Essential Research: coronavirus restrictions and conspiracy theories

A poll suggests a significant proportion of the population believes coronavirus was engineered in a Chinese laboratory, but other conspiracy theories remain consigned to the fringe.

Courtesy of The Guardian, some headline results of another weekly Essential Research poll on coronavirus, the full report of which should be published later today. This includes regular questions on federal and state governments’ handling with the crisis, of which we are only told that respondents remain highly positive, and on easing restrictions, for which we are told only 25% now consider it too soon, which is down two on last time and has been consistently declining over five surveys.

Beyond that, the survey gauged response to a number of what might be described as conspiracy theories concerning the virus. By far the most popular was the notion that the virus “was engineered and released from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan”, which has received a certain amount of encouragement from the Daily Telegraph but is starkly at odds with the scientific consensus. Agreement and disagreement with this proposition was tied on 39%.

Thirteen per cent subscribed to a theory that Bill Gates was involved in the creation and spread of the virus, with 71% disagreeing; 13% agreed the virus was not dangerous and was being used to force people to get vaccines, with 79% disagreeing; 12% thought the 5G network was being used to spread the virus, with 75% disagreeing; and 20% agreed the number of deaths was being exaggerated, with “more than 70%” disagreeing. The poll also found 77% agreed that the outbreak in China was worse than the official statistics showed.

The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1073.

UPDATE: Full report 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.

3,318 comments on “Essential Research: coronavirus restrictions and conspiracy theories”

  1. lizzie @ #2947 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 11:20 am

    Player One

    OK. Which are the hardline policies they are defending? And who? You are often very stormy but very vague.

    There are various Labor people here who claim to be from the “left” but seem to want to adopt the Liberals policies on varous issues – most notably climate change, but also migration and population.

  2. Player One

    climate change, but also migration and population.

    Hmmm. Not sure that I agree with you there. For population f’rinstance, I don’t think that I’d know what the Libs believe, except perhaps endless growth?

    For climate change, who could deny it except RWers under Murdoch influence?

  3. Obviously it’s gross incompetence with the $60B error in Jobkeeper but isn’t it a good sign. Haven’t we actually got another $60B unspent to stimulate the economy?

  4. lizzie @ #2954 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 11:34 am

    Player One

    climate change, but also migration and population.

    Hmmm. Not sure that I agree with you there. For population f’rinstance, I don’t think that I’d know what the Libs believe, except perhaps endless growth?

    That’s the one. Labor’s “Big Australia” is a neo-liberal wet dream.

    For climate change, who could deny it except RWers under Murdoch influence?

    They no longer deny climate change, thank goodness – just that we actually have to do anything about it.

  5. Diogenes @ #2955 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 11:36 am

    Obviously it’s gross incompetence with the $60B error in Jobkeeper but isn’t it a good sign. Haven’t we actually got another $60B unspent to stimulate the economy?

    The Government is saying they aren’t going to spend it. This means the stimulus they were allegedly planning to pump in to the economy won’t be there and will probably make the Depression longer and harsher.

  6. not bad for a 77 year old who has struggled with a chronic stutter all his life.

    He wasnt well regarded in 2012… until he smashed it in a wide ranging, often technical, punch up of a debate vs a very capable Paul Ryan and got the campaign back on track.

    Sure, he is older now. But people have under-estimated him before.

    Watch that debate. He talks over and over about workers, small businesses, the unfairness of Republican policy on them and the working poor. In many ways Biden is a natural second choice for Sanders/Warren supporters.

  7. Yes, grow up. These Libs are so petty with their schoolyard sniping. This is serious stuff and lives are at risk.

    Bruce Haigh
    @bruce_haigh
    1h
    Jason grow up. I for one am sick of having children as representatives.
    ***
    Jason Falinski MP
    @JasonFalinskiMP
    · 16h
    Wayne Swan, the Great Helmsman, tells us he never made a mistake like Jobkeeper. No you didn’t Wayne your mistakes cost us billions, this has SAVED us billions. No one can ever accuse you or Gillard of doing that. #auspol

  8. lizzie @ #2960 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 9:45 am

    Yes, grow up. These Libs are so petty with their schoolyard sniping. This is serious stuff and lives are at risk.

    Bruce Haigh
    @bruce_haigh
    1h
    Jason grow up. I for one am sick of having children as representatives.
    ***
    Jason Falinski MP
    @JasonFalinskiMP
    · 16h
    Wayne Swan, the Great Helmsman, tells us he never made a mistake like Jobkeeper. No you didn’t Wayne your mistakes cost us billions, this has SAVED us billions. No one can ever accuse you or Gillard of doing that. #auspol

    So neither stimulus was helping to protect the economy, but this Government is inadvertently doing so, not by intention, but by fucking up!!!! 😆 😆 😆

  9. Diogenes @ #2956 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 9:36 am

    Obviously it’s gross incompetence with the $60B error in Jobkeeper but isn’t it a good sign. Haven’t we actually got another $60B unspent to stimulate the economy?

    It depends on your perspective. No doubt the govt will try and spin this to say the deficit isn’t as big as they’d thought!

  10. Trump’s Press Secretary Displays One of His Checks in a Little Too Much Detail

    The $100,000 check was made out to a government agency. This time his account and routing numbers were clearly visible.

    It’s a feel-good story that President Trump’s press secretaries have relished over the years: the quarterly announcement of which government agency Mr. Trump has selected to be the lucky recipient of his salary, an easy way to show the president sticking to his 2016 campaign pledge to forgo his $400,000 salary and donate it.

    But on Friday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, did not just reveal that the president was sending his salary to the Department of Health and Human Services to help “support the efforts being undertaken to confront, contain and combat the coronavirus.”

    She also displayed the president’s private bank account and routing numbers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/22/us/politics/coronavirus-trump-press-secretary-check.html

  11. Morrison, in what appeared a sincere and empathy driven announcement of Jobkeeper, clearly states he is “committing” $130B to support the jobs of Australians over the next 6 months.

    One wonders how a leader can lie to the people about such a thing at a time like that.

  12. Simon Katich @ #2969 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 9:58 am

    Morrison, in what appeared a sincere and empathy driven announcement of Jobkeeper, clearly states he is “committing” $130B to support the jobs of Australians over the next 6 months.

    One wonders how a leader can lie to the people about such a thing at a time like that.

    The problem is, I don’t wonder.

    It’s not in the least bit surprising.

    The conditional nature of it seemed to be problematic and past form with this mob has always been that the devil was in the detail.

    Also in fairness he probably didn’t lie, that would suggest he had some level of economic competence. 🙂

  13. Paul Barratt
    @phbarratt
    ·
    1m
    This principle of Menzies makes impeccable sense: if you give the donors a say in policy-making you lose control of both the policy and the politics.

  14. oh dear, oh dear, this doesn’t augur well. -a.v.

    (Reuters) – Americans are back on the road after more than two months of coronavirus lockdowns that kept them homebound, with beach-area traffic tripling since the low point in mid-April, reports released on Friday showed.

    As the country heads into the long Memorial Day holiday weekend that traditionally kicks off the summer vacation season, traffic in some areas is even expected to surpass pre-pandemic levels
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-autos-traffic/lockdown-weary-americans-hit-the-road-to-u-s-holiday-weekend-idUSKBN22Y2TG

  15. One wonders how a leader can lie to the people about such a thing at a time like that.

    Because he’s a Marketing guy and this is the era of the advertising asterisk *

  16. Anna’s border closure is costing QLD $50mill a day in lost tourism revenue. Hopefully Anna’s health call on this is the right way to go.
    The borders won’t open till even September or later.
    The QLD CHO has quantified the conditions to satisfy her : two consecutive 14 day incubation periods without community transmission in Victoria and NSW. This virus hangs around, if there is no vaccine perhaps no-one is going to the Sunshine State ever again. But Anna is far smarter than me so she must have the right reasons for her decision.

  17. michael,
    Someone died from COVID-19 in NSW yesterday. It’s still red hot here despite the Coalition politician’s denials of reality.

  18. Qld should open to the non infected states – WA, SA, ACT & Tas.

    NSW & Vic are centres of the disease and should remain quarantines for 3 months.

  19. Also in fairness he probably didn’t lie, that would suggest he had some level of economic competence.

    No, the announcement headline was “committing $130B” to support Australian jobs. The detail came later. If the detail isnt getting that $130B out there then the detail can change and new methods used. That he no longer commits the $130B shows he is a despicable liar at a time people need him most. A weasel.

    He lapped up the glow that announcement gave him. Well he now needs to be smeared with taking away $60B from people who are losing their jobs. What a low act – even for him.

  20. Qld should open to the non infected states – WA, SA, ACT & Tas.

    Who cares about Queensland. Nice enough place but…. full of Queenslanders.
    When can I fly to NZ?

  21. Eddy Jokovich
    @EddyJokovich
    ·
    57s
    The $60 billion bungle is a massive story but it’s the 33rd listed story on @abcnews, tucked away under the Business news section. Every other news outlet has it at number 1. Wonder why? #auspol

  22. lizzie @ #2981 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 10:21 am

    Eddy Jokovich
    @EddyJokovich
    ·
    57s
    The $60 billion bungle is a massive story but it’s the 33rd listed story on @abcnews, tucked away under the Business news section. Every other news outlet has it at number 1. Wonder why? #auspol

    If it’s the one I read, it’s probably a good thing. 🙂

  23. 😆

    Eddy Jokovich
    @EddyJokovich
    ·
    4m
    Any chance of the Governor-General developing a drinking problem, or gambling problem. Or both? It might be time to do another 1975. #auspol

  24. Barney in Tanjung Bunga @ #2983 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 12:30 pm

    lizzie @ #2981 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 10:21 am

    Eddy Jokovich
    @EddyJokovich
    ·
    57s
    The $60 billion bungle is a massive story but it’s the 33rd listed story on @abcnews, tucked away under the Business news section. Every other news outlet has it at number 1. Wonder why? #auspol

    If it’s the one I read, it’s probably a good thing. 🙂

    The wash up from yesterday if the telly and radio news is anything to go by;
    1 somebody miscalculated
    2 Joshy saved the taxpayer 60bn
    3 job well done

    Still waiting for Albo and Jim to cut through.

  25. Simon Katich @ #2970 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 11:58 am

    Morrison, in what appeared a sincere and empathy driven announcement of Jobkeeper, clearly states he is “committing” $130B to support the jobs of Australians over the next 6 months.

    One wonders how a leader can lie to the people about such a thing at a time like that.

    One wonders how Her Majesty’s opposition can allow him to get away with it.
    How about Scotliar, Morriliar, Juliar….oh no scrap that last one it’ll never work.

  26. Bill Maher: Trump fans are primed to be angry about Obamagate — they just don’t know what it is

    Maher opened with an attack on President Donald Trump’s bizarre decision to start popping hydroxychloroquine.

    “First he said, let’s try drinking household disinfectant, now he’s on this sh*t, today Vladimir Putin said, ‘I hope I don’t have to poison this mother f*cker, I don’t think we have anything strong enough,’” joked Maher.

    He noted that throughout Trump’s entire life he has never been an alcohol drinker, never had a beer with the guys at a NASCAR tailgate, never smoked pot in college. “ But at the age of 73, Laura Ingraham says comes by and says, ‘hey man put this on your tongue,’ and he’s like, ‘I’m all in,” said the host.

    When it comes to Obamagate, Maher said that Trump is a master at changing the subject and that’s his new tactic to distract from the coronavirus crisis.

    “What a scandal,” Maher quoted Trump saying. “Yes, already losing steam, this scandal, because it lacks that crucial ingredient that most scandals need to have: an allegation. Trump fans are all ready to be all angry about this but they don’t know what it is!

    But I guess the bright side of this is that all 50 states are now at least partially reopened. But again, no plan. No consistency. It’s the opposite of Afghanistan, we have no entrance strategy.”

    https://www.rawstory.com/2020/05/bill-maher-trump-fans-are-primed-to-be-angry-about-obamagate-they-just-dont-know-what-it-is/

  27. The $60 billion “bungle” Is on the front screen of ABC at the side under a heading called The News Explained.

    It basically says it was an ATO blunder as “According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), which is responsible for administering JobKeeper payments, the errors weren’t picked up because its focus was on processing payments as quickly as possible.”

    It’s all due to a “confusing question”.

    According to the ABC is has nothing to do with any Treasurer or other Minister who continue their peerless governance rightfully untroubled by grubby journalis.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-22/jobkeeper-coronavirus-numbers-bungle-ato-question/12277598

  28. Rakali @ #2990 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 1:06 pm

    The $60 billion “bungle” Is on the front screen of ABC at the side under a heading called The News Explained.

    It basically says it was an ATO blunder as “According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), which is responsible for administering JobKeeper payments, the errors weren’t picked up because its focus was on processing payments as quickly as possible.”

    It’s all due to a “confusing question”.

    According to the ABC is has nothing to do with any Treasurer or other Minister who continue their peerless governance rightfully untroubled by grubby journalis.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-22/jobkeeper-coronavirus-numbers-bungle-ato-question/12277598

    ….rightfully untroubled by grubby journalists…or Her Majesty’s Opposition…..

  29. I guess Victoria could do a Trump, and suggest that doing less testing would be better cos there will be less cases

    Jenny Mikakos MP #StayHomeSaveLives
    @JennyMikakos
    Victoria’s testing rate is now 60.16 per 1,000 people – one of the highest per capita testing rates in the world. More testing means more data and more options about potentially easing more restrictions. So go and get tested, even if you’ve got mild symptoms #springst

  30. Last year after the election I used to refer to another day in Morristan, half joking, expecting he wouldn’t last 6 month, but, here we are. And here we’ll stay.
    Welcome to Morristan.
    Have a nice day.

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