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Large majority of Australians support sending medical personnel to West Africa to fight Ebola

Finding No. 5902 – This special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted with a representative cross-section of 647 Australians on October 28-29, 2014. They were asked “The Australian Government has been asked by the US & UK Governments to provide Australian medical personnel to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Do you think Australia should send Australian doctors and nurses to West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic, or not?”

A special telephone Morgan Poll conducted over the last two nights shows a clear majority of Australians (70%) support Australia sending Australian doctors and nurses to West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic and 23% do not support sending doctors and nurses while 7% could not say. Today’s special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted with an Australia-wide cross-section of 647 Australians.

Analysis by Vote

Analysing the results by voting preference shows support for Australia sending Australian doctors and nurses to West Africa from all parties. Support is strongest amongst ALP voters (80% support cf. 14% against) and Greens voters (79% support cf. 17% against). This compares to a smaller majority of L-NP voters (58%) cf. approve (34%) in favour sending Australian doctors and nurses to West Africa.

Analysis by Gender

Analysis by gender shows a gender split with men heavily in support and women less so:

  • Men: Support (75%) cf. against (19%);
  • Women: Support (65%) cf. against (28%).

Analysis by Age

Analysing by age shows Australian of all ages show strong support with support weakest amongst Australians aged 65+ yrs old.

  • 18-24yr olds: Support (69%) cf. against (24%);
  • 25-34yr olds: Support (77%) cf. against (17%);
  • 35-49yr olds: Support (72%) cf. against (23%);
  • 50-64yr olds: Support (72%) cf. against (23%);
  • 65+yr olds: Support (55%) cf. against (35%).

Gary Morgan says:

“A clear majority (70%) of Australians support Australia sending doctors and nurses to West Africa to help fight the Ebola epidemic compared to only 23% that don’t support sending Australian medical personnel to the countries that are dealing with the epidemic – most prominently Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“A larger majority of men (75%) than women (65%) are in support of proposal, and there is support across all age groups, supporters of all political parties and also in every Australian State. When asked why Australians supported the idea respondents said it was important for Australia to help out the less fortunate, that it was a global issue we all needed to help out with, that it’s better to treat the epidemic over there before it comes to Australia and that Australia is well-known for helping out around the world and we need to do so again.”

Finding No. 5902 – This special telephone Morgan Poll was conducted with a representative cross-section of 647 Australians on October 28-29, 2014. They were asked The Australian Government has been asked by the US & UK Governments to provide Australian medical personnel to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Do you think Australia should send Australian doctors and nurses to West Africa to fight the Ebola epidemic, or not?


Question:

Australians were asked (October 28-29, 2014): The Australian Government has been asked by the US & UK Governments to provide Australian medical personnel to help fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Do you think Australia should send Australian doctors and nurses to West Africa to help fight the Ebola epidemic, or not??”

 

Voting Preference 

 

Total

Electors

Liberal

National

ALP

Greens

Other

Can’t say

Non
Electors

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

70

69

58

56

80

79

69

53

75

No

23

24

34

30

14

17

27

34

18

Can’t Say

7

7

8

14

6

4

4

13

7

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

Age & Gender 

 

Total

Gender

Age

Men

Women

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

70

75

65

69

77

72

72

55

No

23

19

28

24

17

23

23

35

Can’t Say

7

6

7

7

6

5

5

10

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

State & City/ Country 

 

 

State

Region

 

Total

NSW

VIC

QLD

WA

SA

TAS

City

Country

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

70

69

74

67

73

65

67

75

61

No

23

24

19

27

20

28

33

19

33

Can’t Say

7

7

7

6

7

7

-

6

6

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100



Respondents were then asked “And why do you say that?”

Those who said ‘Yes’ mentioned that it’s good to help out, other countries are helping and so should we, it’s part of our duty of care to the world and also the danger that if we don’t help out in West Africa Ebola might soon spread to Australia.

“Because it’s a world thing, we should be looking after each other instead of thinking of ourselves.”

“It’s our duty of care to the world. If we don’t stamp it out there, there’s more chance of it spreading to more countries too.”

“Because it’s a global issue.”

“It’s a world-wide issue politically.”

“It’ll turn out to be a world problem if someone doesn’t sort it out.”

“If the doctors want to go then they should be able to.”

“I think that any epidemic anywhere is everyone’s problem, not just the people who live there.”

“We’ve got to stop it at the source.”

“We need to care for and help each other.”

“If we have enough doctors, why not help out.”

“I can’t think of any good reason not to.”

“Yes, but only if the doctors are volunteers.”

“It is in everyone’s interest to help over there.”

“We need to protect ourselves.”

“They’re our allies. We need to help and they are helping us in return.”

“I think it’s humanitarian. Thousands of people dying, it should be our responsibility to help them overcome the epidemic in West Africa.”

“It’s kind of scary thinking that it’s going to come to Australia and damage the community so we should go over there and help deal with it.”

“It’s a global scenario and I think it needs to be treated at the source.”

“Our doctors are better trained and have a better understanding.”

“Australia helps with everything and all the problems. Australia always helps and we should help.”

“Only if they volunteer.”

“Everyone deserves a chance.”


Those who said ‘No’ mentioned the dangers of Ebola spreading to Australia when the medical personnel return, for the safety of our own people we should focus just on our own backyard and because we already have enough problems here to deal with.

“It’s too risky for our medical personnel.”

“They are putting themselves in danger.”

“We don’t need that disease in our country.”

“I don’t want it to come to Australia at all.”

“For the safety of our own people. We don’t quarantine people when they come back do we?”

“It’s easier to spread to Australia if they come back.”

“It is under control now, as in nothing has come back here, so why put them at risk?”

“They’re more important here in our country. Lots of unwell families which need extra help to look after them.”

“The ability to control something that far away from Australia is very difficult.”

“It could make it difficult for them coming back to Australia.”

“Ebola is highly contagious.”


Cover image: Flickr / CDC Global.

For further information:

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Gary Morgan:     

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Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. The following table gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. The figures are approximate and for general guidance only, and assume a simple random sample. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.2

±2.7

±1.9

±1.4