Australians want all donations except those from voters banned, today’s Essential Report suggests, with foreign donors the object of greatest concern.

Just 12% of voters say political parties should be allowed to accept donations from foreign companies, while 74% say they should not — the type of donation voters most strongly oppose. And while Liberal voters are more tolerant of donations than others, just 17% are OK with donations from foreign companies — that’s lower even than unions. Next least liked source is casinos, followed by property developers — although a quarter of Liberal voters are happy for parties to receive property developer donations even after the scandals around the NSW Liberal Party’s attempt to hide the source of property developer donations.

Essential poll donations

The only source of donations supported by voters is individual voters themselves: 50% say parties should be able to obtain donations from individuals, but 32% are opposed even to those donations.

[Banning union and company donations a great idea, except it’s unconstitutional]

But the far right can take heart from voter support for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act to remove “offend or insult” from section 18C of the act: 45% of voters support removing the words, while 35% oppose it. Coalition voters and “other” voters are the strong supporters: 56% of Coalition voters support the removal, along with 48% of “other” voters (that is, all voters other than Coalition, Labor and the Greens). Greens voters are most strongly opposed — 60% of Greens voters oppose removal, while Labor voters are nearly evenly split.

[Amending 18C is pointless — bigots already speak freely]

However, in the last 12 months, voters have become more aware of various forms of bigotry: 62% of voters say they believe racism against people from overseas is a large or moderate problem, compared to 60% in August 2015; 58% say racism against indigenous Australians is a problem (up from 54%); 57% say sexism is a problem (up from 47%); 57% say religious intolerance is a problem (53& last year) and 53% say homophobia is a problem – up from 47%. And 48% say ageism is a problem, compared to 47% in 2015.

Essential poll donations

Meanwhile the Prime Minister has recorded his worst ever approval rating, with just 35% of voters approving of his performance, while 43% disapprove, including 17% of Coalition voters. For the third month in a row, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has better net approval rating: 36% of voters approve of his performance and 41% disapprove — though that includes 19% of Labor voters. Turnbull’s numbers have deteriorated slightly since August; Shorten’s have barely moved. Turnbull performs much worse among women (30% approval) than men (42%) while Shorten rates 39% with men and 33% with women, but also has higher disapproval among men than women, so there’s no clear gender gap. Nonetheless, Turnbull easily remains preferred prime minister 41%-26%, and in fact has extended his lead from the 10-point gap in August.

On voting intention, the Coalition is down another point to 38% while Labor remains on 37% and the Greens on 10%. NXT is on 4% and One Nation is on 5% for an unchanged two-party preferred outcome of 52%-48% in Labor’s favour.