01/09/2014 11:26 EST | Updated 03/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Government's rating down, despite confidence in economy: Nanos

Canadians across the country are more confident in the future of the economy now than they were last year, according to the latest Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index. 

The latest Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, which measures the weekly economic mood of Canadians, found a confidence score of 61 In Ontario, up from 55 in the previous year, and 57 in British Columbia, up from 49 a year earlier.

The index is based on a random telephone (both cell and landline) survey of 1,000 Canadians, using a four-week rolling average of 250 respondents each week. It is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The increased economic confidence in the key battlegrounds of Ontario and British Columbia is noteworthy as the economy looks to be one of the driving issues in 2014 for the Conservative Party.

Indeed, the survey for the week ending Jan. 3, 2013, found 59 per cent of Canadians say they place more emphasis on the economy than issues of transparency and accountability. That’s compared to 54 per cent in January 2013.

However, the strong showing of economic confidence has not translated into a high opinion of the government.

When asked to rate performance, more than half of Canadians said Stephen Harper’s government is doing a poor job, with 38 per cent of respondents rating the government performance as “very poor,” according to a recent Nanos/IRPP Mood of Canada survey.

That’s compared to only 16 per cent from 2012.

That survey was conducted between Dec. 14 and Dec. 16, 2013. It randomly polled 1,000 Canadians online and by telephone. It is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Nik Nanos, president and CEO of Nanos Research, said it’s a bit of a public opinion whiplash.

The Conservatives are fighting their economic record, said Nanos, but are "dogged by controversy."

He believes the government will tout the next budget as good news. 

"That's probably going to be a launching pad for them, they hope, to press a massive — not a little — a massive reset button in order to try to change the channel from the Senate controversy,” he told host Evan Solomon on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

Only 12 per cent of Canadians believe the government is doing a “very good” job, a 3 per cent increase from 2012.

 “For now, it looks like the Conservatives still want to run on economy, that’s probably smart politics,” said Nanos. 

“We don’t know whether that’s enough.”