Oct 31, 2011

Essential: divisions over Occupy, but we’re gunning for CSG

Voters support the concerns of the Occupy movement, but don't support the protests themselves and are divided over whether police were justified in breaking them up, new polling shows.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Voters support the concerns of the Occupy movement, but don't support the protests themselves and are divided over whether police were justified in breaking them up, new polling shows. The weekly online poll from Essential Research found 29% of voters support both the movement's concerns and protests, while 13% didn't agree with their concerns. Around 40% agreed with their concerns, but didn't agree with the action. The only strong support came from Greens voters; 59% of whom supported both the movement's concerns and the protests. There was real division over the controversial police break-ups of the protests in Melbourne and Sydney. Essential found 42% of voters backed police action to break up the protests over the 41% who said they should have been allowed to continue, with Labor and Greens voters strongly supporting their continuation and Liberal voters equally vehemently opposed. On the issue of coal seam gas, half of those polled wanted further restrictions on the mining exercise, compared to 20% who feel current regulations balance the rights of farmers and miners. This leaves a high "don't know" vote for both sides to win over. And on gambling, there's been a fall in support for tighter regulation of the industry since April 2011 when Essential last asked voters how they felt about different forms of gambling. Support for tighter regulation of poker machines has fallen from 62% to 52% since April, with 35% saying the current level of regulation is about right. Support for more regulation of casinos and Lotto has also fallen, while there's now greater support for regulation of sports betting. Essential also asked whether voters thought the major parties favoured the interests of business or workers, or balanced them. Both the Labor and Liberal parties scored 14% on balance, and thereafter radically diverged: voters thought Labor favoured workers over business 41-28%, while the Liberals -- despite Tony Abbott's moves away from liberal economic orthodoxy on a range of issues -- were considered to favour business over workers by a huge 61-8%, suggesting a possible area for Labor to exploit if it is adept enough to tap into the current anti-corporate mood running through the community. On voting intention, the first good news for Labor for a while: a two-point lift in its primary vote to 34%, at the expense of both the Coalition (down one to 47%) and the Greens (down one to 10%). The two-party preferred vote, on a rolling fortnightly basis, remains on 55-45% to the Coalition.

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3 thoughts on “Essential: divisions over Occupy, but we’re gunning for CSG

  1. Jimmy

    “Voters support the concerns of the Occupy movement” It would be interesting to see exaxtly which of the many and varied concerns of the occupy group were surveyed but if the question was “Do you support a more equitable spread of wealth?” it is hardly surprising that the majority supported it is it?

    “On voting intention, the first good news for Labor for a while: a two-point lift in its primary vote to 34%” Not sure this is the first good news for Labor, there seems to have been a slow but steady increasse in the ALP’s vote over the past fewweeks in a variety of polls. Is it a coincidence that this is happening at a time when Abbott’s policies are coming in for more scrutiny and his opposition to the Carbon Tax has become redundant?

  2. Karen

    Hi Jimmy, I agree that there is a definite nudge in the ALP primary vote – maybe, its a combination of the carbon tax getting through, and the increasing comfort Julia seems to reflect in her leadership role. Its as if she’s settling into it and really hitting her straps. She’s really coming across as a very bright, organised, consensus-driven, competent, determined, tough and unflaggingly resilient leader (in the face of incredible attack by powerful vested interests).

    She’s negotiating well with the other partners in her minority government (there is no dissonance there), she has performed well in CHOGM, and she has been brutually efficient and determined in her handling of the Qantas dispute – no prevarication or vacillation there either. She has been truly impressive in her defence of the government’s handling of the issue and has explained clearly and well in her latest press conferences the powers the government has exercised before Fairwork Australia. She has made industrial relations fairer and given workers the right to bargain on the issue of job security under the industrial legislation that she has shepherded in (unlike workchoices), which is again a fillip to her.

    She has also astutely surrounded herself with tough, experienced lieutenants such as Albanese, Emerson etc to take up the cadgels and fight too where appropriate.

    Even if Julia loses the next election, she will have achieved more in three short years than Howard did in 11 years. She and Rudd steered the country through recession, delivered tax cuts to low and middle income people at a time when it was needed. Julia has put in school infrastructure along the length and breadth of the country (with little wastage on the basis of the audit reports), introduced regulation to the home insulation industry even when the fire rates didn’t go up (see Possums work on the CSIRO report), pushed the carbon price through. NBN is being rolled out. She should also land the mining tax (hopefully Bob doesn’t spoil – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, Bob even if the tax doesn’t raise as much as you would like it to) and the pokies legislation. No complaints by small business and the superannuation industry there, if the mining tax goes ahead.

    There will be important tax reform that will see the significant raising of the tax free threshold if the mining tax goes through – Coalition would never have done delivered breaks for the less well-off, on the contrary, they would rather reduce taxes for the wealthy and raise the GST, which would hit the poor and working classes. Typical.

    The health and disability reforms are really good too, although Roxon and Shorten primarily need to take credit here.

    Hopefully, Julia has the guts to deal with gay marriage at the ALP conference – she might as well go for broke.This issue should have been settled 100 years ago. Can’t believe that we are still fricking around with this issue in 2011.

    Fly in the ointment – asylum seekers – but, hey, we’ve got the best of all possible worlds now – asylum seekers are being processed onshore with the use of community placements – thank God, because mandatory detention, let alone off shore processing, is nothing but an expensive human rights mental health catastrophe.

    Julia’s foreign policy on focussing on China and Asia is spot on – we are well and truly in the Asian age now.

    In all, Julia’s legacy will be that of a genuinely progressive leader who has sought to raise the fortunes of all and not just a privileged few. For those who are looking for a narrative for Julia, well, there you have it. No-one can genuinely say that the ALP under Julia ‘stands for nothing.’

  3. Mack the Knife

    The disparities in these various Newspolls measuring Labor’s primary vote are quite large. The mainstream media and Their ABC prefer to use the worst ones to slag off Labor when they talk of ‘Labor’s support in the polls’.

    There’s no doubt to me that contrived dodgy polling results are used to effect the equivalent of a self fulfilling promise by Limited News to encourage the uninformed to follow the ‘herd’. Most times when polling is taking place, it coincides with an anti Labor blitz campaign. In addition, as I found out when they called me, Newspoll is not conducted by Newspoll but by a sub contractor.

    The net result of all this is that its impossible to tell what the real percentages are but I suspect that they are not what is presented to us.

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