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Nov 26, 2012

Essential: carbon tax much more popular than Abbott

The much-maligned carbon tax has staged a solid rehabilitation in Essential Research polling. In fact, it's now more popular than Tony Abbott.

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Tony Abbott

The bete noire of Australian politics — the carbon tax — has come in from the cold.

The latest poll by Essential Research has found that for the first time in a long time, more people support the carbon tax (46%) than oppose it (44%). While net support is at a wafer-thin +2%, it’s the first time since at least March 2011 that the carbon tax has more fans than critics.

The carbon tax is now significantly more popular than its chief detractor, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Support for Abbott is at -31% (voter satisfaction compared to dissatisfaction, in today’s Newspoll published in The Australian).

The rehabilitation of the carbon tax has mostly occurred since it began on July 1, although Essential found when people were directly asked they were fairly evenly split on how the tax had affected them. A quarter of those polled said the impact on their household was worse than expected, and a quarter said the impact was not as bad as expected. The most common response (36%) was that the impact was about the same as expected.

Those results don’t indicate people were delighted with the impact of the carbon tax. But nor did most people receive a rude shock when the tax kicked in — for most, the tax had about the impact they were expecting, or less.

Coalition voters were much more hostile to the tax’s impact, with 39% saying the impact was worse than expected. That compared with 12% of Labor voters, and 14% of Green voters.

But while voters are slowly thawing to the carbon price, they’re not sure it’s here to stay. Forty-four per cent of those polled said they thought the Coalition would probably repeal the tax if elected, compared to 32% who thought the Coalition would probably not repeal it. Abbott has vowed “in blood” to repeal the tax, although there are some doubts as to how he could get this through the Senate.

The public was less confident of the Coalition’s promises to repeal other Labor reforms, however. Voters were split on whether the Coalition would repeal the mining tax (35% said the Coalition wouldn’t repeal it if elected, 33% said they would) — and the poll found the mining tax was fairly popular, with 63% support compared to 22% who didn’t like it.

Just 18% of respondents thought the Coalition would repeal the national broadband network if elected, while more than half thought they probably wouldn’t. The Coalition has criticised the NBN and proposed replacing it with a less costly mix of technologies. Those polled have taken a shine to the NBN, with 69% in favour and 20% against.

Essential found voter sentiment on who should run the country unchanged, at 53-47% two-party preferred to the Coalition.

Cathy Alexander —

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

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28 thoughts on “Essential: carbon tax much more popular than Abbott

  1. Hamis Hill

    Of course Adam Smith’s idle rich, who live by the interest on their money, cannot be “popular” (meaning to represent a majority of the population).
    Under democratic conditions, deception and oppression are the only means whereby this minority can rule.
    Smith discussed wages in his “Wealth of Nations” pointing out that wages in the English colonies just prior to Independence were 60% higher than in the motherland, yet these high wages had not sent the colonies broke.
    Higher wages meant more savings; more money in the bank meant lower interst rates and setting up a wealth producing enterprise was consequently much easier.
    Smith’s “progress of opulence” did not trickle down from the wealthy but came from high wages being, in response, replaced by labour saving machines, which harnessed non-human energy and so increased production.
    Poverty, by comparison, must be husbanded to keep up a demand for borrowed money, for which lenders can then demand high interest payments.
    This wisdom spread throughout the world after the publication of Smith’s book in 1776.
    Unfortunately, the citizens of the first world democracies are like children who have never been taught to count and who are therefore condemned, for life, to be “short changed” in any money transactions they undertake and are incapable of even fathoming that they are being “Oppressed and deceived”, as Smith argued.
    Abbott and his ilk are merely mercenary employees of these idle rich, and like their bosses are simply, stupidly greedy rather than evil.
    It is interesting to watch the “it is glorious to become rich”, young princelings of the Chinese Communist Party, failing to understand how Adam Smith’s high wage, progress of opulence, mathematical, iron law of economics means that they must create wealth by employing all their citizens at high wages and create a internal demand for the products of their labour while the First world languishes in recession caused by Chinese low wages.
    Bled Dry?
    In Australia the credit card cretins are so far on the path to cultural doom it is hardly worth casting any such pearls of wisdom before them; doped by easy debt, screaming in pain when it is taken away.
    Believing, when Abbott tells them, that it is all Labor’s fault.
    Abbott is not evil, he is simply a mercenary.
    He and his kind erect mountains of dung to block progress on the road to opulence, in order to enforce poverty and high interest rates.(They go together, remember?)
    It doesn’t take an Einstein to do such work.
    Progress, however, might take some application, such as produced the Age of Enlightenment and once, very popular books like “An Inquiry Into The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, sadly no longer read.
    One sure sign of the success of Abbott and company’s efforts to deceive and oppress the public since Smith’s warning in 1776 is the fact that no-one reads his work (taken mainly from his lectures as a Professor of Moral Philosopy and typically delivered to teenagers; might be easier to read than imagined?).

  2. Hamis Hill

    Come on, Abbott’s got a tough gig, trying to get a government, representing a minority, to rule in a democracy.
    It is why Adma Smith suggested that Abbott’s employers have “an interest to deceive and oppress the public”.
    The reason lies with labour, business and finance.
    A business with low wages can afford to borrow at high interest because of high profits and conversely, high wages mean lower profits but lower interest because of higher savings.
    So why does business bother to support the conservatives, when high profits are eroded by high interest back to the levels acheived by high wages and low interest rates?
    Capice? Yes, there are a lot of nunberdunces out there, but surely not a majority?
    High wages reated consumer spending power which supports business.
    Low interest rates are also good for business? Yes??
    Ask why the Australian East Coast Recession corresponds to conservative government’s deliberate financial policies, keeping in mind the necessity to deceive and oppress the public on the part of these servant sof Adam Smith’s idle rich and the argument becomes clear.
    This also explains the paranoia about a left-wing bias in the press on the part of conservatives.
    Successful media will always be successful by serving a majority of the population rather than an idle rich minority.
    It is only when such media and governments are the servants of the idle rich minority that they ignore declining business in favour of an unprofitable policy of deception and oppression of the majority of citizens.
    It’s all in the numbers, dunces!
    Do try to honour your primary school arithmetic teachers efforts by using what they taught you.
    It’s Maths not Marxism.
    It’s a numbers game not a popularity contest.
    For a whole lot of people there is a whole half-hemisphere of brain, lying there unused, that should be taken out of moth balls and applied to the numbers!
    It is a “wicked and adulterous” neglect of mathematical mental rigour which causes the political generations to seek signs concerning the political economy yet find none (to paraphrase that Pulp Fiction character).

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