For the second week in a row Morgan has published results from a phone poll of around 520 respondents, from which the only conclusion that can be safely drawn is that if you conduct small-sample polls you get erratic results. Whereas last week’s survey gave the Coalition a thumping 56-44 lead – about 2 per cent above the overall trend – this week it has it at 51-49, which is about 3 per cent below it. As always, I’m using the two-party figure which apportions minor party and independent preferences according to the results of the previous election, rather than how respondents allocated them. Labor’s primary vote this time is 35.5 per cent rather than 31.5 per cent, the Coalition is on 42.5 per cent rather than 47.5 per cent, and the Greens are 12 per cent rather than 10 per cent.

Whereas last week’s poll had opposition to the carbon tax at 57-33, this time it’s 54-38 – which is still quite a lot worse for the government than the 48-35 and 49-38 results from Essential Research over consecutive weeks. Last week Morgan found 72 per cent believing the Prime Minister had broken an election promise with only 19 per cent believing otherwise – this week the figures are 68 per cent and 23 per cent. Support for Tony Abbott’s promise to rescind the legislation is essentially unchanged, with 44 per cent (steady) in favour and 46 per cent (up one) against.

Morgan has also published phone poll figures on nuclear energy, and even though this one too is from Wednesday and Thursday evenings, for some reason the sample is 635 rather than 523. Fifty-nine per cent support the export of uranium for peaceful purposes with 34 per cent opposed, though it seems for many “peaceful purposes” doesn’t include nuclear power: with that qualification, only 44 per cent were supportive with 50 per cent opposed. Sixty-one per cent say they are opposed to the development of nuclear power plants in Australia with only 34 per cent supportive: figures provided from a poll in September 1979 are provided, showing 52 per cent support and 35 per cent opposition. Forty-nine per cent don’t believe other countries should build nuclear power plants either, against 37 per cent who believe they should.

UPDATE (Monday): Essential Research has the Coalition lead down from 54-46 to 53-47, with Labor’s primary vote up a point to 36 per cent and the Coalition down one to 46 per cent. Essential have also thrown Tony Abbott a curve ball by asking respondents where they believe he stood on climate change: 33 per cent believed the Coalition opposed any action, 36 per cent believed it didn’t and 29 per cent didn’t know. Opinion on the effectiveness of the carbon tax is perfectly evenly divided: 43 per cent believe it will make big polluters reduce emissions, 42 per cent believe it will not; 41 per cent believe it will increase investment in renewable energy, 38 per cent believe it will not. While 79 per cent believe a carbon tax will increase the price of electricity, 78 per cent expect it will increase anyway (though presumably not by as much).

The poll also records a slump in support for nuclear power, to 35 per cent from 43 per cent late last year, with opposition up from 37 per cent to 53 per cent – and strong opposition up from 16 per cent to 32 per cent. The level of support for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan is now up to 56 per cent from 47 per cent in October, a steady 30 per cent support the commitment at the current level, and only 5 per cent (down from 10 per cent) believe it should be increased.

GROUP SUBSCRIPTIONS UPDATE: We have now cleared 50 takers for our Crikey group subscriptions offer, so anyone else who wants to take part can now rest assured they can land themselves a year’s subscription (or an additional year on top of the one you’ve already paid for if you’re a subscriber already) for the outstanding price of $65. If you want in, drop a line to Jade Butler at [email protected]

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