Essential Research and Roy Morgan: more coronavirus polling

Two new polls suggest early skepticism about the threat posed by coronavirus is fast disappearing.

As reported by The Guardian, Essential Research has unusually conducted a new poll just a week after the last. This effectively replicates last week’s suite of questions on coronavirus to tie in with an online forum later today involving The Guardian’s Katharine Murphy and Essential Research’s Peter Lewis.

The results show a sharp rise in concern since last week, with 53% now saying they are very concerned, after the three previous fortnightly polls had it progressing from 25% to 27% to 39%. Only 18% now say they consider there has been an overreaction to the thread, down from 33% last week, while 43% now think the threat has been underestimated, up from 28%. These results imply little change to last week’s finding that 39% thought the response about right, though we will presumably have to await publication of the full report later today for a complete set of numbers. The poll also finds overwhelming support for the restrictive measures that have been taken. The rise in concern appears to have been matched by a decline in skepticism about media reportage, which 42% now say they trust, up from 35% last week.

Also out today is a Roy Morgan SMS poll on coronavirus, showing 43% support for the view that the federal government is handling the crisis well with 49% disagreeing — a rather weak result by international standards (it is noted that a similar poll in the United Kingdom a bit under a fortnight ago had it at 49% and 37%). This poll finds an even higher pitch of public concern than Essential, in that only 15% believed the threat to be exaggerated, with fully 81% disagreeing. Relatedly, 80% said they were willing to sacrifice some of their “human rights” to help prevent the spread of the virus (evidently having a somewhat different conception of that term from my own), with only 14% disagreeing. The poll was conducted on Saturday and Sunday from a sample of 988.

UPDATE: Full report from Essential Research here. The recorded increase in concern about the virus is not matched by a change in perceptions of the government’s handling of it, which 45% rate as good, unchanged on last week, and 31% rate as poor, up two. There is also a question on concern about climate change, which refutes the hopes of some conservative commentators in suggesting it has not been affected by the coronavirus crisis: 31% say they are more concerned than they were a year ago, 53% no more or less so, and 16% less concerned. However, the number of respondents saying Australia is not doing enough to address climate change is down from 60% in November to 55%, with doing enough up one to 23% and doing too much up one to 9%. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1086.

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.

2,376 comments on “Essential Research and Roy Morgan: more coronavirus polling”

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  1. @ScottMorrisonMP
    As of 8am today, over 113,000 Australian businesses have registered their interest in the new #JobKeeper wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight for each employee.

  2. Mexicanbeemer

    I sensed there was a bit of tension at the press conference between ScoMo and Josh and that tweet might explain why.

    What do you speculate the division is over ? Scrott wanting to be Super Santa and Josh being Scrooge or t’other way round ?

  3. I’ve been gut-punched. I received a text from my best friend last night. Her business, of cleaning and providing linen for B’n’Bs in our area has collapsed. She has also been stood down from her job at the local store because she is battling breast cancer and her boss thought that she might be extra susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and possibly spreading it to others. As she has been a ‘Casual’ there for about 20 years, she has no Sick Pay or any other type of money owing to her, but still has all the normal bills to pay and a mortgage etc. But now she is on the dole queue, not even allowed to get the Disability Pension because having Breast Cancer is apparently not serious enough a medical condition to qualify for it, but it was serious enough for her to lose her job.

  4. poroti,
    Josh Frydenburg actually likes some people on the Labor side and respects their expertise. Scott Morrison never has and has always had to be dragged kicking and screaming to include them. If Morrison can find a business person to fill a gap, he will.

  5. poroti says:
    do you speculate is the division over ? Scrott wanting to be Super Santa and Josh being Scrooge or t’other way round ?
    I don’t see Morrison wanting to play super santa and Frydenberg is sometimes hard to read with his real views being hard to work out.

    I think the tension centers on Morrison’s differing and following instead of leading.

  6. From the OZ:

    At this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not a good time to be rich. Our initial profile of Sunday morning’s publicly available data on positive tests per capita reveals it’s the haves who also have COVID-19.

    We’re talking about families earning at least $150,000 a year, and as the family income passes $200,000, per capita COVID-19 numbers really surge.

    The high-risk group is professional couples living in urban areas, with two jobs spread across industries such as media, finance, real estate and professional consulting. Their children tend to be sent to independent and Catholic higher-fee schools.

    We’re not seeing signs of teachers or women working in healthcare being affected as yet, but men working in healthcare show signs of being hit at this early stage.

    Our high-income professional couples already spend a lot on ­visits to their GP, optometrist and chiro­practor. Unfortunately, they also seem to spend a lot on overseas travel, especially cruise ships.

  7. (From previous thread) I agree with Confessions that there seems no reason for the construction industry to be closed down. Large construction sites are very highly controlled places with a low density of people. Competent project managers should be able to meet all the distance rules and still keep working. The only change would be to shift from site meetings to texting everyone messages.

    Small contractors are probably a greater risk (and much dodgier). However the number of people involved is small, so again if they are aware of the rules and police occasionally check to enforce them, I do not see an issue. Also many of these would suffer financial hardship if closed, as the work is often casual.

    Finally there is a lot of infrastructure work- basic maintenance and operational stuff like site inspections – that needs to go on for society to function. Again, as long as density rules are followed that should be easy. In fact, I would be maintaining every road I could right now. They have never been so empty of traffic!

  8. Morgan Stanley said its base case scenario for the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in the US points to a peak in about 20 days.

    The firm’s forecast suggests cumulative infections of about 570,000 with daily new infection growth to slow in late April. Its data model previously pointed to about 200,000 case.

    “We continue to see the largest risk for the US as a second wave of infections emanating from the central region of the country after the coasts have peaked in mid-April.”

    The firm also said “importantly” that its new forecast continues to assume more social distancing and a continued rapid increase in testing.

    “We would highlight that the biggest risk to this forecast is that while we have reasonable confidence the East and West coasts will reach peak cases in the next 2-3 weeks, the interior of the country is now exhibiting signs of new outbreaks.

  9. Re the tweet from Mike Carlton on the previous thread.

    I would be very surprised if Sally McManus and Greg Combes would have presented a subsidy scheme to the government that deliberately excluded casuals who had been employed for less than 12 months, those on short term fixed contract and those on certain visas.

    Those restrictions would be down to the government.

    We shall see how hard labor and the union movement push for changes.

    BTW, legislation for the scheme has not yet been drafted. So much for Morrison and co working for weeks on this.

    Once it is drafted then we can see how simple and straightforward the subsidy will be.

    It is very easy for a business to register but when the actual process, paperwork , exemptions and other details arenmade clear then we shall see if it is all so splendid.

  10. Yeah, lizzie, it’s the worst thing that has happened to my close group of friends. She still has a mortgage, even though she is 55, as her feckless former husband kept taking the money out of their joint bank account meant for loan repayments and spending it on dud speculative share purchases without her knowledge or agreement. Suffice to say she kicked him out not long after the bank contacted her about falling into arrears. But she would give you the shirt off her back if she could and she had only just got the business up to a full head of steam, but now this. Of course she is not the only one out there like this, but still, it’s making me ineffably sad today. I have advised her to retrain as a Home Help for the Elderly. Let other people worry about running a business.

  11. doyley

    Libs always insist they have been working “all last year”, or “for a long time”, working “steadily and calmly” because “we have a plan”.
    It’s always bulldust.

  12. The important numbers in NSW
    In ICU 35
    on ventilator 16
    both showing a doubling time of 3-5 days but on small numbers
    % not o/s or known contact ~ 12 (stable from yesterday)

  13. Competent project managers should be able to meet all the distance rules and still keep working. The only change would be to shift from site meetings to texting everyone messages.

    Or Facetime meetings, which is happening in a team a friend works in. They’ve replace the daily morning ‘toolbox’ meeting with a Facetime meeting and from what he’s said, it is working fine.

  14. Socrates @ #14 Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 – 8:56 am


    My sympathy, best wishes to you and your friend.

    Thanks, Soc. She is resourcefull and will no doubt find something to take its place. Although as a swinging voter, sometimes Liberal, sometimes Labor, she may believe that the economy will ‘bounce back’ after 6 months. I will continue to try and temper those expectations. 🙂

  15. C@t:

    Sorry to hear about your friend. Yesterday the WA government announced grants to help small businesses and event organisers who have lost business. In addition to federal govt support billie mentioned, perhaps something similar exists in NSW that she could tap into?

  16. What happens now to those 8,000 and 20,000 new jobs which supposed to be promised by coles and woolworths.

    Do they apply to those on welfare or are majority of them still go to qantas, Myers employees who were stood down?

    Or are those jobs have been now removed ?

  17. Liz Barnes
    Call me cynical, but as a former ATO employee I can’t help but see the gaping hole in the #jobkeeper scheme. We’re trusting the same businesses who commit wage theft of $3.6b/yr not to skim any off the top during an economic downturn – with almost no oversight.

  18. OC

    Is there anyway of knowing whether the increased ICUs/ventilation are cases initially diagnosed several days ago where there has been deterioration? Or is that a reasonable assumption?

  19. BK @ #941 Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 – 7:15 am

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    The extraordinary scale of this new wage subsidy will be a relief to many. The astonishing question is whether it will be enough writes David Crowe.
    The Australian describes the government’s wage subsidy scheme as a “depression buster”.
    Paul Kelly says this is the most momentous and unprecedented fiscal decision in our history.
    The secret sauce in the government’s A$130 billion JobKeeper payment is that it will be retrospective, in the best possible way writes Peter Martin.
    Australia’s $130 billion JobKeeper payment: what the experts think.
    Sam Maiden goes to ten questions about the $1500 wage subsidy people need answered.
    Euan Black reports that unions are warning huge chunk of casual workforce could miss out on the coronavirus wage subsidy.
    The rules around social distancing to prevent further contagion are finally clear. It is now up to all Australians to do the right thing exhorts the SMH editorial.
    According to Ben Butler The Reserve Bank has been quietly working out ways it could establish a government-backed facility to help superannuation funds pay redemptions allowed under new rules to deal with the coronavirus crisis, even though the idea has so far been rejected by the treasurer.
    Aren’t the banks lovely to let their home loan customers take a six month break from mortgage repayments! Only one catch … they are charging compound interest; interest on their interest. Michael West reports on the hardship of the banks versus the hardship of their customers.
    Tim Elliott says that the scariest part about what is happening now is speed. The speed with which rumours become reality and the implausible becomes normal. The speed with which our assumptions are overturned.
    The AFR says that the pledge made by the big banks to back their customers is about to be tested when they start choosing which businesses to save or let fail, as the biggest demand shock in 100 years batters the economy.
    Carer advocates and unions are demanding the disability sector be given access to aged care-style retention bonuses and basic personal protective equipment amid warnings some workers would be no worse off if they were receiving the boosted dole payment.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz opines that the coronavirus could finally drive a stake through the heart of the over-leveraged zombie companies that have been kept alive on a diet of cheap and plentiful credit following the GFC.
    Dana McCauley reports that Greg Hunt has intervened to save private hospitals at risk of collapse.
    Elizabeth Knight writes that the whole retail supply chain is now in damage control but if Myer survives, a real new look Myer may emerge from the retail wreckage.
    Cara Waters explains how we can all do our bit to help small businesses.
    Peter Hartcher thinks an economic hurricane is hurtling towards the South Pacific.
    Bears hibernate, companies don’t says a sceptical Shane Wright.
    The Guardian’s view on key workers is that applause is not enough.
    Peter Greste writes that the coronavirus underscores the crucial role – and responsibility – of the free press in a crisis.
    Kevin Rudd says that fixing the NBN should be a national priority once the coronavirus danger eases.
    People assume that we’re vulnerable to false information. But even in times of crisis, common sense usually prevails writes Hugo Mercier.
    Coronavirus has seriously tested our border security. Have we learned from our mistakes wonders research fellow Jacinta Carroll.
    Scotty from Marketing is not up to the job of leading this nation through the current crisis, writes Ross Jones.,13741
    Jeremy Baskin explores the concept of universal basic income for Australia.
    School Principal Jenny Allum does not think we will see a learning revolution as a result of this experience.
    The idea of moving 50 per cent of your retirement funds to cash and bonds at a time when interest rates are at a record low has the potential for loss warns Noel Whittaker.
    Tasmanian childcare centres are on the brink of collapse because of plummeting attendance and no support.
    The idiot Trump called Nancy Pelosi a “sick puppy” yesterday, after the House speaker said the president’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis would contribute to deaths in the US that might have been avoided.
    Trump says Republicans would ‘never’ be elected again if it was easier to vote. FMD!!!!

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe
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    From the US

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  20. OC

    % not o/s or known contact ~ 12 (stable from yesterday)

    Apologies, as I misread similar figures of not o/s or known contact a few days ago by reporting them as they were announced and have probably mislead a few people.

    I’m now being more careful with that figure as the number updated is not from yesterday’s cases, but as they go through the histories of the unconfirmed cases for the last few days. So, for instance, the percentage from three or four days ago has now risen to over 20%, eyeballing from the graph, as they update cases.

  21. Good to see an increase in the number of respondents taking coronavirus seriously. I wonder what the breakdown is by voting intention.

  22. For me the biggest item of latest news is the impact of the Virus on global food production and global food trade.

    The connections between hunger and food commodity prices and food commodities are well known.
    In an average year around 5 million children die of food-related illnesses and anything up to half a billion people might go to bed hungry, or be within a day’s food of going to bed hungry on any one day.
    The numbers go down if the food exporting countries have bumper crops. And vice versa.

    Locust plagues in Africa and the Middle East and that some food exporting countries are halting food commodity exports could add a substantial quantum to coronavirus deaths. I suspect that the Indian Ocean Dipole settings that drove our Drought and Fires probably drove the African locust plagues.

    A fortunate byproduct of some GMO food commodity cropping systems in most food exporting countries is that the systems are highly mechanized and are capable of continuing to produce during the Virus because social distancing is the norm rather than the exception.

    OTOH, traditional labour-intensive small holding/peasant systems tend (traditionally) have lesser social distancing as the norm.

    Someone mentioned swine fever as an input to the outcomes of the Virus. IMO, this could well be a useful outcome in relation to overall Virus/famine outcomes. Pigs are essentially competitors with humans at the same trophic level. If you remove millions of pigs then millions of tons of soybeans become available for human consumption.

  23. Hi Shellbell
    The usual presentation for the seriously ill is a rapid deterioration 4-5 days after an initial fairly significant presentation.
    Most of those intubated would have been admitted to hospital 4-5 days ago

    Only a small number go rapidly from well to dead

  24. From previous thread

    Dr. Dena Grayson
    Warning signOn 1/20, the 1st #COVID19 case was confirmed in the US and #SouthKorea.

    2 days later, Trump bragged: “We have it totally under control. It’s 1 person coming from #China. It’s going to be just fine.”

    Korea launched a #coronavirus test within 1 week.Collision symbol

    The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life
    The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions

  25. Isaac Stone Fish
    No big deal, just Wuhan residents estimating that 46,800 people in their city died from the virus, instead of the government’s figure of roughly 2,500 people.

    Estimates Show Wuhan Death Toll Far Higher Than Official Figure
    Based on cremation figures, Wuhan residents estimate more than 40,000 have died, compared with an official toll of 2,535.

  26. Oh Great One!

    Your second sentence of your second paragraph contains an infection.

    It seems the final “t” in “threat” has been attacked and evolved into a “d” creating “thread”.


  27. Marty Fargo
    · 20h
    A Job Services Provider just called my neighbor to conduct a Mutual Obligations interview over the phone. Pointing out that MOs are suspended till at least the 27/4, a torrid of abuse ensued with benefit cut-off threats. What the fuck is going on? #COVID19au #newstart #auspol

  28. Victoria @ #35 Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 – 9:30 am

    If I am not mistaken, the $750.00 payment will be in pensioner and jobseeker accounts today.


    Payments to support households
    The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020. Around half of those that benefit are pensioners. This payment will help to support confidence and domestic demand in the economy. The second payment will not be made to those eligible for the Coronavirus supplement

    You don’t need to do anything, we’ll pay you automatically. You’ll get the money from 31 March with most getting it by 17 April 2020.

  29. According to the ACTU over 50% of casual workers will be excluded from the wage subsidy scheme simply because of eligibility restrictions announced by the government.

    All workers who have lost their job as a result of the virus should be treated equally. Full stop.

  30. As we screw the planet up on an increasing scale the coronavirus is only a taste of things to come biologically speaking. Who needs Martians.

  31. Victoria @ #34 Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 – 9:29 am

    Isaac Stone Fish
    No big deal, just Wuhan residents estimating that 46,800 people in their city died from the virus, instead of the government’s figure of roughly 2,500 people.

    Estimates Show Wuhan Death Toll Far Higher Than Official Figure
    Based on cremation figures, Wuhan residents estimate more than 40,000 have died, compared with an official toll of 2,535.

    Better watch out, Vic. You’ll earn the title of ‘Resident Sinophobe’ if you keep bring China-specific information like that to us. 😆

  32. Victoria @ #35 Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 – 6:30 am

    If I am not mistaken, the $750.00 payment will be in pensioner and jobseeker accounts today.

    I thought it was tomorrow. My mum was asking about it last week. My interpretation is that it’s “after March 31”.

    I could of course be wrong. Then again knowing the shower in government we both could be wrong and who knows when it’ll appear.

  33. Dealing with these cruise ships off the coast is one of those exquisite dilemmas.

    Sending them away is a likely death sentence for some. Are we duty bound to bring thousands of non-Australians onshore with the concomitant risks?

  34. C@t

    Hopefully your friend will be okay.

    I have carried on about Trump and co for years, and no pushback that I am racist against Americans. Strange that.

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