Nearly one in four voters would prefer a Labor-Greens-independents coalition in the event of a minority government, while one in five want a new election, today’s Essential Report shows.

Asked which option they would prefer if there were a hung parliament, 24% of voters say they would prefer a Labor/Greens/independents grouping, but 19% want a new election. And a substantial proportion of Labor voters — more than a quarter — want a Coalition with NXT and independents but not the Greens. Coalition voters would prefer to join forces with NXT and independents, and not the Greens. The overall numbers suggest less than a third of voters want an outcome involving the Greens being in power.

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And after a campaign strongly focused on Medicare, the top priority for the new government, according to voters, is investing more in hospitals and health services: 45% of voters say that should be the top priority for whoever forms government; 26% say invest more in education, and 22% say cut spending and the deficit. Even 38% of Coalition voters say health should be a priority, eight points lower than cutting spending; “ensuring big businesses pay their fair share of tax” is a priority for 22% of all voters, and unlike other priorities is far more consistent across different voting intentions (25% for Labor voters, 19% for Liberal voters, 18% for Greens voters). Same-sex marriage is a priority for 15% of voters, but 36% of Greens voters.

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And 11% of voters say they made up their minds in the 24 hours leading up to voting, including 4% as they entered the polling booth. Fifty-four per cent say they made up their minds more than four weeks before the election. Coalition voters (62%) were more likely to have made up their minds well in advance of the election, but “other” voters were much more likely to have made up their minds at the last minute — 10% of “other” voters said they made up their minds when they arrived at the polling booth.

On voting intention (the poll was taken between last Wednesday and yesterday), it seems the Coalition rise last week faltered on the eve of the election. The Coalition is on 41%, Labor on 37% and the Greens on 10% for a two-party preferred outcome of — you guessed it — 50%-50%.

Peter Fray

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