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Federal

Apr 10, 2012

Essential: the budget deficit is all Gillard’s fault

Voters blame the federal budget deficit mainly on economic mismanagement by the government, with the latest Essential Research poll also showing Labor's primary vote taking a sharp cut.

Support for federal Labor is collapsing, as voters sheet home the blame for the budget deficit to government mismanagement.

The Coalition has arrested recent gains in Labor’s vote, according to Essential Research’s weekly online poll, with Labor’s primary vote falling another two points to 31%. The Coalition jumps three points to claim 50% of the primary vote, shaking out to a two-point turnaround in the two-party preferred vote: 50-31%.

The economy still weighs heavily on voters’ minds. While most economists are comfortable with Australia’s debt levels and have urged the government not to return to surplus so quickly, voters seem to believe debt levels should never have blown out as much as they have.

Asked by Essential what was “most responsible for the deficit over the past few years”, most of the 1032 respondents said it was due to “poor economic management” by the government, which has vowed to return the budget to surplus in 2012-13.

This question was last asked 12 months ago. Then, 23% of respondents blamed government mismanagement and 19% blamed the cost of the government’s GFC stimulus package. That dropped in the latest poll to just 12% blaming the GFC stimulus package as the largest reason for the budget deficit.

When broken up into voting intention, Coalition voters were more likely to blame bad economic management by the government (48%), while Labor voters said big companies not paying enough taxes (28%) and lower tax revenues (27%) were responsible.

Despite Julia Gillard’s promise to return the budget to surplus, only 23% supported putting the country back into the black if it meant cutting services and raising taxes. In comparison, the majority of voters — 66% — preferred a delay on returning the budget to surplus and instead maintaining services and an investment in infrastructure. Those most likely to support a return to surplus “came from respondents aged 25-44 (30%), Liberal/National voters (32%), full-time workers (32%) and those on income over $1600 per week (36%)”, said Essential.

Last week Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called for the Productivity Commission to investigate whether nannies should be included in the childcare rebate. That may be a vote winner, with 44% of Essential respondents strongly supportive of the idea. In contrast, 33% of respondents strongly opposed the concept of a nanny rebate and 22% had no opinion.

Not surprisingly, Liberal/National voters are more likely to support the plan (57%) and Labor and Greens voters more likely to oppose the plan (49% and 44% respectively).

When asked if government subsidies and benefits — such as childcare rebates and health insurance premiums — should be means tested, 37% of respondents said they should be, 25% said all should receive government subsidies regardless of income and 29% said they didn’t know. Labor voters were overwhelming more likely to support means testing — 82% — while Liberal/National supporters were more likely to not — 52%.

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31 comments

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31 thoughts on “Essential: the budget deficit is all Gillard’s fault

  1. shepherdmarilyn

    The deficit has nothing to do with the government. Why do the cretin pollsters ask such idiot questions.

  2. Michael Lines

    Because the press want something to bash the Government with. It’s all part of their plan to get rid of them.

  3. Suzanne Blake

    @ Marilyn

    The deficit has everything to do with the Government, who wastes billions of our dollars and leaves us with a huge interest bill and debt repayments

  4. Jimmy

    SB – Do a little bit of research and see how much the tax receipts have dropped since 2007 and then see how much of the current years deficit is a result of spending.

  5. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    Do a little walking around talking to small business, medium business and consumer in electoral seats that matter and see how much this Government has killed off business and consumer confidence with its skittish policy, backflips, dishonesty, incompetence and arrogance.

  6. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    The voters in NSW and Queensland have. Yes State issues but clouded over by Federal ones as well. Hence the reflective and consistent national polls.

  7. Jimmy

    What a shock SB – you are unable to support your statement so you change the subject.

    I have already had the confidence discussion with you, consumer confidence the highest in the OECD, business confidence hovering around 50 with a lot of the fears being driven by factors outside the govt’s control, eurpoe, US, high dollar etc.

    Look for big improvements in both as the year progresses and the RBA cuts rates, the US continues to recover and the carbon tax scare campaign getss proven wrong.

  8. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jimmy

    You are like dishonest Gillard and incompetent Swan, you believe your own spin.

    They are sitting there, waiting for it all to turnaround suddenly

  9. Jimmy

    Where’s the dishonesty SB – I provided the sources for my confidence figures in our previous discussion, both very reputable but of course you didn’t believe them.

    And if you think international factors haven’t been dragging down confidence then you are even thikcer than I thought which is saying something.

    As for the future well it’s all a bit of an unknown but if the RBA cuts rates by 0.5% over the next 3-4 month as I and many economists expect confidence will go up. If the US contiunes to recover as it has been of the past 4-6 months confidence will go up. If Europe contiues to stabilise confidence will go up. When the carbon tax scare campaign is shown to be false confidence will go up.

    Have you done that research yet or are you willing to concede you were talking through your hat on the deficits.

  10. Jimmy

    Just to prove my honesty business confidence out yesterday from the NAB had it being plus 3 which is positive and up 2 points due to global improvements but below it’s long term average of plus 6.

    Westpac today had consumer confidence down to 94.5 from 96.1 (100 being neutral) so slightly negative but still high in OECD terms and down based on no interest rate cut from the RBA.

    Hence both my statements and my reasoning are correct.

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