The Abbott government’s war on renewable energy is flying directly in the face of voter sentiment, with Australians strongly supporting governments giving greater priority to renewable energy, today’s Essential Report reveals.
Just 6% of voters believe the government “should prioritise support for the coal industry over the renewable energy industry”, while 28% believe both sectors should be treated equally. Exactly half of voters believe renewables should be prioritised over coal.
Even Liberal voters preferred prioritising renewables over coal or equal treatment. However, voters believe the Abbott government is favouring coal: 49% believe the government — which has tried to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, slashed the Renewable Energy Target and declared that coal is the future — prioritises coal over renewables while 13% think it treats both equally and 12% believe it favours renewables.
Even conservative voters tend to favour government investment in renewable energy because it’s seen a costless way of reducing carbon emissions compared to seemingly more visible mechanisms like a carbon price, despite the poorer economic efficiency of government intervention.
And while 60% of voters believe the government does enough to support coal, 56% of voters think the government doesn’t give enough support to wind farms; 55% think it doesn’t support large-scale solar enough and 57% say it doesn’t provide enough support for roof-top solar PV. Liberal voters are more evenly divided on renewables than other voters, but 39% still say the government does not provide enough support for wind farms, compared to 34% who say it does.
Asked about Indonesia’s recent decision to dramatically reduce its level of live cattle imports from Australia, 40% of voters blamed it on the state of our relations with Indonesia, while 32% said it was due to other factors, but that obscured a strong partisan split: Labor, Greens and “other” voters strongly blamed it on our relationship, while Coalition voters were almost exactly the opposite; even so, 30% of Coalition voters blamed the fall on our poor relationship with Indonesia.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
And nearly half of voters believe the government will run its full term, while 25% believe there’ll be an early election — with Liberal voters (72%) more likely to believe the government will run a full term.
Attempts by shooting enthusiasts here and overseas to discredit Australia’s gun laws don’t appear to have worked too well, with 45% of voters actually wanting even stronger gun control laws, and another 40% saying they were about right currently; only 6% of voters thought they were too tough, with Labor and Coalition voters being virtually indistinguishable on the issue.
On voting intention, neither Bill Shorten’s royal commission appearance or carbon price leak nor Bronwyn Bishop’s travails have altered the political dynamic: there’s no change from last week with the Coalition on 41%, Labor 38% and the Greens 11% for a two-party preferred outcome of, you guessed it, 52%-48% to Labor.