The latest Essential Research survey is a relatively good result for the government, with the Coalition’s two-party preferred vote down from 56-44 to 55-45. The primary vote has the Coalition down a point to 48 per cent, Labor up one to 33 per cent and the Greens down one to 11 per cent. While a dismal set of figures for the government in absolute terms, the primary vote is in fact Labor’s best result since June 14, while the two-party preferred is their best since July 25.
Other questions posed offer more evidence of gloom about the economy, with 58 per cent expecting conditions in Australia to worsen over the next 12 months. This is a 9 per cent increase since the question was previously asked at the start of the July, and compares with just 19 per cent who expect things to improve (down 6 per cent on last time). However, the pessimism is not quite as bad as first appears. The increase on the former figure is entirely accounted for by those who opted for “a little worse” (up 10 per cent to 41 per cent), with “a lot worse” actually down a point to 17 per cent. Respondents were also slightly less glum about their personal circumstances, with 24 per cent expecting them to get better and 41 per cent believing they will worsen. The proportion expressing concern about their job security, while high, has increased only two points to 47 per cent. Labor supporters are by far the most optimistic in relation to the economy generally, with 26 per cent believing conditions will get better and 39 per cent expecting them to worsen. Fully 72 per cent of Coalition supporters gave a negative response.
To coincide with the tax forum/summit, the survey also presented a smorgasbord of options on tax reform. By far the most popular were decreasing income tax for low income earners (81 per cent support, 11 per cent oppose) and improving tax breaks for small and medium businesses (76 per cent and 10 per cent). The idea of cutting company tax proved quite a lot less popular, with 32 per cent supportive and 41 per cent opposed. At the bottom end of the spectrum was increasing the GST, favoured by 9 per cent and opposed by 84 per cent, though “increasing the carbon tax” was scarcely more popular (19 per cent to 68 per cent). Respondents were fairly evenly split on abolishing negative gearing on new property purchases (33 per cent to 37 per cent) and repealing the fringe benefits tax (30 per cent to 28 per cent).
The News Limited tabloids also brought us results from a small-sample Galaxy poll (500 respondents) on Friday and Saturday, with a couple of posers for the government: Kevin Rudd led Julia Gillard as preferred Labor leader 57-41, while 32 per cent said they would be more likely to support Labor if the carbon price were abandoned against 14 per cent who said less likely. There will presumably be no Newspoll this week due to the long weekend.