Mar 18, 2014

Essential: little concern over a Liberal bluewash

Voters aren't particularly concerned about the prospect of more Liberal-led governments at COAG. Meanwhile, Essential Research finds support for Tony Abbott's government improving.

Jason Whittaker — Former <em>Crikey</em> editor and publisher

Jason Whittaker

Former Crikey editor and publisher

A Liberal bluewash across the Australian political landscape? No worries, according to most voters. As new polling from Essential Research shows support for Tony Abbott's federal government firming, respondents to the weekly poll weren't particularly concerned about the Liberals controlling every state government. Tasmania turned blue on Saturday, and the Liberals may yet get up in a close South Australian poll after winning the popular vote, potentially leaving the ACT as Labor's last stand. Asked whether it'd be better to have the same party in power at the state and federal level, most voters (36%) said it "makes no difference". And slightly more believe it's better to have the same party in federal/state government (26%) than a different one (24%). The result differs little to when the question was asked in November, showing a lack of alarm about the prospect of Liberals dominating inter-governmental meetings. So what should governments be doing? Opinions are predictable: the feds should handle health and climate change; the states public transport, road infrastructure and regional development. Interestingly, more voters believe the federal government should "mainly" have responsibility for education.

The Essential Report released today -- an online survey of 1000-plus respondents -- has a message for the government on media regulation. There is strong opposition to watering down ownership diversity regulations: 43% would oppose a law change (opposition is above 40% among both Labor and Coalition supporters), while just 29% would support it. And there is little support for deregulating the media broadly. On the question of regulation in the media, most voters (36%) reckon the present media ownership framework is "about right". About a third of voters think regulation could be beefed up, and few want to see it loosened -- even Liberal voters aren't enthusiastic about the "deregulation" being urged by Malcolm Turnbull.

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