Coalition voters surge in optimism

Suddenly it's the Coalition voters who feel good.

Suddenly it's the Coalition voters who feel good.

After six years of trailing, they are now on track to overtake Labor voters as the most optimistic of Australians and to remain that way for the entire life of the new government.

Labor voters remained more optimistic about the economy than Coalition voters for the entire six years of the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Before that, Coalition voters felt better than Labor voters for the 11 years of the Howard government. And before that through the Hawke and Keating years it was the Labor voters who felt best.

The latest survey, conducted in the days either side of the vote, shows confidence among Coalition voters surged from a reading of 92 on a scale where 100 means optimists balance pessimists to a clearly-positive 110.

Confidence among Labor voters dived from 127 to 114.

Asked how it could be that Coalition voters suddenly switched from being negative to positive while Labor voters went the other way, Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said not all of the switch might be real.

The Westpac Melbourne Institute survey asks five questions. Two concern family finances, two concern the economy, and the other one asks whether it's a good time to buy a major household item.

The questions about the economy were the ones in which confidence surged.

Optimism about the economy one year ahead jumped 9 per cent, optimism about the economy five years ahead jumped 7 per cent.

But when asked about family finances, views were little changed.

The proportion of Australians believing family finances had improved fell 2 per cent, the proportion believing family finances would improve climbed 2 per cent.

"While consumers say they are confident the incoming government will manage the economy better, they are not so confident as to believe their own situation will much improve," Mr Evans said.

"It's the same with business. The NAB survey shows business conditions unchanged, but business confidence building.

"The two can't coexist for long. Confidence can only be sustained if consumers spend and that can only happen if they feel good about their own finances and not just some amorphic view about the economy," he said.

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