Fewer Canadians believe the worst of COVID-19 is behind us

Not over yet

The proportion of Canadians who envision a quick end to the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced drastically since the middle of the summer, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, just under half of Canadians (48%) believe the worst of the pandemic is behind us, down 24 points since a similar Research Co. survey was conducted in July.

Conversely, more than a third of Canadians (36%, +21) think that the worst of Covid-19 is ahead of us.

Almost two thirds of Canadians aged 18-to-34 (64%) believe that the Covid-19 situation will not worsen. Significantly smaller proportions of Canadians aged 35-to-54 (50%) and aged 55 and over (39%) hold the same view.

More than four-in-five Canadians (84%) consider the COVID-19 pandemic as a real threat, while 12% disagree and 4% are undecided. Fewer than one-in-five Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party (5%), the New Democratic Party (NDP) (6%) and the Conservative Party (16%) in this month’s federal election suggest Covid-19 is not a real threat.

The proportion of “pandemic skeptics” is now 22% among Canadians who cast ballots for the Green Party and 58% among those who supported the People’s Party.

More than half of all Canadians (55%, -6) are satisfied with the way the federal government in Ottawa has dealt with Covid-19—including majorities of those who reside in Atlantic Canada (60%), Quebec (60%), Ontario (56%) and British Columbia (51%). Satisfaction is slightly lower this month for the way in which municipal governments (60%, -3) and provincial governments (56%, -6) have performed during the pandemic.

At least two thirds of residents of Quebec (67%, -4) and British Columbia (66%, -5) are satisfied with the way their provincial administrations have managed Covid-19, along with half of those in Ontario (50%, -1).

The situation is extremely different in Alberta, where only 26% of residents are satisfied with the provincial administration on this file. This represents a 20-point decrease since July and the lowest level recorded for a government of any level since Research Co. started asking this question in March 2020.

Seven-in-10 Canadians (71%) agree with allowing K-12 students to go back to in-class learning in their province. Support for this measure is highest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (79%), followed by Ontario (72%), Quebec (71%), British Columbia (69%), Atlantic Canada (65%) and Alberta (61%).

More than four-in-five Canadians (84%) are in favour of requiring all customers or visitors entering an indoor premise to wear a mask or face covering while inside.

Mario Canseco is president of Research Co.

Results are based on an online study conducted on Sept. 18 and 19, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. 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 +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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