Voters trust Labor over Liberals on cost of living: polling

The Australia Institute

Media release | Thursday, 30 November 2023

Labor is trusted over the Coalition to manage the cost of living crisis even as more people struggle to make ends meet, new research from the Australia Institute shows.

The survey of 1,379 people found the highest income earners on more than $200,000 were the only group that said their income grew as fast or faster than the cost of living over the last year.

Key findings:

  • 40% of Australians prefer Labor’s approach to cost of living and low wages growth, compared to 33% who believe the Coalition has a better approach.

  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) say their income grew more slowly than the cost of living over the past year, with 38% saying their income grew much slower.

  • Australians earning more than $200,000 were the only group where a majority (53%) said their income either grew as fast as or faster than the cost of living.

  • Over-60s are the only age group that prefers the Coalition (38%) over Labor (35%) on cost of living and wages growth.

  • More Australians living in metropolitan areas trust Labor over the Coalition (42% to 31%), while the reverse is true in rural areas (33% to 38%).

Figure 1: Income growth compared to cost of living

“Our research shows that Labor and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese are more trusted than their Coalition counterparts when it comes to dealing with the cost-of-living crisis,” said Greg Jericho, Chief Economist at the Australia Institute.

“While more Australians trust Prime Minister Albanese on this issue, there is still nearly one-third of voters who see no difference between the two major parties on the cost of living.

“The cost of living crunch has been going on for more than just the past year. Australians want solutions and they are looking to their political leaders to better manage inflation.

“Voters clearly support government measures to support real wages growth and protect workers from exploitation through the Closing Loopholes legislation.

“With cost of living likely to remain at the top of voters’ minds into the new year, popular policy options such as reforming the Stage 3 Tax Cuts must remain on the table. Redesigning these extraordinarily expensive tax cuts that mainly go to wealthy Australians could both help to tackle inflation while supporting middle- and lower-income Australians who are genuinely struggling in this economy.”

The Australia Institute is a member of the Australian Polling Council. The polling methodology, long disclosure statement and margin of error for polling questions are included in the appendix of the report.

/Public Release.