Idle speculation: 59-41 Newspoll edition

Noteworthy developments of the past however-long-it’s-been:

• For the second time in as many months, Newspoll has defied conventional wisdom that Kevin Rudd’s political difficulties were set to take the shine off his opinion poll dominance. Despite bad press over the Sunrise/Anzac Day affair, today’s poll has Labor’s two-party lead widening to 59-41 from 57-43 a fortnight ago, with Rudd’s lead over John Howard as preferred prime minister up from 48-38 to 48-36.

• The NSW ALP’s decision to delay opening preselection nominations in Charlton, Fowler, Blaxland and Chifley is reckoned by Michelle Grattan to spell trouble for their respective members, Kelly Hoare, Julia Irwin, Michael Hatton and Roger Price. The decision was reportedly made so that turf wars over these seats would not interrupt this month’s national conference. Andrew Landeryou talks of a deal in which Charlton will go to the Left (Greg Combet, if he wants it, which it seems he might), with the others used to accommodate aspirants from the Right, possibly including Warren Mundine and Mark Arbib. Grattan, Landeryou and Adam Carr all concur that Price, an early Rudd leadership backer, is unlikely to be toppled. Carr writes in comments: “I can only guess that he is intending to retire, and the preselection is being held over so the right has time to find a candidate”.

• Bruce Baird, factional moderate, Peter Costello backer and one-time NSW government minister, has announced his decision to retire after nine years as member for Cook. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Baird’s decision was partly motivated by “the possibility he would have been challenged for preselection”, after branch stacking by the Right reportedly swelled numbers at the Miranda branch from 200 to 600. However, the widely rated front-runner for preselection is Scott Morrison, former Tourism Australia boss and state party director, with whom Baird appears to have been on good terms. Morrison has also been mentioned as a possible successor to Alan Cadman in Mitchell. Potential rivals to Morrison reportedly include PBL Media executive David Coleman, Optus executive Paul Fletcher, “consultant” Peter Tynan and barrister Mark Speakman. The Liberals hold Cook with a margin of 13.8 per cent.

• The Queensland Liberal Party has preselected Sue Boyce to replace outgoing Senator Santo Santoro, in what The Australian described as a “comfortable” win over former state party leader Bob Quinn after the “third round of voting”. Boyce has also been promoted from number four to number two on the ticket for the imminent half-Senate election, over the head of number three candidate Mark Powell. This would appear to be a double victory for state party leader Bruce Flegg over the Santoro faction, which switched its backing from Powell to Quinn in its determination to thwart Boyce. Powell will most likely have to compete with the Nationals for a third Coalition seat.

• Laura Anderson of The Advertiser reports that South Australian Senator Linda Kirk has rejected Kevin Rudd’s offer of preselection support for the lower house seat of Boothby, offered as a consolation prize after she lost Right faction support for Senate re-nomination. The Right is reportedly backing Adelaide lawyer Tim Stanley to take the factionally reserved second position at the expense of Kirk, who “broke ranks” with the faction in supporting Rudd’s leadership bid in December. The top position will remain with rising star of the Left, Penny Wong.

• Comments thread barfly Adam Carr has turned his hand to the federal election guide caper, in typically fine style. All the electorate links above lead to the relevant entries in his guide, which I will continue to do until my own effort is up and running (which won’t be for a while).

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

333 comments on “Idle speculation: 59-41 Newspoll edition”

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  1. The SPD isn’t travelling very well at present. This coalition is very different to the first one (1966-69), which Willy Brandt dominated over a weak Chancellor, the ex-Nazi Kiesinger. This time the SPD is coming out of a long period of government which ended in defeat, and no new leader has emerged in succession to Schroeder. Merkel has novelty value as the first woman and first eastern chancellor, and she has done pretty well so far. She will probably call an election some time soon and win it. The SPD can though go and sort itself out in opposition.

    I suggest you stop reading the Murdoch press till after the election. They are going to be increasingly feral as the year drags on.

  2. mr P , you will find merridin is in O’Connor, as is basically most of the wheatbelt.

    the mining boom is the big one. Kalgoorlie wages are friggen huge, and AWAs. Its a liberal home now.

    Tho more and more people working in the Pilbara etc are fly in-fly out who vote for Howard. Being fly in fly out, they would be enrolled in different electorates.

    All in all a swing to the ALP but Kalgoorlie still firmly in the hold of Hasse.

  3. Merredin is in Kalgoorlie.

    I agree that the economics of the mining industry make Kalgoorlie a difficult seat for Labor when the core of the Labor campaign will be abolishing AWAs. Also the government’s changes to the Electoral Act will disfranchise many transient and indigenous voters, as was their intent. Kalgoorlie is 16% indigenous and they most almost unanimously Labor, so this will be a big factor.

  4. The main loss of vote by the SPD was to the Left Party which got around 10% of the vote more than double the 4 or so % that the PDS (which combined with a new left wing party to form the Left Party in 2005) got the previous time.

    The SPD and CDU/CSU maywell loose vote to the opposition next time.

  5. The strange thing about the last German election was that the left actually won quite easily – the SDP, PDS and Greens polled 51% of the vote and won 327 seats out of 614. But because of the apparent veto on allowing the PDS to be part of a national coalition government, or even to support a minority SPD-Green government, Schroeder prefered to resign and allow Merkel to form a grand coalition with the SPD as junior partners. Tom may be right, but the general view is that Merkel is doing well and will win the next election in her own right.

    French presidential election tomorrow – any predictions?

  6. Hmm, Adam you vetoed me discussing the Quebec elections some time ago citing that that was not the this blog, but I’ll overlook that to say that I think Sarkozy will come first with about 27% of the vote, followed quite a bit behind by Royal at 22%. Bayrou in late teens and Le Pen in early/mid teens.

  7. French election – I’d put my money on Sarkozy, given that he’s likely to be able to take a few votes away from the increasingly extremist Le Pen.
    Despite being ‘divisive’ (according to today’s Age) it looks like he’s got away with his ‘racaille’ comments. It’s possible that French voters, like some Australians, might respond to a bit of dog-whistling.

  8. Actually Ray the Tas Greens beat FF by a fair bit more than 350 votes. They were 350 over quota at the time of election, but there were a pile of votes to be distributed and while the ticket votes were going to FF quite a few of these were btls which mostly came to Milne.

    However, if the point is to show that Senate polls are meaningless, then I agree, doubly so in small states with equivalently small sample sizes.

  9. I don’t think I have the power to veto anyone here (more’s the pity).

    It’s puzzling that Sego has proved such a dud when everyone said how brilliant and charismatic she was before she ran. But who can figure a country where last time 15% of the voters supported four different communists, thus shutting the main opposition candidate out of the second round? The French live on a planet of their own.

  10. “does anyone have an opinion on Greenway?”

    A rather under-rated Colonial architect – no… as far as the electorate is concerned it is not, after the redistribution, the same one increasingly useless ALP members represented before the ALP preselected the unelectable Muslim (albeit a cradle one).

    On the new boundaries it should be safe Liberal but it includes much of Riverstone which the ALP’s John Aqulina won handily when on the 2004 booth figures and demographic changes he was gone.

    The preselected ALP candidate baled out after the redistribution so I understand which might mean something. Then on the other hand Markus still occupies the seat behind the PM at Question Time which is normally reserved for those in danger. Does anyone know if Markus has been preselected for Greenway already?

  11. I think there is one main reason that Segolene Royal has faded from the initial expectations of last year. The fact that she was perceived as brilliant/charismatic probably ensured that that expectations for her campaign were much higher than perhaps would have been the case if she hadn’t developed such a reputation. I’ve found it true in many elections that when you are the frontrunner, people in both the media and the public sphere tend to develop unrealistic expectations about what your performance and policies during the actual election campaign should be. When you don’t meet those expectations, people rapidly become disillusioned with you and call you out on it and it works against you.

    Additionally if you your your campaign make a few stumbles and blunders and gaffes along the way -which I think has been true in Sego’s case -you get even more exposure because of your status as a frontrunner/leading candidate.

    When you start off as the underdog like Sarkozy did, you are running on much lower expectations and therefore you will not be subjet to the same kind of scrutiny. It’s therefore much easier to be the last man (or woman) standing while your opponent’s campaign unravels. And you will reap the dividends

    On the subject of the German elections, the SDP did much better than expected in both 2002 and 2006 partly because Schroder managed to minimize the potential backlash against the party through his campaigning skills. With Schroder gone and the lack of any real viable SDP successor -I think they have changed leaders at least once since his departure and that was only less than two years ago- I would expect the SDP’s vote to fall

  12. That’s a big call, Howard-hater

    On Greenway, on its new boundaries it is a Hawkesbury seat and quite safe for the Libs. Its loss last time can be blamed on these wonderful rank-and-file preselections people here keep going on about. Russ Gorman and Frank Mossfield must have been two of the most useless members ever sent to Canberra. Mossfield was over 60 when he was first elected: it was a retirement gig for him after his long and undistinguished career in the union movement. While he dozed on the backbench, the demographics of the seat changed and the Libs got organised and found a good candidate in Markus, although I gather she is also a pretty useless MP. Picking a Muslim candidate was a brave thing to do, but it was the coup de grace for Labor in Greenway. They should have run Husic in Watson and Tony Burke, a good Catholic, in Greenway. But rank-and-file preselections make it very difficult to put talented candidates in the right seats, or sometimes in any seat at all. That’s why we have John Murphy in Lowe instead of Michael Costello, who would be an asset to the frontbench but who couldn’t assemble the numbers in 1998. Labor’s problems in NSW are made worse by “affirmative action,” better known as the “ex-wives clause,” which has put a phalanx of totally talentless women in safe seats from which they now can’t be evicted without the kind of histrionics we are now getting from La Hoare in Charlton.

  13. Indeed. Husic would have been a great MP had he been given the chance. Unfortunately, his home turf in Greenway (where he grew up) just didn’t provide the right demographics for him to get up. The Markus campaign was the most disgraceful of the entire election. Why don’t they preselect Husic in Chifley if Price calls it quits?

  14. “Why don’t they preselect Husic in Chifley if Price calls it quits?”

    Yerrr great idea. Have you seen the AAFI figures in booths like Shalvey?

  15. Chifley has a much safer buffer for Labor than Greenway did. Besides, any swing against Husic would be offset by a pro-Rudd swing.

  16. Psephophile Says: “Hope springs eternal”.

    Maaaate the CDP gets a big vote in Chifley too – there is a latent hatred for anything other than a known known in the downtrodden masses of the central area of the electorate. As for the booths brought in from Lindsay well forget ’em not worth the ALP handing out HTV especially if a Muslim is the candidate. The east end of the electorate has always been swinging.

    As for Husic being a good candidate – basically his experience was a non-job as meeja liason with the local electricity supply company. And for mine he was poison not because of his efnic background but because of his deep links with the ALP’s Liverpool City mafia/ustashi.

  17. It really is sad times when the particular religion of a candidate is being so dispassionately assumed as electoral suicide for a party. Think about it. We seem to sub-consciously accept that this is the field that we are playing on. This, i think can be blamed on the media, but also on the very attitude we are ‘realistically’ taking to who ‘lost’ Greenway. Imagine the horror and uproar in the media if someone dared to blame the fact that a Jew, Christian or Buddhist lost the seat for a party because of their particular religion. When its a Muslim, however, it seems like this is just taken as fair grounds for their loss, as if it were like a background of rape or murder. I know we are all discussing this issue in ‘rational’ terms and ascribing the prejudice to the voters of Greenway or Chifley but there must be something said for how these attitudes become normalised. The preselectors in Greenway did the ‘right’ thing in principle, and while it may have been electoral poison for apparantly islamophobic Western Sydney, at least they didnt let relgious prejudice taint their view.

    RE: French Election. Adam, i can only go off opinions of (probably like-minded ) friends in Paris, but i think Sarkozy may have gone too far in courting the right, and thus has scared off many of the centrists who are voting for Bayrou in the first round. Sarkozy, on all accounts, is quite polarising. This is second hand knowledge from beret-wearing, baguette carrying, stripey-shirted, bicyle-wearing, pinko commie parisians, so it might be slightly tainted.

  18. Umm, the CDP got 3.7% in Chifley in 2004. AAFI didn’t stand in 2004, but in 2001 they got 1.9%. Not very impressive figures. Chifley would elect Ivan Milat if he was the endorsed Labor candidate.

  19. Adam

    1) Ivan Milat is not Muslim.

    2) The figures I was looking at were the recent state figures for the booths now in Chifley.


    The loss in Greenway had a fair bit to do with fact that the Liberals outspent the Libor Party by at least 3:1 and that Markus attended every possible function in the electorate in the 12 months prior.

    For heavens sake she was even at our hard to find Scout Hall when our kid got a top scouting award presented. It was a function at the far end of the electorate put on for scouts and parents but somehow she got wind and turned up on a rainy winter midweek evening to share the tepid tea and bikkies.

  20. “preselectors in Greenway did the ‘right’ thing” Sure. It was that or taken get taken out the back for a chat.

  21. Notwithstanding my comments above, I think the NSW ALP have lifted their game recently. Of the six new MHRs in 2004, Burke, Garrett and Bowen are already on the frontbench and deservedly so, while Owens and Elliot are pretty good. If they can bring themselves to axe Irwin, Hatton and Hoare this time they will have a decent team, even if we have to accept Doug Cameron as part of the package. There will then be only three or four genuine logs left.

  22. It will be interesting to see if (when?) Murdoch’s apparent endorsement of Rudd is reflected in News Ltd’s coverage of him. They have been particularly feral in recent weeks (particularly the Oz).

    Murdoch has been particularly adept at backing winners in the past, and it could be that he is sniffing the poiltical wind by backing Rudd. The omens keep building for Howard. How he must wish he’d taken the retirement option last year. A loss later this year will totally change the way history portrays him.

    Re: France – my guess is that Sarkozy gets high twenties, Royal low twenties (maybe a five point gap). I’d imagine this gap will be considerably smaller in the second round, but Sarkozy will probably win. However, Adam is right to point out that the French live in a world all of their own, so I certainly wouldn’t be putting any money on it.

  23. Howardhater, when Jews, Christians and Buddhists start murdering large numbers of Australian tourists, and when those religions produce leaders of such venomous and provocative stupidity as Sheik Hilali, and when those religions are represented by cretins like Hicks and Habib and Jihad Jack, and when Jewish, Christian and Buddhist youth stage riots on Australian beaches over their sacred right to rape women and bash up lifeguards, I imagine the voters will react against Jews, Christians and Buddhists just as they now react against Muslims. I agree it was very unfair on poor old Ed Husic, and it is probably unfair on the majority of Australian Muslims (certainly so in regard to Melbourne Muslims, who are mostly Turks and Albanians and detest the Sydney Arabs with a passion). But until the Muslim community gets its house in order, sacks Hilali and everyone like him, stops accepting violent sociopaths like Hicks and Jack Thomas as converts, and renounces terrorism and anti-semitism, that is what is going to keep on happening.

  24. Adam, I entirely agree with your sentiments on Hilali and other misogynistic and homophobic elements within the Australian Muslim Community, but as you say it is unfair to generalise across the broader community. I am as opposed to fundamentalists as im sure you are, but the point is they are Fundamentalists and they hold the same apocalyptic, narrow views that go hand in hand with the Christian and Jewish (not sure i can think of any budhist) varieties. However, i find it interesting that many people, including both Jewish and Gay friends of mine, are more than happy to pigeon-hole Muslims into the neat little box that the Herald Sun has drawn for them. Islam is a faith- as is christianity, judaism and liberal democracy. I have met atheists who justify anti-women and anti-gay violence but on different terms to Muslims, Jews or Christians.

    As for your claims to ‘sacred rights’, mate you are falling for the line that has been used by countless men of all religions before- that is the one that it is god and not patriarchy that puts women in their place. Comments like yours, although with a ‘turkish and albanian’ exemption, only have the effect of legitimising misogynism and patriarchy as a part of Islam.

    Just as a small anectode for comparison with the ‘Muslims attack Aussie lifeguards’ comment, it has happened 3 times in the last 2 years that ive been walking down the street in inner-melbourne and witnessed either abuse or rubbish thrown out of cars at women wearing veils. Make of it what you will, but i’d say the guys in the car are from that peace-loving, tolerent, woman-loving Australia that you must be thinking of Adam.

    While we’re on the topic of monolithic generalisations i’d also like to ask the Christian community to get its house in order and stop accepting people like timothy mcveigh from Oklahoma (and tony abbot too) I’d also like the Jewish community to get its house in order and ask them to expel whoever is buying cluster bombs from the US from their community too. And we can get the rationalist-scientific lot to get ‘its house in order’ be expelling whomever invented the damn bombs.

  25. blacklight, Merredin is in Kalgoorlie – it’s probably more akin in nature to O’Connor, and would be an odd place to be represented by a Labor MP (it’s Nats heartland at State level), but there you are. Basically there’s a wedge of Kalgoorlie that pushes into O’Connor along Great Eastern Highway to surround Merredin.

    And as you say, the mining boom is a big thing, but your point about fly-in-fly-out workers should be thought out. Basically it shows that a lot of the people making the big money from the boom aren’t in the electorate, which means the money is leaving the area, not being spent locally. Whichever way it goes, I’d be shocked if the Pilbara towns don’t strongly favour Labor; they’ve never voted any other way at state level. Similar to the Coalition having a strong hold on Merredin and Esperance.

  26. Adam – that’s a pretty disappointing rant for someone clearly otherwise intelligent – it sounds like something off the Alan Jones show, with any number of base innuedos. To address but a few of your assertions –
    “rape and bash lifeguards”: rape is nt by any measure an Islamic problem (nobody talks about the ethnic/ religious background of the Cobby murderers, for example), and I’ve heard no end of rumours that the reason the Cronulla lifeguard was bashed was because they slagged off Muslim women (that doesn’t make it right of course, but it also suggests they weren’t “innocent” victims.

    And your claim that Jews, Christians and Buddhists are innocent of any wrong doings (exampled respectively by Lebanon, killing abortion doctors, and Sri Lanka) is laughable. Of course, my examples are those of extremists, but that is also the case with your Islamic examples.

    Get a grip, mate.

  27. # Michael Says:
    April 21st, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Murdoch has changed sides. Labor win.

    Funny how it’s Murdoch’s decision, and not ours.

    Democracy at its best. One person who cannot vote, decides then influences the Australian Public.

  28. Greens announce lead senate candidate

    A young solicitor and environmentalist is the Queensland Greens lead senate candidate.

    Environmental lawyer Larissa Waters, 30, said she hoped she had a realistic chance at the next election, despite the Greens never having won a senate seat from Queensland before.

    “In the last state election, one in 12 people voted green,” Ms Waters said.

    “I would like to think we have an opportunity to represent those people.

    “I will be trying my hardest and campaigning very hard.”

    Headed by Ms Waters, the Greens’s senate ticket will have two more names added to it in the coming months.

    Ms Wilson will be going up against former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, who unsuccessfully ran as an independent Senate candidate at the 2004 poll.


    Murdoch backs Rudd

    The world’s most powerful media magnate Rupert Murdoch thinks Kevin Rudd
    would make a good Prime Minister.

    The billion dollar business man endorsed the Labor Leader as Australia’s
    next PM in New York during Mr Rudd’s three day tour of the United
    States, where he’s been spruiking his foreign policy credentials.

    The pair also enjoyed dinner together in the ‘Big Apple’ after an hour
    long private meeting.

    The 76 year old newspaper tycoon is no stranger to publically supporting
    world leaders – in the past he’s backed British Prime Minister Margaret
    Thatcher and at the end of her reign switched his support to Tony Blair.

  30. Hi Everyone – Thought you might be interested in some of the results from recent online polls by The Age. N.B. The Age is considered by some people to be a bit pro-Labor.

    IR alternative? : Is Kevin Rudd’s IR plan better than John
    Howard’s workplace reforms?

    Yes – 80%
    No – 20%
    Total Votes: 2631 Poll date: 17/04/07

    Workplace boom? : Are new workplace laws responsible for the
    jobs boom?

    Yes – 17%
    No – 83%
    Total Votes: 981 Poll date: 12/04/07

    Back Afghan deployment? : Do you support the deployment of more
    Australian troops to Afghanistan?

    Yes – 39%
    No – 61%
    Total Votes: 1801 Poll date: 10/04/07

    Greenhouse gas : Should Australia set a target to reduce
    greenhouse gas emissions?

    Yes – 93%
    No – 7%
    Total Votes: 1256 Poll date: 03/04/07

    David Hicks : Do you believe the timing of David Hicks’ proposed
    release, due to occur after the Federal election, is a coincidence?

    Yes – 19%
    No – 81%
    Total Votes: 4263 Poll date: 02/04/07

    Climate change cop out? : Is Australia’s climate change policy a
    cop out?

    Yes – 89%
    No – 11%
    Total Votes: 3497 Poll date: 28/03/07

    Hicks off Howard? : Is Hicks’ guilty plea a good outcome for the
    Howard government?

    Yes – 33%
    No – 67%
    Total Votes: 6572 Poll date: 27/03/07

    Labor’s Telstra turn : Do you support Labor’s decision to
    abandon public ownership of Telstra?

    Yes – 67%
    No – 33%
    Total Votes: 444 Poll date: 21/03/07

    Clean coal : Is “clean coal” a realistic energy alternative?

    Yes – 32%
    No – 68%
    Total Votes: 572 Poll date: 12/03/07

    Junk food ads : Is it time to ban junk food ads to children?

    Yes – 81%
    No – 19%
    Total Votes: 256 Poll date: 08/03/07

    Access card : Do you support the introduction of the proposed
    access card?

    Yes – 28%
    No – 72%
    Total Votes: 2375 Poll date: 28/02/07

  31. Howardhater says : “I’d also like the Jewish community to get its house in order and ask them to expel whoever is buying cluster bombs from the US from their community too.” …. What the??? What planet are you on!?!

  32. Bill, buy yourself a first year stats textbook.

    Adam, when you get back from Berlin, review your above comment. I think you may wish to moderate some of those words. There were plentiful gang rapes in Australia before Muslims moved here in large numbers, and people of all religions commit them.

  33. There will be an ACNeilsen poll tomorrow and a Galaxy poll apparently, according to Barrie Cassidy on “Insiders”. Should be interesting.

  34. Polls definitely have considerable margins of error. Enough to be the difference between a narrow win one way and a landslide the other. But even the widest error to Howard’s favour in the latest polls still leaves Labor on the cusp of a landslide win.

  35. Any predictions for the AC Nielsen poll? … I say 58 – 42. I have zero reason to suspect they’re the figures but that’s my hunch.

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