Few Australians understand much about dividend imputation and almost a third have never heard of it, despite it generating a major political row over the past fortnight.

The latest Essential Research survey found just seven per cent of respondents saying they know a lot about dividend imputation and franking credits.

Three in five said they neither receive a tax reduction or a cash payment under the policy which was originally set up to prevent double taxation of company dividends.

Separately, two in five supported a company tax rate cut to 25 per cent compared to the 30 per cent who oppose it, a policy the Turnbull government is still endeavouring to get passed in the Senate.

However, neither the coalition or Labor were seen as a stand out for being more trusted to manage a fair tax system.

Twenty-eight per cent said the government was the better tax manager, 26 per cent said Labor and 31 per cent said there was no difference.

Labor plans to end cash handouts for non-taxpaying shareholders on their dividend credits, although was forced to tweak its policy on Tuesday to protect pensioners from the change.

Despite a lack of understanding of the issue, 32 per cent said they support the end of cash handouts, just ahead of the 30 per cent who oppose the change.

However, 68 per cent said it makes no sense to compensate people for tax they haven’t paid and a similar proportion said the $6 billion yearly spend on these credits would be better spent on schools and hospitals.

The $6 billion saving would also be better used stopping the government’s policy of increasing the pension age to 70, said 60 per cent of respondents to the poll.

On tax measures more broadly, the poll of 1027 respondents found over four in five wanting multinational companies to pay their fair share of tax while 59 per cent wanted to stop people from using family trusts to avoid tax.