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Essential Report

Apr 12, 2010

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This week’s Essential Report comes in with the primaries running 41 (down 2) / 40 (up 1) to Labor, washing out into a two party preferred of 54/46 the same way – no change from last week. The Greens are on 11 (up 1), while the broad “Others” are on 8 (down 2). This comes from a rolling two week sample of 1934, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 2.2% mark.

Additional questions this week focused on Australia’s relations with other countries, Kevin Rudd’s foreign policy performance and the better party to manage that issue, areas of the budget people believe should be cut and the personal impact of the budget. These additional questions ran off a sample of 1144, giving us an MoE that maxes out around the 2.9% mark. It’s worth having a squiz at the cross-tabs on these questions for the fun of the partisan stereotypes coming to fore yet again (I suppose that’s why they’re stereotypes!)

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Kevin Rudd is handling Australia’s relations with other nations?

Ruddforeignpolapril

On the cross-tabs, we have:

Results followed party lines – Labor voters were more likely to approve (87%), while Coalition voters were more likely to disapprove (66%).

61% of Green voters approve of the way Kevin Rudd is handling Australia’s relations with other nations.

Males were more likely than females to approve (55% v 45%). Females were more likely to indicate they don’t know (22%).

People aged 55 years and over were more likely to disapprove of the way Kevin Rudd is handling Australia’s relations with other nations
(45%).

.

Who would you trust more to handle Australia’s relations with other nations?

betterpartyforeignpol

The cross-tabs tell us:

Results followed party lines – Labor voters were more likely to trust Kevin Rudd and Labor (85%) while Coalition voters were more likely to trust Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party (66%).

Green voters were more likely to trust Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party (58%).

People aged 55 years and over were more likely to trust Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party (37%), while those aged 45 – 54 were more likely to trust Kevin Rudd and Labor (50%) when it comes to handling Australia’s relations with other nations.

.

How important is it for Australia to have a close relationship with the following nations?

importantrelations

On the cross-tabs, Essential reports:

Labor voters were more likely to think a close relationship with China is very important (56%) while Green voters were more likely to think it is not very important (15%).

Labor voters were more likely to think relations with Indonesia are very important (48%) and relations with India are quite important
(51%).

Coalition voters were more likely to think Australia’s relations with India are not very important (26%).

However, these voters were more likely to think Australia’s relations with the United Kingdom (52%) and the United States (68%) are very important.

.

Would you like to see Australia’s relationship with these countries get closer, stay the same or become less close?

relationsopinion

The cross-tabs give us:

33% support a closer relationship with New Zealand and 30% support a closer relationship with Indonesia. The country that scores the highest in terms of one which Australia should become less close with is India (16%).

Labor (36%) voters were more likely to think that Australia’s relations with China should become closer, while Coalition (17%) and Greens (23%) voters were more likely to think it should be less close.

Labor voters were more likely to think Australia’s relations with India should stay the same (55%), while Coalition voters were more likely to think they should become less close (20%).

.

Thinking about the Government budget set to be announced soon, which of the following is the most important thing the Government needs to do?

budget1april10

The good oil on the cross tabs is:

Coalition voters were more likely to think the most important thing that should be included in the upcoming budget are cuts to spending so we don’t go further into debt (51%).

Labor (33%) and Green (34%) voters were more likely to think that assisting those on low incomes by increasing payments to pensioners and unemployed is the most important thing the Government needs to do in the upcoming budget.

People aged 65 years and over were more likely to think that the most important thing the Government needs to do in the upcoming budget is assist those on low incomes by increasing payments to pensioners and the unemployed (40%).

People aged 25 – 34 were more likely to think the most important budget measure should be cutting income taxes (33%).

People earning $600 – $1000 were more likely to support increased payments to pensioners (41%) while those on $1600+ were more likely to prefer cuts to income tax (26%).

The most significant shift since the 2009 survey is in terms of stimulating the economy by assisting business (-10%) and cut spending so we don’t go further into debt (+8%).

.

If you had to choose, which of the following budget measures would you support?

budget2april10

On the cross-tabs we have:

Labor voters were more likely to support increased taxes for people on high incomes (62%), Coalition voters were more likely to support cuts to Government spending (65%) and Green voters were more likely to support increased taxes on business (15%).

People earning $600 – $1000 per week were more likely to prefer increased taxes for people on high incomes (53%), while people earning $1600 per week or more were more likely to prefer cuts to Government spending (45%).

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If cost savings need to be made in the budget, in which area should spending cuts be made?

budgetcuts

On the cross-tabs we have:

Green (38%) and Labor (25%) voters were more likely to support cuts to defence and national security. Coalition voters were more likely to support cuts to social security and welfare (20%) and community services (9%).

People aged 18 – 24 (28%) year olds and 25 – 34 (26%) were more likely to support cuts to defence and national security.

.

Do you expect that the budget will be good or bad for you personally, or will it have no impact on you?

budgetimpactThe cross-tabs tell us:

Coalition voters were more likely to think the budget will be bad for them personally (48%), while Labor (36%) and Green (45%) voters were more likely to think it will have no impact.

People aged 55 years and over were more likely to think the budget will be bad for them personally.

Compared to the 2009 survey, the number of people that expect the budget will be good for them personally has decreased by eight percent and the number, the number that think it will be bad has decreased by four percent and the number that think it will have no impact has increased by nine percent.

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21 comments

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21 thoughts on “Essential Report – Foreign Policy and Budget Edition

  1. don

    Testing preview…

    this should be bold

    Woohoo! It works here as well as at PB!

    Now it just needs to work on the fly, as promised!

  2. David Richards

    I say give the US the flick – reduce our relationship to a more neutral one where we are not so welded on to the US.

    On the subject of coalition voters and tax cuts vs increased social equity payments- the answer is that they are heartless mongrels.

  3. Possum Comitatus

    It does seem to be that way.

  4. don

    Poss, you’ve got two buttons below the comment box.

    One says preview, one says post.

    Preview seems to be for decoration purposes only.

  5. Possum Comitatus

    Really Don? Are you sure you aren’t supposed to be at Pollbludger? 😛

  6. don

    Hmmm, preview always gives you a view of the top of the page, and post sometimes works and sometimes not.

  7. don

    So preview sends your post into the ether?

    I’ll copy this, hit preview, then if it disappears, paste, and hit post.

  8. don

    Try again to post, last one disappeared.

    This time I won’t try preview, just post.

  9. Possum Comitatus

    Thanks Andrew, I’ll give that a good read . It reminds me of some of the party polling breakdowns actually.

    BTW, if you folks aren’t regularly reading Andrew’s site:

    http://andrewnorton.info/

    … you should be.

  10. Possum Comitatus

    [I get it –but I don’t see the logic in asking it — except that it is asking for an underlying emotional response that is more about a person’s beliefs in regards to the ‘character’ of the party that is the government]

    You nailed it! The ‘character’ of the party!

    If you think about that sort of generic party support, it’s a product of not only the “I’ve always voted that way” syndrome, but also the cumulative result of an individual’s predispositions toward a party on a large number of issues.

    This question is effectively a measure of the generic mood of the public towards the government over one particular issue – “How they expect a Labor Party budget to impact upon them personally in the current environment” – but without any actual information.

    So essentially, the results of this question are the ALP baseline for when Essential asks post-budget questions about how they think the budget will impact upon them personally.

    The difference between the results of this question now (the generic support) and the same question post-budget (the actual support), will give us an idea of the *real*, *partisan adjusted*, impact of the budget after it is actually delivered and we get the polling results.

    So after the budget when this question is asked again, we’ll be able to look at how the budget actually went down with those that aren’t rusted on over the matter.

    I hope I explained that properly!

  11. jenauthor

    @ Poss
    ‘Jen, the question looks at what we might call “latent” expectations of the budget.’

    I get it –but I don’t see the logic in asking it — except that it is asking for an underlying emotional response that is more about a person’s beliefs in regards to the ‘character’ of the party that is the government, not the budget itself. Therefore, to my way of thinking, it is a bit of a sneaky question.

  12. mfs

    Thanks Possum. Food for thought. I do agree that geography is important, maybe because it plays so strongly on one’s sense of identity.

  13. Andrew Norton

    There is an occupational split in the professions which corresponds to voting patterns, as Peter Saunders argued some years ago. The institutions of the left voting occupations tend to cluster in the inner city more than then institutions of the right voting occupations, which would help explain some geographical concentration of high income left voters. I suspect that this geographic concentration is a political force in itself, with the inner city sub-culture encouraging greater uniformity of left opinion than would exist if the same population was less concentrated. But this is harder to prove than occupational patterns of voting, opinion and residence.

  14. Possum Comitatus

    mfs went:

    [I wonder if making a moral choice such as this predisposes a person of higher income to conservative politics, as seems logical.]

    It can, and it also makes this really complicated when looking at income demographics and vote relationships.

    In some areas there’s a good positive correlation between education and voting ALP and Green.

    Everywhere there is a strong positive correlation between education and income.

    Yet – and here’s the tricky part – in some places there’s also a good positive correlation between income and voting for the Coalition.

    The single most important variable for determining the direction of which way the income/vote relationship runs is geography. The really difficult part is in figuring out why the geography is important.

    Let’s take Tanner’s seat of Melbourne as an example.
    http://aec.gov.au/pdf/profiles/2007/m/melbourne.pdf

    As you can see, the seats immediately to the north and west are strong Labor seats, but to the east and south east they are strong Liberal seats. There are neighborhoods in Melbourne which are very very similar in their affluence and high education levels to many of the neighborhoods in the Liberal seats of Higgins and Kooyong next door – but in Melbourne, that educated affluence generally votes Labor while next door they vote Liberal.

    Often notions of class are used to explain why geography changes the direction of the income/vote relationship – and it generally works better as an explanation than anything else in terms of general accuracy.

    That drives me nuts because I don’t actually think it is class anymore that explains that difference everywhere – especially in the inner cities – but something correlating with class.I just can’t figure out what that “something” is!

  15. mfs

    There seems to be a pretty clear self-interest trend when choosing what government actions are preferred, such as higher income pollees (taxed at higher levels) preferring Government spending cuts / tax cuts whereas lower income prefers increased payments to seniors / unemployed or increased taxes on higher income earners.
    I wonder if making a moral choice such as this predisposes a person of higher income to conservative politics, as seems logical. If that is the case it would buckle against a common conservative stereotype of lefties being spoiled kids / sitting in ivory towers, etc.

  16. Possum Comitatus

    Jen, the question looks at what we might call “latent” expectations of the budget.

    So in this case, people have pretty low expectations for how the budget will affect them personally before any leaks or contents of it leak out in to the press.

  17. jenauthor

    I find it really laughable that the poll essentially (pun intended) asks for prescience on the part of pollees — the only way anyone can have expectations of the upcoming budget is if they believe the press’s speculations.

    The whole notion of whether I believe I will be better or worse off because of the, as yet the unknown, upcoming budget is quite preposterous to me. What can this question prove?

  18. Andrew Norton » Blog Archive » Actual versus perceived income

    […] to survey propositions that above-average income earners pay more tax – as 41% of people are in the latest Essential Research survey – may get a nasty shock when they find the taxman raiding their […]

  19. Andy Royal

    Just checked out Essential for myself, Poss. They said primaries went 43:39 (unchanged) whereas you’ve got 41:40. Que??

  20. sam from sunshine

    The 2010 economy is a perfect opportunity for an austerity Budget that meets the expectations of the population. Austerity seems to be the preferred option.

    All this in an election year – remarkable.

    The Razor Gang can go to town and get the fiscal debt into a positon where it can return to surplus within the next 2 years. This would lock down economic management as an election issue – spend to avoid a recession and a quick return to surplus.

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