Search results for "trust in media"
Mar 24, 2020
Essential Research

Information about Covid-19

Q. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements about the information you’ve received about the Covid-19 outbreak?

  NET: Agree NET: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither agree nor disagree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
I feel informed about the situation and the impact on me and my family 64% 14% 18% 46% 22% 9% 5%
I trust the Government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 outbreak 56% 20% 19% 37% 24% 12% 8%
The information I’ve received has been clear and consistent 51% 24% 15% 37% 25% 17% 7%
I trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 outbreak 35% 40% 7% 27% 26% 23% 17%
  • Around two-thirds of people agree that they feel informed about the situation (64%) and over half (56%) trust the government to provide honest and objective information about the outbreak.
  • Half think the information they’ve received has been clear and consistent (51%).
  • Those who think the threat of Covid-19 has been under-estimated are more likely to disagree that they feel informed of the situation (22%), that the information they’ve receive is clear and consistent (33%) and they trust the government to deliver honest and objective information (34%).
    Gender Age Group Location
NET: AGREE Total Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Capital Non-Capital
I feel informed about the situation and the impact on me and my family 64% 63% 65% 58% 59% 73% 65% 61%
I trust the Government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 outbreak 56% 57% 54% 48% 51% 66% 57% 53%
The information I’ve received has been clear and consistent 51% 53% 50% 49% 47% 58% 54% 47%
I trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 outbreak 35% 38% 32% 31% 35% 37% 36% 32%
Base (n) 1,034 519 515 342 327 365 703 331
  • Those aged over 55 are more likely to agree that they feel informed about the situation (73%), that they have trust in the information from the government (66%) and that the information they’ve received has been clear and concise (58%).
  • People in non-capital areas are less likely to agree that the information they have received has been clear and consistent (47%) compared to those in capital cities (54%).
Jan 21, 2014
Essential Research

Better or worse under Liberal/National Government

Q. Under the new Liberal/National Government, do you expect the following will get better or worse?

Total
better

Total worse

Net

A
lot better

A little better

Stay much the same

A little wor-
se

A
lot wor-
se

Don’t know

Better
Sept 13

Wor
-se
Sept 13

Political leadership

33%

38%

-5

15%

18%

25%

12%

26%

3%

42%

31%

Trust in Government

30%

43%

-13

12%

18%

26%

13%

30%

3%

36%

36%

Unemployment

22%

45%

-23

6%

16%

30%

21%

24%

3%

27%

37%

The economy overall

30%

38%

-8

10%

20%

29%

21%

17%

3%

38%

30%

The cost of living

17%

52%

-35

5%

12%

29%

25%

27%

3%

27%

40%

Interest rates

16%

33%

-17

5%

11%

47%

18%

15%

4%

17%

31%

Health services

18%

45%

-27

5%

13%

35%

18%

27%

3%

23%

42%

Job security

17%

49%

-32

5%

12%

32%

21%

28%

3%

22%

43%

Workers rights and conditions

14%

45%

-31

5%

9%

36%

14%

31%

4%

18%

47%

Company profits

40%

18%

+22

13%

27%

38%

8%

10%

4%

47%

14%

The environment

16%

41%

-25

5%

11%

39%

14%

27%

4%

18%

39%

Education and schools

20%

43%

-23

6%

14%

33%

19%

24%

3%

25%

41%

Public services

17%

46%

-29

6%

11%

35%

20%

26%

3%

20%

45%

Benefits for people on Government support – such as pensioners and the unemployed

13%

49%

-36

4%

9%

35%

21%

28%

3%

19%

44%

Your personal financial situation

18%

37%

-19

5%

13%

42%

20%

17%

2%

22%

35%

Except for company profits, respondents believed all issues measured would get worse under the new Liberal/National Government. Expectations on each issue have declined since this question was asked immediately after the election. The largest declines have been for cost of living (net score down 22), the economy overall (-16), political leadership (-16), unemployment (-13) and trust in Government (-13).

Jun 27, 2012
Essential Research

Tries Lies: More Carbon Porkies to Come

First published on The Drum 26 June 2012

The ‘lie’ at the heart of Labor’s carbon tax has assumed legendary status. Never mind that the realities of the supposed falsehood are highly contestable – Labor’s carbon pricing scheme is arguably not a tax at all – “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead” has become the iconic political lie of our times.

Its ruthlessly successful exploitation by the Abbott Opposition has spawned a political craze in exposing opponents’ lies, in the hope of replicating this highly successful case study in trust-related brand damage.

But what about the Opposition’s penchant for stretching the truth on impacts of the carbon tax?

George Brandis’s assertion the carbon tax was responsible for 1900 job cuts at Fairfax was a cracker, but only a natural extension of years of dubious claims the carbon tax would wipe towns off the map, spark mass shut-downs of industry and send families to the wall under crippling power prices.

With not much else to look forward to, Labor hopes the sun rising on July 1 – towns and families intact – will expose the Opposition’s spurious rhetoric about the carbon tax. Who is calling us liars now, you liars?

The collapse in trust in politics as we’ve reported on before, is a defining feature of our current political culture, driven largely by the kind of negative politics that have characterised the carbon debate.

In this environment, Labor has been unable to win back support for its carbon pricing scheme, with support levels on the eve of its introduction at the same low level they were towards the start of last year.

Q. Do you support or oppose the Government’s carbon pricing scheme which, from July 2012, will require industries to pay a tax based on the amount of carbon pollution they emit?

 

7 Mar 2011

23 May

1 Aug

21 Nov

Total

25 Jun 2012

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Total support

35%

41%

39%

38%

35%

67%

13%

74%

Total oppose

48%

44%

51%

53%

54%

21%

81%

21%

Strongly support

9%

14%

15%

14%

14%

28%

4%

38%

Support

26%

27%

24%

24%

21%

39%

9%

36%

Oppose

19%

15%

19%

17%

19%

12%

24%

13%

Strongly oppose

29%

29%

32%

36%

35%

9%

57%

8%

Don’t know

18%

15%

10%

10%

11%

12%

7%

6%

 

If there’s a positive for Labor there, it’s that it has been able to win the support of its base on this issue, with two-thirds of Labor voters (admittedly a small pool – link to table) supporting the policy.

But despite Labor’s focus on selling the compensation elements of the carbon pricing reform, the public has bought the cost-of-living scare, with 71% believing their cost of living will increase moderately or a lot. A further 20% thought there would be a small increase and just 2% thought there would be no impact. Power, petrol, groceries and fruit and veg – people are expecting the introduction of the carbon tax to be a disaster for their hip pockets.

Q. And what impact do you expect the carbon tax to have on each of the following?

 

 

Increase a lot

Increase a little

Stay much the same

Decrease a little

Decrease a lot

Don’t know

Energy prices

67%

26%

4%

*

3%

Fuel prices

53%

31%

11%

1%

*

4%

Grocery prices

41%

41%

14%

1%

4%

Fresh fruit and vegetable prices

39%

39%

18%

*

*

4%

Unemployment

31%

27%

32%

2%

1%

8%

Interest rates

22%

18%

38%

8%

1%

13%

And herein lies the risk for Tony Abbott.

With the happy bonus that most of us aren’t really too sure what the carbon tax actually is, we can expect plenty more Brandis-style water-muddying as the carbon tax is blamed for job losses, power price rises, divorces and bad haircuts caused by completely unrelated factors.

But what if the Opposition can’t deliver carbon tax Armageddon? What if people accept that any moderate increases in prices have been offset by the one-off ‘cashforyou’ payments and associated support packages? Or, and this may be stretching it, what if the media starts questioning come of the tenuous links between price rises and carbon that the Opposition attempts to exploit?

If the world doesn’t end on Sunday, will people shift their opinion of the Carbon Tax or, worse still for Abbott, start to wonder whether they have been played for fools? Already the rhetoric is shifting from ‘death strike’ to ‘python’s grip’ but is this sustainable as a basis for the daily high-vis vest photo opp that has become the Oppostion’s modus operandi.

Another potential porky lies in the Opposition Leader’s promise to repeal the carbon tax.Abbott has pledged ‘in blood’ there would be no carbon tax under the government he leads.

Currently, we’re fairly evenly split on whether a pledge in blood is actually a core promise, with a slight majority believing he’ll go through with it.

Q. If they won the next election, how likely do you think it would be that Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party would repeal the carbon tax?

 

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Total likely

44%

28%

64%

42%

Total unlikely

40%

62%

22%

41%

Don’t know

17%

11%

14%

17%

 

But what if he can’t get the numbers through the Senate? What if he is forced to negotiate and, God forbid compromise, with those holding the balance of power? Will this be a case of a politician dealing with the hand they are dealt or just another example that all politicians lie?

While it’s easy to dismiss the dealing in truth and lies as business as usual politics, but in turning it into a Weapon of Mass Destruction it will be interesting to see if the Opposition leader has not set set his own future government onto a path of Mutually Assured Destruction.

 

 

Mar 5, 2012
Essential Research

Creating a Climate for Change on Carbon

All this fighting and cussing in Canberra has at least silenced the elephant in the Lodge, that $28 per tonne price on carbon.

It seems weeks since Tony Abbott strapped on a reflective vest and imposed himself on a Queanbeyan lunch room, but it’s only months until the price takes affect.

At this point one of two things happens – the sky falls in and Abbott blames the carbon tax or the sky doesn’t fall in and Abbott blames the carbon tax.

So as Julia Gillard prepares to strap on the safety helmet and assume (resume?) the position, here are a few clues from the polling to help her though the difficult times ahead.

1. Never again call the Carbon Price a Tax – It’s not and your concession that a price on carbon as part of the transition to an Emissions Trading Scheme was one of the most spectacular own goals in recent political history. Language does matter.

2. Take it Back to the Science – our polling shows that the biggest single determinant on supporting action on climate change is not party affiliation, age or gender but belief in the reality of climate change. The ability of the denial movement to cloud the science on climate change was decisive. Once the facts were clouded science never really had a chance, being a discipline based on scepticism as it is. Giving science a voice and then finding a forum to spread its word may be too important to trust to the media.

3. Tell the whole Story – support for a carbon price shifts from majority opposition to majority support if the question changes from support for a price on carbon, to include the compensation and investment in renewables that are part of the package. Getting the airtime to get the whole sentence out is vital to selling the measure.

4. Focus on the Car not the Carburettor – the great myth about the carbon price is that the public went from supporters to opponents in one fell swoop of Abbott vitriol. The reality is that the decline in support was first based on confusion as the Rudd-Wong dream team (and we’re talking sleep here) got obsessed with the detail of the CPRS. After 12 months of technical debate most had lost interest and drifted into indifference and confusion. From there they were easy pickings for a scare campaign.

5. Remember the best response to a scare campaign is a scare campaign – Running the high road of caring about future generations will never trump fear and loathing. Better point out as the most carbon-exposed economy in the developed world there are huge economic dangers if we sit back and wait for others to act. Get the markets scared, there is nothing rational about denial.

6. Remember this is the great moral challenge of our times – on this K Rudd was K Rect; it was the backflip that killed him. Dealing with the challenges of climate change is why we entrust our nations to governments – we expert them to make tough decisions in our long-term interests, even if we don’t always like the medicine.

7. And finally, stop pretending you didn’t do something that was brave and right – Like taxing our natural resources, building a national broadband network and giving the disabled a better deal. These are the anchor points of a Labor Government to be proud of. If only it would let us.

Feb 29, 2012
Essential Research

One more promise to break

As Labor attempts to re-unite after its very public family spat there is one more piece of dirty linen that needs to be aired – the self-imposed strait-jacket that is the government’s pledge to bring the budget into surplus by 2012.


Listening to both the victor and the vanquished shift the focus to, ermm, moving forward after yesterday’s spill, there was a list of good works that the government insisted it will pursue with renewed vigour: at the top of the list disability reform, education funding, health reform.

Labor does have a strong set of progressive policy positions ready to roll – the Productivity Commission report into a National Disability Insurance Scheme will revolutionise the delivery of services to society’s most vulnerable; the Gonski review sets out a radical reshaping of schools funding that will shift resources to the public system, the Productivity Commission has also produced a major report into improving services of aging Australians.

All of these are potentially great Labor reforms that speak to Labor values; they will all set up key sectors for the decades to come and they will all benefit big slices of the electorate.

But they also come with significant price tags – NDIS $6 billion per year; Gonski $5 billion, with $%1.5 billion from he feds) and the less-known Aged Care reforms a further $6 billion.

With Labor tied to a 2010 election promise, reinforced last year, to bring the Budget back to surplus – regardless of external economic conditions – by 2012-13, all these initiatives are likely to be left in the starting blocks. Worthy reports gathering dust.

Walking away from the surplus would clearly be a big call for the Government – it would play out in the tabloids as another lie; and as the PM has learnt to her chagrin despite their low level of trust in politicians, the punters will pounce on a lie.

But in insisting it will deliver a budget surplus, no matter how wafer-thin, the Gillard Government is sucking up to the wrong crowd.

Give voters a choice between concrete improvements in key policy issues and delivering a surplus to the books and you get a very clear answer, as this week’s Essential Report shows.

Q. The Gonski report recommends a $5 billion increase in education funding with $1.5 billion of this additional funding coming from the Federal Government and the rest from the State Governments. If the Federal Government provides this additional funding it may mean they will not be able to return the budget to surplus next year.

Do you think it is more important to provide this additional funding for schools or more important to return a budget surplus?

 

 

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

More important to provide additional funding to schools

61%

63%

58%

83%

More important to return a budget surplus

24%

25%

29%

11%

Don’t know

15%

12%

12%

6%

This is not just a matter of flaky lefties walking away from self-imposed fiscal confines; indeed Coalition voters are nearly as keen as Labor voters for funds to be released to institute the Gonski reforms.

These findings back more general questions on the budget deficit we asked last November where 69 per cent of respondents favoured delaying a return to surplus if it meant cutting services or raising taxes.

‘Returning the Budget to Surplus’ has become one of those bumper sticker policies that hamstring governments. Like ‘Turning Back the Boats’ it is not only impossible to deliver, it creates a series of knock-on effects that compound the problem.

Worse for Labor, it keeps the economic debate in the abstract frame, the natural territory for conservative governments, rather than placing the economy in its proper context – the forum for improving the lives of ordinary people.

Could they win the argument? Australia’s current debt to GDP ratio is under 10 per cent – many developed OECD nations have levels ten times that rate;  so actually explaining why Australia has set itself this target at a time of falling revenues could shift the conversation.

Indeed, not even Tony Abbott is tying himself to a 2012-13 surplus, so while he would cry ‘liar, liar’ he would not do so from a position of fiscal purity.

Of course, walking away from the surplus guarantee would inflict more pain on a government whose leader already suffers credibility deficit issues. But it might just be that delivering the goods on reform in education, disability and aged care is a better way to establish credibility with the electorate than delivering a wafer-thin surplus as a sop to the business pundits and tabloid press.

After all the hurt and tears for leadership status quo, surely a shift that opened the way for the next wave of social reforms for the young, the aged and the disabled would be a porky worth wearing.

 

Feb 10, 2012
Essential Research

Trends: The Fingerhut effect

EMC Director Peter Lewis on framing the economic debate



Home Ground Advantage

Long-time American pollster Vic Fingerhut has been advising progressive politicians since the 1960s and he has a reassuring message  – it’s OK to stand up for what you believe in – and it might even win you elections.

That such a message should be a revelation is a sad indication of where left of centre politics has gone in Australia – but it may also be reassuring that in this we are not alone.

Over more than three decades Fingerhut, who has been advising EMC since the 2007 federal election campaign – has been researching campaigns for unions and progressive parties in the USA, Canada, Britain and Germany – polling people on their perceptions of issues and the differences between major parties

And what he has discovered is a sort of immutable truth – there are some issues that belong to the Right and others that belong to the Left and it’s not about policy either. It’s about language and the way you frame an issue.

As a general rule where the issue is about managing the economy or handling terrorism or keeping taxes low, Republicans and conservatives have a marked advantage, with more than two thirds of voters perceiving they are superior on the issue.

But bring people into the equation, particularly working people, and the numbers swing around. By merely adding the words ‘for working people’ to the question ‘who is better at managing the economy?’, Democrats pick up 30 percentage points.

Likewise change the proposition ‘keeping taxes down’ to ‘fighting for fairer taxes for working people’ and the issue goes from being a negative for the left to a positive.

It’s early days, but the trends seem to translate into Australian politics as well. And if they do they add a new dimension to the ‘accepted wisdom’ that Labor needs to be stronger on the economy.

As Fingerhut observes, merely going out and engaging in an economic argument – even when you have better arguments than your conservative opponents – does nothing more than shift the debate onto their turf.

In other words, becoming a daily commentator on the current account deficit, employment figures and interest rates might get media, but if you do not draw the connection between economic indicators and people’s lives you are not advancing your cause.

At the moment the Labor Government is stuck in the least advantageous  ‘economic management’ frame – by signing up to a budget surplus they have taken a conscious decision to fight on the Opposition’s turf.

A better place to be would be on the jobs front – not just the decade-low unemployment figures – but a narrative that actually translates government activity to job creation.

While conservative commentators hate it – support for industries like manufacturing are big vote-winners, when linked to a coherent government plan to support industries in the long-term as the impact of a rising Australian dollar sheets home.

Better still focus industrial relations – a key indicator of the way an economy operates for, in Vic’s words, regular working people – and the innate recognition that given the chance, the Liberals would bring back some form of WorkChoices.

So let’s put Vic’s theory to the test.

On the simple question who is better at managing the economy? Labor is getting smashed – although there are large number of uncommitted, proof that the Liberals are under-performing on their home turf.

Q. Which party do you trust most to manage the Australian economy, Labor or the Liberals?

Net

Labor

Liberal

No difference

Don’t know

+17% Liberal

26%

43%

23%

8%

But give the question the Vic treatment – admittedly around the performance of the Treasurers – and Labor enjoys a 19 per cent point turnaround.

Q. Who would you trust most to manage economy in the interests of workers and families

Net

Swan

Hockey

No difference

Don’t know

+2% Labor

33%

31%

20%

17%

 

This sort of analysis is we in the trade call ‘framing’, talking about your policies and political brand in the most advantageous way; reinforcing what people think about you, not trying to make them change their minds.

As you can see bringing working people into the economic frame is no magic bullet, especially for this government, but it does shift nearly one in five voters, which when you are in the fight for your very survival is nothing to be taken lightly.

Apr 12, 2011
Essential Research

Green-baiting and the art of product differentiation

First published on The Drum: 12/04/2011

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.

(more…)

Oct 14, 2010
Essential Research

It’s not too late to change the basis of voter choice

EMC’s consulting pollster Vic Fingerhut has penned this memo to Democrats in the lead-up to Congressional elections. His words of wisdom ring true here too.

***
Despite the feel good messages from the Democratic campaign committees, if messaging frames and context of voter choice on election day remain as they are today, we are heading for disaster.

Two weeks ago, I sent you a memo underlining the fact that while our opponents have a simple and clear frame for the short-term issues in the current election, we have had none.

And despite the millions spent on our side…nothing has changed.

(more…)

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