VOTER hostility to tackling climate change with a carbon price has jumped sharply since the federal government announced the plan, with a poll showing most people oppose putting a price on carbon emissions.
The Herald/Nielsen telephone poll, which surveyed 1400 voters last week, found 56 per cent opposed introduction of a carbon price while just 35 per cent supported such a measure.
That is a 12-point increase in the share of voters opposing a carbon price since Nielsen polled on the issue in early February.
The shift in sentiment follows the announcement by the Prime Minister that the government would put a fixed price on carbon emissions for three to five years before moving to an emissions trading system.
Nielsen also found that if a federal election had been held at the weekend Labor would have received just 44 per cent of the two-party preferred vote to the Coalition's 56 per cent.
The opposition, talkback radio hosts and groups planning to hold "anti-carbon tax" rallies have been campaigning against a carbon price since Julia Gillard's announcement.
Nielsen found hostility to a carbon price was highest among people planning to vote for the Coalition. Among Coalition voters, 78 per cent opposed a carbon price while 17 per cent supported it.
In contrast, a majority of Labor voters favoured a carbon price: 53 per cent supported the measure and 34 per cent opposed it. Greens voters strongly favoured a carbon price with 69 per cent supporting and 25 per cent opposing it.
The Minister for Finance, Penny Wong, said Australia could not run and hide from climate change. "The need for Australia to be able to compete in a world where there is a price on carbon is not going to go away and it is going to be even more pressing in five or 10 years time than it is now," Senator Wong said.
The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, said voters did not like "a bad tax based on a lie".
A separate poll published yesterday found support for a carbon price rose significantly when voters were told there would be compensation for any price increases.
The online survey by the public relations firm Essential Media put two questions on carbon pricing to 1045 voters.
Asked whether they supported or opposed the government's plan, 38 per cent said they supported it and 49 per cent were opposed.
Respondents were then asked for their view if the money paid by "big polluting industries" under a carbon price scheme was used to compensate low and middle income earners and small businesses.
In response, 54 per cent of voters said they would support a carbon price and 30 per cent were opposed.
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