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Once bitten, twice shy: 2022 is yet to start but some already don't like it

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Queenslanders have a dim view of what 2022 holds for them with fewer than a third believing it would be better than 2021, according to a Roy Morgan web survey taken in late November.

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Nationally, 37 per cent of people think 2022 will be better than 2021, down a large 22 per cent points from when the same question was asked a year ago in late 2020.

However, fewer than a quarter of Australians, 23 per cent, think 2022 will be worse than 2021, although this is up 13 per cent points on a year ago. Nearly a third of Australians are hedging their bets on next year with 31% (up 14 percentage points on a year ago) who say 2022 will be ‘the same’ and 9 per cent (down 5 percentage points) don’t know.

Understandably after the dire year Victorians had in 2021, they are the most positive for 2022.

The poll found 46 per cent of Victorians and 44 per cent of NSW residents  were easily the most positive about the new year.

Only 29 per cent of Queenslanders, 24 per cent of people in Western Australians, 22 per cent of South Australians and 20 per cent of Tasmanians say 2022 would be better than 2021. In Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, more people say 2022 will be worse than 2021.

Older Australians were clearly the most positive about 2022. Australians aged 65-plus was the only age group in which a majority of people said 2022 would be better than 2021, compared with only 17 per cent who said it would be worse.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant in recent weeks had put paid to hopes that 2022 would be the year Australians returned to a pre-pandemic sense of normality.

“Australians are set to enter 2022 in a mixed state-of-mind with new outbreaks of Covid-19 spreading rapidly in New South Wales and Victoria over the last week as restrictions have been eased in both states in the run-up to Christmas,’’ Levine said.

“A bare plurality of 37 per cent of Australians say 2022 will be better than 2021, down 22 per cent points from a year ago. 

“The numbers are less encouraging than a year ago as Australia enjoyed a relatively Covid-free summer in 2020/21 and with new vaccines set to arrive from February 2021 it appeared the Covid-19 pandemic might soon be over. That hope proved not to be the case with extended lockdowns this year in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

“There are considerable uncertainties about the economic outlook for next year with inflation expectations now at a seven-year high of 4.9 per cent in November.

“The threat of inflation looms over 2022 as supply chain issues, as well as strong demand worldwide as we – hopefully – emerge from the pandemic put upward pressure on prices.

“In Australia there is also the added uncertainty of a federal election with campaigning set to dominate the first half of next year and the country’s first hung Parliament for a decade remains a clear possibility.

“Older Australians are the most heavily vaccinated cohort and perhaps this helps underlie their confidence about the year ahead, however the new outbreaks of Covid-19 in NSW, Victoria and elsewhere suggest they may also have the most to worry about.’’

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