The latest The Australian Financial Review/Freshwater Strategy poll “shows that while cost of living remains unrivalled as the top concern of voters, unrest over immigration and asylum seekers has begun to grow”, Phillip Coorey writes.
The poll of 1,109 eligible voters, aged 18 and above, was conducted online from December 15th to 17th.
Vote Intensions & Leadership
The poll shows the Albanese government going into Christmas break with Labor and the Coalition both on a two-party preferred of 50 per cent.
This is down from Labor’s slender 51-49 lead in the last AFR / Freshwater Strategy poll in September, and the 52.1 per cent that Labor received at the May 2022 federal election.
This decline in two-party preferred is a consequence of Labor’s primary vote slipping to 31 per cent, down 2 points since the September poll, and lower than the 32.6 percent that Labor received at the federal election. The Coalition’s primary vote is up 2 points to 39 per cent since the previous poll, and well above the 35.7 per cent it received on election day, but well below the 41.4 per cent primary vote share it received in 2019 The Greens are unchanged on 13 per cent.
Albanese’s 26pt lead as Preferred Prime Minister in December 2022 has declined to just 4 points today. While Dutton’s net approval has risen significantly for the first time, up 8pts since September, Albanese's net favourability continues to decline. Down another 2pts since September.
Outlook, Issue Agenda and Management
Whilst cost of living concerns continue to dominate with the issue agenda, with three quarters of voters selecting it as a top concern. However, the proportion of Australian voters selecting immigration as a top concern has risen by more than 2.5 times, up 8pts since September to 13% of voters.
COP 28, Net Zero & Energy Sources
Solar is very strongly supported as a means of generating more energy supply in Australia (+74 net support).
Though they remain highly popular, net support for onshore and offshore wind has declined by 9pts and 7pts respectively since September.
Support for nuclear and coal technologies remains relatively unchanged, with no statistically significant changes since voters were last polled.
Year In Review
When asked whether areas of Australian life had improved, worsened or were unchanged under Albanese and Labor, more voters say that key areas of concern are getting worse.
Of the 10 key areas tested, the only cause for optimism was the bilateral relationship with China. Of this, 54 per cent of voters felt that relations with China were improving, while 45 per cent felt it was worsening or unchanged.
More voters say that the behaviour of politicians is getting worse (down 25pts) when compared to last year, and more voters also say that the transparency of political decisions is getting worse (down 20pts) compared to when Australians were polled at the same time last year.
Methodology Note & Contact
Freshwater Strategy interviewed n=1,109 eligible voters in Australia, aged 18+ online, between 15-17 December. Margin of Error +/- 3.3%. Data are weighted to be representative Australian of voters.
For comment, additional analysis, or a more detailed breakdown of results from this poll, please get in touch.