Essential poll: Support for Coalition’s Covid handling lowest since outbreak began | Essential poll

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Support for the Coalition’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has fallen to its lowest level since the outbreak began, as almost half of all voters view the federal government less favourably than they did a year ago.

But the findings, contained in the latest Guardian Essential poll, also show that voters in locked-down Victoria are spreading the blame for the latest outbreak, with both the Coalition and the Andrews government losing ground over the past month among voters in the state.

Overall, one in four voters now believe the Morrison government is doing a “very poor” or “quite poor” job of managing the pandemic, the highest level since March last year, and six percentage points higher than when the same question was asked a fortnight ago.

Amid sustained criticism of Scott Morrison for the federal government’s handling of hotel quarantine and the vaccine rollout, the survey finds the criticism is starting to bite, with just over half (53%) of voters agreeing the government is doing a “good” job of managing the outbreak.

This is a sharp drop in support since March, when 70% of people approved of the government’s response, and the lowest level since March last year, when about 45% approved of the government’s initial handling of the crisis.

The loss of support comes primarily from Victorians, where the positive rating for the federal government has fallen from 57% to 42% since May.

During the same period, the state Labor government has also taken a hit, with just 48% of people now saying its response to the pandemic has been “good” compared with 63% last month.

This is similar to the levels recorded in September (47%) and October (45%) after the Andrews government declared a state of disaster in August, which put in place the state’s extended lockdown.

The findings come as residents in greater Melbourne enter their second week of lockdown, with the Victorian government blaming the latest outbreak on the commonwealth.

The survey of 1,104 people finds that 40% of people view the Morrison government less favourably than they did a year ago, but 25% more favourably.

Again, Victorians are more likely to take a negative view of the government compared with a year ago, with almost half (48%) viewing it less favourably, along with young people (44%).

Among Coalition voters, 24% view the federal government less favourably than they did last year, while about a third of all voters are unmoved.

Dissatisfaction with the government has not translated to a significant loss of support for Morrison, with the number of voters who approve of the job the prime minister is doing dipping only slightly over the past month from 58% to 57%.

His disapproval rate has edged up to 36% from 32%.

The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, has maintained a steady approval rate of 39%, which is unchanged since April.

The poll also asked voters their views on the rollout strategy and their willingness to get vaccinated.

Since the vaccine rollout began in February, the view that it is being done efficiently has fallen from 68% to 43%.

But most voters still believe the program is being done safely (67%), with a majority believing it will be effective at stopping Covid-19 within the country (54%).

Victorians are the least likely to think the program is efficient (37%), with voters in New South Wales the most happy with the program (47%). In Victoria, support has plunged from 67% at the beginning of March.

There is most concern about the speed of the rollout in the aged care sector, with about half (49%) of all people saying the program is happening “more slowly than I would like”. This sentiment is strongest in Victoria, where there is currently a cluster of cases linked to the Arcare Maidstone aged care home.

When asked who is “most responsible” for Australians being vaccinated more slowly than desired, 50% of people say the federal government, with 23% saying the states and territories.

Only about a third of voters now say they want to get vaccinated “as soon as possible”, down from 56% in August.

About a third of people say they want to get vaccinated, but “not straight away”, while 13% don’t want a vaccine – up by 5% since August.

Voters are also pessimistic about the vaccine rollout being completed within a year, with most people (44%) thinking it will take one to two years, and 30% believing it will take more than two years. Eight per cent of people say it will “never” be completed.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Essential poll: Support for Coalition’s Covid handling lowest since outbreak began | Essential poll

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