Conflicting WorkChoices polls?

Commenter Leopold notes about today’s industrial relations Newspoll, reported in The Australian, that there is

A curious difference between Newspoll and ACNielsen …- 33% of Newspoll respondents reckon they are worse off under WorkChoices. And ‘a lot worse off’ is rising in Newspoll, while in ACN the overall figure ‘worse off’ is falling.

There are two differences between the ACNielsen and Newspoll surveys that may help explain the different results. The first is that ACNielsen asks its question of all respondents, while Newspoll only asks people with jobs. This is a smaller sample that is more likely to be affected by the changes than those without jobs (though those without jobs could still be affected, via other members of their household who do have jobs). Newspoll records more people affected both positively and negatively.

That probably explains most of the difference, but the second possible reason is that Newspoll gives options of varying strength. Its question reads:

How do you think the changes to industrial relations affect you personally? Do you think you are better, or worse, off? If better, do you think you are a lot better off, or a little better off? If worse, do you think that you are a lot worse off or a little worse off?

Whereas ACNielsen asks (if they are consistent, they did not publish the questions last time):

Do you think you will be better or worse off under the planned changes?

Offering milder options can sometimes encourage people without strong views to reveal which perspective they are leaning towards.
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