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Jun 24, 2014

Essential: voters deliver thumbs-down to Palmer

Voters don't particularly like Clive Palmer's larger-than-life political personality, today's Essential Report finds, while the Coalition has lifted its vote despite voters not believing Tony Abbott.

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Voters regard Clive Palmer as arrogant, aggressive and erratic, this week’s Essential Report shows, while the Coalition has bounced back from its post-budget lows.

Essential asked voters to assess the attributes of Greens leader Christine Milne and magnate-turned-walking headline Clive Palmer. 

Some 70% of voters thought Palmer was “arrogant”; 67% “aggressive”, 64% “erratic”, 59% “out of touch” and 57% “superficial”, while only 23% thought he was “trustworthy”. On 37% for “trustworthy”, Greens leader Christine Milne edges out Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as the most trusted, or least untrusted, political leader; Milne also scored well on “hard-working” and “intelligent”.

Some 37% of voters believe the Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate has been “bad for Australia”, compared to 28% who think it has been good — Coalition voters heavily leaning toward “bad”; 39% of voters think the Palmer United Party holding the balance of power will be bad, compared to 26% who think it will be good.

On voting intention, the Coalition has pulled back another point on its primary vote to reach 40% — it is now up three points in two weeks — while Labor has lost 3 points (rounded) to fall to 38%. The Greens remain on 9% and Palmer United are on 5%. That results in the two-party preferred outcome of 52%-48% with the Labor Party ahead, though the Coalition is up 2 points from last week.

The better result for the Coalition comes despite voters clearly disbelieving Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s insistence that his budget broke no promises. Some 72% of voters disagree that no promises were broken in the budget, compared to 19% who think that’s true. That includes 49% of Liberal voters who think promises were broken, compared to 41% who thought none were.

Essential asked voters about previous and current events in Iraq. Fifty per cent of voters think Australia was wrong to attack Iraq in 2003, about the same level as April last year, while 25% think it was the right decision, with Liberal voters equally divided, 38% opposed and 39% in favour. However, 39% of voters favour the US taking military action currently, compared to 31% who are opposed; Liberal voters are strongly in favour (49%-24%), while Labor voters are split (34%-35%) and Greens voters opposed, though less than might be expected (24%-35%). However, voters are in opposition to any Australian involvement, opposing it 54%-30% (Liberal voters, however, split 42%-43%).

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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