Majority say budget bad for Ontario

| Filed under: Ontario

Majority say budget bad for Ontario

Free tuition, sin taxes liked, not so Cap and Trade

TORONTO March 1st - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1148 Ontario voters in the days immediately following the tabling of the Ontario budget, the majority said it was not a good budget for Ontario (56%), while fewer than one fifth thought it was good for the province (19%), Almost a quarter didn’t know enough about it to provide an answer (23%). Thinking this was not a good budget is characteristic of the oldest (65%), males (62%) more than females (55%), the wealthy ($80K to $100K - 69%), among PC voters (87%), but not Liberals (21%), and among the least educated (66%).

Free tuition approved by majority

The majority of voters approve of free post-secondary tuition for students from lower income households (57%), while just more than a third disapprove of this provision (36%). Very few are undecided (7%). Approval of free tuition is especially characteristic of the youngest (61%), females (61%) rather than males (52%), the least wealthy (84%), in eastern Ontario (62%), among Liberals (81%) and New Democrats (70%) but not especially among PC voters (34%), but among mothers and the least educated (62% each).

Strong approval for sin taxes

Close to two thirds of voters approve of tax increases on tobacco and alcohol (64%), while 3-in-10 disapproves (30%) and few don’t venture an opinion (6%). Disapproval of these “sin taxes” is common to boomers (55 to 64 - 35%), males (35%), those in mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 40%), among PCs (43%) but not Liberals (15%), and among the least educated (39%).

Strong disapproval for Cap and Trade

Close to 6-in-10 voters disapprove of a Cap and Trade regime in Ontario when it is explained to them in simple terms (59%), while just more than a quarter approve (27%) and about half this proportion don’t know (14%). Among the groups with a stronger approval of Cap and Trade are the very wealthiest ($100K to $250K - 37%), residents of Toronto 416 area code (39%), the best educated (post grad - 38%) and Liberals (42%).

Stronger disapproval of Cap and Trade when costs presented

When voters are presented with the pocketbook impact of a Cap and Trade regime on gasoline and natural gas costs, disapproval increases to more than two thirds (68%), while approval declines to less than a quarter (22%).

Slim approval for funding greenhouse gas reduction

When voters are presented with the fact that money raised from a Cap and Trade regime will be used to fund greenhouse gas reduction programs, the slim plurality approve (46%) over those who disapprove (42%). Just more than a tenth can’t venture their opinion (12%).

Revenue model preferred to revenue neutral Cap and Trade

By a very slim margin, a revenue raising model for a Cap and Trade regime is preferred (27%) to a revenue neutral model (22%), although the plurality of voters prefer neither (31%). Fully one fifth don’t have enough information to make a judgment (20%). The revenue raising model is especially preferred by the youngest (under 45 - 32%), the least wealthy (39%), in Toronto (36%), among Liberals (42%) and New Democrats (34%) but not among PCs (15%), and among the best educated (post grad - 36%).

It is curious that, while they like many of the signature budget items, such as the free tuition pledge and the popular sin taxes, the one budget provision that was least discussed, the Cap and Trade regime, is so unpopular it appears to have pulled down approval of the document as a whole," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.