A new poll suggests the Liberals have not won over voters with their latest budget, though there is broad support for their plan to build millions of homes.

Just shy of half the respondents to Leger's latest survey said they had a negative opinion of the federal budget, which was presented last Tuesday. 

Only 21 per cent said they had a positive opinion, and one-third of respondents said they didn't know or preferred not to answer. 

Still, 65 per cent of those surveyed said the plan to spend $8.5 billion on housing, aimed at building 3.9 million homes by 2031, is good for the country. 

The Liberals made a series of announcements in the weeks leading up to the budget, with a heavy emphasis on housing measures. 

When asked about the response to the budget at a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is focused on "fairness for every generation."

"I am confident that as Canadians see these measures happening, they will start being more optimistic about our economy," he said.

Leger's poll of 1,522 Canadians last weekend can't be assigned a margin of error because online surveys are not considered truly random samples. 

People in Alberta were most likely to say they had a very negative impression of the budget, with 42 per cent selecting that option compared to 25 per cent across the entire country. 

More than half of the people who took the poll said they are in favour of the government's plans to spend more on energy efficiency, national defence and student-loan forgiveness for health care and education workers. 

And 56 per cent said they think the increase to the capital gains tax inclusion rate — a move that's estimated to raise another $19.4 billion in revenue over the next four years — is a good thing. 

The Liberals are billing the change as critical to their plan to improve generational fairness by taxing the ultra-rich. 

It has drawn criticism, including from the Canadian Medical Association, which warned on Tuesday that it could affect the country's ability to recruit and keep physicians.

The budget proposes to make two-thirds of capital gains — the profit made on the sale of assets — taxable, rather than half. For individuals, this would apply to profits above $250,000, but there is no lower threshold for corporations. 

The medical association said many doctors will face higher taxes because they have incorporated their practices and used those companies to save for retirement.

While the Liberals are aiming changes to the capital gains tax at younger Canadians including millennials and gen-Zers, Leger's poll found it had the support of 60 per cent of respondents over the age of 55 — the highest among any age group.

People between 18 and 35 were least likely to support the Liberal plan to spend another $73 billion on defence in the next two decades. Just 45 per cent of respondents in that age group said ramping up defence spending is good for the country, compared with 70 per cent of people over the age of 55.

Leger also asked questions about the country's fiscal future.

Almost half the respondents, 47 per cent, said they want to see the government cut back on spending and programs to get the budget balanced as quickly as possible. 

Just 16 per cent said spending more and running large deficits is the best plan for the next five years, and 14 per cent want to see the government increase taxes to bring the deficit down. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 24, 2024.

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