Q. Which are the three most important issues in deciding how you would vote at a Federal election?
|Management of the economy||61%||60%||76%||28%|
|Ensuring a quality education for all children||26%||29%||24%||27%|
|Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system||49%||50%||50%||51%|
|Protecting the environment||15%||17%||10%||52%|
|A fair industrial relations system||8%||12%||4%||4%|
|Addressing climate change||15%||23%||6%||45%|
|Controlling interest rates||13%||15%||13%||6%|
|Australian jobs and protection of local industries||32%||28%||36%||12%|
|Ensuring a quality water supply||5%||5%||3%||7%|
|Ensuring a fair taxation system||17%||14%||19%||16%|
|Security and the war on terrorism||8%||4%||13%||1%|
|Treatment of asylum seekers||5%||3%||5%||12%|
|Managing population growth||12%||12%||12%||9%|
There were few substantial differences between voters on issues they considered important. Compared to the average, Labor voters are more likely to rate addressing climate change (23%) as important.
Liberal/National voters attach more importance to management of the economy (76%) and security and the war on terrorism (13%) while Greens voters are more likely to nominate protecting the environment (52%), addressing climate change (45%) and treatment of asylum seekers (12%).
Q. And which party would you trust most to handle the following issues?
|Management of the economy||29%||47%||3%||22%|
|Ensuring a quality education for all children||38%||35%||5%||23%|
|Ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system||33%||35%||6%||25%|
|Protecting the environment||18%||21%||39%||23%|
|A fair industrial relations system||40%||31%||4%||24%|
|Addressing climate change||21%||24%||29%||26%|
|Controlling interest rates||26%||44%||3%||28%|
|Protecting Australian jobs and protection of local industries||35%||35%||4%||26%|
|Ensuring a quality water supply||21%||28%||22%||29%|
|Ensuring a fair taxation system||29%||37%||4%||30%|
|Security and the war on terrorism||25%||40%||3%||32%|
|Treatment of asylum seekers||19%||39%||11%||31%|
|Managing population growth||21%||36%||7%||36%|
Labor is the most trusted party on only one issue – a fair industrial relations system. There is little difference between Labor and the Liberals for ensuring a quality education for all children, ensuring the quality of Australia’s health system and protecting Australian jobs and protection of local industries.
This represents a weakening in Labor’s position over the last few months. In January Labor was trusted most to handle ensuring a quality education for all children and in October Labor also had a significant lead on protecting Australian jobs and protection of local industries.
Q. Do you support or oppose the Government’s recent announcement to introduce a carbon pricing scheme from 1 July 2012, which will require industries to pay a tax based on the amount of carbon pollution they emit?
|7 March||14 March||28 March||18 April||23 May||30 May||Vote Labor||Vote Lib/Nat||Vote Greens|
38% support the Government’s proposed carbon pricing scheme and 48% oppose. Although a change from last week’s figures this is much the same as recorded in the April poll. It is supported by 62% of Labor and Greens voters but opposed by 73% of coalition voters.
By age, those aged under 35 split 44% support/35% oppose, and those aged 55+ split 33% support/58% oppose.
For those who believe that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity 60% support and 24% oppose. For those who believe that we may just be witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate 13% support and 80% oppose
The Prime Minister has been dedicating a significant slice of stump time in recent weeks to explaining the differences between the ALP and the Greens, how one emerges from real-world struggles and the other is a group of out-of-touch extremists.
A similar debate has been being waged within the Greens following their underwhelming NSW state election performance, where a local candidate’s intervention in the Middle East peace provided the platform to portray the party as a collective of bat-faced ideologues.
But as the debate about the Greens’ orientation gains pertinence as they move to assume the balance of power in the Senate a more basic fact is being missed: Labor voters and Green voters agree on just about everything.
A review of findings to Essential Research questions over the past few months finds that on nearly every big debate the similarities between Greens voters and Labor voters far outweigh their differences.
Beyond its gob-smacking human tragedy and the looming economic catastrophe, the Japanese tsunami has thrown a radioactive wildcard into the global debate over climate change.
The fallout from the meltdown of Japanese nuclear reactors will undermine the until-now successful attempts by the nuclear industry to reposition itself as part of the global warming solution.
As this week’s Essential Report shows, the public had been coming around to the idea that developing nuclear power in Australia was acceptable. This has changed dramatically over the past seven days with one quarter of all Australians changing their position.
Q. Do you support or oppose Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity?
|27 Jan 09||20 Dec 10||Total||Vote Labor||Vote Lib/Nat||Vote Greens|
Context is everything. All of a sudden Labor’s political predicament does not seem as dire; no-one is dead or missing; nuclear reactors aren’t melting down; the only after-shocks are electoral.
The enormity of the Japan catastrophe wipes everything else from public consciousness, allowing a wounded prime minister and her team to step back from the limelight, reflect and regroup.
As this week’s Essential Report shows, there is a path to repairing the damage the government has suffered and a way of setting up a debate that could, in the long-term, see it regain the political initiative.
Like so much in politics, the secret lies in the questions you ask. Ask whether people support a price on carbon and the answer is a decisive ‘no’.
The media works in eight-hour news cycles, politicians live and die by three-year cycles, while the planet’s climate is working on a significantly longer time frame.
The way these three cycles interplay over the next few months will determine not only the outcome of the next federal election but whether Australia will be a beneficiary or a victim of the shift in energy use that climate change will inevitably require*.
As this week’s Essential Report shows the Government has taken a short-term hammering after it’s decision to move on a carbon price. Not only has the Government failed to win popular support for its carbon pricing scheme, this has translated into a 4 per cent turnaround in the Two Party Preferred.
Of particular concern to Labor would be the high level of strong opposition, compared to strong support for the plan and the fact that barely half of Labor voters are backing the scheme.
That philosopher to the common-folk, Tony Abbott, is this week dealing with his own slings and arrows as he enters the political twilight zone of disapproval from which some never return.
Despite ongoing difficulties within the Labor Government, Abbott is showing no signs of establishing himself as anything more than an attack dog whose fortunes rise when he runs negative on issues that happen to also be currently unpopular with the public.
This leaves him exposed when he has a bad week, such as the past one when he split his front bench by attempting to come up with a way of paying for flood reconstruction by cutting back anti-terrorism programs before nearly jobbing a TV reporter.
As this week’s Essential Report shows the response has been a sharp rise in disapproval to 46 per cent and drop-off in approvals to 37 per cent. To put this into perspective, the ALP moved on Kevin Rudd when his disapproval rating hit 47 per cent, with 41 per cent approval.
Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tony Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader?
|18 Jan||29 Mar||5 Jul||16 Aug||20 Sep||18 Oct||22 Nov||20 Dec||17 Jan 2011||14 Feb 2011|