66% of Nova Scotians Want More Social Spending, Not Tax Cuts

New information from MQO Research shows that 66% of Nova Scotians want to see more social spending instead of tax cuts.

“This is a clear message to policymakers,” said Stephen Moore, Vice President at MQO. “People are concerned about things like health care and education and are demanding investment.”

“People want more spent on health care, education, and poverty reduction.”

MQO, using an online panel, asked 300 Nova Scotians which of the following areas needed further investment in the upcoming provincial budget. Here is percentage of Nova Scotians who said further investment in each category was very important:

Health care 84%
Education 63%
Poverty reduction 53%
Job creation programs 50%
Income tax cuts 46%
Skills and job training 44%
Cost of university 42%
Sales tax cuts 39%
Deficit reduction 33%


(We define very important as those who rated each item as a nine out of 10 or higher.)

“There is not much concern for provincial deficits,” said Moore. “That could be because the province is tabling another balanced budget, or it could be because balancing the provincial budget is not that big of a priority.”

“With low priority placed on tax cuts and the low level of concern about deficits – fiscal hawks won’t find a large audience this budget cycle.”

Health care topped the list of concerns in every region of the province with 79% in Halifax, 93% in Cape Breton, and 85% in mainland saying it was an area of great importance for future provincial investment.

Cape Breton stands out in that job creation and poverty reduction were the second and third most important areas respectively.

“Cape Breton has the province’s highest unemployment rate,” said Moore. “We hear about hospitals and doctors, but Cape Bretoners are clearly asking for help to address their economic challenges.”

Moore says the data shows women are more concerned about social investments than males.

“Women score higher on health care, education, and poverty reduction,” said Moore. “They are noticeably more socially-minded than males – that is consistent with past research.”

Our last Atlantic Matters poll showed more undecided females than males – that makes this group very important in the lead up to the next Nova Scotia election.

Across every age group, health care and education are the top two priorities for further investment. However, among those 18 to 34 the cost of university was a much higher priority than the general population. Among that group, 56 percent said it was an area that needed more investment.

“The results are clear: Nova Scotian’s concerns about health care and education are driving demand for further investment instead of more tax cuts.”