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”

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  1. Mavis @ #2782 Friday, May 22nd, 2020 – 9:26 pm

    I dip my lid to Jack Mundey. At the time, in a back street in the Cross, he fought developers, most unkeen on preserving its unique heritage. As for the Cross per se, one rarely frequented the “Texas Tavern” nor the “Taxi Club”(?). Vale, Jack.

    Texas Tavern, taking me back many years. I worked there as a relief chef in the early 70’s, lot of characters came in on Tuesday for the $4 three course set menu, soup, choice of two mains and a single desert (usually apple or peach pie). Worked there for 10 weeks while regular staff were on their holidays. Bernie Houston was the boss, a mad and totally shady character, drank like a fish and could turn nasty on a whim, when I was there all the talk was his involvement in opium but for the kitchen all his demands were for making meals cheaper. Later reporting was that he was backed by US intelligence, he also owned the Bourbon and Beefsteak.

    Cross was a strange place to a somewhat sheltered young man from Adelaide, but it was a well controlled place then, ruled by bad guys, drug use and sales were in back rooms away from public view, gambling and prostitution was the main vice and attraction to the cross, for most people crime was there but not an issue, it was just seen as seedy but the heart of the entertainment of the city.

    Many of the restaurant and bar staff would take leftovers from the nights service upstairs to the Carousel Club around 2.00am and the ladies would push tables together and we would all have dinner.

  2. Taylormade @ #3284 Saturday, May 23rd, 2020 – 10:07 pm

    I dont know why labor keep pushing Wong forward on shows like Q&A and Insiders. They need to introduce some new blood on shows like these. She is seen as damaged goods by ordinary Australians after her role in the Rudd/ Gillard mess.

    No she isn’t. She hardly played a role at all. She is highly respected by the Astralian people. And you’re clutching at straws, Taylormade.

  3. Tom the first says:
    Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    With neither the government or the opposition holding a majority in the Senate, whenever they disagree on Senate votes, the crossbench (Greens, minor parties and independents) is very relevant to the outcome.

    We also continue to be a democracy where anybody can seek election where governments and oppositions have to earn their power from votes not system of undemocratic legally entrenched duopoly.

    This is just so much disingenuous, pious gibberish. The long and the short of Green politics is that because of the way they campaign none of the values to which they claim to be committed will be realised. None of them. At all. Ever. Essentially, they are a failure generating machine. There is one exception to this. They are brilliant at helping maintain the LibNats in office. This is their main function in Australian political life.

  4. The Liberals have finally selected their Eden-Monaro candidate. Drum roll please for no surprise at all:

    Farmer and former teacher Fiona Kotvojs will be the Liberal candidate in the Eden-Monaro byelection after she “crushed it” in a party preselection held on Saturday.

    Ms Kotvojs will compete against Bega mayor Kristy McBain, Labor’s candidate, for the closely-contested seat. The date for the byelection is yet to be confirmed.

    … A local Liberal operative said she secured 80 per cent of the votes.

    The Conservatives got their girl.


    Everything I said was accurate. Crossbenchers are an important part of the Senate, involved in key outcomes. No political party`s position in politics is fixed, it is open to the voters at every election to change it and this is a fundamental part of democracy.

    The ALP does not have a monopoly on opposition to the Coalition.

  6. The Greens help maintain the LibNats in office. This is their historical political role. They may deny it, but denial is simply disingenuous and self-serving. The counter-conservative plurality in Australia is broken, quite probably irretrievably busted. The Greens are responsible for this. Among the consequences, the Greens should understand this means none of their goals will be realised. By their own actions they have made impossible everything for which they claim to hope. They have destroyed something rare and precious. They should be ashamed of themselves.

  7. Hertz Global Holdings, one of the nation’s largest car-rental companies, filed for bankruptcy protection Friday night in the US, saddled with about $US19 billion ($29 billion) in debt and nearly 700,00 vehicles that have been largely idled because of the coronavirus.

    The Florida-based company entered chapter 11 proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, hoping to survive a drop-off in ground traffic from the pandemic and avoid a forced liquidation of its vehicle fleet.

    Hertz’s main international operating regions, including Europe, Australia and New Zealand are not included in the US chapter 11 proceedings and are continuing normal operations, Hertz said in a statement.

  8. Sincere condolences on the loss of your mother, Scout.
    And hear, hear to your sentiments re the unnecessary acrimony spoiling this otherwise excellent blog.
    Rather like the idea of people writing their own eulogies
    …might help some with self -awareness, but probably not.

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