Cost and Effect: Heightened economic anxiety pushes many 2021 Liberal voters to look elsewhere for relief


The middle class, economic policies, and affordability challenges were reportedly at the forefront of priorities for the Liberal Party’s winter cabinet retreat this week in Montreal. The question now is whether the party, trailing significantly in vote intention, can reverse the economic malaise that has affected much of the nation and has cost it a significant chunk of its voting base.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds three-in-five Canadians saying they can’t keep up with the cost of living (61%). This represents the third straight year where at least half have voiced this angst.

And while the rising cost of living is a persistent challenge for many Canadians of all voting persuasions, the consequences of these struggles appear to have hit the Liberal Party hard, to the benefit of the opposition CPC.

Currently, just 57 per cent of 2021 Liberals say they would vote for the party again. Among the 43 per cent who now prefer another party, there are consistent, elevated signs of economic stress that has sent them searching for answers elsewhere.

Those who say they would now vote for another party are almost twice as likely to say that they worry that they won’t be able to meet their monthly housing costs in the next six months compared to those who are still Liberal (37% to 22%) and to say that this a “very bad” time to make a major purchase (37% to 22%). Departing Liberals are also more likely to say they can’t keep up with the cost of living and that they’re generally stressed about money.

This stress among shifting voters is notable, but by no means isolated to that group. More than two-in-five Canadians (43%) now say that they are always or often stressed about money. This is a 12-point increase compared to 2018.

Rising rents and mortgage payments are also playing a clear role in this high-stress environment. Fully half of current renters (49%) say they are worried they won’t be able to cover their housing costs within the next six months. They are joined by three-in-10 (32%) mortgage holders, who worry that without reduced interest rates, they too will run out of road within the next half year. 

More Key Findings:

• The proportion of Canadians saying they “can’t keep up with the cost of living” rises to seven-in-10 (71%) for those whose household income is lower than $50,000.

• Stress about money is reported at the most frequent levels in Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada, where 54 and 52 per cent respectively say this is something they feel “often” or “always”.