As reported by The Guardian, the latest fortnightly poll from Essential Research shifts in favour of the Coalition, who now trail Labor 52-48 compared with 54-46 in the last poll. While this fits the narrative of Labor taking a hit from dividend imputation better than Newspoll, Essential’s question on the subject produces a better result for Labor than Newspoll’s, with 32% supportive and 30% opposed (compared with 33% and 50% from Newspoll). Primary votes and full report to follow later.
UPDATE: Full report here. As with two-party, the Coalition is up two on the primary vote, to 38%, and Labor down two, to 36%, with the Greens steady on 9% and One Nation steady on 8%.
I believe the mystery of Newspoll’s and Essential’s different numbers on dividend imputation is solved: Essential’s question was preceded by another on how many people were beneficiaries of the existing policy (16% received a tax deduction, 10% a cash payment), which explained how the existing policy works and how much it costs. This is unfortunate in my view, because it put respondents on a different footing from the general population. Some of the “statements about imputation credits” that respondents were invited to agree or disagree with also seem a bit leading (“paying people money to compensate for tax they haven’t paid does not make sense”), although in this case it doesn’t affect the responses to the more important question of support or opposition to the policy, as it came later in the survey.
The poll also canvasses opinion on what other tax policies respondents might support or oppose, and as usual it finds that the public heavily favours a more redistributive approach (class war and the politics of envy, if you will). Nonetheless, 40% favour cutting the company tax rate to 25%, with 30% opposed. Twenty-six per cent trust Labor more to manage a fair tax system, 28% the Coalition, and 31% no difference. Only 7% reckon Australia’s gun laws too strict, 25% think them too weak, and 62% say they are about right. A series of questions on Facebook finds 79% agreeing it should be more regulated, with 12% disagreeing, but 45% finding Facebook “generally a force for good”, with 37% disagreeing.