- 17% of BC residents have lost their job, 30% have had reduced hours, 54% are concerned about household expenses, and 49% are concerned about being able to put food on their table.
- Bonnie Henry receives top marks (79%), followed by Adrian Dix (71%), Justin Trudeau (67%) and John Horgan (64%) for their handling of the crisis.
As COVID-19 crisis continues to deepen, a new Insights West poll conducted this week shows that the level of concern among BC residents has escalated significantly from our last wave, and the negative financial fallout is being felt by a massive number of residents via lost employment and ability to pay for rent/mortgage and household expenses.
Despite the doom and gloom, our leaders have received top marks for their handling of this crisis.
Only 15 days after our last poll on the COVID-19 crisis, results show a significant spike in the number of people who say they are following this story very closely (70%) compared to earlier (48%). A further 29% are following it somewhat closely.
Overall worry has followed the same pattern—but to an even larger degree, with the level of concern jumping from only 15% who were very worried two short weeks ago—to 45% who are now ‘very’ worried. A further 46% are ‘somewhat’ worried, and only 9% are not concerned.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant effect on employment and household incomes, as about one-half of BC residents have been affected in some shape or form. A total of 17% of BC adults report having lost their job in the past two weeks—with most saying that it appears at this point to be a temporary loss of work. A further 30% say that they have been working reduced hours, while 6% say they are working more hours or are busier at work. A further 11% report that their spouse has also lost their job.
The immediate negative financial impact is alarming as a significant number of British Columbians are concerned about being able to pay rent, their mortgage, household bills, and even for food putting on the table. A total of 49% are concerned about their ability to pay rent or their mortgage—including 24% who are ‘very concerned’. An even larger number (54%) is concerned about their ability to pay their household expenses (including 27% who are ‘very concerned’). Perhaps even more alarming is the finding that 49% of British Columbians are concerned about their ability to pay for household meals (including 23% who are very concerned). The effect on savings/RRSP’s and investments is even more dramatic, with 76% reporting that they are ‘very’ (45%) or ‘somewhat’ (31%) concerned with the negative impact in this particular area, and 68% believe that this impact will continue to have an effect a few years from now.
Our political leaders in BC and Canada receive top marks for their role in handling the COVID-19 crisis. At the top of the list is our Provincial Public Health Officer Bonnie Henry as 79% think she has done a good job in handing the crisis, followed by nearly equally positive scores for our Minister of Health Adrian Dix (72%), and Premier John Horgan (65%). Our own Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives top marks as well (67%). In contrast, ratings for mayors across the Province are not as high, with only 49% saying that they are doing a good job (but 28% are not sure how to rate the job they are doing on this front). Not surprisingly, perceptions of Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis are at rock-bottom, with only 23% of British Columbian’s believing he’s done a good job.
BC residents are optimistic about the effectiveness of the massive emergency financial aid package being rolled out by the Federal Government in response to COVID-19. Most (79%) across the Province think that this aid will be effective—although this is tempered by the fact that only 16% think it will be ‘very’ effective.
Will life ever get back to normal in BC? The good news is most feel it eventually will—but the bad news is the majority of us don’t believe that it will be happening anytime soon. Most (52%) BC residents don’t believe the school system will be back in session until September. There’s a wide range of opinions about when business will be re-opening and getting back to business—with only 10% thinking it will happen in the next month, 23% who think it will happen two months from now, 27% say three months from now, and 31% say four to six months from now. There is also no consensus as to when British Columbians believe everything will be completely back to normal—but most believe it is a long time away. Only one-quarter of us believe ‘normalcy’ will return in three months or less, while many (25%) believe it will take 4-6 months, 12 months (26%) or longer (21%).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on British Columbia and the rest of the world, the extent of the economic impact has been massive as found in our poll results” says Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “Prior to this crisis, our polling results have shown over time that about 35-40% of the population has been financially vulnerable, and this tidal wave of bad news has reached even further than that, affecting citizen’s ability not only to pay rent and household expenses—but to also put food on the table. The repercussions are here for a very long time, unfortunately.”
About Insights West:
Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 350 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 24 out of 25 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions.
About this Release:
Results are based on an online study conducted from March 23, 2020 to March 24, 2020 among a representative sample of 818 BC adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.
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