Essential Research: coronavirus and attitudes to China

A major souring in Australians’ attitudes to China but little change on coronavirus (at least since last week), according to the latest Essential poll.

Another week, another Essential Research coronavirus poll — this one focusing on attitudes to China, which have notably soured. As related by The Guardian, respondents were asked if they had a favourable or unfavourable view of China’s influences on Australian life, which produced a net rating of minus 30% on trade, compared with plus 1% last August, and a net rating of minus 40% for Chinese business operating in Australia, down from minus 21%. There were also scores of minus 26% for defence, minus 36% for politics and minus 9% for culture. Conversely, the United States scored net positive scores, albeit that these were quite a lot bigger for defence (plus 29%), business (plus 15%) and trade (plus 14%) than politics (plus 2%) and culture (plus 7%).

Asked which relationship would be more beneficial to strengthen, 42% favoured the US and 18% China, compared with 38% and 28% last August. Respondents had two bob each way on trade in that 53% thought Australia “needs to do all it can to avoid a trade war with China”, with 17% opposed, but 48% felt Australia should impose retaliatory tariffs, with 22% opposed. The poll found “more than half” believe China’s trade sanctions against Australia were motivated by the government’s call for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

The poll continued its weekly suite of questions on coronavirus, recording no change on the government’s handling of the crisis, which was rated positively by 73% and negatively by 11%. Levels of concern little changed on last week (79% either very or quite concerned, down one, and 21% either not at all or not that concerned, up one). A divide appears to be opening on restrictions, with higher responses for both lifting them as soon as possible (up five to 14%) and holding off (up two to 27%). The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1087; a full report should be published later today.

Note that below this post is a dedicated thread for the Eden-Monaro by-election, which you are encouraged to use if you have something specific to say on that subject.

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.

2,091 comments on “Essential Research: coronavirus and attitudes to China”

  1. Barney.
    You obviously know jack shit about vic politics.
    Every time Neville publicly announces a new water order she gives a spiel on water storages, forecasts and its been the driest Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer since…..
    We all know it is about Aquasure and its shareholders, especially Unisuper and its precious public servants.

  2. Naomi Klein’s latest book:

    On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal. 2019
    ————

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/14/crisis-talk-green-new-deal-naomi-klein

    “As for those children and grandchildren and generations to come who were invoked so promiscuously? They are no longer mere rhetorical devices. They are now speaking (and screaming, and striking) for them selves. Unlike so many adults in positions of authority, they have not yet been trained to mask the unfathomable stakes of our moment in the language of bureaucracy and overcomplexity. They understand that they are fighting for the fundamental right to live full lives – lives in which they are not, as 13-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor puts it, “running from disasters”.

    On that day in March 2019, organisers estimate there were nearly 2,100 youth climate strikes in 125 countries, with 1.6 million young people participating. That’s quite an achievement for a movement that began eight months earlier with a single teenager deciding to go on strike from school in Stockholm, Sweden: Greta Thunberg.”

    These are the “kiddies”, BW claims are being astroturfed by the Greens. It’s a world-wide conspiracy, don’t you know.

  3. Taylormade says:
    Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Barney.
    You obviously know jack shit about vic politics.
    Every time Neville publicly announces a new water order she gives a spiel on water storages, forecasts and its been the driest Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer since…..
    We all know it is about Aquasure and its shareholders, especially Unisuper and its precious public servants
    ______________
    The whole thing is absurd. I’d like to know why UniSuper decided to take such a massive position in one company, surely going against the kind of advice about diversification that money managers would give to a super fund.

  4. nath:

    [‘yes many moons ago Mavis. In a few years I will be fifty! fuck that.’]

    I thought you were younger. Never mind. I enjoy your insights.

  5. “ Steve777 says:
    Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 7:43 pm
    Allowing franking credits beyond a taxpayer’s actual tax liability is absurd and unsustainable. Australians were confused by the policy, however, and the Coalition’s lies about it. Labor should just abolish them once safely in office, not announce the policy in advance. After all, the Coalition never tells us in advance what they’re going to cut and what they’re going to sell off. They just do it.
    _____________________________
    So its ok to lie to win office steve777? The ends justifies the means?”

    _____

    In between those two extremes there lies a way that matches the policy with the politics. Ethically.

    The starting point is a recognition that cash backs for excess franking credits is a bullshit idea. One invented by Howard to reward a key constituency. It was meant to cost the revenue less than a billion a year. Now it is spiralling out to over $5 billion and soon to be $8 billion a year. It is also a fact that it overwhelmingly benefits the asset rich. I don’t like the little taste of vomit in my mouth whenever I read the likes of Kealty – who does know better – bleat about the plight of ‘the low income’ (deliberately framing wealth by reference to ‘taxable income’ which doesn’t reflect retirees actual wealth or even actual disposable income at all).

    That said, the policy was ripe for a scare campaign. In hindsight the problem for Labor was that the scare campaign didn’t bite at all. Not for 18 months. Not through by-election campaign after by-election campaign. Until it did. When it counted. Right at the heal of hunt.

    The reason why that particular scare campaign worked was that it startled from a basic truth: it was going to take money away from people. Further not all of those who stood to loose where the 1%ers. Moreover, these folk had spent a decade or more planning and investing for their retirement on an existing set of rules that Shorten and Labor were going to completely overturn.

    Shorten and Bowen should have been attuned to the potential political fall out but weren’t. It’s probably not even their fault. At least not 100% their fault anyways. There policy had a minor tweak to exempt part pensioners, but otherwise it had been battle tested through the Batman by-election and the super Saturday s44 by-elections without any perceived fallout. Some of those by-elections were held in areas with largish self funded retirees as well. None of the polling – internal or public – showed a fallout either. This was a triumph of bad polling over political instinct.

    So, Labor felt they could get away with it, without any compromises. Further Bowen wanted all of the money. For his precious budget surplus (fighting the last two election narratives) and for a suite of social policy goodies (which didn’t gain traction anyways).

    Looking forward. Labor should not take the same policy to the next election. That much is clear. It is however also equally clear that there are a multitude of other tax concessions and tax expenditures to target. Once in government. Labor can probably get 100% of the structural reform (by abolishing it for future investments but grandfathering existing share investments) and about 70% of the cash (by putting an annual cap on the amount of cash backs that can be claimed on those existing investments) … in about 2025/6FY without lying to anyone, or hurting folk on modest savings that have been invested into shares for their retirement. Labor can say that they wont be addressing this reform if elected. Early in their second term they can announce a modified policy with grandfathering and a cap. The dog may bark but the caravan will move on.

  6. guytaur

    This era is definitely of epoch change.

    The US has now passed Depression era unemployment as it was claimed that was reached at 30 million.
    ———-
    I’m sure the population is much greater than during the Depression.

    I know it is the very definition of Self-obsessed pomposity, but I’m not sure what happens in the USA necessarily warrants: “ This era is definitely of epoch change.” Really??

  7. This upcoming election will be a Labor win.

    It’s a recession election for sure. Maybe a long deep depression.
    Society has irrevocably changed. Eg. Sport. No crowds.

    Sure this will change soon but a lot of what we took for granted will not be the same again. The LNP face an existential crisis. The era of the individual is King is over. We are back to co operation is King.

    The last time that happened we had lots of Labor government. It was not the LNP by default due to the Menzies era.
    It was the era that got us the secret ballot. The woman the vote. The minimum wage and the industrial relations system that lasted up to the 80’s.

    It was no walkover. There were very conflicted political battles. However the ground has changed under the feet of the LNP. People are ready to look at Keynes again. Even the United States got regulated markets social security and Medicare. Unions were a force.

    That’s the big change that’s happening. Co operation is changing things drastically. Thanks to the virus it’s essential and if a vaccine is not developed quickly could enforce a decade of co operation and force “socialist” style policies on politics.

  8. Rakali

    It’s not just the US. It’s world wide.
    The US as usual is the exception. Their divides are stark and easy to see. They apply in Europe too.

  9. None of those countries have the military capability to project force in order to invade Australia.

    They might get by with a little help from their friends.

  10. Looking forward. Labor should not take the same policy to the next election. That much is clear.

    It is not at all clear it is an article of faith. Particularly by the wing of the Labor party that would choose capital over labor every single time. The irony is rich.

  11. davidwh:

    [‘Especially when the thesis is based on solid ground.’]

    You reckon, dear. One should express one’s self with brevity, especially in the wee hours. If one can express one’s self in a sentence, one should. To that end, one notes you invariably do.

  12. guytaur

    It’s not just the US. It’s world wide.
    The US as usual is the exception. Their divides are stark and easy to see. They apply in Europe too.
    ———-
    We will see.

    Obviously things are fluid but i think there is little evidence that a revolution of any sort is likely. If there is no revolution, the same power structures will re-assert themselves, with a bit of marketing.

    While I don’t know a lot about the USA, i would think a right wing/fascist dictatorship is far more likely than any left wing revolution.

  13. Rakali

    The revolution has already happened.

    Even the individual is society that embraced the libertarian myth of the western frontier man has embraced the lockdown.

    Co operation is the order of the day.
    That’s a revolution.

    Just last year we would all have rebelled at the idea of locking ourselves in our homes as some dystopian conspiracy theory plot.

    This is an era of fast never ending change that was fuelling neo liberalism stopped.

    People had weeks of thinking. As the power of corporations has been on pause and the power of government was in action.

  14. guytaur

    Just last year we would all have rebelled at the idea of locking ourselves in our homes as some dystopian conspiracy theory plot.
    ———-
    If you are talking about Australians, that is rubbish. We are the most docile, obedient people in the world.

    We are quite content to die, with little complaint, for British politicians and now for USA politicians.

    Isn’t that the very definition of a happy little stupid serf?

  15. Rakali

    You have not been paying attention. The pandemic sped up existing trends because people have had time to think. Life has slowed for everyone.

    Unless you are an essential worker you had the long vacation effect of childhood of days running into each other. Lots of boredom and thinking time.

    That’s a revolution.
    A political one. It does not have to be necessarily violent but it could be.
    Make no mistake the political ground has changed irrevocably.
    Co operation is King. You have even heard right wing politicians on national tv talk about neo liberalism being dead

    Edit: Today we had the head of the reserve bank say we might have to keep the socialist JobKeeper in place.
    People are watching. .

  16. [ chart post by BK at :
    Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 6:50 pm ]

    The interesting country in that graph is Sweden given their policy approach.

    And before you all tee off I am not proselytising for their approach.

    Part of the reason Sweden is different is that they think that the X-axis of that chart is the wrong one.

    Change the X-axis and things change radically – that does not of course imply that the change is correct…

  17. guytaur

    A political one. It does not have to be necessarily violent but it could be.
    Make no mistake the political ground has changed irrevocably.
    Co operation is King. You have even heard right wing politicians on national tv talk about neo liberalism being dead.
    ————
    Maybe.

    They will of course say “neo-liberalism” is dead. As they introduce policies with the same outcomes and call it “neo-cooperation”.

    Morrison is already saying if/when the unions don’t agree with the Government’s approach it’ll go ahead anyway.

  18. Rakali

    Morrison can say what he likes. The government can return to its same old mantra.

    The point is society has changed. People will view things very differently. It’s going to be a very different election. The LNP’s bag of tricks won’t work.

    There are actual petitions for ending mutual obligation. Morrison was forced to scrap his bust the unions integrity bill.
    It’s not the walk over the right is pretending it’s getting.

  19. Nath:

    It’s hard to keep a straight face as a socialist when you spend as much time as I do in a jacuzzi.

    Farting in a bathtub does not make it a Jacuzzi!

  20. guytaur

    The point is society has changed. People will view things very differently. It’s going to be a very different election. The LNP’s bag of tricks won’t work.
    ———

    We will see.

  21. Taylormade @ #2051 Thursday, May 28th, 2020 – 8:44 pm

    Barney.
    You obviously know jack shit about vic politics.
    Every time Neville publicly announces a new water order she gives a spiel on water storages, forecasts and its been the driest Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer since…..
    We all know it is about Aquasure and its shareholders, especially Unisuper and its precious public servants.

    The weather and climate are not beholden to politics and they are certainly not beholden to your petty ideological grudges.

  22. Apparently now I’m a “nasty piece of work” for saying the virus can spread via aerosol. Which is true of course, but apparently “nasty” to point out.

    A new intellectual low from our resident piece of trailer trash, Mavis.

  23. I’ve been shedding tears …can’t account for it any other way….head spinning/disbelief/feeling both taller and shorter at the same time/overwhelming

  24. BB:

    Apparently now I’m a “nasty piece of work” for saying the virus can spread via aerosol. Which is true of course, but apparently “nasty” to point out.

    A new intellectual low from our resident piece of trailer trash, Mavis.

    You’re “overthinking” it – Mavis Davis is just not into you (no doubt it’s mutual) and simply using it as an excuse to have another go…

  25. This may surprise you, but Trump is a hypocrite.

    And while Twitter did nothing to suppress his free speech, he is happy to try and do so of others.

    Trump campaign attempts to remove satirical cartoon from online retailer

    Cartoonist Nick Anderson calls president ‘adolescent’ after work parodying bleach-injection claim sparked a legal manoeuvre

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/may/28/trump-campaign-attempts-to-remove-satirical-cartoon-from-online-retailer

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