December 20, 2019

Australians largely negative on prospects for 2020

Topic: Press Release, Public Opinion, Special Poll
Finding No: 8236
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A special Roy Morgan web survey shows two-fifths of Australians (40%) think 2020 will be ‘worse’ than 2019. This represents a significant increase of 26% points from a year ago and is the highest figure for nearly three decades since 1990 – during the midst of Australia’s last recession.

In addition a record low 12% of Australians think 2020 will be ‘better’ than 2019 (down 32% points from a year ago) while 41% (up 9% points) say 2020 will be about the same and 7% (down 3% points) don’t know.

The net negative rating of 28% points is the largest negative gap in the survey’s history going back nearly forty years. This exceeds the previous record gap of a net negative rating of 16% points in 1990 when 33% expected the next year (1991) would be better and 49% expected it to be worse.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine reflects on the mood of Australians as we head towards 2020 and notes that pessimism about the future has rarely been so pronounced: “Australians are facing 2020 with a large degree of pessimism about prospects for the new year. Only 12% of Australians expect next year will be ‘better’ than this year while 40% - the highest since 1990 – expect next year will be ‘worse’.

“Pessimism is widespread with at least 40% of respondents in Australia’s two largest States of New South Wales and Victoria, as well as Tasmania, expecting next year to be worse. The trend is the same across age groups with at least 40% of everyone aged 25 or older expecting a ‘worse’ year in 2020.

“The youngest Australians aged 18-24 are the most positive about 2020 but even then only 16% of this age group expect a ‘better’ year in 2020 and around twice as many (31%) expect 2020 to be ‘worse.’

“In a portent of the low expectations surrounding 2020 the final ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating for 2019 came in at 108.0 – the lowest Consumer Confidence rating to end a year for over a decade since 2008 during the midst of the Global Financial Crisis.”

Next Year – Better or Worse?

Source: Roy Morgan telephone, SMS and web surveys in Australia 1980-2019 with an average of 1,000 Australians aged 18+ interviewed each year. Question: “As far as you are concerned, do you think 2020 will be better, worse, or the same as 2019?”

Analysis by Age & Gender – Next Year ‘Better’ or ‘Worse’

Source: This special Roy Morgan web survey was conducted in October with a cross-section of 1,043 Australians aged 18+.

Slightly more men (41%) than women (40%) expect 2020 will be ‘worse’ than 2019, although there are also more men (14%) that say 2020 will be ‘better’ than 2019 than women (10%).

Analysing by age group shows younger people are the least pessimistic about 2020 – although all age groups expect 2020 will be ‘worse’ than 2019.

Over a third of 18-24 year olds (37%) expect 2020 will be ‘worse’ than 2019 with this figure exceeding 40% for all older age groups and peaking at 43% for 50-64 year olds.

Only a sixth of 18-24 year olds (16%) expect 2020 will be ‘better’ than 2019 although this is higher than for all older age groups. Only 8% of 25-34 year olds expect 2020 will be ‘better’ than 2019 – the lowest of any age group.

Analysis by Age & Gender – Next Year ‘Better’ or ‘Worse’

Analysis by States & Regions – Next Year ‘Better’ or ‘Worse’

Source: This special Roy Morgan web survey was conducted in October with a cross-section of 1,043 Australians aged 18+.

Analysing by State shows respondents in all States are more negative about 2020 compared to 2019.

Residents of New South Wales are the most pessimistic about 2020 with nearly half, 47%, expecting 2020 will be ‘worse’ than 2019 followed by 44% of Tasmanians and 40% of Victorians.

Optimism is in short supply around Australia and with only one-seventh of respondents in Queensland (14%) and Victoria (14%) expecting 2020 will be ‘better’ than 2019 these two States have a higher proportion of optimists than any others.

Respondents in the Country (42%) are marginally more pessimistic about 2020 being ‘worse’ than 2018 compared to those in the City (39%).

Analysis by States & Regions – Next Year ‘Better’ or ‘Worse’

Next Year – Better or Worse? Long-term trends

“As far as you are concerned, do you think that 2020 will be better, worse, or the same as 2019?”

*This survey wasn’t conducted in 1996 and between 2010-2016.

Finding No. 8236 – This special Roy Morgan web survey was conducted with a representative cross-section of 1,043 Australians on October 9-14, 2019. They were asked “Do you think that 2020 will be better, worse, or the same as 2019?”

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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. Margin of error 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. 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 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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