Guardian Essential poll: majority see early election as political opportunism | Essential poll

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A majority of voters think a sprint to an early election would be opportunistic, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.

And a significant majority worry the Morrison government either lacks a long-term plan on a range of policy fronts or is failing to communicate its plans clearly.

The latest survey of 1,100 respondents suggests most voters would be irritated if Scott Morrison went to an election later this year rather in the first half of 2022, with 61% characterising any post-budget sprint to the ballot box as political opportunism, and 39% saying that would be reasonable because a lot has changed since the last federal election.

Ahead of the resumption of federal parliament this week,Guardian Essential poll respondents were also asked a series of questions to chart their level of confidence in the government’s plans across a range of important issues that will be prosecuted this year.

The Covid-19 vaccination rollout is the most significant practical and political challenge the government faces, but only 25% of respondents said they were confident the government had a clear plan.

A further 42% suspected the government did have a plan for the vaccine rollout, but believed it had been poorly communicated, while 32% were not confident a plan existed.

There were similarly hedged responses across other significant policy issues. Only 21% of the sample believed there was a federal plan on quarantine facilities, while 79% thought either there was a plan but poor communication (38%) or no plan at all (41%).

When it came to deficit reduction, 16% felt Morrison had a clear plan, while 84% either thought there was a plan but poor communication (43%) or feared no plan (41%).

The idea of a Coalition plan for emissions reduction generated the highest level of scepticism from survey respondents (47% of the sample saw no plan, while 35% saw a poorly communicated plan and 18% felt they could divine a strategy).

While the government committed more than $17bn in the recent budget on aged care in response to the damning findings of the royal commission, only 22% believed there was a clear plan to reform the sector, while 39% thought there was a plan but poor communication and 39% lacked confidence there was a plan.

Only 21% of respondents believe the government has a readily understood plan to reopen the international border, while 40% thought there was a poorly communicated plan and 39% lacked confidence there was a plan.

In the wake of the government’s controversial recent decision to ban Australians returning from Covid-ravaged India, the latest poll suggests voters are restive about domestic quarantine facilities, with 63% of the sample agreeing with the statement, “It should be the federal government’s responsibility to build and manage quarantine facilities across the country”, and 37% believing that should be a state responsibility.

After a budget laden with important but unfunded spending on social services, voters also want some comfort about a plan for budget repair on the other side of the pandemic and the accompanying economic downturn.

A majority (65%) agreed with the statement: “It’s OK for Australia to spend whatever it takes to help the economy recover, but there needs to be a clear plan for how we will repay the debt in the future”. Meanwhile, 20% thought debt was something that should be managed down the track and 16% thought the government needed to engage in debt retirement now rather than wait.

Approval of the government’s Covid management has lost some of its gloss over recent weeks.

In the middle of March, 70% of the Guardian Essential sample said the government’s approach to managing the pandemic was good, but that approval has tracked down in each poll since, falling to 62% in April and 58% in May.

Approval of the pandemic management approach in the states is also off the peaks of recent months, but the slide is smaller. The poll charts declining approval ratings in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. But the approval of the Victorian government’s approach has climbed five points since April, from 58% to 63%.

Voters were split about whether the budget was a plan for the country or a springboard for the Coalition’s re-election chances. A majority (55%) thought the annual statement was about helping the economy recover from the pandemic and building it over the long term, but a significant minority (45%) thought it was about helping Morrison win the looming election.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Guardian Essential poll: majority see early election as political opportunism | Essential poll

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