Partisanship strongly colours how voters perceive electricity price rises and their cause, polling from Essential Research shows, but there’s little to distinguish major party voters on asylum seekers.
When asked how gas and electricity prices have changed in recent years, voters across the parties were in strong agreement that prices had increased “a moderate amount” — that was the view of around 30% of voters, no matter what their voting intention. But 48% of Liberal voters thought they’d increased a lot, whereas only 35% of Labor voters thought they had, and 23% of Greens voters. In total, 42% of voters thought prices had risen a lot and 29% “a moderate amount”.
The same partisan split was reflected in who people blamed for rising electricity prices. In total, 28% blamed the federal government, 23% state governments and 37% power companies. But that disguised a massive difference between voters. Among Liberal voters, 40% blamed the government, 21% the states and 28% power companies; yet just 16% of Labor voters blamed the federal government, 27% the states and 50% power companies. Similarly, only 18% of Greens voters blamed the federal government, 28% blamed the states and 42% the power companies.
And a similar difference applied in relation to impacts of the carbon price. There’s been a big jump in the number of voters saying they’d noticed price rises, from 31% on 9 July (just a week after the introduction of the carbon price), up to 52% now.
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Those who hadn’t noticed any increase fell from 54% to 36%. But Labor and Greens voters had strangely missed the rises: only 34% of Labor and 29% of Greens voters had seen prices rises, while 68% of Liberal voters had. And Liberal voters were far more likely to blame the carbon price for price rises: 81% of Liberal voters blamed the carbon price, but only 53% of Labor voters (and 70% of Greens voters — maybe because they know that price rises are the point of the carbon price?).
But on asylum seekers, partisan differences, at least between Labor and Liberal voters, disappear. Around 65% of Labor voters back implementing the recommendation of the Houston panel report, and 70% of Liberal voters, but only 34% of Greens. In total, there’s strong approval for the recommendations, at 62%.
But there’s scepticism about how effective the recommendations will be: only 31% of voters think implementing the recommendations will be “very effective” or “quite effective” at stopping the arrival of boats. Bizarrely, that’s much less than the number of voters who think the package will provide “fair treatment for genuine asylum seekers”, which 40% of voters think the package will be effective at.
And on specific measures, voters have different views. There’s net disapproval for expanding our humanitarian intake to 20,000 places a year, 42% approval to 46% disapproval. There’s strong support — 72% — for limiting access to family reunion, and reopening Nauru and Manus Island (67%), as well as turning back boats if appropriate conditions are met (two-thirds of voters supported that). There’s also support for detaining refugees for several years, but it’s softer, 47% to 39%, and little support for the Malaysian Solution (30% to 47%).
On voting intention, there’s no change on the primary vote: Coalition 49%, Labor 32%, Greens 10%. But the 2PP outcome has again shifted back to 57-43% (due to the effects of rounding, small changes in results of less than 1% means some 2PP results may change while the primary votes appears unchanged). The Essential sample size for voting intention is 1864 respondents.