Australians think a Trump presidency would be the second greatest threat to international peace and stability after Islamic State and Islamic radicalisation, this week’s Essential Report shows.

Asked what they believe is the biggest threat, 42% of voters said Islamic State and 21% a Trump presidency. The surprise third greatest threat was “growing level of inequality”, identified by 11%. Coalition voters were more likely to see IS and radicalisation as the biggest threat (53%) and less likely to see Trump as a threat (16%) whereas Greens voters saw Trump as the greatest threat (35%) followed by global warming (20%).


Almost three-quarters of voters believe the threat of terrorism has increased in recent years: 73% say it has, around the same levels as in 2015, although that view ranges from 82% of Coalition voters to 57% of Greens voters. There are also mixed views about measures to respond to perceptions of an increased threat: 81% of voters support preventing dual nationals who are suspected of fighting in Syria from returning to Australia (including 54% who “strongly” support it), and 79% support investing in local programs to help de-radicalise youth. Sixty-four per cent back preventing Australian citizens suspected of fighting in Syria from leaving the country, and there’s also solid, but not majority, support for on-the-ground intervention by Western militaries, including Australia, in Syria (49%). However, 44% support allowing the government to monitor phone calls and data of all citizens, while 43% oppose it.

The government’s campaign to refocus on industrial relations has had some success despite the distraction of the guns issue: support for the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission has reached its highest point, with 36% of voters supporting the government’s plan to restore the construction industry attack dog, up from 32% in August; 16% of voters oppose it. Support is strongest among Coalition voters, but more Labor voters support it (26%) than oppose it (23%); only Greens voters oppose it, splitting 22%-33%. There’s also been a small rise in the number of voters who regard the issue as important: 39% rate it as important compared to 35% in August.

On voting intention, the Coalition has regained the point it lost last week, bringing its primary vote to 38%. Labor remains on 37%, the Greens are down a point to 10%, NXT remains on 3% and One Nation are up from 5% to 6%, for a two-party preferred outcome of 52%-48% in Labor’s favour, down from 53%-47% last week.