As climate policies change through the legislative process, public attitudes towards them may change as well. Therefore, it is important to assess how people accept and support controversial climate policies as the policies change over time. Policy acceptance is a positive evaluation of, or attitude towards, an existing policy; policy support adds an active behavioural component. Acceptance does not necessarily lead to support. We conducted a national survey of Australian residents to investigate acceptance of, and support for, the Australian carbon pricing policy before and after the 2013 federal election, and how perceptions of the policy, economic ideology, and voting behaviour affect acceptance and support. We found acceptance and support were stable across the election period, which was surprising given that climate policy was highly contentious during the election. Policy acceptance was higher than policy support at both times and acceptance was a necessary but insufficient condition of support. We conclude that acceptance is an important process through which perceptions of the policy and economic ideology influence support. Therefore, future climate policy research needs to distinguish between acceptance and support to better understand this process, and to better measure these concepts.