A new poll conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of advocacy group North 99, and provided exclusively to Ricochet Media, shows that the newfound appetite for a wealth tax in the United States has spread north of the border.
A wealth tax, championed by U.S. politicians like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would levy an additional tax on the assets of the super rich. Unlike policies such as a new top marginal tax rate that have also been floated by Ocasio-Cortez and others, a wealth tax would apply not only to income but to all assets.
The poll of 2,000 Canadians was weighted to reflect census data and tested the proposal of a two per cent wealth tax on individuals with assets over $50 million, payable annually.
It found a staggering 67 per cent of all Canadians support or somewhat support the proposal. Only 14 per cent were opposed or somewhat opposed, while 17 per cent were unsure or felt they didn’t have enough information to respond.
Support steady across demographic and political lines
The proposal had the support of over two-thirds of respondents in every demographic group and every province in the country, with the exception of respondents between the ages of 18 and 29, where support fell to 58 per cent — A curious finding in light of the perception that demand for such progressive taxation measures is being driven by millenials. The highest support by age group was among those over 60 years old, where 75 per cent of respondents were in favour.
Roughly 70 per cent of Canadians earning below $100,000 a year supported the proposal, with support dropping to 64 per cent among those earning over $100,000.
Fully 82 per cent of those who identified themselves as being on the left of the political spectrum supported the proposal, as did 64 per cent of self-described centrists, and 58 per cent of those who say they’re on the right.
Perhaps most interestingly, 60 per cent of those who indicated they planned to vote for the federal Conservative party in this fall’s election supported the proposal, as did 78 per cent of Liberal voters and 80 per cent of NDP supporters. Only 24 per cent of Conservative voters opposed the idea, the highest level of opposition among any party’s supporters.
Available voters for all three major parties want a wealth tax
Fully three-quarters of voters who indicated they would consider supporting the Liberals or NDP in this fall’s election backed a wealth tax, as did 64 per cent of those willing to consider voting Conservative, indicating that virtually any Canadian political party that promised such a tax would be likely to pick up support as a result.
Which raises the question of why policies such as this, which have energized the campaigns of a wide variety of political candidates in the U.S., still do not have a champion in the Canadian political arena.
A “real appetite” for bold, progressive policies
What we see here,” explained Taylor Scollon, co-director of North 99, “is that policies that politicians are not necessarily talking about, that we don’t hear a lot about, to address rising inequality and lack of opportunity for workers, for the middle class, are quite popular. But they are just not present in the discourse right now.
These ideas are being talked about a lot more in the U.S., Elizabeth Warren has put out a similar proposal, but these are policies that Canadians support too.”
For Scollon, the poll contains lessons that all of our political leaders, regardless of party, would be wise to heed.
“The most interesting thing was that we saw support across parties. Obviously overwhelming support among NDP and Liberal voters, but even Conservative voters support this idea.”
Tht flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which holds that Conservative supporters want smaller government and lower taxes across the board.
“There is a real appetite, a real demand among voters across the political spectrum for bold, progressive policies that are simply not being talked about by our political leaders right now.”