First up, Newspoll asked the following question – identical to one asked in September of 2008 – which allows us to compare the results.

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Nothing has really changed on the headline numbers, but the demographic composition of the responses to this question has indeed changed.

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Males have moved against paying more for energy while females have moved in favour of accepting higher energy prices. Similarly, while the 50+ age cohort has moved against higher energy prices, the 18-34 age cohort has moved strongly in favour.

This again hooks in to female voters becoming problematic for the Coalition, with Labor’s position again being aligned with a large majority of female opinion.

Next up is one a rather strange question that goes to the expectations of energy price increases (click to expand)

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What the responses tell us here, more than anything else, is that 45% of the population are honest by saying “Don’t Know”, while 55% of the public will have an opinion on anything!

I suppose if we had to gaze deeply, of those that have an opinion, a plurality believe that prices will increase by up to 10%. So even with those that have an opinion, it’s hardly “the sky is falling” stuff.

The one question that has been getting attention this morning – and, as is usually the case with these things, getting completely ballsed up in the process – is the one on just when and how the government should introduce the CPRS (click to expand)

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The responses suggest that a plurality of 45% believe Australia should act after Copenhagen, 41% believe that Australia should act before Copenhagen while 8% believe we shouldn’t act at all.

Yet, some rather confused folks are making direct comparisons between today’s question and a question which was asked back in September 2008, a question where the available responses were completely different:

Back in September, Newspoll asked:

Thinking now about the Federal Government’s commitment to introduce the CPRA by 2010.Which one of the following comes closest to your view?

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The total proportion of the population that believes Australia should introduce a CPRS has gone from 88% in September 2008 to 86% today – not a significant change. The difference is in the composition of that support, where the September question provided an entirely different set of available responses than did today’s question – a set of responses which are simply not comparable.

September asks about the question of if we should introduce a CPRS, today’s question asks about when. If you see anything, anywhere today that attempts to compare the responses from the two periods on this particular question –  it’s a crime against statistics. Well, actually it’s just flat out comprehension failure.

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