Morgan released a telephone poll yesterday (split into two parts) that looks at public perceptions of global warming and views on the current CPRS legislation. It was a phone poll running off a sample of 674, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 3.8% mark.

The first question asked was “Which of the following is closest to your view about Global Warming?”. There were for possible responses, and we can track them across time:


The results here support what we’ve seen in both Essential Research and Newspoll polling on this topic over the last 12 months or so – a growing level of generic scepticism towards global warming. Yet, where it becomes interesting isn’t in the headline results (although they’re interesting enough), but in the demographic and party ID composition of those results.

viewbydemo viewbyparty

Men (37%)  and non-capital city (36%) respondents are two largest and undoubtedly interrelated cohorts that believe concerns about global warming are exaggerated.There really is a substantial gender and geographic gap on global warming. On the political ID side of the equation, Labor and Greens voters have near identical levels of belief on the need to act, with the Greens having a slightly more “we’ll all be rooned” component and the ALP having a slightly larger skeptics component.  The 11% of Greens voters that believed concerns are exaggerated was a little out of left field. I’d imagine they’d be the life of the party and any Greens shindig.

Yet, this still doesn’t tell the whole story. We can compare these results from an identical poll Morgan ran on this topic 3 months ago, back in August. If we measure how the demographic and Party ID responses have changed over the period – we can see how how and where the campaign against global warming has been having it’s largest effect.

changeviewbydemo changeviewbyparty

On the demographic side, the gender/geography polarisation has ramped up. The proportion of non-capital city respondents that believe that if we don’t act now it will be too late declined by 10% over the previous 3 months, shifting straight across on net to believing that global warming concerns are exaggerated (9% increase). Similarly, there was a 6% drop in the proportion of men that believe we need to act, with a 5% increase in the proportion of men now believing that concerns are exaggerated. The number of women skeptical of global warming didnt change over the period, although the intensity of female belief on the issue shifted, with a 5% reduction in women believing we need to act – all moving across to now believing it’s already too late.

On the political side, that shift in female intensity of belief on global warming was mirrored with Labor voters –  a 7% reduction in the proportion of skeptical ALP supporters occurring since August, and an 8% increase in the proportion of Labor voters that believe it’s already too late. The Coalition has reduced its “need to act” proportion by 7%, mostly shifting to the skeptical position.

Interesting here is the Greens – and not so much in terms of how the beliefs of their supporters changed over the period, but in how they did not change.

That 4% increase in the level of skeptical greens voters is probably neither here nor there (I hope so for their sake!) – but the absence of any real growth in the “It’s already too late” component of their voter base suggests that their nihilistic fringe on this issue has already maxed itself out for the time being. There appears to be much less political currency for the Greens in doom mongering over global warming than there is in being seen to constructively address the “If we dont act now it will be too late” part of the debate – something they might want to keep in mind when it comes to their media tactics.

The other question Morgan asked was on the CPRS legislation:

“There’s proposed legislation before Federal Parliament for a carbon emissions trading scheme to be introduced in Australia.Do you approve or disapprove of this legislation?”

We only have two polls worth of results on this question – so we don’t have any long term trends available, but we do have the three month change data.


While 50% still approve of the CPRS – there’s been a 5% drop since August, a 7 point increase in disapproval of the proposed CPRS and probably a slight reduction in the numbers that say they “don’t understand”.

On the results by demographic cohort and Party ID we get:

cprsbydemo cprsbyparty

The demographic side of the CPRS issue is not far removed from generic views on global warming, with men and non-capital city respondents having the lowest level of approval, and women and those in the capitals having the highest. The large disapproval rating for men and the non-capital cities is highly likely to be driven by those over the 50 years of age – Morgan also has that data on their site in the links given at the top of the post for anyone that wants to check it out.

On the Party ID side, a majority of Greens voters approve of the CPRS – making the Greens the party that is most out of step with the actual views of it’s constituency. A clear majority of Labor voters approve and a plurality of Coalition voters disapprove – the Greens really are the odd one out here. As the Democrats demonstrated, minor parties need to be pay more attention to the way their policy aligns with the views of their constituents than the major parties – particularly over their core issues.

With the Coalition, the cost/benefit risk of their opposition to the CPRS is pretty dangerous – they’re almost caught in a lose/lose situation. If they pass the CPRS, 45% of their voters will disagree with the party’s actions, while if they prevent the legislation from passing, 37% of their voters will disagree with their actions – that is a substantial chunk of political grief lurking in the background regardless of what they ultimately do. If the Coalition block the legislation, it opens their predominantly female capital city flank up for electoral attack by Labor and the Greens at the next election – which really would be dangerous since we already know that the Coalition and Malcolm Turnbull are weak with female voters.

If we move on to how the demographics and  Party ID responses changed over the last 3 months.

changecprsbydemo changecprsbyparty

Again, the big movement was in men and country voters, having a respective 9% and 11% reduction in approval responses over the CPRS. Yet while the change from approval on the CPRS for males went straight to disapproval on net, with country respondents it was split between an increase in CPRS disapproval and “Can’t Say”. Quite a few country respondents became skeptical skeptics.

Which is fair enough – I’d be loathe to believe a  word Barnaby said about anything more complicated than a cup of tea as well.

The other thing on the demographic side that stands out is how the “Don’t Understands” clarified their position into mostly disapproval over the last three months, suggesting the undecideds are breaking against the CPRS legislation, in both the capital cities and the country regions.

With the Party ID breakdowns, the biggest movement was a 19 point increase in disapproval of the CPRS legislation (from 16 in August to 35 in November) – although that also contains those strange “concerns are exaggerated” Greens and there was a large number of undecideds breaking into the disapproval camp. Labor had a slight bump up in support and drop in disapproval, while the Coalition had a 12% reduction in the proportion of their voters that approve the CPRS running with an 11% increase in those that disapprove.

All up, there’s quite a bit of info to chew over here.


Elsewhere: Larvatus Prodeo