More than half of voters have no faith that the government will be able to achieve what the nation needs, while Labor has extended its lead over the government to six points in today’s Essential Report poll.
Less than a third of voters (31%) have some or a lot of faith that the government will be able to get done what the nation needs with the current Senate, while 58% have little or no faith at all, including 39% of Coalition voters. And 39% of voters believe the government will call an early election.
More than half of voters also want the government to hold a parliamentary vote on same-sex marriage now the Labor has indicated it will oppose a plebiscite, with 55% backing a parliamentary vote and 30% supporting the retention of the existing ban on same-sex marriage. Notably, even 47% of Coalition voters support a parliamentary vote over 42% who prefer the status quo.
Labor has gained a point on its primary vote, to 37%, while the Greens have also picked up a point to move to 11%, while the Coalition has lost a point to 37%; One Nation is down a point to 5% and NXT remains on 3%. That leads to a two-party preferred outcome of 53%-47% in Labour’s favour, the largest Labor lead since Tony Abbott was prime minister.
Voters’ perspectives on major economic reforms of the last 30 years have shifted markedly since 2011, the poll shows. Compulsory superannuation and Medicare remain the most popular major reforms, supported by 71% and 63% of voters respectively. However, the introduction of the GST by the Howard government — for many years unpopular with voters — is now moving close to mainstream acceptance, with 46% of voters saying it has been good for Australia, compared to 39% in 2011.
However, approval of the floating of the dollar has gone backwards significantly since 2011 (when the dollar was above parity with the US dollar). Approval of free trade agreements has remained relatively static, as has approval of privatisation: 28% approve of the privatisation of Qantas (compared to 23% in 2011); 22% approve of the privatisation of Telstra (it was 20% in 2011); and 24% approve of privatising the Commonwealth Bank (compared to 26% who approved in 2011). Some 28% of voters approve of reducing subsidies for car manufacturing, compared to 27% who do not approve of it.
There is also strong approval from voters of Labor’s renewable energy target of 50% by 2030, with 59% of voters backing it despite the cost in additional private sector investment, and just 19% opposing it. Support is strongest among Greens and Labor voters, while 48% of Coalition voters support it compared to 32% who oppose it.
And Mike Baird’s backflip on banning greyhound racing in NSW has limited support in NSW: 44% of NSW voters approve of the reversal, compared to 40% who disapprove. Nationally, approval is 41%-38%, and strongest among Coalition voters.