Polling shows Gonski to be key issue in last weeks of campaign

19 June 2016

New marginal seat polling shows that voters are strongly opposed to Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to Gonski funding and that issue is of high concern to undecided and soft voters.

Polling, conducted by ReachTel on behalf of the AEU, in the NSW seats of Eden-Monaro, Page and Lindsay has found voters clearly prefer investment in schools to the Coalition’s policy of company tax cuts.

The polling shows Labor leading by 55-45 on a two-party-preferred basis in Eden-Monaro, and by 52-48 in Page, both key regional seats whose schools get significant extra resources through Gonski funding.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the polling showed Gonski would be a vote-changing issue on July 2nd.

“61.6 per cent of voters support Gonski, compared to just 17.4 per cent who oppose it.

“At least 27 per cent of voters in each electorate said they might change their vote between now and polling day, and these voters were more likely to support Gonski funding.

“A clear majority of 63.4% of voters prefer investment in schools to Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to company tax.

“This election is clearly still to be decided and Malcolm Turnbull’s Gonski funding cuts is an issue which will hurt the Coalition.

“Gonski Week begins today and we will continue our campaign through grassroots action backed up with print and TV advertising

“Volunteers will be out doorknocking in key target seats across Australia today and next Sunday, June 26th, in the Gonski campaign’s final doorknock before the Federal election.

“They will be telling voters about the success of Gonski programs in local schools and warning of the consequences if Malcolm Turnbull succeeds in cutting Gonski funding after 2017.

“The Doorknock is the latest event in the local Gonski campaign, the AEU’s largest ever, which has seen local co-ordinators working in target seats since last July and thousands of volunteers mobilised to support Gonski.

It is being accompanied by print and television advertising across Australia, warning of the negative effects of Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to schools funding.

Events will be held through the week, involving local educators, to highlight what Gonski funding has achieved and what schools will be able to do with the full six years of increased resources.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts to Gonski will fail our children by denying them the resources they need to succeed at school, and the education they need for the jobs of the future.

“Gonski funding is already lifting results in schools through smaller classes, more one-to-one support, and extra literacy and numeracy programs. Why does Malcolm Turnbull want to stop this?

Averaged across the three seats the polling showed that:

  • 61.6 per cent of voters support the full six years of Gonski funding for schools, compared to just 17.4 per cent who oppose it.
  • Support is higher among undecided and soft voters, with 66.9% supporting Gonski funding and 11.7% opposed.
  • 51.5% of voters were “very aware” of Malcolm Turnbull’s plans to cut Gonski funding after 2017, and another 29.8% were “somewhat aware”
  • 63.4% of voters said they would rather see increased investment in schools than cuts to company tax, a figure that rose to 70.9% of undecided and soft voters.

“Gonski funding is already working on the ground to lift results and provide opportunities for students,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Australians understand the importance of investing in education, and that in the long-term this is the best and fairest way to grow our economy.

“All schools will benefit from Gonski funding but the majority of extra resources go to schools which educate the most disadvantaged students.

“The Coalition’s plan to cut Gonski funding will see kids from disadvantaged backgrounds denied the education and skills they need for secure jobs.

Polling was conducted on the evening of Monday June 13th, of 2163 voters across the three seats.

For comment or a full version of the polling contact Ben Ruse: 0437 971 291