Public opinion on economic history wars

Pollytics blog reports on an Essential Research survey question on the economic history wars triggered by Kevin Rudd.

The question was:

Do you think that Labor or Coalition Governments have been responsible for the most important economic reforms in Australia over the last 25 years?

I’d give it to Labor on microeconomic reform but the Coalition on macroeconomic reform, while agreeing with John Howard’s argument that favourable judgment on Labor should be qualified by noting that the Liberals co-operated with reform while in opposition while Labor largely obstructed. Labor gets high marks 1983-95, but low marks since.

However it’s not a question most voters could easily answer, and so they will rely on party stereotypes. Along with a very large (and honest) ‘don’t know’ response the small advantage for the Liberals suggests that the strong economy under the previous government still gets some public opinion credit.