Opposition leader Tony Abbott.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott. Chris Ison

People concerned about carbon tax

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott says people remain concerned about the impacts of the carbon tax, despite a poll revealing attitudes towards the deeply unpopular legislation had softened.

A Nielsen poll, published in Fairfax publications on Monday, revealed the number of people who thought they would be worse off under the carbon tax had fallen sharply - down 13% to 38% - since the last poll taken just before the legislation came into effect on July 1.

The poll also showed those who thought the carbon tax would make no difference to their bottom line had jumped 15% to 52%.

It comes as good news for Prime Minister Julia Gillard's government, which remains hopeful views towards carbon pricing will improve with time.

But Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney that deep concerns remained about the carbon tax, which he described as a "piece of gratuitous economic self-harm".

"That means that a very, very large number are concerned," he said when asked about the Nielsen poll numbers.

"I have just come back from the United States and China, and I've got to say there is no way other countries are going down this path.

"It's going to damage our economy, it's going to hurt our cost-of-living and it's not going to do anything at all to help the environment."

An Essential Vision poll, taken nine days after the carbon tax came into effect, indicated 54% of respondents had not noticed an increase in costs, while 31% said they had noticed an increase.

While the carbon tax numbers would have been greeted with joy in Labor ranks, there was little else for the government to smile about in the two polls published on Monday.

In the Nielsen poll, Labor's primary vote received a two-point bump - from a record low of 28% to 30%.

The Coalition's primary vote was down one point to 47%, but it maintained a commanding two-party-preferred lead of 56-44% - a change of 2% in Labor's favour.

Essential Vision's weekly poll had the Coalition's two-party-preferred election-winning lead at 55-45%, a drop of one point. There was no shift in the primary vote of either party.

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