Essential poll: Australians losing faith in government handling of Covid | Australia news

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Public faith in government handling of the coronavirus is on the decline, with voters in Victoria most likely to complain their state and federal governments are not working well together on the pandemic.

That is the conclusion of the latest Essential poll, released on Tuesday, which found Scott Morrison is the preferred prime minister of just less than half (49%) of Australians for the first time since April, but still ahead of Anthony Albanese on 26%.

The poll of 1,076 voters found respondents were more likely to agree that Google and Facebook should pay for news (49%) than to say it is not up to the tech giants to support media companies (38%) – in an encouraging sign for government efforts to impose a new industry code.

Some 64% of Australians approve of Morrison’s overall performance, down two points since August, including more than half (51%) of Labor voters who approve.

Albanese’s ratings are steady at 44% approval and 29% disapproval, but “strong support” among Labor voters for their leader fell from 22% to 15% since August.

More than half of respondents (59%) approved of the federal government’s handling of the pandemic, but a two point slide continues a longterm downward trend from heights of 73% in May.

The gloss has also come off the New South Wales government, down two points since August to 57%, and Queensland, down seven points to 66%.

In the poll taken before the extension of stage four restrictions and the long roadmap out unveiled on Sunday, the Victorian government recovered three points to 50%. Only the Western Australian government enjoys support from more than three-quarters of voters (87%).

Most voters (64%) believe their state or territory government is working well with the federal government rather than poorly (30%). Voters in Victoria recorded the most concern the federal relationship is working poorly (38%) rather than well (57%).

The poll came before Morrison’s criticism of Victoria’s tracing ability and extension of lockdown, but after a spat with premier Daniel Andrews throughout August about responsibility for deaths in aged care.

Voters still mostly blame providers for Covid-19 outbreaks in aged care, with 41% attributing blame there, but the federal government has now leaped state government for share of blame, 31% to 28%.

Women, people aged over 55, and Coalition voters were more likely to blame aged care providers, while Labor voters were most likely to hold the federal government responsible (42%).

Strong majorities agreed with propositions that authorities failed to prepare for aged care Covid-19 outbreaks (77%), the impact has been worsened by underfunding (72%), hygiene in private care homes is poor (69%) and community transmission is to blame (67%).

The Essential poll found narrow support to increase the Medicare levy from 2% to 2.65% to fund improvements to aged care, with 36% in favour, 32% opposed and 32% on the fence.

More Labor and Coalition voters backed the Medicare levy rise (41% for both) but opposition was higher among voters for the Greens (35%) and other parties (51%).

A slim majority of Australians (52%) said they use Google and Facebook to search for and read news.

When told that Facebook has threatened to stop Australian users sharing news and Google has warned free search is at risk due to the proposed industry code, poll respondents offered mixed signals but generally favoured the Australian government.

Slim majorities agreed that tech companies should be supporting Australian media rather than bullying the government (54%) and the companies had too much power and should be pulled into line (51%).

A further 49% agreed “a strong media is essential for Australian democracy and the government is right to ask Google and Facebook to pay for news” but many (38%) agreed that it is “not up to Facebook and Google to support media companies”.

People aged 18-34 were more sympathetic to social media platforms and the least likely to agree the government is right to ask them to pay for news or that they have too much power, with 36% agreement for those propositions.

Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Essential poll: Australians losing faith in government handling of Covid | Australia news

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