ANU has today released the results of our first ‘ANU Governance Poll’. Full results are on the poll website, but here are a few of my favourite facts:
- The environment has shot up the rankings. The graph below shows the share of people rating it as the most important issue facing the country. As recently as 2004, only 6% rated it the top issue. Now, 19% do. When it comes to what Australians say should be discussed at the 2020 summit, the environment trumps all issues. (This is very much an Australian thing â€“ the environment doesn’t make Americans’ top 5 list of important issues.)
- By international standards, Australians are pretty happy with their institutions, and pretty trusting of their politicians. They even trust universities â€“ though not as much as they trust the defence forces.
- The one issue on which Australians are less happy is the government’s handling of health care. This looms as a big issue for lower-income respondents in particular.Â 12% of those in households with an annual pre-tax income below $40,000 rate it as the top issue for the 2020 summit to discuss, compared with 6% of those in households with an income above $100,000.
- Respondents favour more spending on education, health, and the environment, but few favour more spending on culture.
- When we break down the results by age, the results look almost exactly the same for younger and older respondents. I think this was reflected in the policy proposals of last weekend’s Youth 2020 summit. As a discussion on Peter Martin’s blog showed, most of the proposals were not on ‘yoof issues’, but on mainstream issues such as funding research on vaccines and teacher merit pay.
- When we break down the results by the respondent’s educational attainment, we find that those who think that education is the most important issue facing the country areâ€¦ those with more education. University graduates (6%) are three times as likely to rate it as the top issue as secondary school graduates (2%).
- Conversely, university graduates are less likely to express a great deal of confidence in universities (20%) than secondary school graduates (27%).
- Perhaps related to this, the rich are much more optimistic about the lives of today’s children than are the poor.
Percentage of respondents who say that the environment is the most important issue facing Australia
The sample is 1000 telephone respondents, surveyed from 16-30 March 2008. The 95% confidence interval on most estimates is about 3%. And stay tuned for the ANU prediction markets…