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Feb 5, 2013

Essential: support for election call and ditching surplus

Voters quite like Julia Gillard's decision to name the election date well in advance -- but they still don't want to vote for her, today's Essential Report finds.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Two of the government’s biggest calls of the last two months have found favour with voters, polling from Essential Research shows, while there is surprising scepticism about the Coalition’s commitment to fiscal rigour.

Almost half — 48% — of voters approve of the Prime Minister identifying the September election date so far in advance, including 15% who “strongly approve”, with 34% disapproving. Responses split along partisan lines, with Labor voters overwhelmingly approving and Liberal voters least likely to approve; but even 35% of Liberal voters approved compared to 50% who did not.

There was also support, albeit narrower, for the government’s decision to back away from its commitment to a surplus in 2012-13, announced shortly before Christmas. Forty two per cent of voters back the government’s stance, compared to 37% who disapprove, with very strong partisanship in the responses: 64% of Labor voters approve; 57% of Liberal voters disapprove; 55% of Greens voters approve.

And this is in spite of the fact that if anything, voters now feel more strongly about the importance of a budget surplus, with 69% saying it was important for the country (up one point since October) and 54% saying it was important to them personally (up eight points).

But voters appear to be deeply sceptical of the Coalition’s determination to run a tighter fiscal policy than Labor. Despite persistent rhetoric from Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott that the Coalition would return to surplus more quickly and cut spending, only 19% of voters believe the Coalition will probably produce a surplus in its first year in office, while 60% say it probably won’t. That includes 52% of Liberal voters who don’t believe the party’s fiscally aggressive language, while 74% of Labor voters don’t believe they will post a surplus.

On voting intention, it’s more bad news for Labor: for the second week in a row its primary vote has fallen a point, and is now at 34%, with the Coalition steady on 48%. The Greens remain on 10%, for the same two-party preferred outcome of 54-46% in favour of the Coalition.

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4 thoughts on “Essential: support for election call and ditching surplus

  1. MJPC

    Once again, how can a poll give accurate assessment of voting intentions. Who are they asking? how many voters are they asking? Where are the voters located?
    I have seen polls where the selection was 1500 voters, out of how many voters in Australia and ex-pats?
    Unfortunately, to my mind, polls are just too much fluff, designed to give political hacks a headline, but of no value when critically considered as believeable.

  2. the duke

    From what you hear on the street, the above poll is flattering towards the ALP… the ALP should be concentrating on dampening the obliteration they are likely to receive rather than winning the election.

  3. zut alors

    I am always amused on seeing the name Essential Research.

    Some marketing whizz dubbed them with a moniker which suggests they are necessary, vital… Essential. Whereas, in truth, they are nonessential.

  4. Gerard

    From what I hear on MY street NOBODY is going to vote lieberal unless and until they ditch the rabbit, even if they don’t think much of the current labor mob. If I believed everything “my street” collectively seemed to think I would expect (assuming current leadership) for there to be an unprecedentedly high green/independent vote, but that a comparitively sane lieberal figure (like frinstance wotsisname) would shit in in. I think however it all depends a lot on where and what your street is.

    The fact is that polls are a lot more accurate than “what all my friends are saying” – after all, we choose our friends. More important still, they chose us.