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Essential: terrorism hype working well

Australians believe the terrorism threat is growing, but still support multiculturalism and a non-discriminatory immigration policy, today’s Essential Report shows.

Australians are convinced the threat of terrorism is growing, today’s Essential Report finds, although the government is yet to get a polling bounce out of it.

Demonstrating the effectiveness of an old-fashioned national security scare campaign, Essential shows 57% of voters think the terrorist threat has increased in recent years; only 6% say it has decreased. The only voters to display scepticism about claims of a “security nightmare” from Islamic State militants are Greens voters, who think the threat is diminishing rather than growing, 27%-25%. Coalition voters were most likely to believe the threat was growing, 69%-3%. Voters also strongly approve of the Prime Minister’s commitment of over $60 million to address radicalisation of Australians, 56%-24%, although Coalition voters were by far the strongest in support, 78%-10%. Greens voters disapproved 46%-34% while Labor voters approved 47%-34%.

The report found 57% of voters also believe multiculturalism has made a positive impact on Australian society, compared to 30% who think it has been negative, almost exactly the same as in February 2011. Those least approving of multiculturalism were Other/PUP voters (49%-42% support) and Coalition voters (51%-37%); voters also grew more hostile to multiculturalism with age. Australians are even more supportive of a non-discriminatory immigration policy, with 63% saying people should not be rejected as immigrants based solely on religion, compared to 21% who say that should happen. While Coalition voters were a little more inclined to support religious discrimination, even that was only 27%.

Voters also want more emphasis on renewable energy, with 70% saying more emphasis should be placed on solar power production, 60% saying more on wind and 46% saying more on hydro power, while 53% want less emphasis on coal. The argument from climate denialists and fossil fuel advocates that renewable energy drives up the cost of power also doesn’t seem to have registered with voters, with 45% of voters saying renewable energy is better for electricity costs compared to 25% who say fossil fuels are better for electricity costs.

On voting intention, there’s been minimal shift, and merely back to the situation of a fortnight ago, with the Coalition up one point on its primary vote (40%), Labor up a point (38%), the Greens and PUP down one each (9% and 5%) for an unchanged 2PP outcome of 52%-48% in Labor’s favour.

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