climate change

Feb 16, 2010

Essential Report and Newspoll Part 2

This week’s Essential Report comes in unchanged in all r

Possum Comitatus — Editor of Pollytics

Possum Comitatus

Editor of Pollytics

This week’s Essential Report comes in unchanged in all respects with the primaries running 44/38 to Labor, washing out into a two party preferred of 55/45 the same way. The Greens are on 10 and the broad “Others” are on 8. This comes from a rolling two week sample of 1830, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 2.3% mark.

A few of the additional Essential Report questions meld with the Newspoll questions, so we’ll run both of them together. The additional Essential questions ran off a sample of 1033, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 3% mark, about the same as Newspoll.

First up, the Julia Gillard/Kevin Rudd preferred leader head to head. Newspoll asked:

Which one of the following do you think would be the best candidate to lead the Labor Party

Essential asked:

Who do you think would make the better Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard?


Put the small difference in results down to the question wording. Essential also ran some cross-tabs:


Greens voters are the only cohort that prefer Gillard over Rudd.  The other cross-tabs went:

In terms of age differences, support was strongest for Rudd amongst the 18 – 24 year olds (55%). Rudd’s support decreases as age increases with 40% of people aged 55 years and over favouring Rudd as Prime Minister.

Newspoll also ran a hypothetical Abbott vs Gillard Better PM question, so we’ll throw the Rudd vs Abbott result in there as well for context.


Abbott does slightly better against Gillard in the political beauty contest than he does against Rudd.

Moving right along, Newspoll asked more questions on the CPRS and climate change beliefs. The CPRS results can be seen over here and continue on the pattern that we witnessed with the recent Morgan polls on the issue, suggesting that support for CPRS continues to dive. Support for the scheme came in at 57%, down from 67% last September while opposition to the scheme increased 12 points to 34%. The interesting result from the question is that there are still 42% of Coalition voters supporting the CPRS with 50% against.

On the climate change front, Newspoll asked the following two questions.

1. Do you personally believe or not believe that climate change is currently occurring

For those that answered “YES”, a follow-up question was asked:

2. Do you believe climate change is:
– Entirely caused by human activity
– Partly caused by human activity
-Or do you believe climate change is not caused by human activity at all.

The results of those questions can be seen over on the Newspoll graphic, but we can derive the following approximate tables out:



Those results are pretty interesting in and of themselves!

Essential also had a number of other questions – starting with a “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Lindsay Tanner/ Barnaby Joyce is doing as Finance Minister/ opposition shadow Finance Minister?”


Essential says on the cross-tabs for Joyce:

Results followed party lines – Coalition voters were more likely to approve of the job Joyce is doing (47%), while Labor voters were more likely to disapprove (53%).

56% of Green voters and 23% of Coalition voters disapprove of the job Joyce is doing as opposition shadow Finance Minister.
Males were more likely to disapprove of the job Joyce is doing (43%), while females were more likely to indicate they don’t know (47%).

And on the cross-tabs for Tanner:

Results followed party lines – Labor voters were more likely to approve (56%), while Coalition voters were more likely to disapprove (49%). 43% of Green voters approve of the job Tanner is doing as Finance Minister.

Males were more likely to approve of the job Tanner is doing (39%), while females were more likely to indicate they don’t know (55%).

People aged 55 years and over were more likely that those in other age groups to disapprove (36%).

Next up, Essential asked a question on the Feds taking over public hospitals:


The cross-tabs went:

People aged 55 years and over were more likely that those in other age groups to support a Federal Government takeover of hospitals (79%).

People in NSW were more likely than those in any other states to support a hospitals takeover (67%), while people in Western Australia (18%) and South Australia (17%) were more likely to oppose such a move.

Males were more likely than females to support a hospital takeover by the Federal Government (65% v 52%).

Support for a Federal Government takeover of hospitals from the State Government was highest amongst Labor voters (70%), followed by Coalition voters (63%) and then Green voters (54%).

Finally, a question on an increase in the national population by 2050

Here the cross-tabs went:

Labor voters were more likely than Coalition and Green voters to think it is a good thing (32% Labor v 24% Coalition, 17% Green).

People aged 55 years and over were more likely to think it is a bad thing (51%), while people aged 18 – 24 were more likely to think it is a good thing (34%).

Males were more likely than females to think it is a good thing (29% v 20%).

What I find interesting – and just like with climate change – is that that the people most against population growth (and climate change policies) are also the ones with the least skin in the game. They’ll be long dead by the time the consequences of either event occurs.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)


Leave a comment

21 thoughts on “Essential Report and Newspoll Part 2

  1. Andrew Norton » Blog Archive » The myth of Commonwealth competence

    […] the week, as Pollytics blog reported, Essential Research found overwhelming support for a Commonwealth takeover of […]

  2. Juggler

    Hi Possum,

    Just wanted to comment on your last statement about the elderly and their views on AGW and population growth. You suggested that the two viewpoints were linked, but I think it’s actually the opposite. As far as climate change is concerned, the 60+ population are against measures to change the status quo (i.e. they don’t think anything is going wrong and we can just continue business-as-usual pumping out more and more GHGs into the atmosphere.) However, with population growth the 60+ population are against the status quo — they seem to be aware of the possibilities of a Malthusian collapse and are concerned enough to think a business-as-usual approach is a bad idea.

    To me, these two positions are almost contradictory, rather than linked, and I find that a lot more interesting. If Labor can actually start talking about the science of AGW and put out a convincing alternative viewpoint to the ravings of the denialists, would the 60+ group suddenly switch to support of an ETS? After all, they seem to have the interests of their grandchildren at heart in opposing population growth, even when population growth is something which can only benefit them in the short term.

  3. David Richards

    vajras – you hit the nail on the head there.

    I think the “populate or perish” message is driven by developers and realtors among others – those who have a vested interest in an ever growing population – more consumers, more demand, higher prices, larger profits – plus more pressure on the workforce along the lines of “if you don’t like it (pay/conditions/hours), I’ll get someone who does”.

    It’s spreadsheet and number driven – and totally ignores the real world- Magic Pudding economics and social policy.

  4. vajras2000

    PC, re: “Finally, a question on an increase in the national population by 2050”

    Do you have any info about any polling done or know if ever there has been some slightly different questions asked in conjunction with the increase population one here? Something along the lines of,

    “By 2050, do you agree or disagree that Australia will be able to grow enough food to adequately feed its proposed increase in population without a substantial rise in imported (and unregulated) foodstuffs?”

    “Do you agree or disagree that Australia does not now have adequate enough capacity to feed its poplulation.”

    I’ve always been concerend that these types of questions are not (yet) being debated along with the ones asking whether we should or should not increase our populationto the levels propsed in these polls.

  5. Green bubbles « Geoff Robinson

    […] are we to understand Labor’s loss of ground on environmental policy manifest in declining public support for its Emmissions Trading Scheme.  Public opinion about environmental questions is complex. There […]


    Exactly right blue_green, but if one only reads the Oz (god forbid!), the impression given is that Abbott has completely turned the climate change debate around. My hunch is that there are a lot of Liberal voters, well educated and not susceptible to the ravings of Monckton et al, who’d think Abbott is trying to walk both sides of the street. Whether a lot of these voters would change to Labor just on this issue is the question.

    Now there’s a good set of polling questions! (No doubt the Liberals have already done something like it and reckon p!ssing off the smarter voters is a very small price to pay as against hauling back some of the Howard battlers who jumped ship last time around.)

  7. mfs

    Psephos: I can’t say whether there is any real change in people’s opinion on climate change, not having looked at the data, though I can definetly say there’s a clear change in people’s willingness to voice it, when their opinion is negative.
    What interests me is that this change (maybe only in vociferousness, maybe not) seems to be exploited as justification by the parties who oppose action on climate change, or disbelieve it altogether, which is why looking at actual numbers would be useful.
    But I am happy to contemplate, for now, that the mere switch in official policy of the opposition is enough for people to feel secure enough to be identified as dissenters.

    Jaeger: “Labor will have a field day…” I hope you’re right. However Labour so far seems to be doing a pretty poor job of selling itself (by comparison), and when it comes to strong leadership, Mad Monk seems to be doing better than Rudd. Since core voters of either major party are ideologically driven (policies matter to them), while the critical undecideds are less so (can be swayed by personality / strong leadership), I’m not so sure. I know Rudd’s just trying to position himself as much as possible as the underdog when he quips “It’s going to be a very close one”, but I think he might be right, if the narrowing trends continue.

  8. blue_green

    Those figures indicate that the CPRS and Climate Change are still terrible wedge issues for the coalition and indicates that Malcolm Turnbull’s views are still widely respected with coalition voters.

    It will be interesting if the coalitions climate policy holds up to scrutiny of an election campaign. Could the ALP use climate change to chip voters from the ‘other’ coalition base?

  9. Jaeger

    Senator Abetz made some interesting remarks yesterday:

    “We overreached in 2007 and the Australian people taught us a lesson,” he said.
    “We’ve acknowledged that and therefore if we go back to the sort of policies that the Australian people accepted in those four previous elections, I think we’ll be on safe ground.”

    I don’t believe for a moment they’ve learnt anything from the last election (apart from shutting up about unpopular policies until they’re in power, when it’s too late for voters to respond.)

    The Back To The Future Party seems to think that resurrecting their “greatest hits” policies from the 1950s etc. will somehow get them re-elected. I guess they don’t call them Conservatives for nothing… Labor will have a field day: “No new policies!” “No forward thinking!” Good luck!

  10. Psephos

    There is no real change in what people think about climate change. All that’s happened is that Libs are now opposing the CPRS which they supported last year, so their voters are catching up with them by saying they oppose it too. When something ceases to have bipartisan support and becomes a partisan question, then support for it naturally drops as partisan loyalists change their opinions to fit their loyalty. If the Liberal Party said it now favoured burning witches at the stake, the majority of their voters would eventually follow them, even if they’d never thought about it before.

  11. rabitoh

    Well if they did that Musrum, it would be too easy to work out who had the crappier methodology! Much better for all of them if they have a even a small fig leaf to hide behind.

  12. Musrum

    Put the small difference in results down to the question wording. Essential also ran some cross-tabs:

    Seriously, why do they do this? Wouldn’t it be smarter if they (all the polling companies) all got together and created a single set of standard political questions that they all asked?

    Wouldn’t that give them the chance to ‘calibrate’ their sample and get a more accurate result for their commercial questions?

  13. shepherdmarilyn

    If people got to know Gillard they would be horrified.

    She is the coldest person I have ever had the horror of dealing with on behalf of desparate refugees needing some help from her and the disgusting policy of using Xmas Island is hers.

    It took Mark Latham to finally address Howard about locking up kids, she was too busy worshipping Phil Ruddock’s brutality.

  14. Possum Comitatus

    I can’t argue with that 😛

  15. 1934pc

    I stand corrected, but the Australian is as one eyed as they come!.

  16. Possum Comitatus

    No they’re not 1934pc, Newspoll is a solid company that would slit its own commercial throat if it ever did that.

    kitkat, Don’t know – it’s just one of those house effects. Essential does have a relatively higher number of “undecided” voters compared to other pollsters (and pollsters remove those from the sample), so that might play into it.

  17. 1934pc

    Because the people running Newspoll, are sucking up to a Murdoch paper.

  18. kitkat

    Any idea why there is such a difference between the primary vote in Essential Report, and that in Newspoll/Nielsen?

  19. Possum Comitatus

    mfs – Essential Report might have some consistent questions over a long enough time period. I’ll have a squiz and do a post if there is.

  20. mfs

    Poss: Is there enough poll data that is directly comparable to start plotting trends in climate change opinion? I guess my ultimate question is whether all the hot air going on at the moment with the case agains climate change getting so much media attention reflects a shift in public opinion, or is just that: hot air, and a few vociferous souls courting individual journos.
    In the near future it might also be interesting to plot whether this increased media attention in itself has an effect on public opinion. After all the vast majority of people don’t read the scientific literature, and at best crawl through the internet to find out more about it.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details