We often hear people say that polls are “a snapshot in time.”
While the comment is offered by political organizers who are dissatisfied with the popularity of their policy or candidate, the dictum is accurate – the moment in which people are asked a question can play a pivotal role in the way they feel about an issue.
I was asked to conduct a poll on September 19 and September 20, 2008, to look at the way Canadians felt about economic matters. The moment was significant for various reasons. In the previous week, the scope of the global financial crisis had become clear to anyone who was paying attention: the Dow Jones industrial average had fallen by more than 500 points, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, stated that the United States “may not have an economy on Monday” unless drastic action was taken to deal with “toxic mortgages.”
At the time, Canadians would be forgiven for reacting with unbridled panic at the situation that was unfolding in the United States. Still, the data I collected over those two days in September 2008 exuded calmness: 61% of Canadians rated the economic conditions in the country as “very good” or “good,” 60% felt the same way about their personal finances and 60% expected the national economy to improve.
Thirteen years ago, the numbers outlined a Canadian public that was confident in withstanding any challenge. This past weekend, Research Co. and Glacier Media asked Canadians about the current state of affairs. The crisis this time is not caused by “toxic mortgages” but by COVID-19 infections and growing inflation.
In early 2022, the mood of the country is decidedly more sombre than it was at the height of the global financial crisis of 2008. Only 41% of Canadians rate the economic conditions in Canada as “very good” or “good,” while a more than half (54%) consider them “bad” or “very bad.”…read more.