Essential Report

Federal government response to Covid-19

Aug 31, 2021

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

  30/08 16/08 02/08 19/07 05/07 07/06 24/05 12/04 15/03 01/03 15/02 01/02 30/11
Very poor 16% 13% 16% 13% 12% 10% 6% 7% 5% 6% 5% 4% 6%
Quite poor 20% 22% 19% 19% 17% 14% 12% 10% 7% 8% 7% 11% 8%
Neither good nor poor 24% 24% 28% 23% 26% 22% 25% 21% 18% 24% 19% 19% 19%
Quite good 29% 32% 28% 32% 33% 38% 40% 40% 39% 39% 42% 42% 41%
Very good 10% 9% 10% 14% 11% 15% 18% 22% 31% 23% 27% 25% 26%
TOTAL: Poor 36% 35% 35% 31% 30% 24% 18% 17% 12% 14% 12% 14% 13%
TOTAL: Good 39% 41% 38% 46% 44% 53% 58% 62% 70% 62% 69% 67% 67%
Base (n) 1,100 1,100 1,098 1,100 1,099 1,104 1,100 1,368 1,124 1,074 1,109 1,092 1,034

 

TOTAL: Good 30/08 16/08 02/08 19/07 05/07 07/06 24/05 12/04 15/03 01/03
NSW 34% 34% 39% 49% 44% 62% 56% 66% 69% 64%
VIC 35% 37% 33% 39% 40% 42% 57% 55% 65% 51%
QLD 45% 44% 40% 46% 48% 54% 56% 63% 69% 66%
SA 48% 45% 48% 51% 48% 58% 66% 62% 78% 68%
WA 51% 53% 37% 51% 42% 49% 56% 65% 75% 66%
  • 39% of people rate the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak as quite good or very good (41% earlier in the month), with 36% rating it as quite poor or very poor.
  • Positive rating of the federal government’s handling of Covid-19 is unchanged from earlier this month among those in NSW (34%, still the lowest recorded rating in NSW).

State government response to Covid-19

Aug 31, 2021

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

TOTAL: Good 30/08 16/08 02/08 19/07 05/07 07/06 24/05 12/04 15/03 01/03 15/02 01/02 30/11
NSW 40% 42% 47% 54% 57% 69% 68% 73% 75% 72% 72% 71% 76%
VIC 44% 56% 54% 49% 50% 48% 63% 58% 62% 49% 59% 61% 60%
QLD 67% 66% 60% 62% 61% 65% 68% 72% 75% 73% 76% 78% 72%
SA 76% 68% 73% 68% 67% 67% 71% 75% 85% 78% 79% 80% 70%
WA 78% 87% 82% 77% 86% 75% 77% 84% 91% 85% 88% 80% 83%
  • 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 40% from 47% earlier this month.
  • Positive rating of the state government in Victoria has dropped by 12 percentage points to 44%, from 56% mid-August.
  • Although it remains the highest of all states, positive rating of the WA government’s handling of Covid-19 has decreased 9 percentage points to 78% from 87% mid-August.
  • Positive rating of the SA government has increased by 8% in the past two weeks to 76%, the best rating since March.

Biggest barrier to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in Australia

Aug 31, 2021

Q. Which of the following do you think is currently the biggest barrier to the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in Australia?

  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Unwillingness among people who are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine to get vaccinated 48% 50% 47% 43% 44% 57% 41% 60% 30% 52%
A shortage of supply of Covid-19 vaccines for people who are eligible and willing to get vaccinated 52% 50% 53% 57% 56% 43% 59% 40% 70% 48%
Base (n) 1,100 539 561 341 374 385 388 405 90 119
  • The general population is split on the biggest barrier to the national Covid-19 vaccine rollout; Just over half (52%) think the biggest barrier is a shortage of supply of Covid-19 vaccines for people who are eligible and willing to get vaccinated, while just under half (48%) think it’s an unwillingness among people who are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine to get vaccinated.
  • Those aged over 55 are more likely than younger cohorts to think the biggest barrier is related to an unwillingness to get vaccinated among those who can (57% to 44% of those aged 35-54, and 43% of those aged 18-34).
  • Coalition voters are also more likely than other voters to think unwillingness is the main issue (60% to 41% Labor voters, 30% Greens voters and 52% minor/independent party voters).
  • There is no difference in views across states.

Views towards level of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions

Aug 31, 2021

Q. Thinking about the latest Covid-19 lockdown in your area, do you think the restrictions are…?

[Asked only to respondents with lockdown restrictions in their area]

  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Too strong 27% 30% 24% 24% 28% 30% 21% 32% 26% 43%
About right 61% 58% 65% 63% 60% 61% 67% 60% 66% 43%
Too weak 11% 11% 12% 13% 13% 9% 12% 8% 8% 14%
Base (n) 925 465 460 308 324 293 324 344 80 97

 

  State
NSW VIC QLD SA WA
Too strong 28% 35% 20% 12% 30%
About right 56% 57% 70% 70% 70%
Too weak 16% 8% 11% 18% 0%
Base (n) 345 275 156 58 51
  • 61% of people under lockdown restrictions think the lockdown restrictions in their area are about right. 27% think they’re too strong and 11% too weak.
  • Victorians are most likely to think their restrictions are too strong (35%). In comparison, 28% of NSW residents think their restrictions are too strong. Those in NSW are more likely than Victorians to think the restrictions there are too weak (16% to 8% respectively).

Clarity of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions

Aug 31, 2021

Q. How clear and easy to understand are the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions/rules affecting the area you live in?

[Asked only to respondents with lockdown restrictions in their area]

  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Very clear and easy to understand 40% 42% 39% 32% 45% 44% 43% 44% 36% 27%
Fairly clear and easy to understand 42% 40% 45% 54% 36% 37% 42% 42% 46% 37%
Not that clear and easy to understand 12% 11% 13% 10% 12% 14% 11% 10% 15% 22%
Not at all clear and easy to understand 5% 7% 4% 4% 6% 6% 4% 4% 3% 14%
Base (n) 925 465 460 308 324 293 324 344 80 97

 

  State
NSW VIC QLD SA WA
Very clear and easy to understand 29% 50% 44% 46% 50%
Fairly clear and easy to understand 44% 36% 48% 37% 45%
Not that clear and easy to understand 19% 10% 7% 10% 4%
Not at all clear and easy to understand 8% 4% 2% 7% 1%
Base (n) 345 275 156 58 51
  • Most people understand the Covid-19 restrictions in their area, with 40% saying they are very clear and easy to understand, and 42% saying they are fairly clear and easy to understand.
  • Restrictions in NSW are less clear than in Victoria. Just 29% in NSW say the restrictions are very clear and easy to understand (50% in Victoria).

Information about Covid-19

Aug 31, 2021

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

TOTAL: Agree Aug’21

30/08/21

Aug’20

10/08/20

April’20

20/04/20

April’20

13/04/20

April’20

06/04/20

March’20

29/03/20

March’20

22/03/20

I feel informed about the situation and the impact on me and my family 69% 69% 66% 71% 70% 63% 64%
I trust the medical experts advising the government on their Covid-19 strategy 68%
I trust my state/territory government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 63%
I trust the federal government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 52% 66% 62% 65% 63% 56% 56%
I trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 40% 50% 41% 42% 51% 42% 35%
  • Since the start of the pandemic, people are just as likely to agree they feel informed about the situation.
  • However, agreement that people trust the federal government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic has decreased from 66% in August 2020 to 52%.
  • Agreement that people trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic has also decreased in the past 12 months from 50% in August 2020 to 40%.
  TOTAL: Agree TOTAL: Disagree Strongly agree Somewhat agree Neither disagree nor agree Somewhat disagree Strongly disagree
I feel informed about the situation and the impact on me and my family 69% 13% 23% 45% 19% 8% 5%
I trust the medical experts advising the government on their Covid-19 strategy 68% 12% 33% 36% 19% 7% 5%
I trust my state/territory government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 63% 19% 23% 39% 18% 10% 10%
I trust the federal government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 52% 26% 18% 34% 23% 14% 11%
I trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 40% 33% 11% 30% 27% 18% 15%
  • 69% agree they feel informed about the current Covid-19 situation. Agreement is highest among those aged over 55 (77%) and Coalition voters (75%).
  • 68% of people agree that they trust the medical experts advising the government on their Covid-19 strategy, while 52% agree that they trust the federal government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Less than half (40%) of people trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic.
TOTAL: Agree Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
I feel informed about the situation and the impact on me and my family 69% 69% 68% 58% 69% 77% 72% 75% 71% 48%
I trust the medical experts advising the government on their Covid-19 strategy 68% 69% 68% 57% 69% 78% 70% 77% 65% 50%
I trust my state/territory government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 63% 62% 63% 60% 61% 68% 67% 69% 62% 43%
I trust the federal government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 52% 53% 51% 44% 54% 56% 42% 75% 37% 36%
I trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 40% 43% 37% 38% 42% 40% 42% 47% 36% 30%
Base (n) 1,100 539 561 341 374 385 388 405 90 119

 

TOTAL: Agree State
NSW VIC QLD SA WA
I feel informed about the situation and the impact on me and my family 66% 66% 66% 72% 78%
I trust the medical experts advising the government on their Covid-19 strategy 70% 59% 69% 74% 75%
I trust my state/territory government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 55% 54% 69% 75% 80%
I trust the federal government to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 49% 46% 53% 62% 63%
I trust the media to provide honest and objective information about the Covid-19 pandemic 42% 32% 39% 49% 52%
Base (n) 349 276 219 89 111
  • Those aged over 55 are more likely than those aged 18-34 to agree they feel informed and have trust in governments.
  • Trust in state governments is lowest in NSW (55%) and Victoria (54%).
  • Victorians are also less likely than others to trust medical experts and the media for Covid-19 information.

Views towards ‘living with’ Covid-19: Preference for elimination vs suppression strategies

Aug 31, 2021

Q. Thinking about Australia’s path out of the Covid-19 pandemic, which of the following strategies do you think Australia should pursue?

  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Get Covid-19 cases down as close to zero as possible 44% 42% 46% 53% 44% 36% 52% 37% 53% 31%
Live with a few cases of Covid-19, as long as there are very few hospitalisations and deaths 44% 43% 45% 39% 45% 47% 41% 48% 38% 41%
Live with Covid-19, even if there are hospitalisations and deaths 12% 15% 9% 8% 11% 17% 7% 15% 10% 28%
Base (n) 1,100 539 561 341 374 385 388 405 90 119

 

  State
NSW VIC QLD SA WA
Get Covid-19 cases down as close to zero as possible 38% 37% 50% 51% 59%
Live with a few cases of Covid-19, as long as there are very few hospitalisations and deaths 50% 46% 39% 41% 35%
Live with Covid-19, even if there are hospitalisations and deaths 11% 18% 11% 8% 6%
Base (n) 349 276 219 89 111
  • 44% of people prefer a strategy to get Covid-19 cases down as close to zero as possible. The same proportion think we need to live with a few cases of Covid-19, as long as there are very few hospitalisations and deaths (44%).
  • 12% are willing to live with Covid-19, even if there are hospitalisations and deaths. Those most likely to have this position include men (15%), those aged over 55 (17%), and minor/independent party voters (28%).
  • Victorians are more likely than residents in other states to want to live with Covid-19, even if there are hospitalisations and deaths (18%).

Number of Covid-19 deaths acceptable to ‘live with’

Aug 31, 2021

Q. How many deaths nationally from Covid-19 do you think is acceptable to ‘live with’ in Australia as lockdown restrictions are removed?

  Total Gender Age Group Federal Voting Intention
Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Labor TOTAL: Coalition Greens TOTAL: Other
Less than 100 deaths per year 61% 52% 70% 55% 63% 65% 68% 56% 53% 53%
Between 100 and 1,000 deaths per year 25% 27% 22% 25% 22% 26% 21% 30% 29% 17%
Between 1,000 and 3,000 deaths per year 10% 13% 7% 13% 9% 8% 7% 9% 15% 23%
Between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths per year 2% 3% 1% 3% 2% 0% 1% 2% 1% 3%
More than 5,000 deaths per year 3% 5% 1% 3% 4% 1% 3% 3% 2% 4%
Base (n) 1,100 539 561 341 374 385 388 405 90 119

 

  State
NSW VIC QLD SA WA
Less than 100 deaths per year 63% 56% 62% 66% 61%
Between 100 and 1,000 deaths per year 26% 29% 19% 22% 24%
Between 1,000 and 3,000 deaths per year 8% 10% 12% 11% 8%
Between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths per year 1% 2% 3% 0% 3%
More than 5,000 deaths per year 2% 2% 4% 1% 4%
Base (n) 349 276 219 89 111
  • 61% of people say an ‘acceptable’ number of Covid-19 deaths is less than 100 per year. 25% say between 100 and 1,000 deaths would be ‘acceptable’. Only a small percentage think over 1000 deaths would be acceptable, with 10% saying 1,000 to 3,000, 2% between 3,000 and 5,000, and 3% saying more than 5,000 deaths per year.
  Get Covid-19 cases down as close to zero as possible Live with a few cases of Covid-19, as long as there are very few hospitalisations and deaths Live with Covid-19, even if there are hospitalisations and deaths
Less than 100 deaths per year 78% 55% 22%
Between 100 and 1,000 deaths per year 13% 33% 35%
Between 1,000 and 3,000 deaths per year 5% 10% 28%
Between 3,000 and 5,000 deaths per year 2% 2% 2%
More than 5,000 deaths per year 2% 1% 12%
Base (n) 482 488 130
  • Among those who said Australia should live with Covid-19, even if there are hospitalisations and deaths, 22% would accept up to 100 deaths per year, 35% would accept between 100 and 1,000 deaths, and 28% would accept 1,000 to 3,000.
  • Among those who think we should live with Covid-19 as long as there are only a few cases of hospitalisations and deaths, 55% think this would mean less than 100 deaths per year, and 33% between 100 and 1,000 deaths.
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