The votes are in, and the winners are recycling household water and domestic water tanks. The losers are fluoride and recycling sewage for drinking. A trial of a zonal daylight saving system also looks well-supported.
The sample we analysed was of 491 respondents, but we received some more responses after the analysis, making the total sample 544. This is quite sufficient to produce accurate figures for a range of sub-groups, including party supporters, genders, and most age groupings.
The research shows that as far as the public is concerned, fluoridation is a marginal exercise, with 45% in favour and 43% against. However, Liberal voters are quite favourable, and Greens and Nationals most opposed, giving it potential as a wedge. The most popular water supply solutions are recycling of household water for gardens and industry and household rainwater tanks. Dams came in ahead of desalination.
There is good support for trial of a zonal daylight saving system with the only group opposed being Nationals.
The following are the major points from the research:
Sample almost evenly balanced between male and female, and left leaning, as usual, but with a reasonable balance between the Coalition parties and Labor.
A zonal daylight saving system is a goer – 57% support with only 33% opposed.
Strongest support for zonal daylight saving amongst Liberal Party voters (72%) and Labor voters (64%). Only group opposed is Nationals (62% against). Undecideds are equivocal (43% for 44% against). Could be a difficult issue for the Liberals. If they push hard on it they could alienate Nationals, and it won’t resonate with undecideds, even though their supporters like the idea.
Fluoridation is supported by only 45% of the survey, and 43% are opposed. This is a dangerous issue for the Premier to be running on.
There is a sharp divergence between male and female views. 51% of men support, while only 39% of women do.
Liberal Party supporters are most in favour (64%), followed by Labor voters (52%). Nationals are equivocal (41% in favour, 34% against, and 24% neutral or no opinion). Greens are solidly opposed (56% against). Good wedge for Beattie to throw into the Coalition vote, but will it lose him support on the left.
Water questions demonstrate why there possibly isn’t enough water to go around. Dams are not well-supported, while various water conservation measures are, but we haven’t been doing either. Only 60% approve of building new dams. This compares with 57% for a desalination plant, 88% for water restrictions, 94% for home water tanks, and 96% for recycling for garden and industry. There was not much support for drinking treated sewage, with only 47% support. 35% disapproved. Greens voters were the most accepting 68%. At the other end Greens were most likely to disapprove of dams (only 21% in favour).
Conclusion – governments should forget about dams and desalination and do the sums on the cost of tanks and recycling.