There were more questions from the Essential Research poll at the weekend; last night we covered the headline voting figures, and so tonight I thought we’d have a quick look at the other questions Essential asked of its respondents.
On the question of whether an election should be held now or in 2013, 48% said now, 40% said in 2013, and 12% purported not to know.
It’s true — as Essential noted in its report — that these findings broadly follow voting intention.
I would assert however that such stated intent would leak (i.e. if 49% of the electorate say they will vote for the Coalition, that same bloc of 49% won’t necessarily favour the secondary response — in this case, a fresh election).
So even if the figure of 48% wanting an election now is true, it’s likely made up of a hotchpotch of Coalition supporters, the “don’t knows,” and at least a few ALP and Greens voters as well.
The key finding, extrapolated across the electorate based on this research, is that virtually half the population wants a fresh election now.
Frankly, that’s a bit less than I would have thought.
On the mining tax, Essential finds 46% approval, as opposed to 34% opposed.
The surprising thing with this finding — if it’s accurate — is that it was one of the big issues Julia Gillard used to skewer Kevin Rudd over; if it’s accurate, there’s clearly community support for taxing the mining sector more heavily — despite utter ambiguity as to where the funds raised would be spent.
The terms “Super-Profits Tax” and “Rent Resource Tax” may have something to do with this, as ambiguous and misleading as they are at face value.
Any “mining tax” is a revenue measure, clear and simple; yet phrased in terms that suggest inflated profits are being taxed, or that it’s an impost in the form of rent, it may well market such a measure — at face value — to ordinary electors.
(I wonder if “Carbon Tax” could be presented as a non-toxic brand along these lines?)
Essential talks about trust in individual journalists…I’m not touching that one!
The last of the questions from the Essential poll I want to mention concerns the best leader to handle another Global Financial Crisis — or, as I am wont to avoid beating around the bush, a world recession.
Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott top this question at 24% and 20% respectively, followed by Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull at 13% each, Joe Hockey at 7%, and the “Don’t Knows” on 22%.
I wouldn’t read too much into that one; ask people what they think of Abbott’s economic credentials and he doesn’t fare well; start asking questions about how Rudd and Swan handled the GFC, and a lot of negative feedback about debt emerges.
If you asked whether the Liberal Party or the Labor Party were the better party to handle a world recession I suspect you’d get a vastly different result (and one that didn’t shine the sun on Kevin Rudd so directly).
I think the response to this question as recorded by Essential is probably more reflective of people’s preferences in terms of the leadership of the prospective parties than it is about any sort of confidence in terms of economic management.
But if you were Gillard (or Turnbull) you’d hardly be encouraged, would you?