The Nanos Number: Seniors the next protest group?
Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.
Seniors are under siege. Many have played by the rules and worked hard, but they are under pressure on a number of fronts: bills are going up, pensions are at risk and there is a lot of uncertainty.
Seniors are 17 times more likely to live in poverty now than 20 years ago.
The source: Current State of Canadian Family Finances, March 2012, Vanier Institute of the Family
The government has said it will gradually raise the age of eligibility for Old Age Security to 67 from 65, starting in 2023. While it maintains Canadians are choosing to work past age 65 anyway, the numbers show that for many seniors, it is not a choice.
Seniors are a group to watch.
Voter turnout for seniors is high — about 80 per cent. The Conservative coalition majority is really founded on seniors who are concerned about economic and fiscal issues and who want stability, so when the government engages on issues that can affect their day-to-day lives it can mean trouble for a political party.
What to watch for next is the potential for an "accumulative effect" — are there any other issues that would show the Conservatives are potentially insensitive to seniors? The OAS issue has put seniors on notice to scrutinize the government more closely.
This week's number reveals that financial security for seniors is a growing issue that all of the parties are going to have to deal with, and it reveals a "silent angry mob" that may respresent the next flashpoint for protest.
Recognized as one of Canada's top research experts, Nik Nanos provides numbers-driven counsel to senior executives and major organizations. He leads the analyst team at Nanos, is a Fellow of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association and a Research Associate Professor with SUNY (Buffalo).