The voting public have had mixed reactions to last week’s Federal Budget, the latest Newspoll figures show.
For a Federal Budget labelled by some as an ‘Election Budget’, voter reaction to the announcement might not be the ringing endorsement the government was looking for.
A Newspoll survey, conducted for The Australian, reveals that 26 per cent of respondents believe they will be financially better off as a result of the Budget, and 25 per cent believe they will be worse off.
The figures also show most younger voters don’t believe the Budget will be good for the broader economy, but over-50s think it is.
A total of 41 per cent of respondents aged over 50 said they thought the Budget overall was ‘good’, with just 18 per cent reporting it as ‘bad’.
In good news for the government ahead of the election, this was a higher result than for last year’s Budget and on par with the 2020 Budget at the height of the pandemic. However, it wasn’t quite as high as the approval seen for the 2019 Budget, which many believe catapulted Scott Morrison to an election win over the heavily favoured Bill Shorten.
The poll found that voters still rate the Coalition as better economic managers than Labor, however the gap is smaller than in recent years.
A total of 40 per cent of respondents said they thought Labor would deliver a better Budget, with 42 per cent saying the LNP would be better.
Despite still believing Labor would be worse economic managers overall, this was the strongest response for a Labor opposition since Newspoll began in 1999.
The Budget has also received mixed reactions from finance industry experts.
Economist Peter Martin noted that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg had “spent big, but responsibly” ahead of the election.
“Mr Frydenberg has spent big in 2022 – but on the whole, responsibly,” he says.
“The Budget forecasts and the unemployment numbers show his COVID support spending in 2020 and 2021 has paid dividends.”
But Australia Institute senior economist Matt Grudnoff was less enthusiastic.
“In over a decade of covering budgets, I have never seen a budget so lacking in a plan for the future,” he says.
“This Budget is an incoherent mess. It is a transparent attempt to fill whatever hole the government thinks is most urgent in the lead-up to the election.”
Newspoll, as always, also asked respondents their voting intentions for the upcoming election.
Primary vote support for Labor was 38 per cent, with 36 per cent in favour of the LNP. This actually represents a one-point increase for the government, a sign the Budget is being well received in some quarters.
But in the ‘two-party preferred’ question, which gives respondents only a choice between the LNP and Labor, the split was 54-46 in favour of the opposition.
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