Satisfaction in how Sask. deals with health care, cost of living trending down: poll

Herald file photo. The Saskatchewan Legislature.

A recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute shows health care and the cost of living were the top issues for those surveyed.

Trillian Reynoldson, Regina Leader-Post

Dissatisfaction with health care and the cost of living in Saskatchewan were the two main issues highlighted in the latest poll from the Angus Reid Institute.

Out of a sample size of 350 people in the province who could choose up to three issues, 66 per cent called the cost of living and inflation a top concern, 54 per cent chose health care, 24 per cent picked education, and 23 per cent chose the economy and jobs.

Housing affordability, and poverty and homelessness tied at 17 per cent, 16 per cent of respondents chose the deficit and government spending, 13 per cent chose street crime and public safety, and 10 per cent chose the environment and climate change.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted the online survey — which has a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent — from Nov. 24 to Dec. 1, 2023.

When it comes to concerns with the cost of living and inflation, the survey said 33 per cent of respondents said the provincial government did a good or very good job, while 60 per cent said they did a poor or very poor job. But compared to other provinces, Saskatchewan had the highest number of respondents who were happy with the province’s efforts on inflationary relief.

Twenty-seven per cent of respondents said the provincial government’s performance on health care was good or very good, while 68 per cent said it was poor or very poor. On average, 31 per cent of respondents said the province did a good or very good job handing health care in 2023, compared with 34 per cent in 2022, 44 per cent in 2021 and 56 per cent in 2020.

When it comes to education, an average of 40 per cent of respondents said the provincial government did a good or very good job last year, compared with 43 per cent in 2022, 44 per cent in 2021 and 49 per cent in 2020.

Saskatchewan had the highest percentage out of all provinces when it comes to satisfaction with the economy and jobs, with 53 per cent of respondents saying the province is doing a good job.

Forty-two per cent said the Saskatchewan government is doing well with government spending and the deficit, and 27 per cent were happy with the province’s handling of poverty and homelessness.

Saskatchewan has had the highest percentage of satisfaction with housing affordability over the past four years. In 2020, 42 per cent of respondents were happy with housing affordability. That percentage dipped down to 34 in 2021, where it stayed in 2022. Last year it increased to 35 per cent.

In an emailed response, the provincial government said the latest poll reflects that “Saskatchewan remains among the most affordable provinces in Canada to live, work and raise a family” as it maintains “favourable ratings in employment, housing affordability and government spending compared to other jurisdictions.”

But in a statement released Tuesday, the Opposition blasted the province, saying the “majority of Saskatchewan people give Scott Moe and the Sask. Party a failing grade when it comes to the issues that matter the most.”

“I think this government has failed to prioritize the issues that keep Saskatchewan people up at night, and it shows in the numbers,” Saskatchewan NDP leader Carla Beck said in the statement.