SEC Newgate Mood of the Nation - April 2022

Cost of living streaks away as the top voter issue

The cost of living has surged as the main issue on voters’ minds in this month’s SEC Newgate Research Mood of the Nation report. 

Cost of living is now the biggest federal election issue with 46% of Australians noting it as an issue most important to them, up from 29% last month. 62% of Australians also consider reducing cost increases for bills and household expenses to be ‘extremely important’, up from 58%.

This month’s survey dug further into people’s cost-of-living pain points and found the greatest specific concern is the cost of groceries (36% selected this) followed by rent (17%) and petrol (15%). These concerns were followed in importance by mortgage repayments (11%), energy bills (11%) and insurance premiums (6%). 

G9. Which of the following cost of living issues are you most concerned about?
Base: Wave 2 voters (n=1,336)

The snapshot also found that despite the Federal Government’s strong economic performance and recent fuel excise cut, it is the Labor Party (36%) that is edging out the Coalition (30%) on its perceived ability to best manage the cost of living.

G8. Now turning to the cost of living. Which of the following do you think would be the best party to manage the cost of living? Base: Wave 2 voters (n=1,336)

Healthcare funding (64% feel this is extremely important) and the economy (53%) continue to define the election battleground with climate change and welfare amongst other hot issues that are particularly likely to be selected as a top-3 priority.

Easing concern for natural disasters and COVID

Interestingly, concern has eased around natural disasters and COVID. 52% feel improving preparedness for floods, fires and other national disasters is ‘extremely important’, down from 58% last month. COVID management is also becoming a mid-tier issue, despite more people predicting that the COVID situation will deteriorate in the next 3 months – 30% up from 23% last month.

Regional vs metro divide

This month’s survey also found that regional Australians are more worried about the future of their local communities and are more engaged on most political issues. 58% of regional Australians feel their local community is heading in the right direction which is significantly lower than 66% of those living in metropolitan areas. Detailed profiling shows that cost of living, pensions, disaster preparedness, crime and rental affordability are among regional Australia’s main priorities.

We’re still stressed, exhausted and anxious

These emotions continue to be the words that were most frequently selected as describing how Australians have been feeling in recent weeks. Similar to last month’s results, 56% of selected emotions were negative in nature with only 43% positive.

Where to from here?

With four weeks of campaigning yet to play out, expect the major parties to home in on their policies to address cost of living and healthcare issues. The battle will further intensify with pre-polling starting on 9 May.

Contacts

Contact us for more information about the full research report. We’ll be reporting on tracker results every month in 2022. 

Sue Vercoe, Managing Director, SEC Newgate Research – Sue.Vercoe@secnewgate.com.au  

David Stolper, Special Counsel, SEC Newgate Research – David.Stolper@secnewgate.com.au  

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