Voters are split on whether the federal government’s move to dump an emissions trading scheme before the next election was a good decision, with support for Kevin Rudd collapsing and Labor’s primary vote slipping in the latest polls.

Labor has lost 2% to the Greens in primary vote polling, in the first indication of how removing an ETS from the political agenda will impact the parties in the run-up to a federal election.

The weekly Essential Research online poll shows Labor on 53% support in the two-party preferred stakes compared to the Liberal/National coalition on 47% — a gap two points narrower compared to last week. But the coalition was static in primary vote support — as it has been for weeks — with Labor’s two-point loss reflected in the 3% gain by the Greens.

Labor sits on 40% primary vote support, just one point ahead of the coalition on 39%. The Greens record their highest level of support in the past six months, jumping from 9% to 11%, according to Essential’s 1700-strong panel.

First preference/
leaning to
6 months ago 4 weeks ago Last week This week
Liberal 33% 36% 36% 36%
National 2% 3% 3% 3%
Total Lib/Nat 35% 39% 39% 39%
Labor 49% 43% 42% 40%
Greens 8% 10% 9% 11%
Family First 3% 2% 3% 3%
Other/Independent 5% 7% 7% 7%

While more people approve of the decision to dump the ETS than disapprove, the poll shows just how divisive the issue has become on the Australian political landscape. Those who approve was recorded by Essential at 38% of the electorate compared to 41% who disapprove.

Of those, 14% show “strong” support for an ETS, while 12% “strongly disapprove” of the decision to axe the policy.

Labor voters are evenly split (40% approve/40% disapprove), while Liberal/National voters are slightly more likely to approve (47% approve/37% disapprove). Not surprisingly, 76% of Greens voters disapprove of the decision compared to 21% who approve.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey