Voters have swung behind the federal government’s controversial Direct Action climate change plan, new polling from Essential Research shows.

Support for carbon pricing, which in May had reached level pegging with opposition to it, has now fallen to 39%, with opposition up to 47%. Age and voting intention are strong indicators for those positions: younger voters, Labor and Greens voters back carbon pricing; older and Coalition voters oppose it. And voters have reversed their hostility to Greg Hunt’s Direct Action plan, in which bureaucrats will pick carbon abatement projects to hand grants to. In May, voters preferred carbon pricing over Direct Action 39-29% — but now favour the latter 35-31%.

Not surprisingly, Labor and Greens voters strongly favour carbon pricing, while Coalition voters back Direct Action.

But voters disapprove of Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott’s new approach of hiding information about asylum seeker boat arrivals. That policy became even sillier in yesterday’s second “briefing” about boat arrivals, in which Morrison and his acting man in uniform both confirmed the arrival of a boat the previous night despite it falling outside the “reporting period”. Some 48% of voters disapprove of hiding the information, but there’s still a strong air of partisanship: 67% of Coalition voters are supportive of the policy, while 75% of Labor and 74% of Greens voters oppose it.

There’s a similar split on the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, albeit with a high level of “don’t knows”: 29% of voters back its re-establishment compared to 22% who oppose it; 25% say they don’t know and another 23% have no view.

There’s greater unanimity on support for manufacturing. Around 65% of voters agreed that “with government support, Australia can have a successful manufacturing industry”, with only 19% agreeing that “there is no future for manufacturing in Australia and government support would be a waste of money”. There was little difference between voters, with Greens voters a little less enthusiastic — on 60% — compared to Coalition voters (65%) and Labor voters (70%).

Greens voters are also least enthusiastic about car manufacturing: 58% of voters agree it is important “that Australia has a car manufacturing industry, even if it costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year in government support and subsidies”, but only 45% of Greens voters agree, compared to 59% of Liberal voters and 63% of Labor voters (31% of Labor voters think it is “very important” that Australia has a car industry, compared to 12% of Greens). That’s despite the Greens having the most blindly protectionist policies on manufacturing.

On voting intention, the government is on 43%, Labor on 36% (down 1) and the Greens on 9%. Others are on 12%; the 2PP outcome is 52-48%.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.