‘Fair’ coalition budget leads to upsurge in support – Fairfax Ipsos Poll

A majority (52%) of voters are satisfied with the Federal Budget delivered by Treasurer Joe Hockey on Tuesday, and more than one third (35%) are dissatisfied, giving a balance of opinion of +17, according to the latest national Fairfax Ipsos Poll.

Three-quarters of Coalition voters were satisfied with the Federal Budget as they were in 2014 (78% satisfied, an increase of 3 points since 2014). In contrast, the proportion of Labor voters satisfied with the Budget has increased four fold – in 2014 only 9% were satisfied, while this year the figure has risen to 36%.

More than half of voters (52%) describe the Budget as fair, while one third (33%) disagree. This gives a positive balance of opinion of +19; a 49 point improvement on the 2014 net figure of -30.

Those voters most likely to see it as fair were male (57%), aged 55+ (61%) and those earning over $100,000 (57%).

“This is a much stronger result than the response to last year’s budget when only 33% were satisfied with the Federal Budget,” Ipsos Director Jessica Elgood said.

“The 2015 budget received significantly higher satisfaction among men, at 56%, than women, at 49%.”

Key findings                                                                                                                               

  • Two-party vote, based on 2013 election preferences: both Labor and the Coalition are on 50% (Labor down 4 points and Coalition up 4 points since April)
  • Two-party vote, based on stated preferences: both Labor and the Coalition are on 50% (Labor down 5 points and Coalition up 5 points since April)
  • First preferences: Labor 35% (down 3 points since April), Coalition 43% (up 4 points since April)
  • Tony Abbott’s approval is at 42% (up 8 since April), disapproval at 50% (down 10 since April), net approval at -8
  • Bill Shorten approval at 41% (down 1 since April), disapproval at 45% (up 1 since April), net approval at -4
  • 44% would prefer Tony Abbott as Prime Minister (up 6 since April); 39% would prefer Bill Shorten (down 7 since April).
  • 54% describe the Budget as economically responsible, 5 points higher than those saying this last year
  • 54% see the Budget as being good for Australia, 12 points higher than last year
  • 28% say they will be better off following the Budget, 20 points higher than last year
  • 33% say they will be worse off following the Budget, 41 points lower than last year
  • On balance, voters oppose the cuts to Family Tax Benefits in order to increase childcare subsidies (39% support, and 47% oppose)
  • 81% support the package of tax concessions for small business
  • 22% say they will personally make use of the small business tax concessions.

Voting intention
Labor and the Coalition are tied at 50% in the May Fairfax Ipsos Poll.

The national poll of 1,403 respondents, interviewed from Thursday to Saturday 14-16 May 2015, shows both parties with 50% of the two-party preferred vote (Labor down 4 points, and Coalition up 4 points since April), based on 2013 election preferences. This indicates a 3.5% swing against the Abbott Government since the September 2013 Federal election.

The two-party stated preference vote shows both parties on 50% (Labor down 5 points, and the Coalition up 5 points since April).

First preference votes put the Labor on 35% (down 3 points since April) and the Coalition on 43% (up 4 points since April). The Greens continue to lead the minor parties with 13% (unchanged since April). The Palmer United Party is on 1% (unchanged since April), and others are on 8% (unchanged since April).

Five per cent of respondents are undecided. These are excluded from the two-party stated preference figures.

Leaders’ approval and preferred Prime Minister
Tony Abbott’s approval rating is 42% (up 8 since April). His disapproval rating is 50% (down 10 since April). This gives a net approval of -8 (up 18 points since April).

Bill Shorten’s approval rating is 41% (down 1 since April). His disapproval rating is 45% (up 1 since April). This gives a net approval of -4 (down 2 since April).

Tony Abbott is the preferred Prime Minister, at 44%, an increase of 6 points since April, while 39% favour Bill Shorten as Prime Minister (a fall of 7 points since April).

Was the Budget economically responsible or not?
More than half of voters (54%) think the Budget was economically responsible, and 31% do not. This marks a five-point increase among those thinking the Budget was economically responsible from 2014.

Fewer Coalition voters see this year’s Budget as economically responsible (79%, compared to 88% saying so after the 2014 Budget); while Labor voters are more likely to see this year’s Budget as economically responsible (38%, compared to 26% in 2014).

Was the Budget good or bad for Australia?
54% see this year’s Federal Budget as being good for Australia – an increase of 12 points in those saying this since the 2014 Budget. Three in ten (29%) describe the Budget as bad for Australia.

Coalition voters see the Budget as a good thing for the country, at 82% – but only 35% of Labor voters say this, and 28% of Greens voters.

Will voters feel better or worse off?
Whereas 74% thought they would personally be worse off after the 2014 budget, only one third (33%) of voters say this following the 2015 Federal Budget, a drop of 41 points.

28% believe they will be better off after this week’s Budget, 20 percentage points higher than those saying this after last year’s Budget. A third (32%) think the Budget will make no difference to them personally.

Those on lower incomes (below $40,000) are more likely than other voters to say they believe they will be personally worse off after this Budget (38% worse off, compared to 34% among those earning between $40,000-$100,000, and 30% among those earning over $100,000).

Increased childcare subsidies
On balance, voters are opposed to cutting Family Tax Benefits in order to increase childcare subsidies; 39% support this move, and 47% oppose (net -8).

Opposition is higher among women (50%), those under 55, and those earning less than $100,000 per annum.

The majority of Coalition voters back this move (57%), but only 29% of Labor voters and 22% of Greens voters support this change.

Tax concessions for small business
There is overwhelming support for the package of tax concessions for small business that was put forward in the Federal Budget; 81% support this, and 11% oppose.

Support is higher outside of capital cities (84%), among those aged 25 or over, and those earning over $100,000 per annum (86%).

The majority of voters for all political parties back this package of changes for small business; 93% among Coalition voters, 75% among Labor voters and 65% among Greens voters.

One in five (22%) say they will personally make use of the small business tax concessions; 71% say they would not. This rises to 27% among the highest earners (over $100,000 per annum).

Poll Profile

Fieldwork dates: 14-16 May 2015

Sample size: 1,403 respondents

Sample: National, aged 18+. 31% of sample comprised mobile phone numbers.

Method: Telephone, using random digit dialling.

Statistical reliability: ±2.6% is the maximum margin of sampling error that might apply to this    sample

Analysis: The data has been weighted by age, gender and location (metro/non-metro) to reflect the population distribution.

Fairfax Ipsos National Poll Methodology

The Fairfax Ipsos National Poll interviews members of the general public by telephone using a CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) methodology. We use telephone numbers that have been randomly generated, and interview a representative sample of members of the public, using quotas based on Australian Bureau of Statistics population data. We interview our respondents on both landline numbers (approximately 70% of the total) and mobile numbers (approximately 30% of the total.)

The Fairfax Ipsos National Poll takes place once a month, with interviewing between Thursday and Saturday. This yields a nationally representative sample of 1,400 responses from Australians aged 18 years and over. The results are weighted to reflect the total population using Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The Federal voting intention, satisfaction with the Federal Leaders and preferred PM questions are asked regularly each month, with other additional questions of topical interest.

Ipsos complies with all aspects of the Australian Privacy Principles, with all ESOMAR and Association of Market and Social Research Organisation guidelines, and we are accredited to the ISO 20252 Market and Social Research Standard. All Ipsos executives are members of the Australian Market and Social Research Society.