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. Griff

    One thing about South Korea is that if you have symptoms, even mild ones, you get tested.
    Secondly, in South Korea, if you want to get tested, you rock up and they will test you. If you don’t have symptoms you pay for the test. If you test positive they refund the cost.

  2. Diogenes:

    [‘SA is running out of N95 masks (This is more than rumour)’]

    One of the Government’s C-19 warnings is that if you think you’re infectious, wear a mask. The problem is: you can’t access one unless you’re in the know. The circumstance that those on the front-line can’t is indicative of how Morrison’s relying on a Higher Being to solve all or his lack of knowledge of logistics.

  3. I was in Broken Hill many decades ago. It was a union town. There was cultural expectation that married women would not need to work, and should leave their jobs for others.

  4. Sound familiar?

    There he was on Tuesday touting $2 trillion in infrastructure spending, and never mind that he regularly parades up and down the infrastructure hill without building anything. He is a master of image over substance, of looking like he’s decisive to cover up bad decisions or the failure even to make them.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/overestimating-trump-is-a-mistake-so-is-underestimating-him/2020/04/01/660e6f70-7455-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html

  5. Bushfire Bill @ #2248 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 9:37 pm

    I think the virologists were confident we’d have a vaccine for aids in 10 years, weren’t they? 40 years ago?

    This is a whole interesting discussion.

    My understanding is that viruses lose their “Oomph” over time.

    But, I’d be interested in what our experts have to say.

  6. Nicholas:

    For instance, to provide child care to families we need to mobilize a certain amount of child care workers, administrators and managers and trainers who support and supervise and train the child care workers, buildings, and equipment and materials. If we can mobilize enough of those things to provide child care to everyone who wants child care, then we can provide free child care to everyone at all times, not only to certain families during a national emergency. The financial cost is never an obstacle for the Australian Government.

    I think your conclusion is correct, but your argument is wrong (or at least incomplete)

    COVID19 has temporarily increased availability of real resources (workers) applicable to childcare, because it has radically reduced competition for those resources by preventing them being deployed into alternatives. That’s the reason why we can (easily?) do it now. It would’ve been possible to do it three months ago, but more difficult given what were then our priorities.

    Now – universal early childhood education is something the nation should provide, for exactly the same reason as the US Grant Administration introduced universal schooling. Namely that it “pays for itself” in real terms. Grant’s introduction of universal schooling ahead of almost all other nations is one of principal reasons why the US became the most powerful nation. So – we can and should provide universal early childhood education by arranging our priorities to deliver the necessary real resources.

    Real resources are scarce – allocating them is a matter of priorities.

  7. “What we should have done in Australia is do licensing deals and set up manufacturing here.”

    What’s the lead time on setting up? For something churning out 100k a day, my guess is it’s months, not weeks.

    Not a reason not to do it, but not a quick, easy fix.

  8. Yes South Korea has a very progressive testing regime(n). Not sure about the spelling in this case. Lucy them. Lucky they have an advanced manufacturing sector.

  9. This community is well resourced, with good health care and near enough proximity to a major place for residents to drive to access hospitals and other services. There is also lots of fishing, crabbing etc to supplement the diet. It is a very beautiful place. No one seems visibly in dire ill-health. There is an excellent and pro-active Board of Management. But even with these advantages, Covid19 would be bad. Very bad.

  10. “My understanding is that viruses lose their “Oomph” over time.

    But, I’d be interested in what our experts have to say.”

    Not an expert, just procrastinating. My understanding is that it’s common for viruses and bacteria to evolve less deadly forms as it tends to result in higher reproduction rates.

    One of the reasons it was possible to stop ebola was that it killed far too quickly.

    The other example was sweating sickness. Killed lots of people then disappeared.

  11. Blobbit

    You can have the manufacturing ability but you are cactus if you do not have the materials to make it. Materials that are of the type that seems always to be “Made in China” .

  12. Blobbit

    “What’s the lead time on setting up? For something churning out 100k a day, my guess is it’s months, not weeks.”

    Having never built a factory to produce test kits, I don’t know. Nearest I’ve come is setting up the automation on several manufacturing processes. Usually it takes months, but I don’t know what goes into test kits. It probably is in theory a simple product, but where the bottlenecks in the supply chain are, I really don’t know.

    All I know is we should have been asking these questions a month ago. Again, we will soon enough reach the point where we are asking “how do we end the lock down sooner rather than later?”. That’s when I think the issue of mass testing will finally get a hearing.

  13. Cud Chewer:

    [‘Begs the question of what the government has been doing to source/manufacture masks.’]

    I think it comes down to this Cud: he encouraged others to attend a Sharks’ footy match, at a time when the virus was already widespread. This man’s dimwitted, relying on his Maker to provide the answers, a man who acts retrospectively. Stuff me, how did we end up with that man? I guess the answer is that we deserve whom we get.

  14. [Tony Blakely, an epidemiologist and a professor at the University of Melbourne] thinks the current health measures are doing more than flattening the curve to slow the spread of the virus.

    He says they are “squashing the curve”.

    But he cannot be sure of the final objective. While he believes it is too late for Australia to eradicate the virus, he says “herd immunity” remains a possible outcome – that is, the infection reaches 60 per cent of the population and the country becomes resistant to its spread.

    The alternative? “Australia could continue squashing the curve for months and months till sometime in 2021, with a muted epidemic or two along the way, until a vaccine is available,” he says.

    The calculation is brutal. The approach means a lower mortality rate but much greater social and economic costs.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/cowe-20200402-p54ghg.html

    Exactly the dilemma. I doubt we will ever eradicate this virus with a vaccine. Certainly expecting one seems pretty “Hollywood” to me.

    We can only contain it, by letting some people go, for the good of the herd, while trying our darnedest to find a treatment. I am one of the candidates for the chop, a couple of demographics down from worst case, so no exception claimed here.

    Returning to the economic Stone Age isn’t an option.

    While Tony Blakely thinks strict lockdown like we have in place now is a bit of an overreaction, I’m not so sure. We need to teach the backpacker generation to do as they’re told first, and strict liability is the only way to accomplish that: no ifs, buts or boogies.

  15. ‘Exactly the dilemma. I doubt we will ever eradicate this virus with a vaccine. Certainly expecting one seems pretty “Hollywood” to me.”

    Probably not, but we could probably get it to be an issue like the seasonal flu.

    I think the “trick” is to keep the curve below the point where hospitals are overwhelmed. And using the time to build capacity.

    We may have to sacrifice some things for longer – particularly mass gatherings like crowds at the footy and travel – for longer than some other things.


  16. Bushfire Bill says:
    Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 10:04 pm
    ..
    We need to teach the backpacker generation to do as they’re told first, and strict liability is the only way to accomplish that: no ifs, buts or boogies.

    Ministers of the crown and rich fuckers who think they are above the law would be a good place to start.

  17. “Cud Chewersays:
    Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 10:08 pm
    And this…”

    Maybe those are the same as the ones Spain got.

    I do wonder what happened to those 1.5M kits though.

  18. frednk

    I wonder who invented COVID-19 in Morrison’s world?

    Easy peasy answer. Satan. In his flavor of god bothering Satan is very much “present’ . Given their beliefs about illness and poverty I would not be at all surprised if he thought the people that got it did so because they were not up to snuff as far as god was concerned. So their fault really.

  19. Before our end game arrives, we will have to witness the impact this has in the third world.

    My stepson and his wife live in a mining company compound in rural Ghana. They can’t leave.

    He observes that the general health of the population is pretty good, with low rates of smoking and obesity. The big problem though is that social distancing is actually impossible. All dining is done communally, and there is absolutely no facility for households to organise their own meals. The concept doesn’t even exist.

    In other words, if someone gets the virus, they all get it. It goes without saying that healthcare facilities are inadequate.

    No need to spell out why this is worrying for me and the family, but it’s just a small example of the myriad nightmares that are yet to be played out across the world.

  20. Dio:

    Good news
    Curve is flattening

    RAH data for April 2:
    – 24 in Ward 6G, 6 in ICU, 56 in HITH

    Total of 107 discharged (which seems like quite a lot? perhaps includes false positives?)

    Bad news
    SA is running out of N95 masks (This is more than rumour)

    There is a video from Prof David Shaw (RAH infectious diseases Consultant and Head of Infectious Diseases for CALHN) on this.

    SA Health modelling shows peak in Oct (this is rumour)

    Realistic bad case (not worst case)

    Overall looks like a death by a thousand cuts.

    Engineering – one of the key advantages is that all the wankers with clipboards and spreadsheets will have been banished so creative/engineering doctors like EDs (maybe surgeons too!) can change things to optimise. 1%/day; every day.

  21. Bushfire

    “Returning to the economic Stone Age isn’t an option.”

    There is a better option. Testing on a scale that the virus is all but eradicated within Australia – until such time as treatments or a vaccine mean we can safely relax our borders.

    Thing is, we cannot safely lift our shut down until we are sure – and I mean damn sure – that either there are no infected people in the community, or that testing at a given intensity will ensure that there is only a trickle of cases.

    And what that boils down to is the faster we get to that point, the less cost.

    We could easily end up in a situation where there are either no cases domestically (still have some showing up in quarantine at the border) or where you get sporadic outbreaks of a few cases.

    Overseas things may be worse. We may suffer from the economic collapse of the US for instance. Eventually there will be a vaccine. The only question is how effective. We might choose at some point to relax our borders and accept a seasonal coronavirus “flu”.. provided it has mutated into something less deadly at that point – a real possibility.

    We can control this.

  22. martini henry

    I would have thought someone with a handle like yours would know the difference between a shell casing and a bomb casing – very different things.

  23. I just turned on the computer and read this. The man is delusional. The only world leader…?

    Appearing on A Current Affair on Thursday night, Mr Morrison said he feels he is the only leader looking at a long timeframe for COVID-19.

    “What I’m trying to do is make it very clear that those of who think this can all be done in a couple of weeks with the lockdowns as they call it, that’s just not true,” Mr Morrison said. “I’m the only, it would seem, leader in the world at the moment, which is talking about a much longer timeframe.” (SMH updates)

  24. citizen @ #2283 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 10:17 pm

    I just turned on the computer and read this. The man is delusional. The only world leader…?

    Appearing on A Current Affair on Thursday night, Mr Morrison said he feels he is the only leader looking at a long timeframe for COVID-19.

    “What I’m trying to do is make it very clear that those of who think this can all be done in a couple of weeks with the lockdowns as they call it, that’s just not true,” Mr Morrison said. “I’m the only, it would seem, leader in the world at the moment, which is talking about a much longer timeframe.” (SMH updates)

    That’s just downright embarrassing. Not to mention more than a little insulting to many other world leaders.


  25. Mr Morrison said. “I’m the only, it would seem, leader in the world at the moment, which is talking about a much longer timeframe.” (SMH updates)

    He has already given the country to god, what is next?

  26. “Not to mention more than a little insulting to many other world leaders.”

    I doubt any will be too worried about the leader of a country at the arse end of the world.

  27. Sarah Ferguson’s investigation into the sexual abuse of young men is compelling. If perchance he’s exonerated come Tuesday, he’ll face further charges, where I think similar fact evidence will be adduced. Pell has form, ruining the lives of so many innocent kids.

  28. ‘Over 95 per cent of people to die a coronavirus-related death in EU over 60’

    That’s according to the head of the World Health Organisation’s office in Europe.

    But Dr Hans Kluge said age is not the only risk factor for severe disease, adding: “The very notion that COVID-19 only affects older people is factually wrong.”

    In an online news conference on Thursday in Copenhagen, Mr Kluge said “young people are not invincible” — echoing similar recent comments from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

    The UN health agency says 10 per cent to 15 per cent of people under 50 with the disease have moderate or severe infection.

    “Severe cases of the disease have been seen in people in their teens or 20s with many requiring intensive care and some unfortunately passing away,” Mr Kluge said.

    He said recent statistics showed 30,098 people have been reported to have died in Europe, mostly in Italy, France and Spain.

    “We know that over 95 per cent of these deaths occurred in those older than 60 years,” he said, with more than half aged over 80.

    Mr Kluge said more than four in five of those people had at least one other chronic underlying conditions, like cardiovascular disease, hypertension or diabetes.

    “On a positive note, there are reports of people over the age of 100 who were admitted to hospital for COVID-19 and have now made a complete recovery,” he said.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-02/coronavirus-live-blog-updates-covid-19-australia/12112584

  29. Mavis Davis

    [‘SA is running out of N95 masks (This is more than rumour)’]

    One of the Government’s C-19 warnings is that if you think you’re infectious, wear a mask. The problem is: you can’t access one unless you’re in the know.

    Wearing an N95 mask “if you think you’re infectious” would be completely stupid. more or less pointless* and in the current situation wholly irresponsible.

    One of the things people should be learning from this situation is “this isn’t about you”

    * Presumably it provides containment same as original surgical mask.

  30. More from Mark McGowan

    The WA Premier has just announced the total closure of WA’s borders, as of midnight on Sunday night.

    WA is in a unique position, our isolation is our best defence, and we need to use it to our advantage.

    While our overall numbers are encouraging we need to take further steps to protect our state.

    In effect we’ll be turning Western Australia into an island within an island, our own country.

    Mr McGowan also expressed his “grave concerns” for the Kimberley region. People living in that region must not leave their local government area as of midnight tonight.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-02/coronavirus-live-blog-updates-covid-19-australia/12112584

  31. Player One

    citizen @ #2283 Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 – 10:17 pm

    I just turned on the computer and read this. The man is delusional. The only world leader…?

    Appearing on A Current Affair on Thursday night, Mr Morrison said he feels he is the only leader looking at a long timeframe for COVID-19.

    “What I’m trying to do is make it very clear that those of who think this can all be done in a couple of weeks with the lockdowns as they call it, that’s just not true,” Mr Morrison said. “I’m the only, it would seem, leader in the world at the moment, which is talking about a much longer timeframe.” (SMH updates)

    That’s just downright embarrassing. Not to mention more than a little insulting to many other world leaders.

    Mr Morrison is really trying to do his best, within the confines of his abilities and experiences. We are all thus confined. He should talk to the PM of Singapore; a very smart person who has the added advantage of not having to face serious electoral pressure (so long as he’s competent) and hence can both really tell it like it is and take a long term view.

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