Economic concerns remain as the second COVID-19 wave abates

The Ipsos Issues Monitor is Australia’s longest running ongoing survey of community concerns

We conducted our monthly survey of 1,000 Australians in early October 2020 as part of our ongoing pursuit of understanding Australian society and citizens. Through our regular look at what is concerning Australians we shed light on the impact of today’s changing world.

During the most recent October fieldwork period daily new COVID-19 case numbers in Australia had dropped again from around 50 per day in September down to around 20 cases per day in early October. This was reflected in a further drop in concern around Healthcare (32% compared with 34% in September). The Economy (54%) remained the top concern facing Australians, set against continued discontent regarding the economic impacts, particularly on small businesses of continuing restrictions and border closures, amid announcements in Victoria that cases were not falling fast enough to ease restrictions as planned on the 19th October and the hot debate between NSW and QLD over their shared border.  

Unemployment (43%) remained the second most pressing issue for Australians, reflecting the slight increase in the unemployment rate as seen in the September Labour Force data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (15 Oct) which indicated a rate of 6.9%, 0.1 points up from September.

Coming in fourth was Cost of Living (23%) down one point from September while the Environment (22%) continued to round out the top five concerns up two points from September.

When we look at perceptions of which party is most capable of managing these top issues, the Coalition stood ahead of the ALP on all five issues, with the gap widening again after a narrowing seen in the September issue across three of the five issues.

In October, the gap between the two on ability increased in favour of the Coalition across four of the five issues: The Economy increasing by nine points (11% to 20%), Unemployment by four points (2% to 6%), and Cost of Living by one point (5% to 6%) in favour of the Coalition. On Healthcare, after one-point gap in favour of the ALP seen in September, the Coalition pulled ahead again with a two-point gap ahead of the ALP (-1% - 3%).

The only issue which saw no change on the ability of the main parties to manage was the Environment with the Coalition remaining seven points higher than the ALP, however the Greens were the party deemed most capable to manage this issue, at four points higher than the Coalition.

Click here to download the previous Ipsos Issues Monitor COVID-19 September Edition.

Click here to access previous Ipsos Issues Monitor Reports

Society