Galaxy: 57-43

The News Limited stable today brings us a poll from Galaxy, an outfit that has traditionally given the Coalition more cause for optimism than its rivals. Not this time though: after rising into the 40s in June and July, the Coalition primary vote is back down to 39 per cent, while Labor is up from 44 per cent to 47 per cent on last month. Labor’s 57-43 two-party lead likewise returns to the situation in May, and compares with 54-46 last month. Attitudinal questions find respondents more likely to attribute the budget surplus to high taxes than good management, and overwhelmingly inclined to think Rudd a “normal bloke” on account of the strip club incident. However, it appears that not all of the 1,004 interviews were conducted over the past weekend (note the bottom of the press release: “These surveys were conducted by Galaxy Research. The most recent survey was administered on the weekend of 24-26 August”). It therefore cannot be stated with confidence how timely these figures are, or whether the entire sample was in a position to pass judgment on the strip club affair or the budget surplus.

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.

372 comments on “Galaxy: 57-43”

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  1. So as for the actual debate and discussion of facts and ideas Glen I assume you have vacated the kitchen. Very poor form old chap, but I accept your concession that the ‘surge’ is about as successful and defenisble as the original invasion.

    I think if the PM calls either an extremely late or an extremely long election campaign the most likely outcome moves from 55:45 towards 60:40, I think inflicting both would upset most Australians too much for Howard to even contemplate, as out of touch as he seems to be lately with your ordinary Australian punter.

    My personal fav is the boring old 3 November. Gives him and the ball and chain a month to pack for the Christmas holiday they both so deserve; perhaps a Texas Ranch that has very good night rates for old buddies. They can sit on the verandah together contemplating irrelevance, and question why such stupid ordinary people are allowed to vote, when God tells Bush what to do and Bush tells Johnny. How could that plan ever have gone wrong.

  2. I doubt if the Galaxy poll will change the election date. You could imagine that the whole schedule is in place with visits to marginals, TV commercials, announcements in certain places at certain times etc. It takes a lot of organising and you can be sure the date is set at the very top. The most obvious date is November 3rd. I very much doubt later but it could be a week or even two earlier to catch Labor by surprise.
    Really, as we have said, the campaign has been in full swing for a long time. It might suit the government to delay the Melbourne Cup.

    Iraq will probably end up a Shiite theocracy after a bloodbath civil war with the Sunnis. Certainly this is the outcome Iran would want. They will be a quasi-protectorate of Iran. Iran might even send in troops when the Americans leave to finish off the Sunnis. They have a few debts to settle.
    In the meantime Iran is not receiving enough for its oil to pay for consumer imports. If they end up controlling Iraq’s oil too, prices will probably rise a lot steeper and sold in euros and yuan, no longer US dollars.

  3. I thnk Howard will go long – unless he has to try to duck under another rate rise.

    My guess is that Rudd will do OK in a long campain as he the most energtic labour leader in the modern era. In footy terms he has a very high work rate. A long campain would draw comparison’s between the energy and enthusiams of the two leaders. I think Rudd would compare well.

    The upside for the coaltiion is that it could maybe, just maybe see Rudd falter at some point. Its really their main hope at this point.

  4. I think a short campaign is all the Coalition can afford, the State branches are not exactly flush with funds.

    The business lobby has gone off too early and wasted money on an ineffective campaign, while the ACTU has saved its pennies 🙂 for the main game.

    Its Over, no matter how you look at it.

  5. If the Coalition polls 39-40% of the primary vote on election day that would mean clear defeat and Labor polling it’s best result two party wise since 1946.

  6. Did anyone else think it was strange that more women than men thought Rudd was unlucky to get caught in relation to his strip club visit? (35% Women, 32% Men).

  7. Oh dear. Howard’s prescription for APEC on global warming. ABC PM. He wants a Sydney protocol or something but it’s only if you feel like it. In other words, business as usual, chaps. His last gasp for his legacy.

    John Rocket

    It has always been said that you’d need a crowbar to remove JH from the leadership. I don’t think it matters much if he goes longer – the rot has set in and, like fungus, will grow.

  8. Does anyone have any insight into how party donations are going? If I was Mr. Big Business – I know I’d be hedging my bets… anyone got any gossip on this front?

  9. As usual, Galaxy’s wording and methods are more than a little questionable. Their question asking to what factors did voters attribute the budget surplus had a prompted response for “tax rates being too high”.

    Now, ask 100 voters if they think tax rates are too high, and what result do you expect?

    BTW, agree with Glen that Turnbull’s the best to lead the Liberals next. And that’s about all I agree with him on.

    This country would be well served by the next two PMs being Rudd followed by Turnbull.

  10. Given people seem to think that hard questions aren’t being put to Rudd, here’s one hard question I think should be asked of Howard:

    In light of the polling, how can it be argued that it is (in the phraseology adopted and repeated ad nauseum by the PM) “in the interests of” his party that he remain leader?

  11. BV at 311,

    It’s probably because every other potential leader of the Liberal party seems to poll worse than Howard… Otherwise, they would have made the move already.

  12. November 3rd.

    Has to be before the next interest rate rise. Though I don’t think the specific date of the election matters anymore, virtually nothing will save the government’s butt now.

  13. Glen – I think I’ve got it sussed. Your posts during daylight hours are often well reasoned and reasonable, however those after midnight are usually a bit hysterical (in both senses of the word). Is the full moon or do those late night posts come after one too many sherbets and you fancy a bit of a stoush?

    For all that, as I’ve said before, I quite like the contributions from our more Right leaning colleagues. After all, it is your democratic right to hold your wrong-headed ideas!

    This poll (after 8 months of similar ones) does raise the as yet unanswered question of what a Rudd government would actually be like. We only have a broad outline at present, but I guess this is usually the way at a change of government. My guess is that they will be a cautiously reformist government. Outside of IR, Labor will follow a similar path on the economy, though we can probably expect slightly more humanitarian language (and possibly approach) on those hot issues (eg refugees, Aborigines, Republic).

    All in all, I don’t think it’ll be a very exciting government, but I imagine they will be broadly competent. One would think that Rudd is looking at the Blair government, a broadly successfully and incrementally reformist government (with the important caveat of Iraq, which obviously will be less of an issue for Rudd, as it is proving to be for Brown).

    But then I guess that fits into my general view, that while Labor governments are never as good as you hope they’ll be, Tory governments are much, much worse than you expect!

  14. Random news – but the ALP have now moved to favourites at PortlandBet in the seats of Stirling and Swan. It gives them a total of 75 seats (15 gains, no losses – same as Sportingbet), with the Coalition on 73 and 2 independents.

    I still don’t know which will be seat number 16 – I’m thinking Page or Bowman – but I’m sure that there are plenty of other contenders. Any thoughts out there?

  15. Voters have made up their mind: survey
    Most voters have already made up their minds and are backing Kevin Rudd and Labor in the federal election, a survey released on Monday shows.

    A survey of 1,156 voters conducted for public relations firm Burson-Marsteller by Research International found 76.6 per cent had already decided who they were going to vote for, and of them 55.8 per cent were backing Labor.

    So if you round it out and say the undecided will roughly split 50/50 looks again like 56-44

    Forget about the member for Wentworth 🙂 Kevin Andrews as next leader of the opposition.

  16. Will the Howard Government face any political fallout over its latest border security lapse – Horse flu?? Sounds like it’ll cause plenty of pain for the industry and may delay (god forbid) the Melbourne Spring Carnival including the Cup. Will public confidence fade as more people get to Minister McGauran in action? This story won’t go away in a hurry, particularly if there’s been funding cuts, outsourcing, short cuts, botched admin or some other error….

  17. 3 Nov still looks likely to me – risking an interest rate rise in the campaign would be asking for trouble, and the coalition isn’t having much luck lately.

    I think a longer campaign is likely. Rudd is still relatively new to the intense scrutiny of leadership and can present as a bit flaky when under pressure. I think the coalition will want the change to exploit this as much as possible, without torturing the electorate with a massive campaign. They’d get 7 weeks if they go at the end of the first week of parliament (when the Canadian PM is addressing them). Highly speculative, but that’s my most likely scenario.

  18. Ok, I hear the arguments for Nov 3, and they make sense.

    But why are the punters favouring later in November, and 1 December? In fact, late October is shorter price as well. I also heard ads were booked for Nov (not just Oct)….

  19. [But why are the punters favouring later in November, and 1 December? In fact, late October is shorter price as well. I also heard ads were booked for Nov (not just Oct)….]

    But there is still CHOGM, and Howard will still want his final overseas junket to Africa so he can have his happy snaps with the various Commonwealth Leaders such as Brown, Bam Bam etc.

  20. I think most people here support the November 3 scenario on the basis of circumstantial evidence with tv time being bought just before that time as reported by several posters and the fact that it would ensure that the wrath of the RBA wouldn’t completely sink Howard’s shaky re-election campaign…

  21. The Reserve Bank will never put up interests during an actual election campaign, despite what they might say. If the election was on 10th November, there’s no way the Reserve would put up rates on the 7th. They might be independent but they don’t live in a vacuum. Any rise that might be needed could easily be put off until December.

    I’m not sure a long campaign would make much difference. Baz (322) claims that Rudd “can present as flakey when under pressure”. I wonder how true this actually, likewise claims of his “glass jaw”. Rudd has been put under intense scutiny on a number of times this year (Burke, Sunrise, Therese, Scores -gates), and each time he has handled himslef pretty well, and frankly, come out of it smelling of roses.

    There is a disadvantage for the government, too, with a long campaign – the Liberal Party would have to spent its own money on advertising, rather than that of the taxpayers, which they can continue to do until the election is called.

    But none of it will make any difference – the government is toast.

  22. Message to Glen,

    You claim that the ALP is winning because of the Media.

    I have never voted for the ALP, which means

    1996, 1998, 2001, 2004 I voted Liberal, in 2007 I am voting for the ALP and the reasons have bugger all to do with the Media.

    While Howard has done a good job with the Economy but beyond that he has made several policy errors therefore he deserves to lose the next federal election.

    The Liberal Party has itself to blame for its position in the polls, so stop blaming the Media, stop blaming everyone else and have a good look in the mirror.

    The Liberal Party has failed on I.R, Iraq, Welfare to Work, Digital TV so as the host of BB would say “Its time to go Howard”

  23. I think Rudd is so-so responding to such incidents, but I don’t think it matters. The incidents themselves are trivial and only have an impact if they highlight a more important theme, which so far they have not. I think it is the lack of major theme for Howard that will make it a problem for him if he goes for a long campaign. I also think it is the descent into trivia through his disastrous ‘War on the States’ that is also behind the softening in government support seen in Morgan and now Galaxy.

  24. TV spots can be booked, unbooked, rejigged, rescheduled.

    I worked in traffic depts in TV stations for yonks, don’t let bookings of spots change your judgement. It is irrelevant.

  25. Geln said

    But i wont give up just yet anyway you’d all prefer it i go into the election thinking we can win and then getting a Ruddslide just to see my reaction which would be ohhh s*&t!!!!!!!!!!!! But still life will go on whoever wins i just hope in the unlikely event Rudd does get in that his inexperience wont cost this nation too much and i also hope he’ll not be as anti-american as the Labor left wants

    Do what many of us are doing, put $100 on the other team. Might be enough to stop you throwing yourself under a bus .

  26. Yes, agree Piping Shrike. If Stripper-gate had come out about Latham, it would’ve played into preconceived notions about the man. With Rudd it seems so out of character as to be laughable.

  27. The Greens would be extremely unlikely to direct preferences to the Libs/Nats in any HoR seat. The number one reason has been expressed by a number of posters, the Greens would lose many first preference votes and would be attacked, unmercilessely, by the ALP in their heartland seats (like Melbourne, Batman, Melbourne Ports, Sydney, Grayndler, Fremantle and Denison). This would obliterate any chance the Greens had in Melbourne and Grayndler and would most likely significantly reduce their chances of picking up a senator in every state but Tassie.

    At most, I would expect to see the Greens offer split tickets in a few HoR seats (possibly Bass and Bradon over the pulp-mill and a few non-marginal seats), and preference the ALP in all other HoR seats. As Simon already pointed out, Greens preference flows will go inexcess of 75% to the ALP, regardless of what the how-to-vote card says, and a split ticket would probably not reduce the ALPs chances in any of those seats.

    Secondly, Bob Brown is on public record stating that he would like to see the back of Howard this election, and most Greens are firmly behind him on this one. Directing preferences to the Coalition would not exactly be a sure fire way of bringing this about.

  28. In the 1990s the ALP moved away from its heartland finally in 1996 the Heartland got its revenge.

    The Liberal Party for several years now has not govern from its “HEARTLAND” it is now coming for the Liberal Party for its revenge.

    Howard should have gone last year, Andrews should have followed, a Costello lead Government would have won the next Election.

    I will add I have no confidence in Wayne Swan, but considering the job Kevin Andrews and a few other duds Howard has had on the frontbench!!

  29. News from the front.
    Malcolm is taking the pulp mill issue very seriously. He received over four thousand submissions on the mill over the weekend including a number from scientists.
    The weight of evidence is such that he may have no alternative but to reject this current proposal.
    He will extend the public submission time by another ten days.
    The pressure will be really on in the next three weeks.
    Gunns won’t get a decision before mid September.
    Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett will want to “me too” on this as rapidly as they can. They’d better start preparing their speeches.
    My bet is the government will gain 1% on this if Malcolm rejects it.

  30. [Gunns won’t get a decision before mid September.]

    They’ve repeatedly said they will build the mill in another country if it doesn’t get the OK by the first week of September.

    I think Federal Labor should say they want it to be built at the alternate site.

  31. Rudd better not get lathamed on this – better to sit tight and risk me-tooism rather than go out on that particular limb.

  32. Glen re your extended no …

    Don’t worry mate … it’s just scales from eyes and confronting reality.

    General: Has a Federal Government, this far out from an election, been so behind in polls but come through to win?

  33. Okay, so the majority think the HOR issue is done and dusted. Next question is the question of a Double Dissolution. Its been so long since I looked at the Senate issue I can’t remember why people were speculating a DD after this election.

    Where do the numbers stand on the Senate ?

    I remember the Coalition got a majority in the Senate after picking up a ‘surprise’ bonus senate seat in QLD last time around and I also remember most spruiking a 3-3 split this time around in most if not all States.

    What say you now ?

  34. Chris C, it is not a question of the Greens directing preferences as a result of a favourable decision to them on the pulp mill.
    It is a question of Malcolm Turnbull going over the heads of the Greens and saying “look fellows, I have done the right thing on this. I am now going to re-examine the areas of old growth forests which need protecting. I am also going to ramp up my initiatives on effective action on global warming, which I’m truly concerned about…” or words to that effect.
    It will be an effort to out-green Peter Garrett who has been hobbled by Kevin Rudd for base political motives. It’s surprising that Peter seems to go everywhere with Kevin Rudd. Kevin Rudd must be aware of his pulling power with younger voters.
    I think we are about to see an interesting turn of events.

  35. From Rob @ 138 Ruddock says —

    “In the end, I think people do make their judgments not only on your record but on the vision you have for the future and I think we’ve been articulating both well.”

    Hate to tell you this Mr Ruddock [the most arrogant, smug, distateful Coalition Minister of all time], but most of the electorate wouldnt know what ‘articulating’ means mate, let alone ‘aspirational nationalism’.

    Sounds like something you aspire to understand but end up not bothering when you get past asp in the Thesaurus; ironically.

  36. The balance of probabilities suggests that the Coalition will retain their majority in the Senate following the House/half-Senate election. Nonetheless, my tentative prediction is still for a much closer election in the lower house than the current polls are suggesting, with the Senate throwing up some surprises/shocks. People may not be lurking with baseball bats for the government in general but I’ve noticed a high degree of resentment (even amongst notional conservatives) about the current government’s use of their unexpected Senate majority.

  37. 183
    Richard Jones Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    “If Malcolm rejects the pulp mill and then talks about locking up more of Tasmania’s old growth forests, he may throw away any chances of keeping the Tasmanian seats (or would he?), but it could be the masterstroke of the campaign.”

    Richard Jones Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 8:21 pm
    My bet is the government will gain 1% on this if Malcolm rejects it.

    Richard, you’re a good little player but you’re trying too hard.
    Combining your accumulated wisdom from comments 183 and 335 what you have managed to enlighten us with is :

    Turnbull could potentially pull off a one percent masterstroke.

  38. [with the Senate throwing up some surprises/shocks.]

    I’m expecting the Greens to do better than most people expect. I think people will want a strong environmentalist part holding the balance.

  39. Simon, I think the Greens will do better than the current polling indicates if both parties continue trying to wring the life out of the “middle ground”. Both parties face significant risks in pursuing radical differentiation in the environmental sphere.

  40. Hugo (327). Mainly agree with your points. I’d suggest a couple of qualifiers though.

    On the RBA, I’d previously have thought they wouldn’t have put interest rates up now, but they did. It’s a risk assessment issue rather than a likely outcome that they’d put up interest rates. If the coalition can avoid a small risk of a seriously damaging rate rise, and they haveto go to the polls soon anyway, it seems to me they’d avoid the risk.

    On Rudd, it’s purely a personal observation. He’s come out of these things relatively unscathed but I think some of his responses have been less than great (ie – on the 7:30 report about strippergate), and he’s too often relied on a “seeking further information” stopgap. The election environment will be much less forgiving. Whether it would be enough to save the government is another matter entirely.

  41. hmm…..

    [Federal Labor is soon to announce radical changes to its industrial relations policies, including removing workers who earn more than $100,000 a year from award protection, ABC radio’s PM program said on Monday night.

    “PM has been told that the federal opposition is preparing to announce radical changes to its industrial relations policies to woo business,” the program said.

    “According to details leaked to PM, Labor’s new plan, backed by the Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd, would remove award protection from employees who earn $100,000 a year or more.

    “It would also require that all awards and collective agreements include a provision letting workers shift onto individual arrangements.”]

  42. Richard Jones Says:
    August 27th, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    It might suit the government to delay the Melbourne Cup.

    Ergo, equine flu virus — what a wily pollie is Howard 😉

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