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Two-thirds of Canadians say carbon tax will affect their vote: Poll

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, June 11, 2019.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, June 11, 2019.

Many Canadian voters are motivated on the issue of the carbon tax but not necessarily in a way that benefits Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A new public opinion poll by Forum Research shows that Canadians are divided in support for the Liberal government’s carbon tax and that two thirds of them say it will affect how they vote this October. These results are hardly surprising given the mixed reactions to the controversial tax but what the numbers also reveal is how one side of the debate is much more passionate than the other.

The telephone poll of 1,633 Canadian voters found that 45% are opposed to the tax, 28% are in favour of it and 27% say they are neither for nor against it. This tells us that public opinion is more on the side of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who is against the tax alongside premiers, such as Ontario’s Doug Ford and Alberta’s Jason Kenney.

It’s not just the raw numbers though that work to Scheer’s favour and against Trudeau’s much coveted tax. Forum also looked at how motivated voters are on the issue and found those opposed feel much more strongly than those in favour.

A majority of respondents, 65%, say the carbon tax will in some way influence their vote in October, with 40% saying it is “very likely” to affect their vote and 25% saying it’s “somewhat likely.” Those opposed to the carbon tax, though, are much more likely to vote based on this issue than those in support of it. That’s where things get really difficult for Trudeau and the Liberals.

Among those who say they oppose the carbon tax, 84% told Forum that it’s going to play a role in informing their vote. In contrast, only 53% of those who support the tax feel similarly passionate.

The Liberals also appear to be trailing when it comes to getting out their base on the issue. While 80% of Conservative supporters feel motivated on the issue (presumably in opposition to it), only 48% of Liberal voters are excited to vote based on their support of the tax.

“The carbon tax looks like it’s motivating its opponents in far greater numbers than its proponents,” said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research. “Additionally, Conservative supporters are far more opposed than Liberals are in favour. If the Conservatives can consolidate the opposition around this issue, and make it the focal point of the campaign, the Liberals’ re-election prospects are severely diminished.”

The poll, conducted from May 31 to June 2, shows that while the carbon tax battle may have lost the top news cycle spot for now, it certainly hasn’t left the minds of Canadian voters.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019


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