October 14, 2015 3:18 pm
Updated: October 14, 2015 5:09 pm

Economy, not niqab, top of mind for voters on election day: Ipsos poll

The economy is still top-of-mind for many Canadians as they get ready to vote on Oct. 19, a new poll shows.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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Economic considerations are still dominating the list of factors that Canadians say will determine who they vote for on Oct. 19, according to a new Ipsos poll released Wednesday.

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The survey, conducted on behalf of Global News, shows that the top three issues respondents considered “absolutely critical” in their choice were the performance of Canada’s economy (58 per cent considered this critical), reducing taxes (44 per cent) and the specific economic plan presented by each party (41 per cent).

Rounding out the top five were issues directly linked to change in government and the environment. A desire to throw out the Harper government was cited by 36 per cent of respondents as a critical decision-making factor, while “a strong plan” to reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change was cited by 33 per cent.

“This really has been a bread and butter campaign from the beginning,” said Ipsos senior vice-president John Wright of voters’ focus on the economy.

“What we’ve seen from Day One is an argument as to what kind of role government plays in managing the economy. It’s either holding the line on the budget … or investing with a deficit. And the economy and taxes go hand-in-hand.”

The Conservative party got it right when it chose to focus heavily on economic issues, he added, but has recently lost ground on that very issue and is no longer seen as the best choice for economic management for many voters.

READ MORE: Liberals lead latest seat projections, slightly ahead of Tories

The wearing of the niqab during the swearing of the citizenship oath, an issue that dominated news headlines in recent weeks and became a central topic of discussion in several leaders’ debates, did not rank as highly in the Ipsos results. Nationally, 31 per cent of respondents said this was a critical factor in their voting choice, while in Quebec the proportion jumped to 41 per cent.

“What you’ve seen (the niqab) do is crack Quebec open, so that the Conservatives are picking up seats” at the expense of the NDP, Wright explained.

WATCH: NDP at odds over niqab

Foreign policy issues ranked much lower. The ongoing Syrian refugee crisis came in last of the 11 issues tested, with 19 per cent of voters (or approximately one in five) saying they considered it a critical factor.

Issues

Perceptions of Trudeau more positive

The poll results also revealed that as the Liberal Party has steadily gained support over the past week, party leader Justin Trudeau is performing much better in key leadership metrics.

In fact, for five of the six leadership attributes tested — which included which leader best reflects a voters’ values and who will best represent Canada on the world stage — Trudeau placed first. These numbers are the key take-away from this survey, Wright said.

Four in 10 voters (39 per cent) now say that Trudeau is the leader whose values best reflect their own, significantly ahead of the proportion who said that Stephen Harper (32 per cent) or Thomas Mulcair (28 per cent) best represent their values.

Harper still leads Trudeau, however, as the leader voters perceive as the best manager during tough economic times. The Conservative leader previously dominated the key metrics almost across the board, but has seen a significant drop in his numbers as Trudeau has been on the rise.

“It just shows that Stephen Harper’s strengths have now tumbled, whether it be on the values issue or for those who believe he is best to manage the economy,” said Wright. “I would say that what we’ve seen from the outset is a real change in terms of who Canadians believe would be the best prime minister, or represents the best vision.”

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll was conducted between October 9 and October 13, with a sample of 1,349 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel and is accurate to within +/- 3.0 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Via Twitter Canada, here’s a list of topics trending on Twitter related to the election.

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