Voters are split between Australia keeping its current military commitment to Iraq and pulling out of the country, with little support for the government’s flagged “deepening co-operation” with Iraq the war against Islamic State, today’s Essential Report shows.
During Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s summer break visit to Iraq, he said he intended to “deepen our co-operation” with the Iraqi government against Islamic State. But only 11% of voters support any increase in Australia’s military commitment to Iraq, which already involves aircraft and special forces troops. Some 37% of voters support retaining our current commitment, but 34% want all Australian forces withdrawn from Iraq.
Only 11% of voters support any increase in our military role — and they’re mostly men, with men and women splitting 15%-7% respectively on the issue.
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Meantime, the ABC is the country’s most trusted major institution despite an ongoing campaign by the Coalition and News Corporation to undermine it. Some 53% of voters say they have some or a lot of trust in the ABC, the same level of trust as the High Court, although 20% say they have a lot of trust in the ABC, compared to 17% for the High Court. That compares to 54% for the ABC and 57% for the High Court in July 2013. The Reserve Bank continues to be the third most trusted institution, on 49%. At the other end, the least trusted institutions are political parties (14%), religious organisations (22%), business groups and trade unions (23%).
On voting intention, the Coalition and Labor are each on 40%, the Greens are on 10% and the Palmer United Party is on 2%, for a two-party preferred outcome of 53%-47% in Labor’s favour.
Essential also asked about voters’ online usage. Google and Facebook are the two most widely used platforms, with 45% and 42% of voters, respectively, using it every day (83% and 68% at least once a week). Newspaper websites (18%) and other news websites (13%) are next, followed by YouTube (9%, but 54% at least once a week), then Instagram (8% daily/19% weekly) and Twitter (5%/16%).
But there are noticeable differences between men and women. Women (72%) use Facebook more often than men (65%) at least once a week; men (22%) use Twitter at least once a week nearly nearly twice as much as women (12%); women use Pinterest more than twice as much as men, 18% to 8%. Use of Facebook declines with age; Twitter is primarily a young person’s medium (29% aged 18-34 use it at least once a week; only 4% aged over 55 do so, which may explain why The Australian is always attacking Twitter); so too is Instagram and Pinterest, while LinkedIn is used more by 35- to 54-year-olds. But 80% of voters agree that “most people spend too much time on social media at the expense of other activities”.