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Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition

Essential Research records next to no change on voting intention, and a general lack of sympathy for the view that unemployment benefits haven't kept up over the years.

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The latest weekly Essential Research result maintains the outfit’s record of consistency with the major parties unchanged on last week – the Coalition leads 48% to 36% on the primary vote and 54-46 on two-party preferred – and the Greens up a point from last week’s unusually poor result to 9%.

Whereas attitudinal questions often point to a social democratic bent among the population at large, questions posed this week on Newstart indicate that this particular buck stops with unemployment benefits. Fifty-three per cent agreed with the proposition that the current welfare system created a “culture of dependency”, with only 30% opting for the alternative proposition that current benefits are “the least a civilised society should provide”. In relation to Newstart benefits specifically, 33% said they were not high enough, 30% about right, and 25% too high. As Bernard Keane notes in Crikey today, variation by party support was not as pronounced as it often is in relation to such questions.

Further questions dealt with trust in various industries, with good rankings for agriculture (72%), tourism (68%) and manufacturing (56%) and poor ones for banking (33%), mining (32%), media (30%) and, tellingly, power companies (18%). Crikey will tomorrow publish Essential’s biannual “trust in media” results, which always makes for fun reading for critics of the fourth estate.

UPDATE (25/1/13): An automated phone poll for the Tasmanian seat of Bass, conducted by ReachTEL for the Launceston Examiner, has produced a dire result for Labor, with incumbent Geoff Lyons trailing Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic 60.3-39.7 on two-party preferred. The primary votes are 54.7% for Nikolic, 26.7% for Lyons and 8.7% for the Greens. The sample size for the poll is 543.

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