Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s response to the MH17 atrocity has been strongly endorsed by voters and has lifted the Coalition’s vote, today’s Essential Report shows, while incentives for renewable energy are voters’ preferred climate change policy now that the carbon price has been repealed.

Abbott’s handling of the downing of the airliner was endorsed across all voting groups, with just 13% voicing disapproval and 67% approving, with even voters normally strongly antipathetic toward Abbott, such as Greens and other/Palmer United voters, indicating approval.

On whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be permitted to attend the G20 meeting in Brisbane in November, 49% of voters say he shouldn’t while 29% say he should, with little difference between voters of different parties. Sixty-two per cent of voters say Australia should adopt further sanctions against Russia if it is found to have been involved; 46% want to sever diplomatic relations, but just 28% think it’s a good idea to provide support to Ukraine.

Two-thirds of voters do not expect their power bills to fall as a result of the carbon price repeal, with just 33% saying they expect them to decrease, despite the Coalition insisting massive savings awaited consumers and Clive Palmer claiming to have guaranteed price cuts as a condition of his support for repeal. In the absence of a carbon price, voters prefer the apparently pain-free policy of encouraging renewable energy to replace it.

Incentives for renewable energy cost voters either in terms of taxes or higher prices (for now) via regulation, but appear to be preferable to an emissions trading scheme, while Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s Direct Action policy is almost universally acknowledged as a joke, with significantly less support than even the denialist do-nothing option.

Voters also far prefer increasing the childcare rebate over the government’s paid parental leave scheme, in the wake of the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that the PPL scheme be dumped in favour of increased childcare funding. Fifty-one per cent of voters favour an increase in the childcare rebate compared to 25% who favour the government’s PPL scheme. Surprisingly, there is minimal difference between voters, with even Coalition voters preferring an increase in the rebate, 52% to 24%.

On voting intention, the rise in the Coalition’s flagged last week has been confirmed, with the Coalition’s primary vote on 41% and Labor on 38%, with the Greens on 9%. The two-party preferred result is 51%-49%, down from 52%-48% last week in the government’s favour — the closest the Coalition has been since mid-April.

Peter Fray

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