Scott Morrison's Popularity Nosedives In Wake Of Bushfires: Poll

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s popularity has taken a serious hit in the wake of the bushfire crisis, according to a new comprehensive poll.

In the "largest and most representative" survey to date, Australian National University revealed there was “quite strong disapproval” of the Federal Government’s handling of the summer's bushfires.

Only 27 percent of people surveyed said they were confident or very confident in the Government.

“This is one of the largest declines in confidence I have seen in such a short period of time," lead researcher Professor Nicolas Biddle said.

"Regardless of who you voted for or which party you belong to, our political system works better if people have trust and confidence in their Government.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's popularity dropped to 3.92 out of 10. Image: Getty

The poll asked a nationally representative sample of more than 3,000 Australians about their experiences of and exposure to the bushfires.

Biddle said a "particular disapproval" was found with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“When it came to confidence in party leaders, PM Scott Morrison’s score was 3.92 out of 10."

The poll concluded this was a "net negative review"of the Prime Minister, with his popularity dropping from 5.25 out of 10 when the same question was asked in June 2019.

A helicopter tackles a bushfire near Bairnsdale in Victoria’s East Gippsland region. Image:  AAP

Similarly, the poll found a significant (five percent) decline between October 2019 and January 2020 in the number of people who would vote for the Coalition.

According to the poll, 'the environment' jumped to either number one or two on the list of voters' worries for about half of Australians.

This comes as the poll shows three million Australians -- more than 12 percent of adults -- have been directly affected by the bushfire crisis.



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“This widespread, direct exposure includes property damage, property being threatened, and being advised to evacuate," Biddle said.

The poll found another 15 million Australians reported some form of 'indirect exposure', such as having family or friends with property damaged or threatened, being exposed to the physical effects of smoke, or feeling anxious or worried.

“Nearly every Australian has been touched by these fires and many of us will be living with the effects for years and years to come,” Biddle said.

An ANU poll shows more than three quarters of Australians have been affected by the recent bushfire crisis. Image: Supplied.

The poll also found the greatest drop in support for new coal mines was among Australians who voted for the Coalition at last year’s Federal Election -- from 72 percent support in June 2019 to 57 percent in January 2020.

Biddle found very little difference in view between city and rural residents who answered the three main environmental questions in the poll.



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“More than half of those who live in non-capital cities think that global warming or the greenhouse effect is very serious, and almost two-thirds think global warming will be a threat to them," he said.

A spike was seen in the amount of people who said climate change would impact them -- 72 percent in January 2020, compared to 56 percent in 2008.

A spike was seen in the amount of people who said climate change would impact them -- 72 percent in January 2020, compared to 56 percent in 2008. (Image: Getty)

The poll identified women and young Australians as the most likely to be more concerned about the environment compared with past polls, but that "regardless of exposure, many Australians have changed their views".

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It also found Australians were far less satisfied with their lives after the bushfires than before and with the direction the country was heading in -- with an five percent drop in satisfaction (from 65 percent in October last year to 60 percent now).

"We've  already seen a shift in views regarding coal mines and the environment, but the big question will be whether these shifts are temporary or permanent,” Biddle said.