The final Essential Research result for 2017 (actually released yesterday, but who’s keeping score at this time of year) has the Coalition gaining a point on two-party preferred for the second week in a row, reducing the Labor lead to 53-47. They’re also up two on the primary vote to 37%, with Labor steady on 38%, the Greens down one to 9% and One Nation steady on 7%.
Essential closes the year with a particularly interesting series of supplementary findings, one of which is that only 29% approve of tax cuts to medium and large businesses, with 54% opposed. On political donations, overwhelming support is recorded for immediate disclosure of donations (84% versus 6%) and politicians’ meetings with companies donors and unions (82% versus 5%), very strong support for a ban on foreign donations (67% to 16%), capping donations at $5000 (59% to 20%) and banning donations from companies and unions (58% to 22%), but opposition to banning donations altogether and replacing them with public funding (30% to 50%).
Another series of generalised questions on how things have been going over the past year suggest Australians are feeling a good deal more positive than they have at any time since this annual series began in 2013. In particular, there are greatly improved perceptions on the state of the economy; neutral but improved ones on respondents’ personal financial situations; greatly improved, but still somewhat negative ones on how “the average Australian” has fared; and a view on “Australian politics in general” that remains highly negative, but is still greatly improved. Included for the first time is a question on “the planet”, with 20% consider to have had a good year versus 42% for bad.