Ebola and IS overtake Australian cost of living concerns

THE political debate about Ebola and the Islamic State seems to have replaced Australian concerns about the rising cost of living, a consumer survey has found.

Fewer respondents told the Choice quarterly "consumer pulse" survey they found it difficult to get by in September, down to 27% from 31% in June.

And although bills continue to rise, the number of people who said they live "comfortably" rose from 23% to 29% over the three months.

Choice chief executive Alan Kirkland said the deep anxiety the survey found in June had lifted, perhaps due to the political debate moving on from the budget.

But despite the easing of concerns, the cost of living was still rising, with 87% of respondents reporting an increase in bills and expenses in the past year.

And while the Abbott government was this week promoting falls in electricity prices, two months after the carbon tax repeal 59% of consumers said it had made no difference.

Of those who believed the repeal made some difference to their households' costs, which was one third of respondents, they still said the savings were less than expected.