Oct 29, 2012

Essential: voters positive about economy, grumpy about surplus

New polling from Essential Research suggests voters are happier about the economy but aren't as committed to a budget surplus as Labor is.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Sentiment about the state of the economy has improved significantly in the last six months. But voters oppose any further spending cuts to return to surplus, according to polling from Essential Research. The proportion of voters who consider the Australian economy in good shape has lifted from 35% to 41% since May, with a corresponding drop in those rating it poor from 29% to 23%. Liberal voters, however, are still more likely to see it as poor -- only 27% of Liberal voters rate the economy as good compared to 38% who rate it as poor. Voters are also divided on the merits of the government's return to surplus: 37% approve of its fiscal policy even if it means more spending cuts to achieve the surplus, but 43% don't approve.

Unusually -- and again reflecting the ways partisanship can skew people's responses -- Labor voters are the most fiscally hawkish, approving of the return to surplus by 52% to 32%. Liberal voters are the softest, opposing the return to surplus 54% to 31%. On voting intention, there's been little shift: the Coalition vote has gone up a point to 48% while Labor remains the same on 36% and the Greens remain on 9%. The extra point for the Coalition pushes the two-party preferred outcome back up to 54-46%. Meanwhile, more Australians believe there's benefit in Australia having a seat on the UN Security Council than not. Essential found 45% of respondents from its online panel thought there was a lot or some benefit (with, again, a partisan skewing: a quarter of Liberal voters think there's no benefit at all) and 16% believing there was no benefit. And there's still strong opposition to the export of uranium to India: 40% of voters oppose it compared to 28% who support it, but hostility has softened since November last year when opposition was 45% to 30%. Similarly, opposition to nuclear power in Australia has softened slightly: 41% of voters oppose an Australian nuclear power industry compared to 39% who support it, down from 45% to 39% in November 2011 but still well short of the net support the policy attracted in 2010 before Fukushima.

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4 thoughts on “Essential: voters positive about economy, grumpy about surplus

  1. Peter Ormonde


    Seriously mate, if Cr*key is absolutely bolted to some sort of spruiking arrangement with Essential fine… should be declared but it’s not my Code of Ethics.

    But if you must run these constantly uncritical reports of their curious form of market research I really think it’s necessary that your readers be advised that this Essential method is not polling as we know it. At least link to their report and/or the outline of their methodology so that folks can work out for themselves what this Essential market survey actually reflects.

    Or does actually informing the readers fly out the window when we start doing unannounced advertorials?

  2. CML

    It would appear that Essential’s results are a long way from Newspoll out today at 50%-50%. Has someone got it wrong?

  3. zut alors

    The only poll in which I’ll take interest is the one where punters are asked ‘if you never saw or heard another political poll result in your lifetime would you give a rat’s?’

  4. Peter Ormonde

    G’day CML,

    The reason Essential is so different is a product of how they go about it…

    Seeing as Cr*key doesn’t think this is important, I’ll actually post their methods here.

    The bit I particularly like is the “effectively ruling out concerns about self-selection”… hey presto!!!!

    Now speaking of exclamation marks, I cut and pasted this from Essential’s site. Every word is followed by an exclamation mark. You will notice this. It is perhaps apt. I tried to remove them – but this took yonks. So I stopped.

    “The data gathered for this report is gathered from a weekly online omnibus conducted by Your Source. Your Source is an Australian social and market research!company!specializing!in!recruitment,!field!research,!data!gathering!and!data!analysis.!!Your!Source!holds!Interviewer!Quality!Control!Australia!

    Now those with an interest might notice a few issues here… not the least this variable 1,000 or so “response rate” from 7,000 asks. Glad that self-selection has been “effectively ruled out”… and they get “incentives”…hmmm? Yep, just your average punter.

    So in short – not in ANY WAY comparable or even remotely similar to a Newspoll phone survey – chalk and cheese, apples and oranges, comparing photons with cubits. All sandwiched in between the questions about toothpaste packaging and insurance ads.

    And yet they still spruik this stuff here without comment. ?

    I reckon Essential’s Partners have been sold a pup.

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