Like last year, Australian voters have shown that they don’t need to be bribed to approve of budgets.
The Nielsen poll, like other polls, found between one in four and one in five voters thought that they would personally be better off as a result of the budget (there are a lot of pensioners). But heading on to three times than number thought that it was fair (56%) or said that they were satisfied with it (58%).
The Newspoll reported in The Australian found that twice as many voters thought that it would be good for the economy (45%) as thought it would be good for them personally (22%).
Whatever its merits as an economic document, the Budget was well handled politically by the government. The manipulation of expectations I noted last week in higher education was successful across portfolios. The Essential Research before-and-after question shows that good reactions exceeded forecast good reactions, and actual negative reactions were lower than anticipated negative reactions.
The only problems for the government are a narrow majority (56%) against lifting the retirement age in the Neilsen poll, and in the Newspoll only 30% of respondents believing that the budget will be back in surplus in six years. Not even Labor voters (49%) believe the government on this one.