Newspoll: 56-44

We’re apparently back to the routine of fortnightly Tuesday Newspoll surveys. Tomorrow’s effort shows Labor’s two-party lead steady on 56-44 and their primary vote up from 46 per cent to 48 per cent. The increase comes at the expense of minor parties and the Greens, with the Coalition vote unchanged at 39 per cent. Also featured are questions on the government’s intervention into Aboriginal communities (strong thumbs up) and whether troops should be returned from Iraq (two bob each way). The Prime Minister has at least narrowed the preferred leader deficit to 42-43, his best result since February.

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.

275 comments on “Newspoll: 56-44”

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  1. Let me point out the biggest flaw in your argument Chris – “from a renewed and invigorated Liberal Party.” Anyone who believes this will happen within 2 years after a demoralising election loss really is living in la la land.

  2. “Someone mentioned eariler that due to inevitable late swings and incumbency advantages to Howard that Labor will need to be going into the election with at least a 55% 2PP to have a reaistic chance of winning.” Do you mean like the same late swing that occurred for Keating in 96 – not?

  3. If it is 55/45 leading in to the election then I’ll predict an ALP win by 10 – 15 seats. Howard needs it to be 53/47 or closer before he would want to call an election. If the figures remain this consistent, then he may simply run out of time and have to call the election anyway.

    Isn’t the math reasonably simple, if Rudd gets a 2 pp vote of 53/47 then he wins. If it is 52/48 then it is most likely a hung parliament. Anything less than 52/48 and Howard is returned.

    Those numbers seem to be the most likely scenario. I can’t see Rudd winning with less than 52, and Howard can’t win with anything less than 48.5 or 49.

  4. Chris might I also suggest:

    “The Australian public, who yesterday narrowly Kevin Rudd on the back of an extended honeymoon gave their clearest sign yet that the infatuation with the cleanskin leader is ending. When it does Rudd will have to take on the union domination of the ALP and embrace further workplace reform…”

  5. Andrew Elder,

    Considering Senate Polls are highly innacurate and regular polls also tend to be innacurate on Senate Voting, how are you making these assumptions on the Senate?

  6. “Isn’t the math reasonably simple, if Rudd gets a 2 pp vote of 53/47 then he wins. If it is 52/48 then it is most likely a hung parliament. Anything less than 52/48 and Howard is returned.”

    No it isn’t that simple.

    Assuming a uniform swing, the ALP require 4.0% from their 2004 result of 47.3% 2PP to take Bennelong and government.

    Of course swings are never uniform and so close to the mark it will depend on the results in particular states (especially Qld) and individual seats.

    Note that this could go either way – the ALP could have an 9% swing in Qld, fall across the line in marginals in NSW, SA, WA and Tas and go nowhere or backwards elsewhere and win government with less than 50% of the overall vote.

    So all you can say is that between 51.5/48.5 either way it will depend on the marginals, outside that it’s almost certainly victory to the major vote winner.

    (Howard in 98 achieved government with the lowest 2PP and primary votes since 1949 – 48.9 and 39.2 respectively. To suggest that he can substantially beat this record this time is a brave prediction IMHO.)

  7. Gary Bruce noted, “….will people blame them for putting us into this position? I think Rudd has been working on this theme.”

    Polling suggest, no doubt correctly, that the Coalition has the edge on defence and security. But that perception will go right down the s-bend if anything nasty should happen.

    It’s not just a terrorist incident that could do it. A catastrophe in Iraq – an outpost overrun, for instance, would have the same effect.

  8. Amber

    Would agree that Howard has morphed into Beazley with a heavy dose of Latham thrown in.

    The “steady hand on the tiller” now looks like an epiletic with parkinsons.

    Nelson contradicted Howard on Iraq saying t is about the oil.
    Turnball contradicts Howard saying we don’t need nuclear, clean coal is good enough.
    Howard says the terror alert for Indonesia has been increased, Downer says no it hasn’t and the Indonesians’ say WTF is going on.
    Abbott says there will be compulsory medicals for all aboriginal children, backtracks to welfare will be with held if they don’t get the medical then goes into hiding as Brough and Howard try to clarify his statements.
    Howard says Govt. will offer rent relief and Costello says no we won’t, just kidding.
    Costello says he will release heaps of land to help house prices ignoring Treasury and economists who say this will cause a plunge in house values, negative equity for most and a wave of repossessions.

    I am suprised they got 44%.

  9. Arbie Jay said “The “steady hand on the tiller” now looks like an epiletic with parkinsons.”

    that’s gold 🙂 It’s posts like that make this (and other) blog(s) worth the time.

  10. Labor must win at least 52% of the 2PV to win the election, says Pseph. Nonsense. Hawke won in 1990 with less than 50%. You can get lucky or unlucky with the electoral system, but MOST elections are won by the party polling 50%-plus of the 2PV. Beazley lost in 1998 with 51.5% because he failed to get a swing in the marginals, mainly in NSW. This time Rudd is getting the swings in the states where the marginals are, Qld and SA.

  11. Indeed the only good news for the government in this poll is the slight increase in Howard’s “Better PM” rating.

    But if you actually go to the newspoll site, and look at that rating for 95 – 96, you’ll find that Howard was mostly behind Keating for the whole election.

    I’d say it’s therefore a pretty well a meaningless stat, as it seems to have no bearing on the ultimate result.

    And if you do consider it in any way meaningful, then you’d have to concede that the fact that Rudd is level with Howard, augers very badly for the government.

    IMO Howard’s a goner.

    Various people I know say that various people they know claim to have insider information, to the effect that Howard is planning to retire shortly. I think it would be crazy for the Liberal Party to force that on him – after all who are they going to replace him with? Also, I think it would be stupid and pointless for Howard to do it unprompted, as he would be remembered as the Liberal Party PM who chickened out. I think he’d prefer to fight this one out. What do u folks think?

  12. Those who suggest that the totality of the Australian media have a pro-Coalition bias have to be kidding themselves. Then again, you pseudo-intellectuals probably think The Age is the gospel and the ABC a paragon of virtue.

  13. I’d be stunned if Howard retired before the election. His entire prime ministership would be forever remembered for that white feather act, and his ego simply wouldn’t allow it.

  14. I was including state elections in that statement.

    Remember that before 1984 all 2PV figures are estimates, because preferences were not distributed in seats where a candidate polled 50%.

    It is commonly stated for example that Labor should have won in 1954, but this depends on how you interpret unopposed returns (something we don’t get anymore) and also seats where Labor was opposed only by a Communist (ditto). I think 1954 is dubious. The other two on your list are 1961 and 1969, which are again based on estimates, but better ones than is possible for 1954.

  15. Swordfish, under Jaspan’s regime The Age has a left-liberal-anti-American bias, not really a pro-ALP bias – it is more often critical of the ALP from the left than supportive. It certainly doesn’t shamelessly “spin” its news and comment pages for Labor the way The Australian is currently doing for Howard. Compare Michelle Grattan and Sean Carney’s very restrained comments with Shanahan’s shameless huckstering for Howard.

  16. Swordfish you rightly recognise that media is only the collective noun for a diverse (despite the best efforts of their diminishing number of owners) group of organisations and cultures and individuals . Journos by the nature of their calling tend to be more engaged with the political process that the average punter but not necessarily much better informed unless they’re full time in politics – and even then not always.

    As a former long term denizen of the Canberra gallery I can tell you most of us reptiles tried pretty hard to be objective. But we also had a career imperative of sucking up to those in power in order to gain “insider” access. Consciously or not, that probably colours a lot of the output. It was the same under Labor.

    One observation: the bright young things now coming through the ranks seem to be drawn increasingly from the elite private schools & will probably lean more conservative side than in the past. That excludes those who get a start in the ABC and are immediately re-educated.

    Once upon a time most of us started off on old fashioned cadetships – Glenn Milne on the defunct (and often late) Brisbane Telegraph & Tony Wright on the Albury Border Mail are two that spring to mind – and had much more diverse backgrounds.

    The Oz’s agenda probably has more to do with market research and their readership. It is obviously having nil impact which must be slightly demoralising for Mitchell if not his staff. If Rupert was really after Rudd he’d unleash the Terror, the Hun & the Curious Snail. Yet even the most rabidly conservative (in the past) paper in his stable – the Tiser – seems to be giving him a pretty fair go. They too know their markets.

  17. netvegetable, here is my contribution on LP earlier today…

    …If the govt does not turn around these poll figures in the next 4-6 weeks, I can’t see how they could not consider dumping Howard. I know that the conventional wisdom is that Costello would fair even worse against Rudd, but look what happened to Gordon Brown in the UK after he succeeded Blair. Whilst he was still the treasurer the polls had him doing worse than Blair against the tories, but since becoming PM the labour govt are back in the lead for the first time in months.

    Costello could make a clear break from the Howard era with a completely new cabinet and an indication of a change of direction, giving the impression of a new govt even though the same party remains in power. The voters may then be inclined to take a lets_see_how_he_goes attitude especially since most voters are happy with the state of the economy.

    Costello PM could introduce some major policy adjustments without losing credibility, particularly in regard to Iraq & IR. This may be difficult for some in the Liberal party to take, but I believe they will do anything to stay in power.

  18. Then again, you pseudo-intellectuals probably think The Age is the gospel and the ABC a paragon of virtue.

    No we don’t! It’s the other way around.

  19. Correct Rob. Trade jargon.

    On the Oz, they need the election to be a contest to sell papers. Expect them to get sillier and sillier right up to polling day.

  20. Mark I am curious in my view the ABC (predominantly local ABC, but some of the national news too) seems to fall into that sucking up to the Government vortex you talk about.

    I find they way they do real investigative journalist at a state level and rip into bothsides pretty fairly, and then get down on their knees and seem to scared to ask the PM what day it is let alone tough probin questions he should have to answer.

    I want the re-education you talk about re-introduced. In Perth we wake up to the mummerings of the formal Liberal Member for Stirling …

  21. There is always a possibility that Rudd can get 53-47 TPP and still lose. Swings are not uniform across seats.

    Wakefield, Kingston and Makin are must wins for Rudd. Getting Sturt and Boothby as well would go a long way.

  22. Just back on the Australian coverage of these polls of a moment, does anyone here think that their bias is actually a negative of the government, cause the way they are reporting it they still look like they will win the election when that is clearly unlikely. It seems to me that this election could have some of the effects of the 1999 Victorian election in that some people will vote for Labor thinking that the Liberals won’t lose. Not that this effect will be very big, but I believe it will still have an effect.

  23. Edward that would need those liberal party hacks there now to resign first wouldn’t it?

    I could be at least as impartial as the current crop of right wing enforcers. No wait on the left we are allowed to think for ourselves, so I’d be much much much more impartial.

  24. Mark Said “On the Oz, they need the election to be a contest to sell papers. Expect them to get sillier and sillier right up to polling day.” Not to mention getting thousands of hits on their blogs from furious lefties 🙂

    On the polls, is there a breakdown on voting intention according to gender? I’m curious as to how much of the ‘chick vote’ Rudd is attracting.

  25. ‘On the polls, is there a breakdown on voting intention according to gender? I’m curious as to how much of the ‘chick vote’ Rudd is attracting.’
    Or how much Abbott and Heffernan are repelling.

  26. It’s obvious from the stability and superiority of Labor’s position in the polls over the last 7 months, despite one political stunt after another by the Libs, that the electorate has stopped listening to Howard.

    It’s just that hard of hearing Howard hasn’t heard this.

    The idea that the electorate will suddenly wake up, start listening and responding postively to Howard when an election is called is nonsense.

    The swinging voters have been listening to the politics for a long time and are well aware that both sides have been campaigning for the next Federal election since the start of the year.

    John Howard must be thinking very hard about his political legacy right now. with every poll it looks increasingly likely that he will not emulate Menzies and retire undefeated.

    My own psychoanalysis of the Howard psyche is that:

    a) John knows he’s going to lose
    a) He’s submissive towards his wife and Jannette wears the pants
    b) Jannette wont let him retire before the election, because Jannette has become quite relaxed and comfortable at Kirribilli House thank you very much.

  27. “There is always a possibility that Rudd can get 53-47 TPP and still lose. Swings are not uniform across seats.”

    It’s possible, but how likely is it?

    Beazley lost with 51% in 1998, but it would be pretty unusual for a party to lose with 53% of the 2PP vote. In how many state or federal elections has a party lost with 51%, 52%, 53% etc?

  28. sorry I missed the joke, in this very stream Adam drew the distinction between cheerleader right wing press and left press that actually attacks the left?

    Next time Andrew Bolt deviates from the hardline right view please let me know, money on Phillip Adams thinking for himself next time he open his mouth.

  29. Marie-JJannette de buckett (prononounced bouqet) would never tell her man what to do she would ORDER it you silly commoner
    dont you know anything about “high” society – I mean it is hard enough covering the legs of all those chairs at kirribbilli you know
    let alone having to deal with the *gasp* ordinary folk
    J-HO is King (well for a little longer anyway)

  30. Merely point of fact, that large seats having large primary votes one way or the other tend to push up these figures.

    Take 3 seats of 1000. Labor wins two 550-450 TPP and loses one 550-450. Actual overall TPP for Labor = 51.6 – wins 2 seats

    Take these same seats, have Labor win one 700-300, and lose two 550-450. Actual overall TPP for Labor = 53 – wins 1 seat

    Point is – it doesn’t really matter how the TPP is tracking on a national basis, it comes down to winning the seats.

  31. We all need to remind ourselves, every day, that The Australian is an elite paper which swinging voters in the marginals don’t read, and that Shanahan and Milne are preaching either to the converted or the unconvertable. It really isn’t worth using up all William’s bandwidth venting about them.

    Groosky, I dealt with your point further up this page. Most of the time, a party which gets 50%+ of the 2PV will win the election. The swings this time seem to be in the states where the seats are (Qld and SA), so I think it is highly unlikely that Labor will lose if it gets over 50% of the 2PV.

  32. I can’t add much more that hasn’t already been said.
    News Ltd is a propoganda arm of the Howard Government! Of course that well known Liberal party hack Shanahan will attempt to give a pro-Howard spin to an opinion poll.
    I think it’ll be a close election, a narrow win by a few seats for either Howard or Rudd.

  33. Charlie @ 3:55,
    Quite possibly tomorrow, I think they are published every 3 months and the last one was published on April 10th.

  34. There should be state-by-state, gender, age, marginal and safe seat analysis for the entire April-June quarter in Newspoll very soon – maybe even tomorrow. I’d really like to get this analysis.

  35. Forget about national 2PP, sure it interests the wonks, but its importance in determining the outcome is marginal at best. It’s main importance is in assisting a party claim a moral victory after election defeat “Sure we lost the election but won the campaign”

    The worrying sign for Howard is the low Coalition (and particularly Liberal) primary vote. I can’t see the Howard picking up a swag of Greens preferences nor can I see a new right wing minor party emerging in a hurry. Apologies to Family First, Dems etc etc, but it just doesn’t look like there’ll be enough preferences floating around at the moment.

    Howard’s got until early Sept (4 newspolls away) to lift his primary vote to something like 42/42 before I’ll call it for Rudd. As I posted yesterday we’re likely to be only 90 days before the campaign kicks off. The clock ticks, the hat remains bunnyless.

  36. Phil, yes, the swinging voters are susceptible to last-minute propaganda blitzes – and more so in Australia than elsewhere because of compulsory voting, which means parties have to compete for the voters of the completely ignorant who in other countries don’t vote. But those blitzes will take place on commercial TV, the medium of choice of the ignorant and stupid, and not in the editorial columns of The Australian, which require a fairly high degree of literacy.

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