This week’s Essential Report comes in with the primaries running 46 (steady) /35 (up 1) to Labor, washing out into a two party preferred of 58/42 the same way. The Greens are on 10 (up 1) while the broad “Others” come in on 9 (down 2). This comes from a two week rolling sample of 1875, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 2.3% mark.

Essential asked additional questions this week on leaders approval ratings, Copenhagen and Christmas expectations – these came from a sample of 1055, giving us an MoE that maxes out aroung the 3% mark.

This is the  first public poll with Abbott’s approval ratings. The question asked was:

Do you strongly approve, approve, disapprove or strongly disapprove of the job Tony Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader?

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Essential tells us on the cross-tabs that:

Perception followed party lines – Coalition voters were more likely to approve of the job Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader (65%) while Labor voters were more likely to disapprove (55%). 15% of Coalition voters disapprove of the job Abbott is doing as Opposition Leader.

Abbott’s approval rating is nine percentage points higher than the score Turnbull received right before he was replaced as Opposition Leader.

However, Turnbull’s approval rating when he took on the leadership role in September 2009 was 36% and his disapproval rating was 30%. This is a slightly better result than that scored by Abbott after his succession to the leadership position.

We can also compare Essential Reports first approval ratings for Turnbull on the 28th September 2008 against Abbott’s first approval ratings.

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The notable differentials in the metrics are Abbott’s higher initial disapproval figure and lower undecideds than Turnbull experienced. Starting out with negative net satisfaction is also a first. Even Crean started off with +5 via a 30/25 satisfaction/dissatisfaction split using Newspoll – with 45 undecideds.

Abbott wins another award – the federal Opposition leader with the worst initial approval ratings in modern history.

Meanwhile the same approval question was asked about Rudd, giving us:

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The cross-tabs tell us:

Opinion followed party lines – Labor voters were more likely to approve (92%) while Coalition voters were more likely to disapprove (74%). 18% of Coalition voters approve of the job Kevin Rudd is doing as Prime Minister.

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World leaders are currently meeting in Copenhagen to discuss a global approach to climate change. How important do you think this meeting is?

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The cross tabs tell us:

Labor (84%) and Green (89%) voters were more likely to think the meeting is important, while Coalition voters were more likely to think the meeting is not important (37%). 59% of Coalition voters think the meeting is important.
Respondents aged 18 – 24 were more likely to think the meeting is important (75%) while those aged 55 years and over were more likely to think it is not important (23%).

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And how likely do you think it is that the world leaders meeting in Copenhagen will reach agreement on a global approach to climate change?

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Essential says on the cross-tabs:

Labor voters were more likely to be optimistic that an agreement will be reached (26%) while Coalition voters were more likely to think reaching agreement is not likely (86%). 16% of Green voters think it is likely and 78% think it is not likely agreement will be reached.

Results were similar across the different age and gender groups.

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Which of the following situations applies to your workplace regarding staff Christmas functions?

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The cross-tabs have us:

44% of people surveyed indicated that their employer is paying for a staff Christmas function much the same as previous year, 31% have an employer that doesn’t usually pay for a staff Christmas function and 12% said that their employer paid for Christmas lunch will be smaller this year.
Results were similar across most demographic groups.

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And compared to last year, do you expect to be spending more on gifts at Christmas, less or much the same?

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On the cross tabs we have:

Expectation that more will be spent on Christmas gifts this year decreases with age – 21% of 18 – 24 year olds expect to spend more compared with 5% of those aged 55 years and over. 56% of those aged 55 years and over expect to spend much the same.
People earning $1000 – $1600 per week were slightly more likely than those in other income groups to indicate they will spend more this year on Christmas gifts (14%), while people earning $1600 + per week were more likely to spend much the same as last year.
People’s expectation that they will spend more this year than they spent last has increased eight percentage points since we last asked this question in 2008.

This is the first piece of data I’ve seen on expectations of consumer spending over Christmas and it’s looking pretty good for the economy.

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