Flood levy, pollster 3

A third pollster, Nielsen, has now joined Newspoll and Essential Research in asking voters about the flood levy. Annoyingly – but in line with typical poor Fairfax broadsheet practice on these things – we are not told the actual question.

However the result is that 52% of voters support the levy, and 44% oppose it.

Corrected Nielsen flood levy pie chart


That’s quite similar to Newspoll’s 55%/41%.

Of more concern to the government will be the 46% in favour/ 44% against result on a carbon price. This is the issue that is most likely to be fatal for the Gillard government.

19 Responses to “Flood levy, pollster 3

  • 1
    Sleetmute
    February 14th, 2011 06:36

    Looks like they have the graphic wrong as well!
    The carbon price result is before the energy price impact is known and before any real politicking on the issue. NSW electricity prices (PDF 96k) are already going to rise over 10% on 1 July.

  • 2
    desipis
    February 14th, 2011 06:56

    Why on earth is the “44%” over half of that pie chart? The reporter/pollster surely can’t be that statiscally illiterate!

  • 3
    Andrew Norton
    February 14th, 2011 08:52

    And apologies for my too-fast before-work posting, which led me to put up an incorrect pie chart. I will do my own correct version tonight.

  • 4
    Son of the Ratpack
    February 14th, 2011 09:26

    It’s difficult to be for or against a price, carbon or any other, when you don’t know what that price is, who is paying it and who is exempt. That poll is meaningless until an an actual policy proposal is on the table.

  • 5
    Sleetmute
    February 14th, 2011 10:26

    John Howard nearly lost the 1998 GST election despite starting with a large majority, significantly reducing income taxes and massively over-compensating lower-income earners and non-earners to the point of pushing the budget back into deficit. This time there is no majority and no money in the kitty to buy off the electorate. A carbon tax will raise money, but some will be spent on industry compensation. Plus, unlike the GST, the tax (and energy prices) will keep on rising year after year. It would take an ingeniously-designed compensation package coupled with a willingness amongst punters to believe in ongoing and rising compensation for a carbon tax not to be fatal for the government.

  • 6
    Andrew Norton
    February 14th, 2011 10:26

    There will presumably be some reconsideration of opinions as some people realise that they will in net terms pay little or nothing, and others (the childless, higher income earners) realise that the raid on their wallets will be a premium bottle of wine, not a cup of coffee (the flood levy).

    But given that previous polling indicates that public greatly under-estimates the cost of a carbon price, I reckon these figures are optimistic from the government’s perspective.

    For them, it is the most dangerous issue that we know about so far.

  • 7
    Son of the Ratpack
    February 14th, 2011 16:00

    They will start with a baby price, like $10/tone CO2, which after the exemptions will hardly be felt by anybody.

  • 8
    Andrew Norton
    February 14th, 2011 17:05

    Media reports have had them talking $20-$30 a tonne, which if the redistribution package (aka ‘compensation package’) is anything like last time will hit the childless hard.

    I find myself rather like public opinion circa 2008 – in principle prepared to act on this issue, but in practice opposed to any policy likely to be put up.

  • 9
    Sleetmute
    February 14th, 2011 18:46

    What’s more, even if the carbon tax initially ‘only’ raises electricity prices by 10% in itself, it (and the Government) will get the blame for the other price rises that are occurring because of major distribution network upgrades and the costs of meeting the large-scale renewable target (LRET).

  • 10
    Son of the Ratpack
    February 14th, 2011 20:43

    Andrew, if all the Government has to worry about is opposition from the childless, then it is home and hosed. There just aren’t enough of you to bother the scorers at Newspoll.

    Sleetmute, you might be right. Mind you, the opposition supported the renewable energy targets.

  • 11
    Andrew Norton
    February 15th, 2011 04:05

    S of R – ‘Childless’ is a bit inaccurate. Without FTB-eligible children. Though the number of adults receiving welfare of some kind is depressing, there are still millions who are not. And a government sitting on a third of the vote cannot afford to lose any of them.

  • 12
    Sinclair Davidson
    February 15th, 2011 06:17

    FTB-eligible incomes is more correct.

  • 13
    Andrew Norton
    February 15th, 2011 07:07

    Sinc – Yes, though the point I was trying to make that is that if you have adult kids you won’t get compensated.

  • 14
    Son of the Ratpack
    February 15th, 2011 07:26

    Andrew, you are assuming that there won’t be income tax cuts to sweeten the deal for those who don’t get welfare payments. I can’t recall whether they were proposed with the CPRS, but even if not it could happen with the carbon tax, just as happened with the GST. It would make both political and economic sense.

  • 15
    Andrew Norton
    February 15th, 2011 07:32

    S of R – Only because none were promised last time, and the sums won’t really add up if they do. Given varying energy use by low-income earners (depending on geogaphic location, if nothing else) they will be over-compensated, plus handouts to the big polluters. Somebody has to pay for this redistribution, and given I know who that will be (me and people like me) I am drawing the line on tolerance for this.

  • 16
    Son of the Ratpack
    February 15th, 2011 07:41

    We’ll see how big the handouts to the big polluters turn out to be. They just might find out that the CPRS was as good as it was going to get for them. The politics are totally different this time. To begin with, the government has to convince the Greens, unlike last time when it had to convince the Liberal party. Second, the government got badly burned last time by the rampant rent seeking from the polluters. The more it offered them, the more they demanded. And by the more *it* offered them I mean the more Rudd offered them. Gillard will not do a Rudd because (a) she saw that approach was hopeless (b) she will do things differently, as with the health deal, to justify the fact that she not Kevin now resides in the Lodge.
    So I reckon there will be far less on the table for the polluters which means some for you.

  • 17
    Sleetmute
    February 15th, 2011 10:14

    There may be less for industry this time but compensation to households will need to be greater this time anyway because: (i) post-Copenhagen, AGW belief is down, (ii) electricity prices have risen considerably since 2009 and will rise further before a policy is voted on and (iii) home loan interest rates are up 2%. Having a base support of only 46% for a carbon tax is not a great place to start before an Opposition and industry campaign has even commenced. Not to mention the likely use of footage of Gillard saying, “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.”

  • 18
    Son of the Ratpack
    February 15th, 2011 12:08

    “Not to mention the likely use of footage of Gillard saying, “There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.” ”

    She didn’t say anything about a carbon levy, a carbon duty, a carbon tariff, a carbon charge or a carbon excise.

  • 19
    Son of the Ratpack
    February 15th, 2011 12:09

    And she might wrap it up in a big tax reform exercise, bearing in mind that there will be a tax summit this year.