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Dumb poll, fake headline: Not climate change, 70% of Australians want cheap reliable electricity, 61% biggest worry is “cost of living”.

One survey — so much spin

The Fin Review headline is entirely misleading. “Climate rises as the No. 1 voter concern“. In fact, the same survey shows that two thirds of Australians didn’t even mention “climate change” as one of their top three concerns. The exact same survey shows that when prompted with different topics (rather than just asked what was on the top of their mind) the main concern of a whopping 61% was “cost of living”. Only 34% had said “climate change” in the unprompted question, and that was probably only because climate change is all over the media with bushfires, droughts and duststorms this month. It was the first issue that came into their heads, but not the issue they cared about when asked to choose among the major issues.

The exact same survey also showed that when it comes to Energy Policy fully 70% of Australians wanted cheap reliable energy more than they want “lower emissions”.

Australians prioritise energy affordability (38%), ahead of security and reliability (32%) and reducing emissions (30%).

So the message is unmistakable, yet JWS and all the media missed it.  The JWS media release appears to have an agenda. How could JWS miss the main meaning in their own survey? Somehow none of the media geniuses bothered to check the results of the original survey.  Phillip Coorey of the Fin Review swallowed the press release saying “climate change was No.1 concern” when five minutes of analysis shows the opposite.

UPDATE: Not only that but as TdeF points out they’ve bundled “environment” and “climate change” together. Many studies show that far more people are concerned about water pollution, litter, extinction, crown of thorns and other environmental causes. 55% of the population worries about water pollution but only 32% feel the same level of concern for global warming. (Gallop poll, 2015). In 2016 Australians were just as concerned about beach litter as they were about climate change. (Goldberg et al). If JWS was serious about finding out what people thought about climate change (as in their press release) they would ask better questions to find that answer. If, however, they were being paid to create a particular headline, they would conflate the two, ignore their own contradictory data….

What’s top of mind? Whatever the media say:

This first graph is mostly just a proxy for media coverage.

Poll, Australians, 2019, JWS, cost of living, concerns, climate change, graph.

Whereas, the same group said something totally different when prompted with a bigger list of topics.

Send this graph and the next one to your M.P. and send a letter to the Editor. Don’t let gullible politicians be fooled into thinking that the voters will actually vote “for climate change”.

Poll, Australians, 2019, JWS, cost of living, concerns.

And on energy policy, the 30% who care most about reducing emissions are probably already voting for the Greens or Labor.

Energy policy, survey, poll, emissions reductions, climate change, affordability.



Four take home messages from the survey:

Firstly, even if 34% of Australians put it as their top concern, that means two-thirds didn’t.  In an unprompted survey, two thirds of Australians didn’t mention “climate change” as one of their top three concerns.

Secondly, an unprompted survey invites people to repeat items they’ve seen in the news — and since the media go on and on about climate change and aging, it’s hardly a surprise that that’s the first thing to spring into people’s minds.

Thirdly, when prompted with topics, climate change rapidly falls down the list. Instead, 61% of of Australian’s name “cost of living” as their main concern. It’s not so sexy, not in the news, but that’s what they really care about. If the media stopped obsessing about the fake Climate Emergency, almost no one would name “climate change” at all.

Fourthly, most Australians want cheaper and more reliable electricity, not “emissions reductions”.

Do the maths. The people deciding elections are not the ones who think solar panels cause global “climate control”.


Jeremy Goldberg, Nadine Marshall, Alastair Birtles, Peter CaseErin Bohensky Matt Curnock Margaret Gooch  Howard Parry-Husbands , Petina Pert , Renae Tobin , Christopher Villani  & Bernard Visperas (2016) Climate change, the Great Barrier Reef and the response of Australians  Palgrave Communications 2, Article number: 15046 (2016)   doi:10.1057/palcomms.2015.46

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