Voters disapprove of Qantas management’s decision to ground its fleet, but don’t approve of the way anyone in the dispute conducted themselves except the industrial relations regulator.

New polling from Essential Research reveals 53% of voters disapproved of the grounding decision, including 29% who strongly disapproved, while 35% approved. There was a sharp partisan divide over the issue, with Liberal voters strongly approving the grounding, 53-38%, and Labor and Greens voters strongly disapproving, with both over 60%.

Around 40% cent blamed Qantas management, 20% Qantas workers, and 31% “both equally”. A more interesting division was between regular air travellers and everyone else — regular travellers were equally divided on the grounding, 47% for both approval and disapproval.

Asked to rate the performance of all parties involved in the dispute, only Fair Work Australia emerged well, with 55% approval and 21% disapproval. Qantas workers were the best of the rest with 33% approval to 49% disapproval; Julia Gillard and the government next (30-49%), then Alan Joyce (28-58%), Tony Abbott (27-45%), Qantas management (27-57%), and union leaders (24-56%).

Almost 60% of responders to the online poll thought the grounding decision would damage Qantas’s reputation, compared to 32% who thought the unions’ industrial action would do so.

Essential also asked how likely voters were to pay for a subscription to a news website, with only 8% saying they were likely to, including 2% who were “very likely to”. Seventy per cent said “not at all likely” and another 18% said “not very likely”, despite mainstream media internet news sites being roughly on par with commercial television as a “main source” of news — 30-31%.

Younger voters were more likely than older voters to embrace paywalls, with 14% of people under 34 saying they’d be likely to pay a subscription, more than twice as many as older voters.

On voting intention, the incremental recovery of Labor’s vote from the depths of mid-winter continues, with Labor up another point to 35% on its primary vote, Labor’s best two-party preferred result since mid-June. The Coalition is down a point to 46% and the Greens fell one point to 9%. That yields a 2PP result of 54-46 to the Coalition.