Essential Research: carbon, coal and coronavirus

A quick look at this week’s Essential Research report, and a deeper one at last week’s ANU survey on the impact of the bushfires.

The latest fortnightly poll from Essential Research finds 75% support for a net zero carbon pollution target by 2050, with only 25% opposed; 32% wishing to see coal-fired power plants phased out as soon as possible and another 47% wanting an end to subsidies and government support, compared with 21% wanting government support for both existing and new plants; and 80% support for the government preventing people entering the country from China due to coronavirus, with only 6% opposed. There are further questions and breakdowns in the report, but not a lot to get excited about on the whole – I can only beseech the pollster to bite the bullet and get back in the voting intention game.

To add more meat to this post, I will instead probe deeper into the report on the political impact of the bushfires published last week by the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods. This was based on a regular panel survey conducted by the centre on a roughly quarterly basis, largely dealing with questions such as satisfaction with governments, public institutions and life in general. Since most of the respondents had also completed previous surveys, the report is able to explore changes in voting intention and attitudes over time. On this occasion, the survey was supplemented by questions on respondents’ exposure to the bushfires.

The study found a slump in electoral support for the Coalition, from 42.6% in the October survey to 37.2%, with Labor up from 33.7% to 35.8%, the Greens up from 14.4% to 14.7% (which is obviously too high at both ends) and others up from 9.3% to 11.2% (after excluding non-respondents, of which there were 5.1% in October and 6.6% in January). However, it did not find evidence that the fall in Coalition support was particularly pronounced among those who had been exposed to the bushfires.

Some of the factors that did associate with defection from the Coalition suggest an intensification of trends evident at the election, with university-educated voters more likely to have abandoned the Coalition and voters aged 75 and over less likely to have done so. However, the Coalition had a particular drop in support outside capital cities, though not in a way that suggested exposure to the fires was the reason. Out of the sample of 618 Coalition defectors, 43.9% supported Labor, 14.3% the Greens and 24.7% others, with the remainder uncommitted.

Consistent with the findings of the Ipsos Issues Monitor survey in January, the number of respondents rating environmental issues as the first or second most important facing the country rose from 41.5% in the October survey to 49.7%. For whatever reason, there was a significant effect here for indirect exposure to the bushfire (having friends or family whose properties were damaged or threatened, having travel plans affected, or exposure to smoke or anxiety), but not for direct exposure. However, as the report notes, what the survey registered as concern for environmental issues extended to blaming “the greenies” for the extent of the fires.

Support for new coal mines was down from 45.3% in the June survey to 37.0%, with the fall particularly pronounced among Coalition voters, down from 71.8% to 57.5%. However, those directly exposed to the bushfires who had expressed support for coal mines in June were relatively resistant to this trend.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,024 comments on “Essential Research: carbon, coal and coronavirus”

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  1. Confessions, that interview should be compulsory viewing for the Bernie Bros. They’ll take no notice, of course, and then wonder why they lost to trump in november

  2. Yessirrebob @ #952 Thursday, February 27th, 2020 – 6:34 pm

    Confessions, that interview should be compulsory viewing for the Bernie Bros. They’ll take no notice, of course, and then wonder why they lost to trump in november

    It isn’t necessarily a fait accompli that the Democrats lose with Bernie, but it’s not looking good that he isn’t reaching out to people other than those who are already inside the Bernie tent.

  3. It seems to this amateur that the spread of Coronavirus is all in cool or cold climates. Probably we’ll be OK through summer and autumn.

  4. Confessions, Bernies biggest problem is that for Americans older than 40, they have real memories of the “red menace”.
    And, like it or not, how his policies are put out there, it reminds them of that period

  5. Thank you Nicholas, Cud, Simon, Victoria, Torchbearer, Frednk, Bellwether, Douglas and Milko and others I can’t remember for your contributions.

    I have been trying to generate a discussion on medicare without success until today.

    Now let’s go forward and push Labor to adopt a full-on, everything-bulkbilled medicare policy for the next election.

  6. Wow, Sky news is an out of touch, hubristic , cheer squad for the LNP.
    I wonder if they ever reflect why their ratings are so low ?

  7. I would have thought the Iranians would have been better protected from Coronavirus, despite their custom of embracing, due to the fact that, as Muslims, they have to wash themselves thoroughly, multiple times a day.

  8. I knew of a fellow who stole heaps of equipment from UQ, storing it in his garage, not off-loading it for personal gain. A psychiatric report (costing $2,500) was sought, the finding being he suffered kleptomania – FFS. The essential problem, he suffered marital problems. For this and many other examples, I lack confidence in psychiatry – little better than shamans. I will concede, though, that they can put the young on the strait and narrow, but not codgers.

  9. “It seems to this amateur that the spread of Coronavirus is all in cool or cold climates. ”

    That may just be people congregating spending more time indoors where its warm, and creating better conditions for infection??

  10. So, applying the Logic that when Bernie declares that he is a “Democratic Socialist” and professes his admiration for Communists like Castro, or Despots like the Ayatollah, will only turn most Americans away, regardless of his policies means that my “brain idles in neutral’, does it ?

    Wow, deep thinking isn’t your strong point, is it. Either that or you have an extremely short memory.
    Tell, you what, have a listen to that Rick Wilson interview, and try to reflect on the absolute feral attack ad campaign the Republicans are certain to run against Bernie.
    Use logic, and then try and explain just how you think Bernie will win in November

  11. ajm @ #946 Thursday, February 27th, 2020 – 6:18 pm

    Not an objective voice at all.

    Two take outs from that interview:

    1) He re-affirmed my assertion that he, along with his fellow Republican “strategists”, are responsible for the anti-Democrat tricks that made the Republican party a fertile breeding ground for the likes of Trump to emerge;
    2) He actually confessed to running a 30 year campaign against Hilary Clinton.

    Perhaps his “never-Trumpism” is based on the guilt he feels for the role he played in enabling Trump to become POTUS.

    I haven’t liked him since I saw him on the January 26, 2016 edition of Real Time when he just about had an orgasm over the dirty tactics the Republicans were playing against Obama. Instead of being hero worshiped as Wilson is by some on here, the bastard should be horse whipped.

    He only wants the Democrats to win back the Whitehouse so that for the four years of his or her term, he and his fellow “strategists” can run their usual dirty tricks campaign against him or her, and then get them booted out in favour of a more “moderate” Republican.

    Too late bucko, you and your mates have made sure that the Republicans will NEVER have another “moderate” candidate. Whether Trump Senior wins or loses this November, the next Republican candidate WILL be Trump Junior. The Republican rank and file will make sure of that no matter what Wilson and his fellow swamp creators do or say.

  12. ” Instead of being hero worshiped as Wilson is by some on here”

    Acknowledging, and respecting his insight as a political strategist is not hero worshiping him, by any means.

    If I were on the Democrats strategic team, I’d be hiring people like him. But then, I’d be wanting to win the election.

  13. One day I’ll learn to post a pic? In 1970, in “Malfunction Junction” (aka Russell Offices), I undertook a computer course, barely passing – Ms. Prostien giving me the benefit of the doubt, due in part to (?)

  14. So all these headlines about Morrison enacting Australia’s “virus response plan”. Is anything actually being done, or is it just a PR exercise of the “look, I’m doing stuff, trust me!” variety.

  15. Why do I get the impression that the Democrats are determined to repeat history and make the exact same mistakes that Corbyn Labor made in the UK election?

  16. Kristina Keneally@KKeneally
    Hinduism is the fastest growing religion in .Today @JoshFrydenberg used it as the butt of his political jokes. That’s disrespectful full stop, and esp when the @ScottMorrisonMP Govt is trying to convince faith groups of the merits of its draft religious discrimination bill.

  17. “I said this to President Castro in Cuba. Look, you’ve made great progress in educating young people. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education. That’s a huge improvement from where it was. Medical care—the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement. They should be congratulated,”

    I’ve changed my mind Bernie needs to be stopped, that level of admiration for an authoritarian government is just wrong!!!!

    Oh wait that was Obama.

    And before anyone comments, my issue is that there are a bunch of people here who will just put on the blinkers and not try to understand (for whatever reason) that there is often nuance in comments and just bleat click bait.

  18. Confessions, the Dems need to realise that it’s not the policies, but the salesperson.
    Also, as Wilson said, they need to win states back off the Republicans, but their current Salesman is too focused on his own narrow base. As you said regarding reaching out to the electorate

  19. D and M

    If you have a simple routine operation and don’t have a complication, it’s better to have it in private. If you have a good doctor and are in a good private hospital it’s okay to have something more high risk. There are lots more checks and balances in the public system though.

  20. Yessirree Bob

    GG is yanking the chain of anyone who cares to self-categorise. His post has nothing to do with USA politics. He’s probably not even a Bernie supporter.

    I’m sure he has an equally acerbic take on each of those labels. I think it’s how he expresses his love, or somesuch :P.

  21. Sigil @ #981 Thursday, February 27th, 2020 – 9:27 pm

    And before anyone comments, my issue is that there are a bunch of people here who will just put on the blinkers and not try to understand (for whatever reason) that there is often nuance in comments and just bleat click bait.

    Nuance is fine, but the reality is that the U.S. political debate won’t have any. Sanders will be a commie socialist who pals around with communists. Bet your house on it.

  22. ar
    The hospitals are doing things to prepare but we will never know how effective they will be unless push comes to shove. I’ve heard some senior doctors say we are well prepared and others say anything more than 100 truly sick patients in Adelaide and the health system will fall over. I suspect the latter is true but I don’t know.

  23. a r I agree with you. I was talking about the posters on PB.

    Slight tangent, but to those who feel the the big dirt playbook will be unleashed on Sanders and he’s d00med… all of the candidates would cop the narcissistic ramblings of the Orange Emperor on the attack.

    The idea that truth or decency matters with Trump is laughable.

  24. Oh yeah, terrible commie stuff like, you know, decent minimum wages, better transportation, clean water. We wouldn’t want that to happen.

    As I said earlier, Sanders wants to make a modern, civilised country out of a country that is in many respects third world.

  25. Sigil

    Precisely. The Republicans are going to redefine dirty. In a very real sense it doesn’t matter who the Democrat candidate is. It doesn’t matter what the truth is – they’ll just make shit up. Sanders will get “communist”. Biden will get “crooked”. And all that will mater in the end is the advertising spend.

  26. For most people in Australia who do yoga there is absolutely no connection with Hinduism and the Hindus I know were probably laughing as had as those on the Right of the Chamber – big Modi and LNP supporters.

  27. There’s no need to make up dirt on Sanders – it’s all on the public record. He is the Jeremy Corbyn of the US. He honeymooned in the USSR at the height of the Cold War not because it was a bit kooky but he was a supporter. How he will get a security clearance is beyond me.

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