ACNielsen: 57-43

Comments thread chat informs us that the headline result of an ACNielsen poll to be published in tomorrow’s Fairfax broadsheets has been revealed by Laurie Oakes on the Channel Nine news. This has Labor’s lead two-party lead at 57-43 compared with 55-45 last month. More details as they come to hand. There is also reason to believe tomorrow’s edition of The West Australian will feature one of its small-sample Westpoll surveys of voting intention at the Poll Bludger’s end of the continent; if so, you will read about it here in the small hours of the morning EST.

UPDATE: Sydney Morning Herald report here, though no detail yet beyond that provided by Oakes.

UPDATE 2: Primary vote figures at the Sydney Morning Herald: Labor up from 44 per cent to 49 per cent, Coalition down from 41 per cent to 39 per cent. Kevin Rudd’s approval rating is up 8 per cent to equal its March high of 67 per cent, “pushing him ahead of the pre-election ratings achieved by Malcolm Fraser in 1975 and Bob Hawke in 1983”. Remarkably, the Prime Minister’s approval rating remains steady at a more than respectable 50 per cent.

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.

386 comments on “ACNielsen: 57-43”

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  1. Two things hurting the Coalition: Howard’s age vs Rudd’s youth, & Workchoices.
    I doubt the Rodent is going to retire in the next week, so my bet is that there will be some move to further soften Workchoices. Maybe Barbara Bennett will be dragged out for a new lot of ads.

  2. It really does make me so happy that the one thing Howard ever really cared about – IR “reform” (because I think that reform actually implies positive change) – has been the thing that has cost him any credibility and popularity that he might once have held. I think it is proof that his was always a hollow prime ministership. Given the power to do whatever he wanted, he destroyed himself and his government with poor policy that pandered to his rich mates.

  3. Remember, when someone says the election won’t be called “this week” that means that next Sunday is a very good chance. He called the election in 2004 on the Sunday.

  4. Maybe Howard could follow Rudd’s lead, and have someone leak details of his own illicit affair with Pru Goward. That should show that there’s some life in the old rodent yet.

  5. My take on the poll figures is that a large proportion of the electorate has stopped listening to Howard. If that’s true, then rolling out new policy initiatives, fear and smear, and ‘working harder’ won’t make a scrap of difference.

    The ALP can still shoot itself in the foot, but they’re looking good so far. They need to avoid looking overly confident. If the polls continue to forecast a landslide, there may be a drift away as voters decide to take a bit of the wind out of Rudd’s sails.

    The other factor is that the election may act as a circuit breaker, and the real voting intentions are not locked in.

    I’m most concerned with the last one.

  6. Rats/Gipps

    Yes, all valid points about the coalition, debt and the trade deficit. I worry too. Infrastructure needs an overhaul and we had higher productivity with Keating in the late 90s in the midst of “that recession”. I’ll grant you all that and my point was not to show that the legend of economic management was correct, just to show that it doesn’t matter.

    The public remember the numbers. They also know the basic idea of “government debt” and probably liken it to a mortgage. The Australian people think the government has “paid off the house” and is now saving for retirement. Those that remember Keating, remember “going into debt” for the deck out the back that needs a coat of paint now.

    I’m just saying that I understand why Rudd is on the front foot with economics, since the perception is that it is still the government’s strongest suit, but I think it is dangerous territory and you can’t get away with outright contradiction in your statements, the Libs will maul you.

    Again, you can’t say the government can’t control rate rises, spends too much and taxes too much and then say “me too” on the same economic policy. It will blow Swan & Rudd out of the water. Be sure it will feature in any debate held.

  7. I doubt Rudd is too overconfident, at least publicly. He keeps repeating the line that 16 seats is a lot to win, and it’s historically difficult for an incumbant Australian government to be tossed out.
    We won’t know until election day whether the polls are overestimating Labor’s support.

  8. On AM this morning Howard made this statement:

    “I don’t regard it as a perfect government as I certainly don’t regard myself as being without failings as a prime minister. I’ve made my share of mistakes.”

    If I was the reporter on AM interviewing John Howard I would’ve asked him on the spot what mistakes he’s made… I just don’t believe he considers himself to have made any mistakes. John Howard’s false modesty is one of the most infuriating things about him.

  9. re Ichor @ 75

    If I were a Coalition supporter I would be hoping that the ‘dirt machine’ have more than some secret tapes about the behaviour of Union thugs to throw at Rudd.

    In my opinion, most in the electorate are wary of unionism and it has worked for the Coalition before to attack Labor’s connection with unionism and point out how many Labor MPs and candidates have been preselected from Unions.

    However, with the Workchoices debate some might be starting to wish they had strong union representation and support at their workplace. The unions are considered ‘extreme’, pitting labour against capital, painting capital as the ‘evil enemy’.

    But now Workchoices has gone too far the other way, grossly favouring capital interests over Labor, the other extreme, and now Howard and Hockey are trying to win an election on the back of an ‘evil unions’ dirt campaign ?

    I don’t think that will do them much good, in fact it might even reinforce the negatives of Workchoices the Government has kindly been advertising for Labor for the past three months.

    That is, remind the electorate that Work Choices is putting people’s income and security at serious risk- it serves to legitimate unionism more than it serves to condemn it to irrelevance.

    Nobody likes thuggery and stand over tactics-recall Latham’s assault on Mr. Howard at that radio station ‘handshake’-not a good look.

    No doubt they will trot out videos of union people being nasty and intimidating, even criminal {assault} in their behaviour. But I think (a) it may serve to remind people of Work Choices and (b) Rudd has been smart enough not to distance himself from unionism but at the time given the impression that he can and will stand up to unionism where required.

    The softening of his IR approach to gradual removal of AWAs and retaining restrictions on union access to work sites are substantial examples which some union people are very angry about.

    The Coalition ‘dirt machine’ will need more than ‘union thuggery’ to win this election or damage Rudd’s appeal to the electorate in this campaign.

  10. Labor has started the week in announcing policies, such as increasing the pension for veterans, they’re also having a roundtable with the manufacturing industry about the ideas they have in increasing productivity (which has dropped in the 11 years of the Howard government).

    Meanwhile the Coalition is still trying to defend itself from the bad polls and the media that goes with it.

    I might have to watch Question Time this week, it will be fun no doubt.

  11. That primary swing is very very pretty as well and Westpoll (which I normally ignore) if it shows Kalgoorlie likely to fall (and that would put a hole in that whole WA loves AWA theory if it did occur) but surely if Kalgoorlie is in the mix my pet seat of Canning comes into play?

    Say it is so Arbie?

  12. I’d be glad to have a few chats with ALP insiders to see what their internal polling is showing. I’ve talked with a Coalition insider who insists their internal polling shows them hanging on in most seats.

  13. 252 Dogford: I think you’re right that IR destroyed Howard’s credibility, but I’m not sure how much he really cared about IR.

    Sure, he built up his reputation for consistency over the years by constantly banging on about the need for IR reform. But I don’t think he established any serious knowledge of the subject, despite the Libs always making him IR spokesman when he wasn’t leader or contesting the same. Look at the costly mess he and Reith made at the attempt to smash the MUA.

    Workchoices, of course, was a response to the fluke of Senate control. But it was only incidentally related to his business mates and the HR Nichols fanatics. His real aim, as an electioneering nerd, was to destroy the union movement and thus the financial base of Labor.

    Ironically, even this has failed. Union membership may not have increased, but public respect for unions has. The public wants them there as a sort of protection, even if they don’t especially want to join themselves. The unions had already won a lot of sympathy by being the only ones, originally, to go in to bat for the James Hardie asbestosis victims after their nasty little corporate fiddle. That continued with Workchoices victims.

    Howard’s loss of credibility has spread from IR to just about all issues now. It is as though a veil has been lifted from the public’s perception of him.

  14. Glen, what planet are you on? #188

    Labor owns four issues. They are all negatives for the government. Even when they run ads for them it reminds people of the issues.
    They are (not necessarily in order):

    No Nuclear Power stations.
    IR Laws
    Global Warming

    The Liberals keep saying what are we doing wrong, yet they can’t see the problem. They just don’t get it.

  15. Regarding the issue which Rob in post 255 raised: the voters getting ‘serious’ when an election is called and changing their votes. I’m hearing alot about this from the libs especially – is there any historical reason for thinking such a shift could occur? Has there been a situation -in fed or state politics – where there has been a massive shift in voting intention as soon as an election has been called?

  16. Don Wigan: I read a great article from the US, where there is now over 50% of the population that would like the opportunity to vote at their workplace for union representation. I think union representation is down to like 12% of the workforce over there, and like over here have taken a battering from the conservatives. In the US the respect of what the unions have done over the last century is gaining traction. I think the same thing is probably happening here. It’s one of those things, you don’t notice it until it’s gone or basically been neutered.

    If i can find the article, I will post a link here.

  17. Malcolm Turnbull was asked by Fran Kelly on ABC this morning about whether he thought John Howard was the best person to lead the Coalition at the next election. He didn’t say yes. He equivocated about John Howard being the leader. That old phrase. He danced around all questions about John Howard’ leadership.
    We are getting two streams of opinions in the media. Dennis Shanahan has evidently spoken to John Howard and is firmly of the view that John Howard should battle it out.
    Others have spoken to the plotters, unnamed “senior ministers”.
    Soundings are being made as to whether the coup could be bloodless or whether there would be an almighty mess.
    It appears that there are roadblocks in the way of calling the election in the next few days.
    The longer John Howard waits to call the election the worse it will be for him and his party.
    The plotters say it has to be this week and they are probably right.
    It’s a very small window of opportunity.
    The longer this drags on the worse the opinion polls will get and the more difficult it will be for the Coalition to rescue seats and therefore the longer they will be in opposition.
    It’s not so much about winning the election as to how many seats can be saved.
    Malcolm Turnbull would probably not put up a great deal of resistance to Peter Costello being installed in a bloodless coup as long as he was to get the next shot at the top job, which would probably be in about a year.
    Peter will be off to greener pastures then.
    Malcolm doesn’t need to get another job! This is now his job. He has enough wherewithal to live comfortably for ever.
    What would be interesting is to see if Peter Costello, poor guy, being drafted into an eight week job, would shuffle the ministries around, ie give Malcolm a more senior position as part of a deal not to cause a fuss right now.
    If Peter says “no way” then the mob may have to turn to Malcolm instead
    and he would absolutely revel in the new job.
    Just watch him go.
    There would be a series of announcements including the republic.
    He would want to put a chasm between him and the old John Howard between then and the election.
    He would most likely shuffle off those old Howard loyalists (keeping Alexander Downer) and promote new young faces, including several women (at last!).
    The question is: who will move the motion in the party room?

  18. Aristotle, it’s likely that a greater percentage of preferences will go to the ALP this time. Family First would happily preference Kevin Rudd or at least split fifty fifty. Probably more likely 66% preferences to ALP which gives them an even greater margin.
    One would have thought, judging by past elections, that the gap would have shown something of a closing by now but this election is not one of these “normal” ones.
    It’s a seismic shift.
    I think we are going to see seats being by by Labor which we hadn’t imagined.

  19. If John Howard can win from this far behind, it would be the greatest miracle ever in Australian politics.

    If JH wins the election from this position, the first act of the new government will be to pass legislation allowing human cloning, at least for the Liberal Party.

  20. If Rudd wins he’ll have rewritten the history books for several reasons….

    A – Governments dont lose when the economy is very strong.

    B – Opposition’s dont win with a leader whose been in for less than 1 year…Hawke had adequate leadership experience being head of the ACTU for years beforehand.

    C – the most inexperienced front bench whom even Labor supporters would struggle to name more than half a dozen….would be the first in many many years…

    A: Except for the last time, when the economy was booming in 96.

    B: This never happens except for the exceptions. ‘Inexpereinced’ opposition leaders rarely get the opportunity to win or lose elections because they rarely get selected; you can’t discern any clear paterns in the ones that have.

    C: Except for the last change of government, otr the one before that, or the one before that…

    Please Glen, in order of preference

    A: Give it a rest.

    B: Address some fo the arguments above that have been pointed out to you many, many times.

    C: Provide some actual evidence (you know, facts that are actually true) to back your claims.

  21. I wonder if people will start feeling sorry for John Howard? Will that affect their vote? Or will they just say “time to turn over a new leaf”?
    My feeling is that yes they may feel sorry for him but that won’t mean they will vote for him. People value their votes a lot.
    The Howard era is rapidly passing.

  22. In regards to Liberal candidates not being found in NSW seats, there is still no Liberal candidate in the supposedly marginal Labor seat of Lowe (3.1% margin).

    They had a candidate willing to run (Nick Adams, who I went to school with coincidentally), but the party machinery pulled him out for fear that his statements would be too controversial and direct attention from the rest of the campaign. That was about 3 months ago – haven’t heard anything since then.

    Just shows the disarray of the NSW Liberal Party at the moment…

  23. Swing Lowe, it’s amazing they haven’t found a candidate for Lowe yet.
    They must have completely written off that seat already. That’s one of those seats they can’t defend. They should be looking at saving seats with margins of seven, eight and nine per cent.

  24. If Liberal internal polling shows them ahead in a majority of seats, why then are senior cabinet ministers agitating for a handover to Costello?

  25. Good question Howard Hater. Let’s see the internal polling! They are probably quoting from internal polling from a year or more ago!

  26. Generic Oracle
    I cannot imagine the ALP getting into the type of debate you are proposing. Rudd’s sucess has been in avoiding wedge issues.
    The answer to questions like “what would you have done with the economy?” is to point out the infrastructure and service improvements
    that should have been made using the massive taxes that the Libs have garnered. This paints the Libs as the big taxers, and the ALP as the prudent spenders.
    There is much merit in what you say about the possible corner the ALP could paint itself into. I don’t think that’s the way it’ll pan out.

  27. In 1996 Keating requested 2 debates during the campaign, one with Howard… and one with the Treasurer, Foreign Minister and Prime Minister against their shadow-counterparts.

    The second debate was rejected, understandably. It would’ve been a slaughter of a debate. I won’t be surprised if we get a similar request at this election.

  28. Well, as a Councillor for Ashfield, he said that the citizenship test should include a test for Australian slang:,22049,20440830-5009120,00.html

    He’s also opposed to multiculturalism (absolute suicide in Lowe) and ethnic ghettos forming in Marrickville and Leichardt:

    And finally, as a Councillor, he’s called for banning lawn mowing on weekends and eradicating pigeons in Ashfield:

    Just realised this will probably get stuck in moderation, but so be it…

  29. Why would the Liberals waste resources on Lowe, a seat they’ve got no chance of winning? They’ll be concentrating more on trying to hold Bennelong, Parramatta, Lindsay and Macquarie.

  30. CTEP at 258.

    I heard the interview and the only thing missing was Howard bursting into song singing the classical Frank Sinatra hit “My Way”.

    And now the end is near…
    Regrets I’ve had a few…..


  31. If memory serves me correctly, in 1996 Keating tried to set the agenda on ‘leadership’ and about how experienced Labor was and how the opposition lacked leadership and experience. Once a government has lost all its steam, they say ‘the opposition is untested, so don’t vote for them’. Also given a link earlier in this thread to a YouTube where Howard tried a censure motion against Keating, he went on about how if all the government can do is bag the opposition for what they did 13 years before, then they’re admitting failure that they haven’t done anything, seems to be the same now that the coalition is telling people to remember the Keating years and what they did. At least Labor has come back at them and saying that at least in the 13 years of Labor they did heaps of reform (even though it cost them some supporters). The Libs complain about Fraser’s wasted years, well Howard has wasted years too.

    Surely history is repeating itself.

  32. HH at 279

    If the Libs had polling like that they would not only have leaked it to every media organisation in the country, they’d be handing it out as leaflets on street corners!

    There seems to be alot of strategic stock placed on “win expectations” in Coalition re-election bunker.If there was something solid and tangible that could lift that win expectation, it wouldn’t be peddled through Alan Jones and ilk…. unless of course the latest OzTrack shows a surge of wavering Coalition support in the 55+ demographic and this is just an exercise in trying to shore up that support.The oldies are the difference between a defeat and massacre in a great very many seats

  33. Possum: correct! The over 55s are the only demographic Howard has left in his corner(with the exception of my parents and family members, who all hate his guts!).

  34. Possum and HH: But Rudd is trying to get some support from the veterans (and hence war widows) by saying he would increase their pension. Howard has been dragging his feet on this one, no doubt the Libs will have to match it or feel the wrath of the RSL.

  35. Rudd needs to narrow Howard’s lead amongst the over 55s. I assume he’ll have some policy announcements for both pensioners and self funded retirees.
    Interestingly, I saw a news report some weeks ago that suggested one age group concerned about work choices(its impact on their children and grand children) and climate change is those aged over 60 in marginal seats.

  36. Howard has to call the election this week. Not as a circuit breaker for the electorate, but to put the leadership speculation to rest. This quote from Milne’s article

    So the sands are moving through the Liberal Party hourglass. But they cannot afford to move too slowly, a fact recognised by all those quietly increasing the pressure for leadership change. In the words of one minister: “You get beyond this week and it gets very difficult. It’s got to be this week.” That sounds ominously like a deadline.

    I think Rudd knows this, and that’s why he’s been pressuring Howard to call the election. So now Howard will look like he’s reacting to the polls and Rudd is calling the shots. So he won’t want to call it for those reasons. But there is murmuring in the ranks, and time is running out as Milne points out.

    Will he roll the dice? I say yes.

  37. I don’t think Howard will call the election this weekend… but I sure hope the media keep up with the election date speculation as it’ll definately put pressure on Howard to call it.

    I remember there was speculation for weeks and weeks before he called it in 2004 and he has a lot more to worry about this time.

  38. My wife’s parents are retired (working class people who did OK), non-political, swinging voters who have voted Liberal throughout the Howard years but both are now voting Labor this time because they are so impressed with Rudd.

    This couple liked Beazely but couldn’t vote for him. They thought Crean was ordinary and didn’t trust Latham. I asked my father-in-law why he’s switching and he said that in his view, Rudd was one of those leaders who is both smart and sensible that comes along once a generation. He drew a parallel between Rudd and Hawke, not on personality but on intelligence and connecting with ordinary Australians.

    On another issue, another front has opened up against Howard. I notice on the SMH website lately that the NSW Teachers Federation are running online ads getting stuck into Howard about giving taxpayers money to private schools.

  39. “Richard Jones Says:
    September 10th, 2007 at 10:14 am
    Aristotle, it’s likely that a greater percentage of preferences will go to the ALP this time. Family First would happily preference Kevin Rudd or at least split fifty fifty. Probably more likely 66% preferences to ALP which gives them an even greater margin.”

    Richard, it’s primary votes that really matter when looking at polls, and two party projections are helpful as an estimate of what is likely to happen. I use a 58% flow to the ALP, which is more conservative than the pollsters, some of whom allocate as high as 70%.

    Tha actual flow may be higher than 58%, but it probably won’t be much more.

    The flows to the ALP in past elections were:

    61% in 2004, 58.6% in 2001, 53.4% in 1998, 53.8% in 1996, 60.2% in 1993, 61% in 1990, and 61.7% in 1987.

  40. The fact that the NSW Teachers Federation is running ads against JWH isn’t a surprise – they ran ads against the NSW Liberals and Debnam in the State Election this year, which were fairly effective.

    I’d also expect the Nurses Federation to launch their own ads attacking the Libs and Workchoices once the campaign proper begins – they seemed pretty effective against Debnam in the State Election

  41. Does anyone here know of the processes that take place in the Liberal party meeting room and whether any member can move a leadership spill?
    The leadership issue will obviously be the number one topic at the next meeting. Can Wilson Tuckey for example move a motion for a spill or are the processes not that formal? And, if he or another does, does that motion need seconder and must it be debated and voted on? Or are the party meeting much less formal?
    I would think it highly likely that one or more backbenchers at the very least and very likely one or more ministers would want such a debate and a vote.
    John Howard won’t be able to ignore the proverbial elephant.

  42. Hi William,
    Pedant’s point: On your pendulum you have Lyne listed as a Southern Suburban seat – in the analysis you list it correctly as a north coast seat.

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