AFR / Freshwater Strategy Federal Poll – February 2024 Insights

The latest The Australian Financial Review/ Freshwater Strategy poll, featuring analysis from the AFR’s Political Editor Phil Coorey, underscores the growing apprehension among Australian voters regarding the current cost of living. At the same time, concerns about crime and social order have surged, particularly in Victoria and Queensland.  

The latest poll of 1,049 voters, aged 18+ was conducted between February 16th to 18th, 2024, coinciding with the conclusion of the first parliamentary fortnight of the year. During this period, debates on tax cuts and renewed tensions over released criminals, and the arrival of asylum seekers dominated the political landscape in Canberra. 

Outlook, Voter Priorities & Management

When asked if Australia is heading in the right or wrong direction, voters responses remain relatively similar to December 2023, with no significant changes.

Cost of living concerns continue to dominate the issue agenda, with more than two thirds of voters selecting it as a top concern. The proportion of Australian voters selecting crime and social order as a top concern has risen by 8pts since December.

Over the last 15 months, Labor’s initial lead on the cost & standard of living, and managing the economy, immigration & asylum, and crime & social order, has deteriorated significantly. At the same time, Labor’s lead as the party to best manage the environment has risen by 7 points to a net score of +16.

Leadership & Vote Intentions

Since December, the latest poll shows Labor’s primary vote as unmoved at 31 per cent, almost 2 points lower than at the election, a while the Coalition is down 1pt to 38 per cent.

Anthony Albanese leads Peter Dutton as preferred prime minister by 42 per cent to 38 per cent. That 4-point lead is unchanged since December.

Anthony Albanese’s net approval has worsened by 2 points to minus 7, whereas Peter Dutton’s has declined by 7 points over the same period to minus 9, with 32 per cent supporting the job he is doing and 41 per cent disapproving.

Economic Outlook & Household Finances

A majority of those on lower incomes (50%), ‘No’ voters (56%), Coalition supporters (52%), Older voters (50%) and women (50%) say that they believe the economy will be in a worse position in 12 months than it is today. This compares with four in 10 Labor supporters (40%) and ‘Yes’ voters believe the national economy will have improved in 12-months’ time.

Changes to Stage Three Tax Cuts

The poll shows 74 per cent of voters were aware of the proposal to change stage three tax cuts, which were legislated by the Morrison government to begin on July 1 this year.

One quarter of voters (26%) say that they will be ‘a little better off’ as a result of the Albanese-Labor government’s changes to Stage Three tax cuts. Just 6% say that they will be ‘Much better off’, 43% say that the changes will make no difference to their household financial situation and 12% say they believe they will be worse off as a result.

44% of voters support the decision from the Albanese-Labor government to make changes to the legislated tax cuts. Just one in 7 say that they oppose the changes.

Read Phil Coorey's analysis of the poll results here and here.

Methodology Note & Contact

Freshwater Strategy interviewed n=1,049 eligible voters in Australia, aged 18+ online, between 16-18 February 2024. 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.


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