Sydney Liberal ‘Heart’ Voters More Concerned About Climate Than Covid, Polls Find | australian politics
Voters in three Liberal-held federal seats in metropolitan Sydney remain concerned about climate change despite pressing frustrations and uncertainties associated with the Delta outbreak, new voter-level poll commissioned by a group says activists.
New seat polls commissioned by Climate 200, an organization backing independent political candidates determined to provide a scientific response to climate change, suggest that global warming is the number one issue on the minds of voters in Wentworth and North Sydney voters.
In Mackellar’s electorate on Sydney’s northern beaches, climate change is second on a list of priorities. Economic management remains the number one issue for Mackeller, with climate change at two and handling the Covid-19 pandemic at three.
The list of priorities that respondents were asked to rank were economic management, healthcare, pandemic management, climate change and the environment, education and treatment of women.
At Wentworth headquarters, climate change was ranked first, Covid second, and economic management third. In North Sydney, climate was first, economic management second and Covid third.
Polls also suggest that the base level of community support for an independent political candidate for the seats currently held by the moderate liberals is between 10% and 16%.
That level of support among respondents doubled when people were asked whether or not they would support an independent like Zali Steggall – who succeeded former Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Warringah headquarters in 2019.
There has been debate since the 2019 election as to whether Australia’s national political polls are accurate, and individual polls are not always reliable.
Polls across Sydney’s three electorates, conducted in mid-August, show samples of more than 600 respondents, and pollster UComms says the survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 %.
While individual polls in Australia have a starkly mixed record, a number of national opinion polls, including the Guardian Essential poll, suggest Australian voters have maintained their concern over Australia’s lack of substantial action on climate change even though the pandemic has dominated daily life since early 2020.
Three-seat Liberal incumbents Dave Sharma, Trent Zimmerman and Jason Falinski are keenly aware that their constituents are focused on climate action and have made their voices heard in Scott Morrison’s attempt to pivot towards net zero engagement before the Cop26. in Glasgow in November.
Under sustained pressure from moderates in his party hall, and from Australia’s allies – particularly the US and UK – to increase Australia’s level of ambition for climate action, the Prime Minister says he wants to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible and “preferably” by 2050.
He also hinted that Australia may update its current target to 2030 before Glasgow. But Morrison’s attempt to change his government is complicated by resistance from National Party MPs, with some saying they will not tolerate any firm pledge from the Prime Minister to net zero by mid-century.
Simon Holmes à Court, chairman of Climate 200, said the new poll suggested climate-focused candidates were “viable in these [Liberal] seats of the heart ”.
“A pro-climate cross-bench balancing the power is the shortest and safest way to ensure that the next parliament ends Australia’s lost decade on climate change and makes real strides towards restoring the integrity of our political system, “Holmes told Court.
“All else being equal, voting in three other pro-climate independents in the next election would force either of the major parties to make the change Australians want.”