Essential Research and Morgan: coronavirus, superannuation and trust in business leaders

Generally favourable reaction to the government’s handling of coronavirus, a big thumbs up to access to superannuation, and yah boo sucks to Murdoch, Palmer, Rinehart and Harvey.

The fortnightly Essential Research poll focuses, naturally enough, on coronavirus, with 45% rating the federal government’s response good or very good, and 29% poor or very poor. According to The Guardian’s report, it would seem the latter tend to be those most worried about the virus, as measured by a question on whether respondents felt the situation was being overblown, with which “one third” agreed while 28% thought the opposite.

Over the course of three fortnightly polls, the proportion rating themselves very concerned has escalated from 25% to 27% to 39%, while the results for quite concerned have gone from 43% to 36% and back again. The Guardian’s report does not relate the latest results for “not that concerned” and “not at all concerned”, which were actually up in the last poll, from 26% to 28% and 6% to 9% respectively. Further questions relate to trust in various sources of information, notably the government and the media, but we will have to wait for the publication of the full report later today to get a clear handle on them. Suffice to say that Essential still has nothing to tell us on voting intention.

In other findings, 49% said they wanted the opposition to fall in behind the government’s decisions while 33% preferred that it review and challenge them, and 42% now consider themselves likely to catch the virus, up from 31% on a fortnight ago. Seventy-two per cent reported washing their hands more often, 60% said they were avoiding social gatherings, and 33% reported stocking up on groceries.

We also have a Roy Morgan SMS survey of 723 respondents, which was both conducted and published yesterday, showing 79% support for the government’s decision to allow those in financial difficulty to access $20,000 of their superannuation. As noted in the previous post, an earlier such poll of 974 respondents from Wednesday and Thursday recorded levels of trust in various Australian politicians (plus Jacinda Ardern, who fared best of all); a further set of results from the same poll finds Dick Smith, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Andrew Forrest and Alan Joyce rating best out of designated list of business leaders, with Rupert Murdoch, Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Gerry Harvey performed worst. We are yet to receive hard numbers from either set of questions, but they are apparently forthcoming.

UPDATE: Full report from Essential Research here.

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.

5,145 comments on “Essential Research and Morgan: coronavirus, superannuation and trust in business leaders”

  1. Mark

    No they’ll reason we only need enough to test people with a cough. They just don’t get it.
    Innumeracy is a trait of right wing idiots.

  2. “Cud Chewersays:
    Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:30 pm
    With enough testing you can eradicate without a vaccine.”

    And quarantine. And retesting.

  3. Dandy

    In imgur..
    When you have created a new post, you click on “copy link”
    Then paste that link into the browser. It will bring up your new image.
    Then there will be a + in a circle.. to zoom. Zoom in to the image.
    Then use your browsers “copy image address” or whatever it is.
    It should end in a .jpg or a .png
    That’s what you need for here

  4. They would be fools to believe the professional liar, but

    “Scott Morrison will urge G20 leaders ……… ensure critical medical supplies can be traded during the crisis.

    Morrison will say Australia intends to assist the Pacific as much as possible during the pandemic.”


    His Government has ensured there are not enough medical supplies in Australia and he has drastically cut aid to Pacific Countries and now he is pretending he will give aid to them.

  5. And quarantine. And retesting.

    Yep, you’d start with testing everyone – probably 2 or 3 times in short order.
    Then you’d have a protocol to retest some people at intervals, or even some kind of random sampling.
    And of course you’d need to subject anyone from outside to a week of quarantine and probably strict movement control.

  6. “Cud Chewersays:
    Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:40 pm
    We need local mass manufacture of testing kits. Even if we have to license that at some expense.”

    Can’t argue with this.

    If only we had some sort of Commonwealth owned Serum Laboratory.

  7. Cud Chewer, on your favourite topic fast rail will never happen in Australia as the rail engineers and bean counters would talk the pollies in to the cheapest option as they did in the regional rail and rrl projects in victoria.

  8. Confessions @ #2589 Thursday, March 26th, 2020 – 7:14 pm

    poroti @ #2579 Thursday, March 26th, 2020 – 7:00 pm

    So they really are the “filthy rich”. The ‘comfortable’ with all their international ‘jet setting’ paying the price 🙂
    Eastern suburbs the epicentre of NSW’s COVID-19 battle

    NSW Health has revealed that Waverley has 105 cases and Woollahra 66 cases. Sydney City has 69

    Is it a coincidence that wealthy suburbs also tend to have low vaccination rates?

    More to do with them being high population density I would think.

  9. Ok NEXT TIME I’ll cut it down to size first.

    This plot is for growth rate Aus wide, to yesterday. The CI’s are t-dist 0.05% tails each direction, with rolling updates each day.

    Thanks to late_riser for sharing his curated data.

  10. Mavis Davis:

    Please stop being so hard on those who make so many others so beautiful(?). Indeed, someone said to me the other day, “Mavis, age hasn’t been kind to you; have you considered botox, even a facelift?” – the impertinent young twit, who’s showing signs herself of premature photoaging. I mean, she’s got a face like a Shar-Pei.

    Many plastic surgeons’ practices include reconstruction, particularly after cancer operations, and also various skin cancer things and operations on hands (and very occasionally, hand transplants – I myself have the benefit of something called an IGAM Flap, courtesy of a trio of plastic surgeons.

  11. “Cud Chewersays:
    Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:47 pm
    That’s the road to Communism, Blobbit!”

    Laboratories for Serums in the Commonwealth?


  12. Seasonal Influenza does not spread and kill in the same way as Coronavirus, though when it did, in 1918-19, the rate of spread was reduced to such an extent that it faded out. Spanish Flu was not defeated by a vaccine or cure.

  13. “Andy Murraysays:
    Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 11:56 pm
    So yesterday’s data saw no statistically significant change in the infection rate Australia-wide.”

    Pretty much. It’ll be interesting to see if the state border closures start causing any state based differences.


    Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims in record numbers, with the Labor Department reporting Thursday a surge to 3.28 million.

    The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982. The previous week, which reflected the period before the worst of the coronavirus hit, was just 282,000.

    Consensus estimates from economists surveyed by Dow Jones showed an expectation for 1.5 million new claims, though individual forecasts on Wall Street had been anticipating a much higher number. The surge comes amid a crippling slowdown brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

  15. Socrates @ #2591 Thursday, March 26th, 2020 – 9:45 pm

    Evening all again. I just had an interesting social chat with some friends, both of whom work in health and allied services as managers. It was nice to catch up socially (something which has suddenly become less frequent) and also fascinating to hear their insight into Covid19, what it means for health services, and timeframes.

    In a word, wow! They gave me a completely different understanding of Covid19 and what it means. This virus is a new ballgame. It is a long-term issue. The public information we have been given on how long this might last is laughably incomplete, if not severely over-optimistic. No wonder Dr Fauci is frustrated with Trump. The latter is in complete denial of reality. Scomo, Dutton and Josh may not be much better.

    The idea of herd immunity is absurd. Even Boris gets that now. Best case we might have it under control in Australia within 3 months if we go to lockdown soon, six months if not. Even then, that is just Australia. We have no idea how the rest of the world will go, since not even the EU has agreed a common approach, let alone the OECD. There is no guarantee there will be a cure or immunisation. They have been trying that for ten years for SARS (Corona 1) without success. We need to think about restructuring things so that we can live sustainably in a newer more hygenic country.

    So we will probably still need tighter border controls and quarantine arrangements for 18(?) months. That is how long the Spanish flu took to die down. And as cruise ship captains have already proven, desperate people will lie to beat restrictions. We will need to treat it more like the way Border Force deals with attempts at drug importation, something they are competent at.

    The economic damage will therefore be huge in terms of people movement industries. Freight movements of goods are not so bad. A shrink wrapped product taking a month to get here in a container is not a threat. So globalisation of trade is not at risk. Large scale international travel is going to have to take quite a holiday. Learn to love domestic tourism, after we can get this mess in order. If we don’t “flatten the curve” pockets of infection could reemerge in Australia for a long time after.

    So the economic arguments against lockdown are insane. We need to get this under control. The out of control scenario is both a human and economic disaster. No wonder the experts are breaking ranks. The federal government is simply not facing reality. Maybe Scomo genuinely cannot grasp the science.

    Albo needs to act like a government in exile. The reason for canning parliament for four months is now obvious to me. Yes they do not want scrutiny. But also, they have not grasped the problem and have no idea how to solve it. They can’t answer questions and they know it. Scomo being Scomo, truth is not an option. All State premiers need to manage their own turf, as they seem to have realised.

    On the plus side, there may be no safer place to be than here. We can’t really run out of food or essentials except in the short term via panic buying.

    This is my view and conclusions. I am not a doctor so maybe I completely misunderstood what was said. Maybe a magic fix will be found. But people I respect are talking about how to maintain health staff welfare, morale and fatigue in the long term. For them this is pretty serious. It should be for our government too.

    Thank you Socrates. This is the type of information that makes this blog so valuable. In the age of spin, this insight is what (or that which) I appreciate.

  16. nath @ #2636 Thursday, March 26th, 2020 – 10:43 pm

    Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 10:37 pm
    Incredible movie and probably the source of my anti-submarine sentiment. I am committed to rewatching Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and the Wire. I am a little bronchial so I have moved some chess pieces and gone into full lockdown from here on out.
    Finished rewatching the Wire a few weeks back. No series comes close to it I reckon. – maybe Deadwood. Breaking Bad? No doubt it’s excellent, but not as layered and clever as the Wire.
    Oh yes The Wire is the ultimate. I would argue that The Wire and the Sopranos are pretty equal. What one lacks the other provides. Sopranos is an in depth look at a criminal and his family while the Wire is an in depth look at criminals and society. Very complimentary.

    Yes, The Wire is up there as one of my Ultimate Favourites for TV Series . Narcos is another which I recommend. Peaku Blinders really caught my attention, and Call the Midwife is surprisingly addictive.

  17. SA has increased ICU beds from 188 in January to 325 now.

    Not sure if this includes ICU beds in the large private hospitals

    My suspicion is that 188 might (188 in 2000—the number of public ICU—is 9.4% which is higher than SA’s population share), and the 325 includes the same number of private ICU beds as the 188 – i.e. there has been expansion in the public hospitals (RAH has built in expansion which has presumably been activated). This might mean there is slack in the large private hospitals (but I suspect not as they are not purposed for disasters and thus presumably have no built in surge; if so, this would one of thing that will to change).

  18. So Victoria is did see a significant (in the statistical sense) drop in growth rate to yesterday.

    Qld is like NSW, while SA and WA were at their respective lower CIs, and TAS was well below, like Victoria. But really, the national figures are being driven by NSW.

    Now, if someone would be so kind to point me to today’s cumulative figures, I’ll share the state predictions and CIs from my model.

  19. “So Victoria is did see a significant (in the statistical sense) drop in growth rate to yesterday.”

    Outside of NSW, most states still seem to think that the amount of community spread is small. If that’s the case, we should start seeing a drop.

    Or maybe just the lack of cruise ships is doing it.


    – test at point of care – no need to send to lab
    – tests for 9 respiratory diseases – flu A and B – a the same time
    – 100 machines can test 1000 patients per day
    – to be available in Germany in April!

    The test “platform: is called Vivalytic, marketing video here:

    In image below, the large thing is the testing device, the small things carry the samples (not sure how they’re taken):

  21. “Scott Morrison will urge G20 leaders to fund rapid research to develop a coronavirus vaccine and support trials of anti-viral drugs”

    I imagine the other G20 leaders might roll their eyes at that. I suspect they’ve already thought of doing both those things.

  22. Blobbit @ #2691 Thursday, March 26th, 2020 – 9:30 pm

    “Scott Morrison will urge G20 leaders to fund rapid research to develop a coronavirus vaccine and support trials of anti-viral drugs”

    I imagine the other G20 leaders might roll their eyes at that. I suspect they’ve already thought of doing both those things.

    Of course they are, that’s why he said it.

  23. Blobbit,

    These CIs give us a crude test of whether there is any significant change occuring.

    Note on the model:
    – This is a linearised growth model, in which each day t‘s growth rate is calculated from the raw cumulative data by differencing and normalising by the value on day t-1. This is a detrending step, and the output is a growth rate data series.
    – I then take a simple average of the resulting growth rate data series. I’ve plotted this as a rolling average, which is smoothing out over time.
    – Two-tailed 90% confidence intervals are included, based on t-statistics and the forecast standard error, i.e. pooled SE of the intrinsic noise in the data plus the SE of mean estimate = sqrt(s^2 + SE_mean^2).

    More sophisticated tools , e.g. ARIMA or SSM, might be useful, but there is not much data to fit such a model to.

  24. “Scott Morrison will urge G20 leaders to fund rapid research to develop a coronavirus vaccine and support trials of anti-viral drugs”

    I imagine the other G20 leaders might roll their eyes at that. I suspect they’ve already thought of doing both those things.

    Mr Morrison makes a silver bullet schoolboy error. Of course these things will be great amnd should be support with funding, but they’re high risk.

    Also need:
    – better testing, data gathering
    – better analysis of, and predictions from, the data, driving both public health and treatment decisions
    The former is low risk (all sort of people are coming out with practical tests). The latter is more difficult, but (because of the mathematics) is likely to have the most leverage for the next several months.

    We really stuffed up allowing these people to leave high school without mathematics.

  25. DFAT warns ambassador after police report a failure to self-isolate

    A diplomat returning from overseas breached Australia’s mandatory requirement to self-isolate, prompting a senior government official to warn the “relevant ambassador” of the “seriousness” of the matter.

    On Thursday night, NSW Police said officers had issued the first infringements for violations of the Public Health Act. A 65-year-old woman from the Lake Macquarie area, who returned from Bali on March 25, who allegedly failed to follow orders to quarantine for 14 days was fined $1000. Police allege she breached quarantine twice.

    We really are seeing a display of the self-entitled and the stupid.

  26. “Andy Murraysays:
    Friday, March 27, 2020 at 12:38 am

    These CIs give us a crude test of whether there is any significant change occuring….”

    Thanks for the description! I’ll have to have a play with that sort of thing as well.

    Today I just eyeballed the data. For WA there was a definite change in slope over the last few days. As you say, right on the limit of the CI. Qualitatively I’d agree, it felt like it needed a few more days points to say it was a definite trend.

    NSW didn’t seem to be showing any change.

  27. Mark Stephenson

    Cud Chewer, on your favourite topic fast rail will never happen in Australia as the rail engineers and bean counters would talk the pollies in to the cheapest option as they did in the regional rail and rrl projects in victoria.

    Rail engineers are divided on this. Some want to do it properly. Some suffer learned helplessness and believe (foolishly) that its better to have something, however compromised. Been counters will be bean counters.

    There’s also been a big mis-step made in this country in terms of the overall conversation about HSR being about replacing intercapital aviation. That has dragged us down. In a nutshell, HSR is better bang for buck when its being used to replace car travel and over relatively short routes (Newcastle to Wollongong in particular).

    We also have very little understanding of the entire sweep of social and economic benefits of HSR. My team identified the better part of a hundred issues that needed a full analysis – everything from road deaths to educational outcomes to tourism. Until we get there its very hard for politicians to understand that HSR is worth the money.

    One thing I keep telling politicians and others is that HSR needs to be thought of as road building. For the same bucket of money you get something that moves a lot more people, a lot faster – and because it can let people do things they could not have done, its an enabler – it creates new economic activity.

    But the main reason why I’m an evangelist for HSR is because it will change life outcomes. It will remove a lot of the postcode effect. I have a personal stake in this too, having never had the opportunity to drive and being confined to public transport all my life, I want to see public transport become a first class choice. HSR should be an integral part of public transport.

  28. I know this is going to give CC conniptions.

    Professor Peter White, virologist at the University of NSW says less than a tenth of cases of coronavirus will present without symptoms.

    “There will be a cohort of people like Richard who will feel like they have no symptoms and feel fine but they might have tiny symptoms like a slight cough and will be excreting the virus in respiratory droplets but perhaps at lower levels,” he said.

    The good news is, this portion of the population are less likely to spread the disease.

    “The more symptomatic you are the higher the risk of spreading the virus,” Professor White said.
    I think even Newscorpse couldn’t have misrepresented the virologist’s view.

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