The level of opposition to the carbon price has fallen to its lowest level since the government announced its commitment to one in February last year, but voters still remain opposed to it, and are conscious of price rises because of it, new polling from Essential Report finds.

In Essential’s first assessment of support for the carbon price since its introduction, support rose to 38%, and opposition fell to 48%; the net disapproval of 10 points is the lowest since Essential began asking about the current iteration of the government’s carbon pricing plans, in March 2011. At the end of June, immediately before the government’s scheme started, net disapproval was 19 points.

The fall in opposition is in contrast to rising perceptions that the scheme has had an impact on prices. Sixty nine per cent of voters say they’ve noticed price rises since the introduction of the scheme three months ago, up from 31% immediately after the introduction and 52% in August. At the same time, the impact of partisanship on perceptions has worn off — voters intending to vote Liberal are still more likely to have observed price rises, but a majority of Labor voters now see them as well, although they’re less likely to attribute rising prices directly to the carbon price: 62% of voters blame the carbon price, but only 45/46% of Labor and Greens voters compared to 73% of Liberal voters.

Labor’s primary vote collapse 18 months ago was sparked by the government’s announcement of a carbon price; as disapproval seems to be fading, its vote has risen to its highest level since May 2011. This week Labor’s primary vote is at 36%, up one point, with the Coalition down a point to 47%; the Greens remain on 9%. The 2PP result is 53-47%, still a landslide win to the Coalition, but Labor’s best 2PP result since June last year.

Voters are also underwhelmed by the government’s pursuit of a seat on the UN Security Council. Forty four per cent of voters think there’s benefit in securing a seat, compared to 24% who don’t, but that’s down from 66-14% four years ago, when Kevin Rudd first announced the bid. Liberal voters are more likely to believe there’s no benefit, 39-32%, while Greens are the strongest supporters, at 68-7%.

And the National Disability Insurance Scheme has the strongest support among voters on the issue of whether it should be implemented regardless of the need to fund it with increased taxes or spending cuts. Fifty eight per cent of voters support the NDIS regardless of whether it needs tax rises and spending cuts, compared to 22% who prefer it not proceed if money needs to be found elsewhere. There’s similarly strong support for the government’s new dental scheme, at 53% to 29%.

Support for the Gonski school funding reforms is a little lower, at 48% to 30%. And there’s outright opposition to new submarine purchase. Only 24% of voters support the acquisition of new submarines if it means higher taxes or spending cuts; 50% are opposed. Sixty eight per cent of voters also believe it’s important for the country to return to surplus.

Essential’s sample size was 1046 voters, but voting intention is averaged over a fortnight, for a sample size of 2089.