Voters unswayed by carbon tax ads

THE Federal Government's $36 million advertising campaign is failing to convince voters the carbon tax will not hurt their hip pockets, an Essential Vision poll has revealed.

Despite an expensive marketing drive outlining the billions of dollars in financial assistance available to offset the expected cost-of-living increases created by carbon pricing, support for Labor's scheme is stuck at the same level it was in March last year.

Back then, 35% of those polled supported the legislation - which comes into effect on Sunday - requiring 293 of Australia's biggest polluters to pay $23 for every tonne of pollution they produce.

Support for the scheme peaked at 41% in May last year, but in this week's Essential Report that number had fallen back to 35% - representing a 3% slide since November.

Opposition to the carbon tax was also at its highest level since Essential began polling on the issue, with 54% against the policy - up 6% since March last year and 1% since November.

The poll highlights the magnitude of the task confronting the government in selling the scheme.

Essential Media Communications director Peter Lewis said the poll showed the Coalition's anti-carbon tax campaign had largely succeeded.

Of those polled, 45% said prices would increase "a lot" under the carbon tax, 26% a "moderate amount" and 20% "a little".

Only 2% believed there would be no price increases, while 6% said they did not know.

Perhaps most worryingly for the government, a majority of those polled thought energy prices (67%) and fuel (53%) would increase "a lot" under the carbon tax.

The carbon tax does not apply to petrol, another sign the government has failed to cut through.

Mr Lewis compared the implementation of the carbon tax to an approaching cyclone.

"I don't think it was ever going to be game-on until it was actually in," Mr Lewis said.

"It's like waiting for a cyclone to hit - it might knock over homes or it might pass over.

"I don't know how it will play out."

Mr Lewis said this unknown could work in Labor's favour.

He said the fact people thought the carbon tax was going to be a disaster placed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in a precarious position.

"There's this mass of expectation of Armageddon. So the question I've got is whether Abbott has over-egged it, or if people just blame any price rise or job cut on the carbon tax," he said.

"The fact that people are expecting it to be really, really bad, actually sets a high bar for Abbott."

Mr Lewis said the way the media reported the implementation of the carbon price would have a bearing on its success or failure.

"(Particularly) If they just buy the line that every time a price goes up it's because of the carbon tax," he said.

>>See the report at Essential Vision

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