Jul 1, 2014

Essential: voters sour further on Direct Action, Turnbull top of the pollies

Voters prefer an emissions trading scheme or carbon price over doing nothing on climate change - but only narrowly - while Malcolm Turnbull rates highest along the government's ministers.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Australians favour a carbon price or emissions trading scheme over other forms of climate action, but there is also strong support for doing nothing, today's Essential Report finds. Just 16% of voters wish to retain a carbon tax, while 22% support replacing it with an emissions trading scheme. There's been little shift since April, when the comparable figures were 17% and 22%, or from October 2013, when they were 15% and 21%. But 33% prefer doing nothing at all, a rise since April of 3 points. Support for the Coalition's "Direct Action" scheme -- now facing defeat in the Senate -- has slumped to 9%, while last October it was 15%. Even Liberal voters have soured further  on "Direct Action", with just 20% of Liberal voters backing it -- just 2 points more than combined support for a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme. "Other"/Palmer United Party voters are the strongest supporters of doing nothing, with 49% backing not acting on climate change (which will be the outcome of last week's Clive Palmer stunt), even more so than Liberal voters (45%). Meanwhile, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the best-regarded government minister, while "Environment" Minister Greg Hunt, the author of "Direct Action", and Education Minister Christopher Pyne are in a tight tussle for least popular minister .

Turnbull has the highest approval rating and by far the highest net approval rating of any nominated minister among all voters, while Hunt has the lowest approval rating and trails only Treasurer Joe Hockey and Pyne in net disapproval (both Hockey and Pyne score highest on "strongly disapprove"). Hockey, however, fares much better with Coalition voters, scoring 78% approval to Turnbull's 72%. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison belies the widespread loathing of him on the Left with a strong performance among Coalition voters as well, and was the highest scorer on "strongly approve" among all voters. Hunt, widely seen on all sides as an ineffectual and irrelevant appendage to the government, also scores the lowest in approval among Coalition voters, with just 54%, but his net approval rating of just 42% is narrowly ahead of Christopher Pyne, about whom Coalition voters are also less enthused. There's also been a big fall in trust of institutions over the last year, Essential detects. On trust in the use of personal information, most institutions have suffered a larger or smaller decline since September 2013. The medical profession is still the most trusted, with 67% of people having a lot or some trust in its handling of personal information (including 32% with "a lot"), but that's down 6 points since last year; law enforcement agencies are second on 54%, down 2 points; "your employer" and banks are next on 44%, both down a little, while mobile phone and internet providers are down 6 points to 23%; TV networks are on 19%; and the government is on 31%. Interestingly, trust in bricks-and-mortar retail fell 6 points to 38%, while trust in online retailers rose 3 points to 30%, putting online within striking distance of traditional retail on a key issue that has always harmed the reputation of online commerce. The High Court, the ABC and the Reserve Bank also remain our most trusted institutions, with total trust levels of 57%, 54% and 52% respectively, but all have fallen substantially since the same question was asked in 2013 -- albeit back to about the same levels as they were in 2012. The High Court fell 17 points; the ABC 16 points and the RBA 12 points. But most institutions fell as well -- federal Parliament is down 9 points (25%), charitable organisations down 7 (45%). Political parties (13%), trade unions and business groups (both 22%) remain the least trusted institutions. One of the few institutions to rise in trust was TV news media, up 2 points to 32%. On voting intention, little change from last week. The Coalition remains on 40%, Labor on 38% and the Greens on 9%; PUP is up a point to 6%, for a two-party preferred outcome of 52%-48% in Labor's favour.

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12 thoughts on “Essential: voters sour further on Direct Action, Turnbull top of the pollies

  1. Joe Magill

    how on earth can 38% approve of Morrison? What is it about Lib/Nat voters that 70% approve of him???

  2. Coaltopia

    Love the quotation marks.

    Easy to hate on Hunt, but he’s powerless. It’s Bishop that has the clout on international binding carbon targets etc, and by all accounts has blocked Greg from doing anything. But then where’s the real denier-power-bloc? IPA? Minchin and mates?

    Could the same ‘hamstrungness’ be said of Turnbull on NBN?

    Just wait until Brandis brandishes his 3-strikes piracy law that even Singapore dumped. He should get top bidding then.

    And after that, the High Courts might rule in September against the bikies that the assumption of freedom of association isn’t to be. That’d drop their standings a bit, unlike when they allowed indefinite detention and maybe the reason Morrison isn’t hated more (we just don’t “care” about refugees).

  3. klewso

    If he stood on his principles Hunt still couldn’t see the top of the table.

  4. Chris Johnson

    You could knock me over with a feather – Scott Morrison’s approval rating is mid-range?

  5. Alsop Lombardi

    Hockey, Bishop, Pyne and Hunt are Abbott lackeys and maybe excepting Hockey (to be fair) each have the personality of a stuffed Tony Abbott. Turnbull should have a second go at the leadership and show Bolt and Jones that he can be as right as the next stuffed Tony Abbott.

  6. GLJ

    Its so hard to decide between Pyne & Morrison & Hunt. Bitterness vs. Revenge. Such attributes….

  7. MJPC

    I am a bit confused (but then why is that not the case with every voter and this government). I can understand lack of support for Hunt’s DA; dung by any other name still looks/smells like dung.
    16% wish to retain the carbon tax, would the 33% wanting nothing at all be included with the 16% carbon taxers as they are content with what is happening at present? Or are the 33% part of the group who see the end is nigh and nothing mankind does will change the inevitable?

  8. AR

    Is there one, just one, of that cohort whom you would employ to collect garbage or walk the dog.
    Correction, no way would I entrust my dog to such creatures.

  9. Adam Ford

    What money will you give me that approximately 98% of the 22% who support replacing the carbon tax with an emissions trading scheme have absolutely no idea what that means?

    Given the “carbon tax” is already scheduled to transition to a floating price, and has always been based on a “cap and trade” regime, that distinction is completely meaningless. And frankly no intelligent pollster should even be serving it up.

    All of which goes to show how dumb it was that Gillard ever even let the phrase “carbon tax” gain any currency. However, “Carbon Tax bad, ETS good” just identifies the proponent as having zero idea what they are even talking about.

  10. Margaret Ludowyk

    They are all liars and Turnbull has joined the wrong party

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