ENTRENCHED negative opinion against the Gillard government's carbon tax is highlighted in a new poll, which also suggests voters have even greater doubts about the effectiveness of Tony Abbott's ''Direct Action'' climate change plan.
Taken just as the carbon tax was introduced, the ''Climate of the Nation'' poll found 61 per cent of people believed it would be bad for the economy and 65 per cent thought it would be bad for their own household.
But voters appeared to have little faith in the greenhouse gas reduction policies from either major party and twice as many believed Mr Abbott's plan would not work as believed Ms Gillard's would be ineffective.
When asked whether Labor's carbon pricing scheme would be effective to meet the bipartisan target of reducing emissions by at least 5 per cent by 2020, 28 per cent of people thought it would be, 32 per cent didn't know, and 40 per cent thought it would not be effective.
When asked whether Tony Abbott's policy would be effective, only 14 per cent thought it would be, 44 per cent didn't know and 42 per cent thought it would not be effective.
The research confirmed the deep hostility to Labor's carbon tax. Only 28 per cent said they supported the carbon pricing laws and 52 per cent said they did not.
Almost two thirds of people still believe climate change is occurring, but the depth of concern is in decline.
The poll found a majority of people wanted federal governments to lead the way in tackling climate change, with 67 per cent saying the government should take a leading role and 11 per cent saying it should take no action.
The Climate Institute lobby group, which commissioned the polling from JWS research, took some heart from the fact that support for carbon pricing rose when the compensation package was explained to respondents.
Forty-seven per cent said they would support the laws if all the money raised went to support low- and middle-income households. In fact a little more than 60 per cent of the revenue is going to households, with most of the rest going to compensate trade exposed industries.
''The fact that after all of the ugliness in this debate 67 per cent of people think the federal government should take a leading role and the fact that Labor's scheme has twice as much credibility as the Coalition's … shows that people will still be looking to a Coalition Government for leadership,'' the Climate Institute chief executive, John Connor, said.
Mr Abbott plans to spend $10.5 billion over 10 years on competitive government grants to reduce emissions.
Releasing a report on the impact of climate change in Victoria yesterday, the federal government's independent climate commission said the bitter political debate over the carbon tax was hindering Australia's response to global warming.
The JWS research was funded by the institute, with a ''small contribution'' from Pacific Hydro. It will be released in full today.