respondents two related, but motivationally different questions. First we asked which one issue, if supported by the government, might lead to a majority. Then we asked what one issue the respondent most wanted the government to support. The first yields a policy preference, but the second touches on emotional needs, and the difference between the two is instructive of issues which penetrate beyond accepted ideas to true core beliefs.

In both cases, the most popular issue is the expansion of CPP/OAS rates (28%), but interest in this issue increases one-quarterfold when it is probed whether the respondent would want to see this happen (36%). The other issue which transcends policy to emotional resonance is the third most popular, restricting refugee rules (11%), which grows one quarterfold when respondents are asked if they want this (15%).

The other popular issue, establishing a Universal Pension Plan, draws initial interest from one-in-seven (16%), but this does not increase when it is asked if respondents want it (14%). This would indicate that, while the UPP is seen as a worthy idea and one which others might vote on for a majority, it is not the top-line issue for respondents themselves.

It is interesting that loosening EI qualifying rules, the issue about which this summer’s election was supposed to be fought, draws no interest as an election issue from our members.

Other issues, such as federally guaranteed back up for pension plans, an employer funded pension plan emergency fund and GST/HST rebates attract interest from less than one tenth of members.

While as many as one fifth of members do not want a majority government from a policy perspective (19%), opposition fades when they are asked to specify an issue that resonates emotionally with them (10%).

More than 4000 CARP ActionOnline readers responded to the poll. The margin of error for a sample this size is plus or minus 1.6%, 19 times out of 20. That is, if you asked all readers of CARP ActionOnline who respond to surveys the identical questions, their responses would be within 2%, either up or down, of the results shown here, 95% of the time.

Keywords: election, pension reform