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”

  1. We have to resume economic activity again, at some time… the sooner the better.

    Everything in life carrys a risk and a cost. A “zero infection” or “total eradication” target may not be possible.

  2. beguiledagainsays:
    Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Given that shell casings are made from Brass which is an alloy of copper and zinc I doubt that any of them would be made from the iron sent to Japan.

  3. BB

    “We have to resume economic activity again, at some time… the sooner the better.”

    Doing so without mass testing means we get a second wave.

    And yes, even doing that (mass testing) will mean we will get the occasional breakout. Aiming for eradication is key, even if its not possible until the rest of the world gets its shit together.

  4. Institute of Public Affairs @TheIPA
    · Apr 1
    “If we are ever going to repay this, we have got to be a lot more productive than we have been in the last 10 years. Business as usual will mean that we will never pay back the debt.” – John Roskam in the @australian
    _____
    And neither will taxation and rorts!

  5. There’s nothing wrong in being an expert on something.

    I don’t doubt or belittle your expertise. My point is that calling a Poll Bludger poster an anorak doesn’t mean much given that pretty much everybody who posts on a politics blog is automatically an anorak in some sense.

  6. Lizzie…if you listen to the likes of McGowan here in WA, he has acknowledged the efforts of the Feds as to do so, at this point, would be churlish. The political brawl will come when it is decided “Where is the money coming from?” and “Who is going to pay for this largesse?” is put on the table for account. I see the hard-right are already talking about “from increases in productivity” which means, doing more and being paid less……

  7. The article you quote and the experts quoted in it, are modelling a situation where we remain in shutdown. Do you honestly believe we can remain in shutdown for a year or so?

    Don’t get so defensive Cuddy.

    No, I don’t believe we can remain in lockdown indefinitely. In fact I’ve been arguing for a balance of Risk versus The Economy… the sooner the better.

    We accept that people will die on the roads. This is balanced against the Economy.

    Ditto for the flu. If we pursued a zero-risk strategy, we’d make flu vaccination compulsory. We don’t.

    We do as much as we can to reduce risk, and then we wear the outcomes.

  8. nath:

    izzie says:
    Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 5:37 pm
    Tweeps are reporting that Laming is giving the white power hand sign. I don’t think that the position of the fingers/thumb is a natural easy gesture, but maybe that’s because of my arthritis.
    _________________________
    There are a lot of right wing people who have inadvertently placed their fingers in a white power signal. Who knows maybe they have been unfortunate accidents. We need a quantitative and qualitative analysis of this. How many left wing politicians have been similarly unlucky?

    Plus, if we can find a photo of Karl Marx accidentally doing it then fair enough.

    Have people considered the possibility that the people who came up with the “white power” sign did so on the basis that people are likely to do it inadvertently, giving the impression that “white power” is more common than in fact it is?

    (possibly) making signs in random contest is completely different from doing the Hitler salute in the context of a rally. This is bullshit – move on

  9. At least Aspen has some ‘plague’ experience.
    .
    Aspen Medical managed the Australian Government’s response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). This response involved commissioning and managing a 100-bed Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC), constructed by the UK Government in Sierra Leone. Aspen Medical managed the ETC from December 2014 to April 2015.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspen_Medical

  10. “No, I don’t believe we can remain in lockdown indefinitely. In fact I’ve been arguing for a balance of Risk versus The Economy… the sooner the better.”

    Bushfire. The sooner we get out of shut down the better. All I’ve been arguing is that we cannot go out of shutdown without mass testing. And I really find it puzzling that certain parties find this hard to swallow. Isolation/shutdown alone will not stop the virus spreading. It will simply slow it. That’s fine if you’re prepared to remain in shutdown until a vaccine comes along. Then all the modelling holds true.

    But if you don’t massively increase testing and then come out of shutdown, the inevitable will occur.

  11. On a more serious note, given the dollars being thrown at this pandemic, and the no risk approach shown with state border closures and social distancing enforcement – why not get everyone off the Ruby Princess, isolate them somewhere like Darwin or CI, and tow the liner out to the deepwater and scuttle the infested hulk.

  12. Golden Smaug
    “They are correct of course, the virus was dormant until a group of immodest woman started flashing their tits at Pangolines while eating deep fried horseshoe bats at the Wuhan KFC.”
    I’m still laughing………

  13. I have had excellent treatment from Aspen in remote locations and have friends who work for them – very good organisation. Lots of Ex-ADF medical and admin staff which is exactly suited to its style of operations.

  14. It is looking increasingly as if farmers are going to be forced to employ Australians at a living wage to harvest crops.
    The screaming has started.

  15. sprocket

    I said something like that yesterday. Send all the cruise ships to Xmas Island. Take everyone off. If you’re well and not an Australian resident, you get a plane.

  16. Shellbell

    The Ruby Princess is carrying a Bahamas flag. We could lure the boat into our territorial waters, impound it, and then destroy it as a Biosecurity hazard. Happens all the time with illegal fishing boats in the north.

  17. “And I really find it puzzling that certain parties find this hard to swallow”

    Cud, just quietly, it isn’t that most disagree with your about testing. It’s just that you keep on about it, and telling people that everything is much worse than they could possibly think.

    People are just getting a bit fatigued by it.

    The insistence that things should have happened weeks ago, when they weren’t physically possible is also a bit tiring.

  18. cud chewer,

    How many Cruise Ships out of Asia and other parts would you expect to turn up at Christmas island for that?

    Why not spread the love an include Cocos-Keeling Islands?

  19. On March 16, Scott Morrison announced that:

    “The Australian Government has also banned cruise ships from foreign ports (including round trip international cruises originating in Australia) from arriving at Australian ports for an initial 30 days, effective as at 11:59pm Sunday 15 March, 2020. This restriction will help avoid the risk of a cruise ship arriving with a mass outbreak of the virus and putting significant pressure on our health system.”

    On the 18th, the Ovation of the Seas dumped 40+ infected passengers in Sydney, on the 19th March the Ruby Princess dumped 2,700 passengers, 450 of whom were infected.

    Has Morrison instituted an inquiry as to why his command was ignored, with devastating effect?

    But Home Affairs bungled again. Three days later, ABF and NSW Health waved 2700 passengers, over 500 of whom were ridden with coronavirus, off the Ruby Princess and into the community.
    Currently, more than 10% of all virus cases in Australia were passengers on the ship, as well about a fifth of Australian deaths.

  20. Blobbit @ #2036 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 5:09 pm

    “Bushfire Billsays:
    Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 6:05 pm
    It’s Time: I just disagree. I understand the maths (it’s not rocket science). I disagree with the underlying assumptions.”

    The growth can be exponential, but with the rate decreasing day to day. So a change in behaviour will result in a change in the rate.

    The definition of exponential is that the rate DOESN’T change. Look it up.

  21. It is amazing how that little bit of dirt just south of Java, called Christmas Island, seems to be the panacea for those on cruise ships – and others. Not so long ago the place was seen as a hell-hole created by the Liberals for those who got on small boats (apparently easily stopped and/or turned back) and some were up in arms (here) about what we were doing to those making their way in said little boats…I gather when Morrison went over just before the elections, it was touted that it would take over $150 million or some such to make the place function again as its role as the island of isolation for Oz….

  22. meher baba @ #2038 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 5:10 pm

    c@tmomma: “meher baba,
    I have to say that was a very creative attempted diversion from the subject. Pity we have the interwebs.”

    Yep, she does appear to be eastern european. Memo to self, in this day and age, never rely on your memory!

    Nevertheless, with all his faults, I have never heard the slightest suggestion that Laming is any sort of a racist.

    Really? https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-15/coalition-mp-tweet-on-racial-tensions-labelled-disgraceful-/4464988

  23. “The definition of exponential is that the rate DOESN’T change. Look it up.”

    Indeed. It’s a new function each time you fit it to the data.

    So, fit the curve on the 31/3 and you get an exponential with one set of parameters.

    Fit a new curve on 1/4, get different parameters.

    Compare the two functions to see how they’ve changed.

  24. “Cud, just quietly, it isn’t that most disagree with your about testing. It’s just that you keep on about it, and telling people that everything is much worse than they could possibly think.”

    No Blobbit, things are not that bad, at least not in this country, but..

    There are a lot of people who take the official diagnosed cases as gospel. This is rubbish and it needs to be pointed out from time to time because these numbers get discussed a lot here.

    Far more importantly, we need to test a lot more. And this is my biggest frustration. That the “authorities” are contenting themselves with the moment and not planning ahead.

    Let me explain what I think may happen.

    2 weeks from now, the rate of new (official) cases has slowed. As it probably will. 2 weeks from now everyone will be talking about “when will this shutdown end?”. The media will be talking about it. The shock jocks will be telling us that everything is just fine.

    Some experts will at that stage be calling for mass testing. And I might also mention here that mass testing does not necessarily mean every single person. It means at a high enough rate that we almost guarantee catching new clusters at an early stage (though blanket testing is better).

    Unfortunately their voices will tend to get drowned in the noise. And more to the point, even if we then realise that we do need mass testing, we’ll then discover that it takes weeks to scale up the resources for it. So a far longer shutdown. That won’t go down too well with some.

    If we were planning for mass testing, now, spending the bucks, making the phone calls, obtaining the factory space, whatever it takes, then we might better prepared for using mass testing as an exit strategy. Sadly, I see us muddling on for months. I can survive that just fine. For many this extra delay will be ruinous. Or we could start to unwind the current measures. The second wave of infections won’t happen immediately. For a few weeks nothing much will show up.. Then..

  25. “some were up in arms (here) about what we were doing to those making their way in said little boats”

    Indeedy. As much as we might not like the LNP, the people on the cruise ships didn’t have anything to do with the Xmas island policy.

  26. ajm: Laming’s comment on the Logan riots looked more classist than racist to me. He was basically making the comment that many of the inhabitants of Logan seemed to have more time to engage in inter-racial riots than to go to work and earn some money.

    An insensitive comment, sure, but not really a racist one.

    But then I ask myself, why am I defending Laming? I’ve always seen him as a bit of a goose. So no more from me on this subject.

  27. “Let me explain what I think may happen.”

    Cud, again I don’t really disagree with the thrust of what your saying. But, and apologies for tone policing, you tend to adopt a bit of a haranguing tone.

    It’d also be interesting if you engaged with some of the discussion about why testing has been limited, rather than just dismissing it.

  28. Blobbit @ #2139 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 7:48 pm

    “Let me explain what I think may happen.”

    Cud, again I don’t really disagree with the thrust of what your saying. But, and apologies for tone policing, you tend to adopt a bit of a haranguing tone.

    It’d also be interesting if you engaged with some of the discussion about why testing has been limited, rather than just dismissing it.

    The Trains! The Trains!

  29. Fair dinkum, if an asteroid the size of Everest was approaching Earth, someone here would be claiming that comparing it to Everest was racist against the Nepalese, insensitive to Tibetan territorial considerations and religious beliefs, disrespectful to the hundreds of Sherpas who had sacrificed their lives, in denial of the creeping de-glacification of the Himalayas, and that calling it “Everest” was an unwelcome and anachronistic harking back to racist colonial times.

  30. Griff, thanks for that link. Am I right to read it that based on rates of death for Australia, somewhere between 70% and 100% of cases are discovered and reported? Flipping that I could infer that the actual number of cases is somewhere between 1.0 times and 1.4 times the reported cases. It doesn’t feel likely. And Australia’s deaths while low have recently started climbing, doubling in the last week.

  31. meher baba @ #2138 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 6:44 pm

    ajm: Laming’s comment on the Logan riots looked more classist than racist to me. He was basically making the comment that many of the inhabitants of Logan seemed to have more time to engage in inter-racial riots than to go to work and earn some money.

    An insensitive comment, sure, but not really a racist one.

    But then I ask myself, why am I defending Laming? I’ve always seen him as a bit of a goose. So no more from me on this subject.

    There is a large population of Maori, Pacific Islander and Middle Eastern people in that region – anyone local hearing his comment knew exactly what he was saying.

  32. “It’d also be interesting if you engaged with some of the discussion about why testing has been limited, rather than just dismissing it.”

    Oh for pity sake Blobbit. What am I supposed to say? We haven’t done as much testing as we should have because we haven’t had enough test kits? Isn’t that stating the obvious.

    Let me flip this on its head.

    Why are certain people here not engaging in the discussion about what we should be doing next?

  33. Bushfire Bill @ #2143 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 7:59 pm

    Fair dinkum, if an asteroid the size of Everest was approaching Earth, someone here would be claiming that comparing it to Everest was racist against the Nepalese, insensitive to Tibetan territorial considerations and religious beliefs, disrespectful to the hundreds of Sherpas who had sacrificed their lives, in denial of the creeping de-glacification of the Himalayas, and that calling it “Everest” was an unwelcome and anachronistic harking back to racist colonial times.

    Yeah, but it might just open up the Nepalese ski fields and be a motza investment for those that get in early.

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