Morgan: 54.5-45.5

Roy Morgan’s fortnightly face-to-face poll comes in at the lower end of market expectations for Labor, whose two-party lead has narrowed to 54.5-45.5 from 58.5-41.5 a fortnight ago. Labor’s primary vote is down from 49.5 per cent to 46 per cent, and the Coalition’s up from 36.5 per cent to 41 per cent. This is from a sample of 1271 voters, which is unusually small for a Morgan face-to-face.

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.

230 comments on “Morgan: 54.5-45.5”

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  1. Now Turnbull really does have his balls in a vise. If he doesn’t approve the mill, Howard, the Tasmanian government, the timber union and the business lobby will beat up on him – quite a combination. If he approves the mill, he will probably lose his seat – Wentworth is full of rich greenies who don’t need to work in pulp mills. My spies in Sydney today told me that they already believe he is, quote, cactus, and a rich-greeny revolt in Rose Bay is all he needs to tip him over the edge. Labor’s line is that we support a mill in principle, because we support jobs for Tasmanian workers. But we are sceptical about the fast-track approval process for this mill in this location, so we are not approving the current proposal just yet. Of course, we don’t have to make a decision, because we are in opposition. Turnbull does have to make a decision, and soon. But whichever way he jumps he lands in deep doodoo.

  2. Glen

    Tell me, what you know of this story that the SA Govt has employed the services of Crosby Textor?

    If it is true, what is your considered opinion?

  3. Re (176),

    ” I think APEC will be a plus for Howard ….”

    It won’t get him any votes anywhere in the greater Sydney area. Bush’s phony apology about being “sorry for the problems his visit will cause” was TOO much >;-(

    I live in SW Sydney and even out here (Werriwa electorate) we want it to all go away. The disruptions and problems will not gain Howard any favorable light. The only thing we are thinking up here is that we want APEC to bloody be over so that JH can get onto the real business of calling the election ;-D ….. Julie

  4. This imagery from 2004 contributed to the downfall of Latham and the Labor brand at the 2004 election, and, some argue, swung the vote against Labor in Braddon and {not again, please} Bass by depicting Labor as anti- jobs and Howard as pro-jobs.

    Howard said:

    “I still remain very optimistic that this pulp mill can and will be built,” the Prime Minister said. “It is very important for jobs in Tasmania and I am pro-jobs. I demonstrated three years ago (in the 2004 forestry election policy) that I’m a better friend of the workers in the timber industry in Tasmania than anyone in the ALP.”

    He tried to do same, ironically in the timber industry again, in the Coalition marginal seat of Eden Monaro, by claiming the NSW State Government was going to be the blame for the loss of 130 timber workers jobs if they chose not to guarentee access to timber controlled by the State Government.

    In 2004, Howard depicted Labor as ‘anti logging’ and ‘anti jobs’. A complete lie in fact, but the damage was done. There was the camera crews happily presenting an image of JWH ‘saving jobs’ and getting a grateful pat on the back from Union officials of all people a week out from the election.

    This time around, Labor has taken the middle ground but should be aiming at the ‘alternative site’ scenario: good for jobs, good for business and the Tasmanian economy, and good for environmental tourism as well.

    If I was Howard, I would have made a hero of myself by ordering Turnbull to approve the mill at the alternative site in order to protect Turnbull from extinction in Wentworth, remind the electorate in Bass that the Labor brand put jobs at risk in Bass in 2004, and try to con the electorate general that he is not ALWAYS going to favor business interests ahead of everthing and everyone else.

    But no, he is prepared to sacrifice Turnbull and his seat of Wentworth to put this issue to bed because it is damaging the Coalition brand amongst the mainland electorate and ascribing anti-Coalition sentiment to ‘popular’ Australians such as Kate Blanchett. Remember the ‘Its time’ campaign ?

  5. John Howard no longer supports his Environment Minister. His nerve has failed. Malcolm Turnbull will still most likely do the right thing, that is look very carefully at the impacts of the dioxin etc and make his decision based on those impacts. I doubt if he will be that influenced by John Howard. It’s an interesting showdown. Malcolm is after all wishing to replace John Howard.
    It’s good that finally finally Peter Garrett has spoken out about the old growth forests. He may have been stung by the article in the Australian yesterday. Peter may just have avoided the wedge.
    Now it’s Malcolm who is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    So, John Howard is still pretending to be the best friend of the CFMEU.
    What a joke. John Howard is John Howard’s best friend.

  6. “John Howard is John Howard’s best friend.”

    Actually, I think this year has proven that John Howard has become his own worst enemy. How many gaffes and miscalculations have we had so far?

  7. 113 gaffes and miscalculations, just a guess.

    “Oh wherefore art thou Arthur, my scheming knight, when I needst thou most? Why hast thou deserted me? Wouldst thou leave thy friend in the midst of the battlefield surrounded by dead bodies with but a lame horse to keep me company?”

  8. 201 Adam Says:
    September 1st, 2007 at 1:51 am
    [snip]Labor’s line is that we support a mill in principle, because we support jobs for Tasmanian workers. But we are sceptical about the fast-track approval process for this mill in this location, so we are not approving the current proposal just yet. Of course, we don’t have to make a decision, because we are in opposition. Turnbull does have to make a decision, and soon. But whichever way he jumps he lands in deep doodoo.

    And by scheduling his decision during the real election campaign, Turnbull is using the caretaker convention to handcuff himself to Garret as he makes that jump.

    Garret &/or Rudd will be forced to announce a decision and no matter if they say ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘wait’ Turnbull &/or Howard can use it to beat them up. I predict a Rudddism:

    “Do we have all the information available to the government assessment process? No we don’t. Are we certain this is the right decision? No we’re not. Will we support it anyway? Yes we will.”

    Which will mean that the final decision, made by Howard and endorsed by Rudd, is craven and poll-driven and not based on science and what’s best for the nation and planet.

    Ain’t democracy grand?

  9. Richard I honestly believe that a country like the US would never have gone to war with another country based on false intelligence. They knew there were no WMDs and so did Howard. Proven by the fact that Hans Blix was not given another two weeks to finish his job. (Hussein was on the verge of being declared disarmed, so they had to act when they did). I agree with the comments of Paul K at 185.

    Maybe if the liberals could be honest (that’s a big call) or had a plan for their succession of leadership, Greens voters could entertain the thought of preferencing liberal. Otherwise it’s still John McEnroe – YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.

    I would urge every (100%) Greens voter to preference labor.

  10. Amazing what a difference one news article makes. We go from “Howard/Turnbull using the Grens to lead the ALP into a trap” to “Howard has sold Turnbull up the river, and he is now cactus”.

    I suspect nobody has any real idea how this will translate vote-wise, either in Tas or Wentworth or elsewhere, and that includes the political protagonists! The pulp mill issue looks like a hand grenade with the pin removed, frantically tossed between the ALP and the Libs.

  11. The bloody Labor Right is what’s wrong with this country. Tory’s bloody tory’s. We live in an extremist nation and they don’t do a thing.
    Here’s the actual make up of parlament:

    HoR: Tory:149, other 1

    Senate: Tory:70, other 6 (greens + Bartlet and Natasha)

  12. At the adelaide uni the two major parties are Activate (labor left backing) and Pulse (Labor right backing). Last year the Libs didn’t run because as Pulse was running on privitizing the campus bar they didn’t need to (this year Pulse, which didn’t win control last time is running anti privitization so the libs are running). Point is Labor right such as Rudd is RIGHT. probably slightly more right than liberal left.

  13. Richard Jones writes:
    “What is the point in Greens giving preferences to a conservative Labor Party which differs so little from the Howard government? Wouldn’t it be better to preference the Liberals”.

    Suggesting it was the silliest thing Bob Brown has done. They won’t do it of cause, but suggesting it in this environment probable lost the Greens several points. The Howard Government has done many things that the average Green voter should and I would suggest does find difficult to swallow.

    That one action moved my senate vote back to the Democrats ( I don’t believe either major party should have a majority in the senate).

  14. This year will be good for the Greens because:

    1. Pulp Mill is of Franklon proportions (and an even worse idea)

    2. Rudd is an economic conservitive and a social conservitive. Labor left is dead and a lot of people are beginning to wake up to the fact that there are only so many Penny Wong’s in Caucus.

    3. CLIMATE CHANGE, CLIMATE CHANGE, CLIMATE CHANGE! The only issue that actually matters. You don’t have to be left to realise this and some right wingers will vote Green so that the economy is not in a serious crisis 25 yrs from now! Think about it what else matters? This is big.

    4. Water, sustainability

    5. The pigs (labor) have finaly got up on their hind legs. Some Animals are more equal than others. Their IR policy is far-right (by European standards anyway) and the unions are increasingly donating to the Greens. Many concerned about workchoices will vote green not labor.

    Therefore after minusing off the ‘Rudd personality cult factor’ and the fact that the smears will be no worse than in the past and you have a 1.5% swing to the Greens.

  15. Charles, just between you and me, as is widely known the Greens will never ever ever preference lib above lab. Just don’t tell Labor this. It is however a good move by Brown coz it makes a split/open ticket more conseivable and leads to a better preference deal with labor. Split ticket is not only possible it is likely

  16. If suggesting a deal with the liberals makes the greens vote drop slightly now, that drop will rise back up again when they don’t actually preference the liberals. The Greens should run an open ticket in all safe House seats. That ought to get Labor serious about prefencing the greens and acting on the environment (well no it wont but ummm you know…).

  17. It hurts the most when Laborites make far right comments. You have to expect it from Glen, Nostra. etc. but it hurts more when Adam talks so openly of mistreating Hicks. It just goes to highlight that those glory days when Labor stood up for oppressed people is gone. just like in the Uk with Tony Blair, sorry i mean Tory Blair.

  18. Richard Jones writes:
    “What is the point in Greens giving preferences to a conservative Labor Party which differs so little from the Howard government? Wouldn’t it be better to preference the Liberals”.

    Richard, you and I and everyone else knows that in politics the choices are often between the lesser of two evils. ‘Twas always thus, and thus shall always be. (Apologies to ‘Dead Poet’s Society’.)

    If the Greens vote conservative, especially Howard conservative, they are only going to further seriously damage their cause. There is no realistic alternative for them but to support Labor in the lower house (if only via preferences), and make their protest vote in the upper house where it might actually count. Any other position is self-defeating, in both the short and long term. And I bet 90% plus of Greens voters know that, and will vote accordingly.

    Not saying I like that situation, but it is the truth about the current Oz politial scene.

  19. The Greens have, and always have had, 2 main problems as I see it as a former Green.
    1. Everyone knows most of the votes will end up with the ALP.
    The solutions are either tactical voting (vote Lib in ALP safe seats to show it can happen), or open/split tickets.
    However most Green voters will vote ALP despite the HTV (preferencing Libs could hurt anyway)

    2. The Greens need to be seen to be more then single issue.
    The problem is that the Greens are good with the environment message so use what little coverage they get putting that message across. The media generally also usually only ask a Green MP to comment on enviro issues.
    The options I can think of are both very difficult.
    a. Drop the enviro issues and run on the other stuff. (If voters aren’t aware that the Greens are pro-environment, dont know how anything will change that) There are way too many greenies for this to happen anytime soon.
    b. Spit the party in two. The Greens and the Welfare/Education/Health Party. Make an allience. Not enough members, funds, etc.

    Sorry about being off topic, but until these two things change, the chances of the Greens getting more then 2-3 reps and 6 senators per election is virtually impossible.

  20. Most Greens will preference the ALP, not because they like them but, as has been mentioned before, because they are the lesser of two evils. The same will go for the bulk of Green HTV’s distributed. But lets be clear, many Greens also remember very well various state ALP sell outs and questionable local council decisions, and so will always have that in the back of their minds.

    As to splitting into 2 parties, it wouldn’t work – the power of the ALP/Coalition in being able to blanket the media and advertising means there is a need for progressives to band together to get a word (or advert) in edgeways. And as to dropping the environmental platform, well, you’re right Bert, that aint happening any time soon, if only because its one of the 4 principles of the party. That said, many Greens MPs do spend a lot of time campaigning on health/education/welfare etc, but it has more to do with the philosophy than anything else – our relations with each other also determine out relations with the environment – if we think we can exploit each other we wont worry about exploiting nature etc.

  21. Bert

    Some astute reasoning there, I would say. The Greens had a clear role in being the “Left Ballast” as the Labor party was shifting right to re-capture the Blue collars now living in mansions and sending their kids to private schools.

    Most commentators admit that Latham was a liability in many ways but he most seriously damaged the Labor party politically. A lack of understanding of core demographics would have shown him that some of the fastest growing areas of Australia are dominated by outer-suburban developments with many newly affluent tradies… choosing to send their kids to low-mid fee independent schools. Thus the “private schools hit list” was as much a death knell for winning this group as the ill-fated forests push was irrelevant to them (Doctor’s wives aren’t abundant by any means).

    Now, there is a serious issue with the Greens, of the same type that Pauline’s One Nation party faced on the right, they are a group of barbarians. I most certainly don’t mean that in the derogoratory sense, simply that they are many “tribes” under the one disaffected banner.

    In the 1990s, with the fall of many socialist powers, the shrinkage of the parties in democracies led to retreat, largely under “Green movements” which became politicised. These parties were now far more left than the previous non-political movements and policies blended many old-school socialist ideals. Some “greens” (small g) weren’t (and still aren’t) happy about this but felt that it was a necessary evil to finally find their voice democratically.

    Over time, majors (worldwide and in OZ) have had to become environmentally aware, so the ennvironmental message is diluted. Still most extreme in the greens but most parties now have a solid platform. With the wind out of their sails, some (small g) greens have retreated to the politics of the ALP.

    This may explain the stabilised but lower Green vote (6-8%) since 2004, nowhere near the 10% desired. Subsequent State elections since 2004 have also been disappointing for the Greens. If this continues, it will go the way of ONP, with the loudest voices causing splits and fractures. The recent call for the unions to go Green is an example of this. Many Greens find the industries represented by trade unions as some of the greatest causes of wildlife destruction, erosion, contaminated waterways and greenhouse emissions. Very strange bedfellows indeed, despite the “left” politics of both..

    This election will be interesting as a barometer of the future of Green influence in our politics.

  22. Where else can the left vote but with the greens? Socialist Alliance will never be electable and who else is there on the left? HEMP (single issue)and the Progresive Labor Party (are they running), thats about it. The Greens only get on with certain unions in environmentaly friendly industries. What does our good friend Bill Weller of the AMWU have to say?

    William sorry for my excesives. I also tone down some of my comments (214, 222) in the sober hindsight of the morn.

  23. Fly on the wall says:-
    Did Malcolm Turnbull phone John Howard and give him an almighty blast about his contradictory comments on the pulp mill?
    Did Malcolm Turnbull threaten to resign if John Howard didn’t immediately
    publish a clarification of his comments and support his process?
    Is John Howard now back in his box on this issue?
    Has Malcolm Turnbull saved his seat and wedged Peter Garrett?
    Is John Howard demonstrating that he is now just a dithering old man?

  24. What will Labor do if it wins the election, and it has to make the final decision on whether a pulp mill can be built in the Tamar Valley? We just don’t know, and I doubt that Rudd and Garrett can fart around till election day without answering this question.

    I think Howard is a small-picture politician, who’ll see the pulp mill issue in terms of how it will swing votes in Bass and Braddon. That’s not a criticism – just my perception of how Howard thinks. I think Turnbull is a broader thinker, who worries about the national perception, but also doesn’t want to lose his seat.

    I don’t think Howard is really worried about losing his seat. winning the election is, understandably, what matters to him, and what will determine his place in history.

    But it’s still not impossible for the coalition to win the election, while Howard loses his seat. That situation would be fascinating, and unprecedented.

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