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Federal

Apr 30, 2012

Essential: grim times for ALP but no interest in early election

There's no groundswell in favour of an early election after the last week's dramas, today's Essential Report finds.

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The government’s handling of the Peter Slipper affair hasn’t increased voters’ desire for an early election, according to new polling from Essential Research.

Some 48% of voters — up two points since March — believe the government should run its full term, compared to 42% — down two — who want an election now. As always, the result strongly reflects voting intention, with three-quarters of Liberal voters wanting an election.

Labor has also maintained its primary vote at 31% but the Coalition has lifted its vote a point to 50%, taking the two-party preferred result to 57-43. The Greens’ primary vote remains unchanged on 11%, suggesting there has yet been no fallout from Bob Brown’s decision to step down.

The government’s aged-care reform package, which was released a day before the Slipper story broke, gets very strong backing from voters, 61-7%, but few voters know much about it even if they back it — 62% say they know little or nothing about the reforms. That may be because, unusually, Labor actually leads the Coalition on the party most trusted to provide aged-care services, 31-27%.

Essential also asked voters about their reaction to Joe Hockey’s statements about an “age of entitlement”. Thirty nine per cent agreed that Australians receive too much assistance from government, while 33% disagreed; the result was also strongly partisan, with Liberal voters strongly agreeing there was too much assistance, and Labor and Greens voters disagreeing.

Voters were also asked about government regulation and what should be the most important factor in determining levels of regulation. Out of a range of areas including alcohol, tobacco, seat belts, bicycle helmets and recreational drugs, Essential found that the internet was the only area where there wasn’t outright majority support for regulation, with only 49% saying they support internet regulation and 43% disagreeing.

Shopping hours was the next lowest in support levels at 56%, then personal use of recreational drugs on 59%. Sixty two per cent of voters said they thought protecting rights and freedom should be the most important factor governments should consider when regulating the internet, with only 18% saying people’s health and safety should be most important.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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