Thursday, 26 November 2009

Forget about boat people, it’s still the economy, stupid

A fascinating study out from pollster Roy Morgan on what Australians regard as the important issues for their own country and the world as a whole. And there’s not much joy in it for those beleaguered Liberals who thought hammering away at policies on boat people might revive their fortunes. While there has been a small increase from a small base in immigration matters, it is still the economy and environmental issues which Australians think are the most important both at home and abroad.
Morgan finds that as a World problem Economic issues are down 22% since May 2009 to 29%. This is almost back to pre-GFC levels of 24% in May 2008. In particular significantly fewer Australians regard Economy/ Interest rates/ Inflation (9%, down 27%) as the most important problem facing the World.
Environmental Issues are up 8% since May 2009 to 29%, still a little lower than the 35% recorded in March 2008, specifically 19% (up 7%) of Australians regard Climate Change/ Global Warming as the most important problem — similar to the how Australians viewed the issue in March 2008 (18%). Other problems to increase significantly are Poverty, the Gap between rich and poor (13%, up 5%), Wars and conflicts (12%, up 7%) and Terrorism (6%, up 4%).
Other issues that Australians consider important facing the World include Terrorism and Security issues 18% (up 11%), Government/Human Issues, 9% (up 3%) and Social Issues 7% (up 1%).
When it comes to Australia, there are similar trends, although some key differences, can be seen in what Australians regard as the most important problem facing Australia. The most important problems facing Australia today are still Economic issues 31% (although down 20% since May 2009), ahead of Environmental issues 24% (up 7%), Government/ Human issues (21%, up 9%) and Social issues 9% (up 3%).
The most significant falls since May have been for Economy/ Interest rates/ Inflation (14%, down 21%) and Unemployment (8%, down 3%) — even though many economists still say Unemployment has not yet peaked.
Three issues have clearly emerged as more important problems facing Australia since May. The most significant is Climate Change/ Global Warming (13%, up 8%). Also increasing are the closely related issues of Refugees and Asylum problems (7%, up 6%) and Immigration/ Immigration policy (6%, up 4%).
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