Economy dominates, stronger support for reductions than repeal: exit poll Media Release

Sep 08, 2013 - 8:30am

A national exit poll shows that concern over the economy and jobs overshadowed the ‘carbon tax’ and other issues, voters were split on repeal and there was more support for the Coalition honouring their promised pollution reduction targets than repealing carbon pricing.
“We congratulate the Coalition on a strong victory but ‘it was the economy stupid’ and if the Coalition is to govern for all Australians then achieving their pollution reduction targets is a stronger priority than ‘repealing the carbon tax’,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

The findings come from a weighted JWS Research national IVR (automated) poll of over 1,500 Australians.
“The single most important issue for voters was the economy and jobs, nominated by 31 per cent as their major issue, followed by cost of living at 15 per cent. Climate change (5 per cent) and the carbon tax (3 per cent), lagged significantly. Amongst Coalition voters only three per cent nominated scrapping the carbon tax as their top issue.”

“Asked separately about the Coalition’s priorities, Coalition voters strongly backed a ‘stronger five pillar economy’ (40 per cent) and ‘end of waste and debt’ (24 per cent) with just (3 per cent) prioritising ‘scrapping the carbon tax’.”
“After a campaign which saw a return to 2012’s focus on the costs of carbon pricing, surprisingly from the ALP as well, there was no majority support for repeal with voters split 47 per cent for repeal and 47 per cent for maintaining some form of carbon pricing when asked to choose between the two,” said Connor.

“A bigger challenge looms for the Coalition regarding the effectiveness of their climate policies.” 

“Despite commentary to the contrary, the Coalition maintained support for its 2020 pollution reduction target range of 5 to 25 per cent and have supported this commitment being made to other nations.” 

A fact sheet is available detailing those commitments and how this was repeated in the last days of the campaign.

In a separate question asking all voters to choose between Coalition commitments to reduction targets and to repeal, 40 per cent supported the reductions, just 28 per cent supported repeal, with 32 per cent undecided. 
“This finding supports our and other research which has strong support for climate action alongside the uncertainty about carbon pricing as a solution. This poll was similar to others in that almost two thirds (63 per cent) accept that climate change is occurring,” said Connor.

“Tony Abbott and the Coalition’s official position accepts the science, humans’ role in it and the need for ‘strong and effective policies’ to deal with it.” 
“The Coalition’s challenge is that they cannot demonstrate to Australians or to the international community that their policies are effective enough to meet their target commitments.”

“Their reassurances throughout the campaign aren’t enough. The Coalition needs to reveal how their policies achieve these targets before trying to repeal the current policies which many agree can reach these targets. If they can’t meet the targets then re-think will be necessary.” 
“Climate change is complex and the solutions aren’t easy but the Coalition rushes into repeal of the carbon laws at their peril because climate change and its impacts aren’t washed away by this election result,” concluded Connor.  

For more information   

John Connor  | CEO, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299 

Kristina Stefanova | Communications Director, The Climate Institute | 02 8239 6299 

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