Via Fairfax comes Nielsen with the primaries running 42 (down 3) / 37 (down 1) to Labor, washing out into a two party preferred of 56/44 the same way, the same as last month. The Greens leap into 13 (up 4) for their highest ever Nielsen result, while the broad Others are steady on 7. This comes from a sample of 1200 (200 smaller than usual as Nielsen were only in the field for 2 days rather than the usual 3), giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 2.8% mark. The full demographic breakdowns can be seen here.
This poll is a cracker – leadership questions, ETS questions both generic and specific, ETS impacts, early elections, demographic and voter breakdowns… it’s got it all!
First up, Nielsen made available Turnbull’s approval ratings data broken down by party vote.
While his total approval rating increased slightly, it was as a result of a huge 15 point gain among Labor voters running hand in hand with a huge 12 point drop among Coalition voters! Turnbull is getting increasing approval from the people he needs to win the votes of in order to perform well at an election (ALP voters), yet is bleeding approval from the Coalition base, a group that will vote Coalition anyway. We see the same pattern play out with the leadership questions, where Turnbull performs much better with ALP voters than Coalition voters.
Nielsen ran the same Turnbull/Hockey/Abbott response options on their leadership question as Newspoll, so we’ll throw the results together to compare:
On the three option question, the results were pretty much identical. Yet Nielsen, like Newspoll, also ran a Turnbull/Abbott head to head and the results differed significantly – especially by party vote breakdown.
Make of that what you will!
Next up is the bunch of ETS questions. The first one is a question on the public support for a generic ETS – a sort of “any old ETS” rather than a specific ETS question. This gives us a basic yardstick of public support for some type of ETS, as well as the relative strength of that generic support.
Huge majorities of ALP and Greens voters support a generic ETS, while even a majority of Coalition voters support a generic ETS. This is important to keep in your thought orbit, because it helps us understand the difference between generic opposition to climate change policies and opposition that derives from the specifics of any particular climate change policy like the CPRS, specifics which include the timing of the policy.
You can see the timing issue come into play when we look at another question that offered three statements where the results are broken down by generic ETS support/opposition:
Worth mentioning here is a bit on the cross-tabs from Nielsen:
Of Coalition voters, 14% oppose an ETS outright while 62% say Australia should wait for Copenhagen and 22% want an ETS as soon as possible. Among Labor voters 51% want an ETS now and 43% say wait, while 58% of Green voters want an ETS as soon as possible and 36% say wait.
So while two thirds of the public support an ETS, 44% of that generic support believes the policy should be delayed until after Copenhagen. What gets me with this result is that 8% of those that oppose an ETS want one to be introduced as soon as possible! Also interesting is that 61% of those opposed to any old ETS still leave their options open by responding that Australia should wait to see what other countries are doing. This suggests that either generic opposition to any ETS is largely political (meaning that many of those generically opposed to an ETS would change their position if their party changes their policy), or that there’s an awful lot of confusion in the community about the ETS and why people oppose what they do.
If we now move from the generic to the specific and look at public opinion on the CPRS that’s currently before the Parliament, we see significant evidence of the confusion over the ETS playing out.
That’s an extraordinary number – 72% of the public feel they don’t know enough about the CPRS. Yet, when poked further on public views – or more likely public expectations – on the impacts of the CPRS on both the economy and the environment, the numbers tighten up. People might not know as much as they’d like about the CPRS, but they still believe they know enough to have views on it’s impact: With the following, the same question was asked about the economy and the environment:
A majority believe that the CPRS would be good for the environment, while a plurality believe it will be bad for the economy – so a large number of people seem to get the trade-offs involved – at least in the transition. That’s actually a good thing.
Finally – and arguably the most important question here – Nielsen polled on an early election.
That’s the strongest level of support for an early election that we’ve seen to data from any pollster.
Finally, the usual Nielsen charts come in like this: