Essential Report

Federal government response to Covid-19

Aug 17, 2021

Q. Overall, how would you rate the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak?

  16/08 02/08 19/07 05/07 07/06 24/05 12/04 15/03 01/03 15/02 01/02 30/11 16/11
Very poor 13% 16% 13% 12% 10% 6% 7% 5% 6% 5% 4% 6% 5%
Quite poor 22% 19% 19% 17% 14% 12% 10% 7% 8% 7% 11% 8% 9%
Neither good nor poor 24% 28% 23% 26% 22% 25% 21% 18% 24% 19% 19% 19% 18%
Quite good 32% 28% 32% 33% 38% 40% 40% 39% 39% 42% 42% 41% 41%
Very good 9% 10% 14% 11% 15% 18% 22% 31% 23% 27% 25% 26% 26%
TOTAL: Poor 35% 35% 31% 30% 24% 18% 17% 12% 14% 12% 14% 13% 15%
TOTAL: Good 41% 38% 46% 44% 53% 58% 62% 70% 62% 69% 67% 67% 67%
Base (n) 1,100 1,098 1,100 1,099 1,104 1,100 1,368 1,124 1,074 1,109 1,092 1,034 1,010

 

TOTAL: Good 16/08 02/08 19/07 05/07 07/06 24/05 12/04 15/03 01/03
NSW 34% 39% 49% 44% 62% 56% 66% 69% 64%
VIC 37% 33% 39% 40% 42% 57% 55% 65% 51%
QLD 44% 40% 46% 48% 54% 56% 63% 69% 66%
SA 45% 48% 51% 48% 58% 66% 62% 78% 68%
WA 53% 37% 51% 42% 49% 56% 65% 75% 66%
  • 41% of people rate the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak as quite good or very good (38% earlier in the month), with 35% rating it as quite poor or very poor (35% earlier in the month).
  • Just 9% of people say the response of the federal government has been very good- the lowest recorded since the start of the pandemic.
  • Positive rating of the federal government’s handling of Covid-19 has dropped further in NSW and SA compared to earlier this month (down 5% to 34%, and 3% to 45% respectively). This is the lowest recorded rating for both states.

Positive rating has improved in WA (up 16% to 53%).

State government response to Covid-19

Aug 17, 2021

Q. How would you rate your state government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak?

TOTAL: Good 16/08 02/08 19/07 05/07 07/06 24/05 12/04 15/03 01/03 15/02 01/02 30/11 16/11
NSW 42% 47% 54% 57% 69% 68% 73% 75% 72% 72% 71% 76% 75%
VIC 56% 54% 49% 50% 48% 63% 58% 62% 49% 59% 61% 60% 59%
QLD 66% 60% 62% 61% 65% 68% 72% 75% 73% 76% 78% 72% 71%
SA 68% 73% 68% 67% 67% 71% 75% 85% 78% 79% 80% 70% 76%
WA 87% 82% 77% 86% 75% 77% 84% 91% 85% 88% 80% 83% 82%
  • Amid the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown in NSW, positive rating of the state government’s response to Covid-19 continues to drop, now at 42% from 47% earlier this month.
  • Positive rating of the state government in Victoria is at a consistent level with earlier this month (now at 56%, 54% earlier this month), and has improved compared to this time last month (49%).
  • Positive rating of the WA government’s handling of Covid-19 has increased to 82%, an improvement from a month ago (77%).

Confidence in federal government’s long-term plans

Aug 17, 2021

Q. Please indicate which is closest to your view about the federal government’s plan for each of the following issues:

TOTAL: I’m confident the federal government has a long-term plan, and it’s clear to me what this plan is Aug’21 May’21
Minimise the long-term impact of remote learning on children and young people’s education 18%
Reduce the national deficit 18% 16%
Reopen international borders 21% 21%
Establish quarantine facilities 23% 21%
Protect children and young people from getting Covid-19 25%
The Covid-19 vaccine rollout 26% 25%
  • Since May, the federal government has not convinced any more people it has a long-term plan to deal with the major challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • 26% say they are confident the government has a plan, and it’s clear what it is for the vaccine roll-out (25% in May), 23% are clear on the government’s plans for quarantine facilities (21% in May), and 21% think there is a clear long-term plan to reopen international borders (21% in May).
I’m confident the federal government has a long-term plan, and it’s clear to me what this plan is I’m confident the federal government has a long-term plan, but it hasn’t been communicated well I’m not confident the federal government has a long-term plan
Minimise the long-term impact of remote learning on children and young people’s education 18% 39% 43%
Reduce the national deficit 18% 40% 42%
Reopen international borders 21% 38% 41%
Establish quarantine facilities 23% 37% 40%
Protect children and young people from getting Covid-19 25% 37% 38%
The Covid-19 vaccine rollout 26% 39% 35%
  • There is uncertainty about the federal government’s long-term plans, or a perception that these plans have not been communicated clearly to the public.
  • 43% of people aren’t confident there is a long-term plan from minimising the long-term impact of remote learning on children and young people’s education. 39% are confident a plan exists but think it hasn’t been communicated well.
  • Over a third (35%) are not confident the federal government has a long-term plan for protecting children and young people from getting Covid-19. A further third (39%) are confident a plan exists but think it hasn’t been communicated well.

Personal impact of Covid-19

Aug 17, 2021

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects?:

TOTAL: Agree Aug’21 Apr’20
I have a clear idea of what I can and can’t do under social distancing rules 75% 79%
Social distancing will probably get easier over time 56% 61%
I’m able to get more things done around the house 54% 61%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] I find I’m able to get more things done for work 38% 37%
I feel lonelier now, than before the pandemic 37% 36%
I’m worried by the effects of social distancing on my personal relationships 34% 29%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] I’m working longer hours than I used to before the pandemic 30% 29%
I’m developing stronger friendships with people I can only contact via phone or internet 28% 31%
  • Compared to last year, many effects of lockdowns have become no more manageable.
  • 38% are able to get more things done around the house (37% in April 2020), and 37% say they feel lonelier than before the pandemic (36% in April 2020).
  • However, more people than last year say they are worried about the effect of social distancing on their personal relationships (34%, up from 29%), and fewer people say social distancing will get easier (56%, down from 61%), and they are more productive around the house (54%, down from 61%).
  TOTAL: Agree TOTAL: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither disagree nor agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
I have a clear idea of what I can and can’t do under social distancing rules 75% 10% 38% 37% 15% 6% 4%
Social distancing will probably get easier over time 56% 17% 15% 41% 27% 11% 6%
I’m able to get more things done around the house 54% 14% 15% 39% 32% 8% 6%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] I find I’m able to get more things done for work 38% 17% 12% 27% 45% 11% 5%
I feel lonelier now, than before the pandemic 37% 37% 13% 24% 25% 18% 20%
I’m worried by the effects of social distancing on my personal relationships 34% 39% 10% 24% 27% 22% 17%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] I’m working longer hours than I used to before the pandemic 30% 40% 9% 21% 30% 23% 17%
I’m developing stronger friendships with people I can only contact via phone or internet 28% 30% 7% 21% 42% 17% 13%

 

Concern about the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on adults

Aug 17, 2021

Q. Thinking about Covid-19 lockdowns across Australia, to what extent are you concerned about the effect of lockdowns on the following?

TOTAL: Concerned Aug’21 Jul’21
My financial situation 54%
My mental wellbeing 51% 50%
My physical health 50%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] My risk of unemployment or reduced hours 48%
My personal relationships 43% 39%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] My work-life balance 43% 49%
  • The effect of lockdowns is not getting any easier on people’s mental health, with 51% saying they are concerned with their mental wellbeing (50% in July 2021). 43% say they are concerned for their personal relationships (39% in July 2021), and 43% of people in employment are concerned about their work-life balance (49% in July 2021).
  TOTAL: Concerned TOTAL:

Not Concerned

Very concerned Moderately concerned Not that concerned Not concerned at all
My financial situation 54% 46% 21% 33% 28% 18%
My mental wellbeing 51% 49% 21% 30% 30% 19%
My physical health 50% 50% 16% 34% 32% 17%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] My risk of unemployment or reduced hours 48% 52% 17% 30% 28% 24%
My personal relationships 43% 57% 14% 29% 34% 22%
[Asked only to those currently in paid work] My work-life balance 43% 57% 13% 30% 37% 20%
  • The biggest cause of concern for people is their financial situation (54%). Around half are concerned for their mental wellbeing (51%) and physical health (50%).
  • 48% of those in employment are concerned that the lockdowns will result in unemployment or reduced hours.

Concern about the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns on children

Aug 17, 2021

Q. And now thinking about Covid-19 lockdowns and their impact on children, to what extent are you concerned about the effect of lockdowns on the following?

[Asked only to those with dependent children in the household]

TOTAL: Concerned Aug’21 Jul’21
My child(ren) missing out on socialising (with their friends, peers, teachers, etc.) 69%
My child(ren)’s mental wellbeing 65% 59%
My child(ren) falling behind in their learning at school 61% 55%
My child(ren) developing behavioural issues 51% 49%
Base (n) 392 433
  • Parents’ concern for the impact of lockdowns on children has increased since July.
  • 65% are now concern for their children’s wellbeing (59% in July), and 61% are concerned their children are falling behind at school (55% in July).
Asked only to those with dependent children in the household (n=392) TOTAL: Concerned TOTAL:

Not Concerned

Very concerned Moderately concerned Not that concerned Not concerned at all
My child(ren) missing out on socialising (with their friends, peers, teachers, etc.) 69% 31% 34% 35% 16% 15%
My child(ren)’s mental wellbeing 65% 35% 31% 34% 18% 17%
My child(ren) falling behind in their learning at school 61% 39% 30% 31% 18% 21%
My child(ren) developing behavioural issues 51% 49% 23% 27% 26% 23%
Asked only those with school-aged children, teenagers, or older dependent children in the household (n=275)    
My child(ren)’s readiness for life beyond school (e.g. university, work) 58% 42% 29% 30% 20% 22%
My child(ren) suffering from exam stress exacerbated by lockdowns 56% 44% 21% 34% 19% 25%
  • The greatest concern for parents is their children missing out on socialising (69%), followed by children’s mental wellbeing (65%).
  • Among parents with school-aged children, teenagers or older dependent children, 58% are concerned that the lockdowns will affect their children’s readiness for life beyond school, and 56% are concerned about extra exam stress.

Current emotional state

Aug 17, 2021

Q. Thinking about how you feel currently, how would you rate yourself on the scales below?

[Asked on a 0-10 scale where 0-negative emotion and 10-positive emotion (e.g. 0-Uncertain, 10-Certain)]

  TOTAL:

Negative emotion (0-3)

TOTAL:

Neutral (4-6)

TOTAL:

Positive emotion (7-10)

NET; Result

(Positive – Negative)

Uncertain / Certain 34% 31% 36% +2%
Frustrated / Content 31% 32% 37% +6%
Stressed / Calm 29% 30% 41% +12%
Lethargic / Energised 27% 38% 35% +8%
Sad / Happy 27% 32% 41% +14%
Pessimistic / Optimistic 25% 33% 42% +17%
Angry / Not angry 24% 28% 48% +24%
  • When thinking about their current state of emotions, people are mostly less angry than angry (48% to 24%), and optimistic than pessimistic (42% to 25%).
  • However, attitudes towards certainty are split (36% say they are certain, 34% uncertain) and many are frustrated (31% to 37% who are content).
TOTAL:

Positive emotion (7-10)

Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Certain 36% 43% 29% 34% 36% 37% 31% 47% 29% 28%
Content 37% 43% 32% 34% 37% 40% 33% 47% 34% 31%
Calm 41% 47% 36% 32% 43% 47% 35% 52% 41% 30%
Energised 35% 39% 31% 29% 36% 39% 30% 45% 25% 29%
Happy 41% 45% 37% 38% 40% 44% 37% 52% 34% 35%
Optimistic 42% 47% 38% 37% 42% 47% 40% 55% 32% 29%
Not angry 48% 49% 47% 42% 48% 54% 46% 56% 44% 37%

 

TOTAL:

Negative emotion (0-3)

Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Uncertain 34% 31% 36% 29% 36% 36% 36% 26% 47% 41%
Frustrated 31% 28% 34% 31% 31% 31% 39% 23% 31% 40%
Stressed 29% 26% 32% 35% 29% 24% 33% 21% 37% 39%
Lethargic 27% 23% 31% 30% 27% 25% 30% 18% 34% 42%
Sad 27% 22% 32% 28% 27% 27% 32% 18% 37% 35%
Pessimistic 25% 24% 25% 24% 28% 21% 30% 17% 32% 36%
Angry 24% 22% 25% 26% 22% 24% 26% 19% 26% 32%
  • Men are more positive than women, with men more likely to say they have certainty (43%), they are content (43%), and calm (47%) among others. While women are more likely to be uncertain (36%), frustrated (34%) and stressed (32%).
  • People aged 18-34 are more likely to say they are stressed than those aged over 55 (35% to 24%).
  • Those voting for the Coalition are most likely to be feeling positive, with a higher incidence of those who are happy (52%), optimistic (55%) and calm (52%).

Uptake of a Covid-19 vaccine – Adults

Aug 17, 2021

Q. The Covid-19 vaccine rollout is underway in Australia.

Once a vaccine becomes available to you, how long would you wait before taking it?

  16/08 02/08 19/07 05/07 07/06 10/05 26/04 15/03 01/03 18/01 14/12 10/08
I’d get vaccinated as soon as possible / I’ve already been vaccinated / I’ve already had the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine / I’ve already had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine 68% 64% 63% 51% 52% 44% 42% 49% 50% 42% 43% 56%
I’d get vaccinated, but wouldn’t do it straight away 24% 25% 27% 33% 36% 42% 42% 40% 40% 47% 46% 35%
I’d never get vaccinated 8% 11% 11% 16% 13% 14% 16% 12% 10% 11% 10% 8%
Base (n) 1,100 1,098 1,100 1,099 1,104 1,092 1,090 1,124 1,074 1,084 1,071 1,008
  •  The vaccine rollout continues to progress, with 68% who have either received a vaccine, or would do so as soon as possible.
  • A quarter (24%) now would wait to receive a vaccine (down from 47% in January).
  • 8% say they would never get vaccinated (11% earlier in August).
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