AFR / Freshwater Strategy Federal Poll – March 2024 Insights

The latest The Australian Financial Review / Freshwater Strategy poll highlights the persistent worry among Australian voters regarding the cost of living. Despite this concern, Albanese’s Labor government has shown signs of advancement in addressing these economic anxieties.

Freshwater Strategy conducted this poll of 1,051 Australian voters, aged 18 and above, from March 8th to 10th, 2024.

As noted by political editor Phil Coorey in Mondays’s AFR, there have been notable developments since the previous poll in February. These include the government’s success in the Dunkley by-election, as well as the passage of legislation pertaining to income tax cuts.

Primary Vote

The latest poll shows Labor’s primary vote remains unchanged at 31 per cent, almost 2 points lower than it received at the last election, while the Coalition’s primary vote has edged up 1 point to 39 per cent.

Support for the Greens is unchanged on 14 per cent, as are other independents and other minor parties on 16 per cent.

Preferred Prime Minister

Albanese increases his lead as preferred Prime Minister, with the proportion of voters choosing him up 5pts since February to 47%. Peter Dutton is unchanged, at 38%.

Albanese’s net approval has stopped declining, remaining on -7. Dutton’s net approval continues to decline, down by 11pts since December.

Outlook, voter priorities & management

Cost of living concerns continue to dominate the issue agenda, with almost three quarters of voters (72%) selecting it as a top concern.

Most of those who selected the cost of living as a priority for the government want the government to respond on the price of groceries (27pts of 72%) and cost of housing (22pts of 72%), followed by power bills (11pts of 72%).

For housing it’s availability (14pts), prices (11pts) and rents (10pts).

Albanese and Labor have made 3pt gains on best to manage ‘the cost & standard of living’ (up 3pts to -3), and tax & government spending (up 3pts to -5).

Labor has significant leads on 2 of the top five issues: ‘health & social care’ (by 8pts), ‘the environment & climate change’ (by 14pts).

The Coalition has significant leads on 1 of the top five issues, ‘managing the economy’ (by 10pts).

Labor has stemmed the  decline of perceived  ‘best to respond’ on several key measures, including “managing the  economy” (-10), “crime &  social order” (-11) and “immigration and asylum” (-11).

Albanese and Labor have lifted their position with voters on who is  best to respond on the “cost & standard of living”, up 3pts to -3.

Support for different energy sources

Solar remains very strongly supported as a means of generating more energy (+77).

Though they remain highly popular, net support for onshore and offshore wind has declined by 7pts and 8pts respectively since September.

Support for nuclear technology has seen a small uplift in net support, by 3pts to +3.

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

Methodology Note & Contact

Freshwater Strategy interviewed n=1,051 eligible voters in Australia, aged 18+ online, between 08-10 March 2024. Margin of Error +/- 3.3%. Data are weighted to be representative Australian of voters.

Deploying empirical strategies, we shape opinion, manage risk, and identify opportunities in shifting environments to help our clients gain a competitive advantage in commercial and political spheres.

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