High-profile issues such as legalizing marijuana, creating a national daycare plan, and repealing the Conservative government’s controversial anti-terror bill are actually at the bottom of voters’ lists of priorities, according to a new poll.
Forum Research, which surveyed 1,281 Canadians from June 15 to 16, found that scrapping Bill C-51 was the issue least likely to sway voters, despite 34% — more than a third — of respondents saying they were "very likely" to shift their support to a party that promised to kill the recently enacted anti-terrorism legislation.
Repealing it was most popular in the Atlantic region (52%), among NDP supporters (54%), and with young voters (40%).
The federal NDP has seen a recent surge in national voter intention polls that some have suggested is due to the party’s opposition to Bill C-51.
So what was most important to voters?
Increasing Canada Pension Plan contributions and benefits came second on the list of issues likely to sway voters, with 42% saying they would support a party that pledged to do so.
Again, this was especially relevant to boomers aged 55 to 64 and Conservative voters, Forum Research said, but also with those with lower incomes.
Creating a national drug plan was near the top of the list as well, with 42% of voters very likely to alter their voting intention for a party that promised to create such a plan.
Four-in-ten voters — mostly older people, women, and the least wealthy — would also shift their support for a party that promised to build affordable housing. This was “especially so” for new democrats, 55% of whom said they would alter their vote.
"Thus, this election can be seen to be about pocketbook issues," Forum Research said.
“The policy planks which are preferred by voters indicates a mature electorate, as they’re issues which relate to aging and retirement,” Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, is quoted as saying in the agency’s news release.
"The concern for affordable housing is also driven by older voters. If these are the issues which will move the electorate's vote, then the two opposition parties must be favoured, for none of these positions is espoused by the government."