Canadians say the single most important issue in this election campaign is the economy, with the environment coming second, according to the latest results from Vote Compass, CBC’s online voter engagement survey.
The findings emerge at the halfway mark of the 2015 campaign, an unusually long one that began on Aug. 2 and reaches its climax election night on Oct. 19.
When asked, “What issue is most important to you in this election?” 36 per cent of Vote Compass respondents said “economy,” by far the most frequently cited issue.
“Environment” is second with 11.3 per cent, followed by “health” with 10.5 per cent. Rounding out the top five are “accountability” (7.1 per cent) and “taxes” (5.6 per cent).
The findings are based on data from 164,704 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.
The results of this survey weren’t based on existing categories, but rather issues self-identified by respondents, says Clifton van der Linden, founder and director of Vox Pop Labs, which created Vote Compass.
“Other polls will choose the themes or issues users can select from. But because [Vote Compass has] such a large data set and number of respondents, users were free to decide, in the absence of any constraints, what issue was important to them,” says van der Linden. […]
Penny Collenette, who worked in the Prime Minister’s Office under Jean Chrétien, says the ascendance of the environment as a major voter issue is a new development.
“I don’t think that the environment would have been pegged second several years ago,” says Collenette, who ran as a Liberal Party candidate in 2008 and is now an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa. […]
Collenette believes a number of factors may be responsible for making the environment a more salient campaign issue this time around, including greater awareness of the extent of oilsands development in Alberta and reports of extreme weather in Canada and around the world.