Australians are less pessimistic about the economy than last year, today’s Essential Report finds, but partisanship affects the way we feel — including about Australia Day.
Voter enthusiasm for an early election has slumped to its lowest level since 2011, with most voters now preferring the government runs its full course, polling from Essential Research finds.
More than half of all voters (52%) now want an election later in the year, while only 35% want an election held immediately, easily the lowest level of support since the question was first asked in September 2011. At that point, there was strong support for an immediate election, 48% to 40% support for Parliament running its full term.
Voting intention figures suggest an early election would still be a wipeout for Labor. On primary votes, Labor lost a point (35%), the Greens gained a point (10%) and the Coalition was steady on 48%, leaving the two-party preferred vote at 54-46% in the Coalition’s favour.
And while a strong majority of voters think the Australian economy has outperformed other economies in the last few years — 70%, including 29% who think it has performed “a lot” better — more people think economic conditions will get worse than improve or stay the same in the next 12 months. Some 29% of respondents believe they will improve, 27% believe they will remain about the same and 37% believe they will worsen.
However, that represents an improvement on 2012, when 45-46% regularly believed conditions would worsen and only 22-25% thought they’d improve. In October 2011, well over half of voters thought conditions would worsen.
The impact of partisanship was also on display, with 51% of Liberal voters believing conditions would worsen and 21% believing they’d improve; Labor voters almost perfectly reversed that, 50-22%. Only 64% of Liberal voters think the Australian economy has performed better than those overseas, with 7% believing it has performed “a lot worse”.
In the event of another financial crisis, the Coalition still has a big lead over Labor on the question of who would be best to handle it — 40% to 26% — albeit slightly down on May 2012, when the Coalition’s lead was 42-25%.
Belief in human-caused climate change has increased marginally compared to October 2012, up from 48% to 51%, but so too has support for the view that “we are just witnessing a normal fluctuation in the earth’s climate”, from 39% to 40%, with “don’t knows” for the first time falling into single figures. Some 58% of Liberal voters believe climate change is just “normal fluctuation”. And support for the government’s carbon price has fallen one point to 37%, with opposition rising from 48% to 50%.
Partisanship also seemed to affect how we view Australia Day. Labor and Liberal voters are virtually identical in their attitudes: 43/44% say they were doing something special to celebrate it versus 41% who said they simply treated it as another public holiday. But 61% of Greens voters said they treated it as just another holiday. Younger people were also more likely to join in the jingoism, with 45% of 18-34 year olds saying they celebrated the day, compared to around 38% of older people.