Shaken but Not Suffering - Canadians' Reaction to the Economic Crisis



    
    Canadians have reached a 25-year low in optimism and confidence toward
    the Canadian economy, yet are surprisingly more bullish toward their
    personal financial situations - according to the Annual POLLARA Financial
    Outlook Survey for the Economic Club of Canada.
    

    TORONTO, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - A majority of Canadians expect 2009 to be a year
in which the Canadian economy worsens, employment levels drop substantially,
inflation spirals, taxes surge, the national debt balloons, and the value of
the Canadian dollar depreciates. But despite this record-high pessimism - the
highest recorded in 25 years of polling - Canadians report that their personal
financial situation was better than they expected in 2008, and they anticipate
personal financial growth in 2009.
    These findings are from a new national poll released this morning by
Michael Marzolini, Chairman of POLLARA Strategic Insights, at the annual
Economic Outlook Conference of the Economic Club of Canada, which was
addressed by Mr. Marzolini and the Chief Economists from Canada's five largest
chartered banks. The poll has been conducted every year since 1985.

    
    The poll indicates that:

    -   91% of Canadians believe Canada is currently in a recession, up from
        22% in January 2008.

    -   57% believe the Canadian economy will worsen over the next twelve
        months, compared to 20% who think it will improve.

    -   68% believe the U.S. economy will worsen over the next twelve months,
        compared to 15% who think it will improve.

    -   68% of Canadians expect their country's employment situation to
        worsen, versus 12% who expect improvement.

    -   50% expect inflation to increase, versus 21% who expect the recession
        to be deflationary.

    -   49% expect taxes to increase, compared to 13% who expect tax
        reductions.

    -   80% expect the national debt to increase, compared to 4% who think it
        will be reduced.

    -   59% expect the Canadian dollar to depreciate in value against the
        U.S. currency, versus 16% who think it will make gains.

    -   31% expect that they or a member of their immediate family may lose
        their job in 2009, an increase from 19% in 2008.

    Yet at the same time:

    -   Some 17% of Canadians report their personal financial situation
        improved in 2008 (up 1% from 2007), 45% kept pace in 2008 (up 3%),
        and 36% fell behind in 2008 (down 3%)

    -   With respect to household income versus the cost of living, 8% of
        Canadians expect their income will outpace the cost of living in 2009
        (unchanged from 2008), 41% will keep pace in 2009 (up 4%) and 48%
        will fall behind in 2009 (down 2%).
    

    The poll also showed an expectation that the recession will last about 18
months, though 3 in 10 Canadians expect it to endure as long as 2 years.
    "There seems to be a perplexing disconnect in current public opinion.
While Canadians overwhelmingly feel the economy is in deep crisis, on average
many feel unaffected to date, and in fact expect their personal financial
situation to be maintained or even improved in 2009. But don't for a minute
think that they are laid-back about the situation - they are truly alarmed for
the country as a whole - they just don't think it will happen to them," said
Michael Marzolini.
    Marzolini also pointed out that the Canadian public is currently
favorable toward almost any step that government could take to boost the
economy. "They are firmly interventionist, in a way we haven't seen since the
1980s. They don't know the solution to the current crisis, but currently
endorse all types of direct government intervention including infrastructure
spending, job retraining, tax cuts, and even bailouts and protectionism."
    The national sample of 2,670 Canadians surveyed for this study was
randomly selected from the "POLLARA Crisis Watch" Online Panel between
December 11th and 15th, 2008. Data was weighted to ensure that the sample's
demographics reflect that of the actual adult Canadian population according to
Census data. The margin of error on a probability sample of 2,670 adult
Canadians is +/-2%, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the
entire population been polled. The same survey is conducted every year for
presentation and discussion at a session of the Economic Club of Canada
featuring Mr. Marzolini and the Chief Economists from Canada's five largest
chartered banks.

    POLLARA is Canada's largest strategic insights, market research and
opinion polling firm, with offices in seven cities across Canada and the
United States. POLLARA publishes the "POLLARA Crisis Watch" a frequently
updated subscriber-based analysis of what people are doing with their money in
reaction to the current economic situation.
    The full results to this survey, complete with question wording, can be
found at http://www.pollara.com/ECOT.





For further information:

For further information: Michael Marzolini, Chairman, POLLARA Inc.,
(416) 921-0090 x-2230, mmar@pollara.com; Mark Adler, President, Economic Club
of Canada, (416) 306-0899, adler@ecot.ca

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POLLARA INC.

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