Guardian Essential poll: Australians back jobseeker increase and look to budget for cost-of-living relief

Poll also suggests honeymoon glow has not worn off Anthony Albanese as support for Peter Dutton continues to slide

New polling suggests half of Australian voters support raising jobseeker from $50 a day, significantly outnumbering the 28% who oppose a raise in the payment.

The latest Guardian Essential poll of 1,130 voters also finds more than three-quarters (78%) of respondents want the government to provide cost-of-living support in the budget, as opposed to just 22% who favour reducing debt by cutting services.

The poll was conducted from 26 to 30 April, as the Albanese government grappled with demands from its own MPs to raise jobseeker after a report from its own poverty experts called for a “substantial” increase in the “seriously inadequate” payment.

On Monday it was reported that the government is poised to increase jobseeker for people over 55 in next Tuesday’s budget.

After being reminded a single person on jobseeker receives $347 a week or $50 a day, about 49% of respondents favoured a rise in the payment, with 23% strongly in support and 25% somewhat supporting a rise.

About 23% neither supported nor opposed a raise, while 28% opposed one. A majority of Labor voters (55%) approved of an increase in unemployment payments.

The sample was split in two during the poll, with half given an alternate wording asking if they supported a rise “to help those seeking employment to manage cost of living pressures”, which produced slightly greater support (51%).

Respondents reported that they were not very informed about the budget, which will be delivered on 9 May.

Asked if they understood the “purpose and significance” of the budget, about 60% said they were not informed, compared with 33% who were informed and 7% who were unsure.

The respondents were split on whether the budget could “make a meaningful difference on cost of living” with 45% agreeing it could and 42% suggesting it could not.

Only a third (33%) of respondents said they knew who the treasurer was and correctly named Jim Chalmers, while two-thirds either said they did not know or claimed to know but did not correctly name Chalmers.

More respondents (41%) supported the job Chalmers was doing than disapproved (28%), although almost a third (31%) did not know.

The poll found more respondents thought social spending was too low rather than too high, with health (56% thought it was too low; 8% too high), education and childcare (39% and 11%) and social security and welfare (38% and 17%) in particular perceived to be underfunded.

More respondents thought spending on national security and defence was too high (26%) than those who said it was too low (18%).

The Albanese government and Coalition have both spruiked increased defence spending in recent months including through the acquisition of Aukus nuclear submarines and the release of the defence strategic review.

On revenue measures, almost half of those surveyed said taxes on individuals were too high, including on super and savings (49%), property (48%) and income tax (46%). Those who said these were too low numbered in the single digits.

But many respondents did want higher taxes on international corporations, with 48% reporting these were too low compared with 15% who said too high.

As the government mulls changes to the petroleum resource rent tax, the poll found respondents split with 29% saying taxes on oil and gas companies were too high and the same proportion saying they were too low.

Albanese’s approval rises slightly as Dutton’s slides

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, recorded a drop in disapproval this month, with those rating him negatively (scoring him 0 to 3 on a 10 point scale) down three points to 24%. Those who had a neutral view (scoring him 4 to 6) rose three points to 30%.

Positive views (7 to 10) were up one point, to 41%, a movement within the margin of error but signalling a continued honeymoon for the Labor leader.

The proportion of people who said the country was going in the right direction was up three points to 41%, while the proportion of those who said it was on the wrong track was down three to 38%.

Support for the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, continued to slide with those rating him positively down two points to 23%, neutral up one point to 34% and negative up two points to 35%.

Dutton’s performance was weaker among women, 21% of whom had a positive rating for him compared with 26% for men. Only half (50%) of Coalition voters rated him positively.

There was also a gender disparity for Albanese, who had positive ratings from 46% of men and from 37% of women.


Paul Karp Chief political correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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