Feeling worse off about a good economy

The NDP doesn’t pay attention to polls. “I don’t place much concern in regard to (polls),” said NDP Leader Todd Hardy.

The NDP doesn’t pay attention to polls.

“I don’t place much concern in regard to (polls),” said NDP Leader Todd Hardy.

“A summer poll doesn’t tell us much.”

DataPath Systems released its independent summer poll on Yukon politics last week.

Yukoners ranked the cost of oil and gas as a concern in the survey for the first time ever, and the number of people feeling worse off than a year ago doubled from last year.

 “It’s not necessarily a poll, it’s a gauge of people’s mood in July,” said Hardy.

“There’s not much in that poll, frankly.”

Except for that one shining beacon of hope.

 “The NDP are actually doing better,” he said.

“The NDP is stronger than we were last election at 20 per cent.”

Stronger yet is the Yukon Party, which would pull in 45 per cent of votes if an election were held today.

That number is consistent with the polling numbers released in April and over the course of the previous two years.

The NDP and Liberals remain at 20 per cent voter support, a number stable for the past year.

On a scale of one to five, 25 per cent of Yukoners gave the Yukon Party a four or five, similar to the last poll.

Those ranking the party poorly — a one or two — dropped from 35 per cent to 32, the lowest level since 2004.

Negative ratings for the NDP and Liberals increased for both parties to 70 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.

Federally, support dropped for Liberal MP Larry Bagnell from 55 per cent to 49.

Conservative candidate Darrell Pasloski picked up the difference, increasing his support to 30 per cent from 24.

The NDP and Green Party are at 12 and nine per cent, respectively.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s approval hovers around 54 per cent.

There appears to be more support in the territory for conservative politics, said DataPath partner Donna Larsen.

“There’s satisfaction with the local economy and that may have some overall connection in people’s minds with a conservative sense of fiscal policy,” she said.

People are increasingly content with the local economy, according to the poll.

Twenty-three per cent of respondents believe the economy is healthy or in peak condition, up two per cent from March.

 Yet people aren’t feeling good about their lives.

The number of people feeling somewhat or much worse off than a year ago has doubled since last fall.

Last year, 11 per cent of people felt worse off, which increased to 13 per cent this fall.

Now, 22 per cent of people feel worse off about their situations.

“It’s a gut-feeling question — a sense of confidence in their situations,” said Larsen.

Young people, though, feel better; 33 per cent of respondents under 36 saying they’re better off than a year ago.

While only 16 per cent of people over 55 feel better.

Four per cent of people under 36 feel worse off compared to 36 per cent of people over 55.

“Those on fixed income and people who rely on investments to pay the bills are feeling the pinch more,” said Larsen.

So, the economy is good and people feel worse off than a year ago.

“People are working harder than ever before for the same amount of money,” said Hardy.

The good economy is a boon for the Yukon Party, though any party in power would be benefiting, he added.

The Liberal Party doesn’t read too much into the polls, said party researcher David Webber.

“They’re a snapshot of any given day and we don’t pay particular attention to it,” he said.

“People have their minds on the summer and vacationing.”

DataPath surveyed 150 Whitehorse residents and 150 people outside the city by telephone between July 18 and August 2.

The numbers are accurate 19 times out of 20 with a plus or minus of 5.5 per cent.