Seniors care anxiety could swing next federal election, Nanos poll says

OTTAWA, April 8, 2014 /CNW/ - Almost six in 10 voters in 26 key ridings across Canada say they would support another party if their current political brand fails to make seniors care a priority in the next federal election, says a Nanos Research poll released today.

Commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the poll of 2,000 Canadians was conducted in the 26 ridings that reported a razor-thin margin of victory of 3% or less in the 2011 federal election. The targeted age group of respondents 45 years of age and older was selected because of increased likelihood of voting and engagement in health issues and decisions.

"Politicians should take heed," said Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, CMA president. "How Canada cares for its aging population is very much on the minds of baby boomers as they grow older. And older Canadians vote."

Canadians aged 45 and older formed 64% of the vote in the 2011 election. The proportion of Canadians aged 65 and over is expected to rise from its current 14% to almost 25% in 2036.

Among the poll's findings:

  • Only 23% of respondents in the 26 ridings think Ottawa is ready for the future health care needs of the aging population — even though seniors now account for almost half of the costs of the health system.
  • Eighty-seven per cent of the respondents believe political parties should make the issue of seniors care a top priority in the next federal election, slated for October 2015.
  • Almost nine in 10 respondents (87%) support the position of Canada's physicians and nurses on the need for a panCanadian strategy on seniors care.
  • Among preferences for managing the extra demands for seniors, 42% supporting reduction of other budgets. Next came a tax sheltered savings plan 37.6% of respondents.

Of the 26 ridings, three are in Nova Scotia, four in Quebec, 10 in Ontario, five in the Prairies and four in B.C. and Yukon.  See infographic on healthcaretransformation.ca.

"Clearly there is anxiety about seniors care among older voters," said Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research.  "It may have been off the federal radar for a few years but any party that ignores this issue risks being seriously offside with a key voter segment."

The poll was released on Parliament Hill at the CMA's annual Doctors in the House lobby breakfast.

Margin of error for the poll, conducted between March 30 and April 2, was plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians. Founded in 1867, the CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing more than 80,000 of Canada's physicians and comprising 12 provincial and territorial medical associations and 60 national medical organizations. CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care.

Click here for polling results

Click here to download Nik Nanos video

SOURCE Canadian Medical Association

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Senior Advisor, Communications and Public Outreach, lucie.boileau@cma.ca Tel.: 800-663-7336 / 613-731-8610 ext. 1266 Cell. 613-447-0866