Newspoll: 58-42

Tasmanian reader Econocrat tells of a stunning Newspoll result foreshadowed on tonight’s Lateline: 58-42 to Labor. More to follow …

UPDATE: Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister has increased to 50 per cent to 37 per cent. Like the two-party figure, this is a 2 per cent change in either direction from last week. Preliminary reports at Sky News and The Australian.

UPDATE 2: Graphic here, Dennis Shanahan here. Kevin Rudd’s satisfaction rating has recovered three points after a dip last week; the Coalition’s lead on the question of best party to handle the economy has narrowed to 46-37 from 48-33 three weeks ago; its lead on best party to handle national security has unaccountably narrowed from 45-33 to 43-39; and Labor’s leads on education and health have widened considerably. No doubt much of this can be put down to a very Labor-friendly poll sample. Most interesting is a question on strength of voting intention which gives no reason to think the support for Labor might be “soft”.

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.

782 comments on “Newspoll: 58-42”

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  1. I’m waiting for Howard to do a Barnett and announce a Canal from the North through to the Murray-Darling

    Far Canal !!!!!!

    (apologies William and before that to the 2 Ronnies)

  2. On the constitutional argument, I agree with LTEP – no clear application of the reasoning of the Mason Court to the current situation, let alone any hope that the current Court would consider entertaining the argument, let alone extending the principles to contract.

  3. Just seen the newspoll figures-yippee, yippee. Leadership challenge on the cards for the Rodent. Keep up negative, union bashing, no environmental policy that matters, message guys.

  4. re costello wanting to debate Rudd.

    Rudd should insist that he debate Howard AND Costello.
    There’s no point in debating the monkey without the organ grinder.

  5. Swan vs Costello

    Ha. Who’s going to watch that? I suspect the only channels that would broadcast it would be ABC and Sky.

    For most people it would be far too dull.

  6. Rudd is a very good debater who goes into a situation with the crowd on his side. Costello is…

    …well let’s just say “not” And to have both your leadership candidates look bad with a month out, well, I could say it makes things look bad, but it would actually only reflect how bad things have got. Another debate is a strategic blunder, and an ALP trap. But here, I think Rudd is looting the titianic.

  7. Piers Akerman on his blog last night:

    “I think people see through Rudd but are still playing with the pollsters.”

    Is this some sort of conspiracy theory the conservatives are going to use if they lose? (Australian’s accidentally voted for Rudd as a joke!)

  8. The Australian’s headline is “Howard loses edge on economy”.

    Ha. Oh, and by the way, Labor’s primary vote is 9 points above the Liberals two-party preferred vote. But that’s probably not significant.

  9. Well its a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, and last nights Newspoll result has been confirmed in print from coast to coast. Makes me want to go and kick a Liberal. Where is Geriatric Person?

    This makes me think along another theme now: from victory to landslide. I’d be interested to know if either party has ever been this far behind in any election campaign in the past two decades and still won? Assuming not, then unless Rudd relaxes his discipline, Labor will win. Hurray! But this raises another interesting point, which I have speculated on previously. The Newspoll result also shows that the Rudd support is now fairly solid. So enough punters have made up their mind by now to decide the result. It might be best for the Liberals then to get it over with ASAP. But we still have five weeks of a long election campaign to go. What if interest rates go up again? What if that brings in to play the “sick of it all” factor against Howard? It has been his decision to have such a long phoney-campaign period, and his decision to have a long six week campaign. How much risk is there now that a grumpy old man will only turn off more voters, so that a probable win becomes a disastrous loss?

    The smartest tactic for the Liberals now would be to adopt Glen’s stance. Practice damage control. Be gracious and respect the mood of the people. Otherwise it could get real ugly, Canada-style.

  10. Swan vs Costello presumably will be on the 7.30 Report.
    Why should Rudd have to debate Costello? Smirky isn’t running for the top job, the Rodent is.
    Rudd is now the frontrunner: let him call the shots! Enough of playing to Howard’s tune.

  11. 709,

    “The smartest tactic for the Liberals now would be to adopt Glen’s stance. Practice damage control. Be gracious and respect the mood of the people. Otherwise it could get real ugly, Canada-style.”

    🙂 I was right there during the Canadian election ;-). Lived in Michigan, right across the border from Windsor, Ontario. Got CBC feed regularly on the cable TV. You are right here, it might get to that category? After 11 years of pain and lies, the electorate deserves a chance to clean bowl them and send them back to the pavilion :):)

  12. LETP’s right on the law.

    I remember trying to help an over-the-top senate independent, determined to make his name in electoral law. Despite my counsel, he went to the High Court, complaining amongst other things, that Mr Packer hadn’t given him air-time. The Court reminded him the ‘freedom of political communication’ is a shield against legal restrictions, not a sword for positive equality.

    If Labor gets around to legislating for an independent commission on leadership debates, the implied freedom potentially becomes an issue. (It has in NZ, under their charter, where a court insisted the 5th most popular party leader had a right to participate in one debate, based on flaws in the measuring of ).

    But I can’t see our High Court doing anything other than deferring a wide margin to Parliament to set the parameters of the debates. Especially given the virtual entrenchment of our majoritarian system and its marginalisation of rival parties.

  13. I left a sentence dangling. The NZ case was doubly interesting as it was based on flaws in measuring the current support of the parties for the purposes of dividing airtime in the leaders’ debates. Second, the equality principle WAS held to apply to ‘private’ power, as the debates were organised by a network, not a commission.

  14. Yes, it’s on. And Costello is saying the worm is welcome. Obviously they need as much focus on this debate as possible because they are getting desperate.

  15. 715,

    Confirmed in spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds. Costello is a bloody idiot and is so scared about the fuss created on Sunday night, he will allow the worm too [wonder if he looked at the lowest point of the worm on Sunday night, it was when his name was mentioned] :):):) ……


    Treasurer Peter Costello has welcomed a head-to-head debate with his Labor counterpart Wayne Swan, and has opened the door for the controversial worm to enter the fold.

    Mr Costello and Mr Swan will face off in a National Press Club-hosted debate in Canberra next Tuesday.

    And Mr Costello says the audience response worm could feature, despite the Liberal Party’s strong opposition to its use by Channel Nine in Sunday night’s leaders’ debate.

    “I’ll be very, very happy to debate with him [Mr Swan] the economy, tax, anything he likes really,” he told ABC Local Radio in Tasmania. “I don’t worry about worms.”

    Channel Nine’s feed of Sunday night’s debate between Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd was cut twice because of their use of the worm, which was opposed by Mr Howard.

    Today the Department of Parliamentary Services said it cut the feed on instructions from the National Press Club.

  16. Julie: it’s not confirmed until Swan accepts to the terms and conditions. if I was Swan, before accepting the debate talk about Costello running from a debate on the 7:30 Report last night.

  17. Costello has probably kicked another own goal. Swan is a street fighter, he is very happy to have a scrap.

    Costello thinks he can turn on a Question Time performance but this is very different.

    Bring ot on I can’t wait. 🙂

    ps Bishop v Smith education debate tomorrow on ABC Radio Brisbane – streaming on

  18. Personally I’ve never been overwhelmed by Swan’s debating skills. He goes alright in prepared speeches.

    I’d expect Costello to towel up Swan, realistically.

    But on the other hand, unlike the leaders debate, the ALP has everything to gain if Swan puts in anything above a mediocre performance.

  19. Very interesting, this Costello/Swan debate – and nothing to do with the economy!

    From the perspective of the recent Hockey/Bailey debate on Sky it was very obvious that Hockey feels he is in some sort of trouble. Why in the hell would he give oxygen (and opportunity) to his opponent. And Mike Bailey would be seen by many as just a hopeful lightweight. If Bailey does has the goods, then even more reason to avoid a clash. Hockey is sitting on a margin of 10.1% for god’s sake. They’re really are feeling it.

    Costello needs an opportunity. Risk doesn’t come in to it. Becoming PM depends on this Coalition victory. He is very unlikely to win from Opposition so it’s all or nothing now. Howard has shown his personal ambitions are more important than the party. Looks like Costello doing a bit of me-too on this score. I would have thought, for the good of the Party, that a firewall strategy would be judicious. The Libs being reduced to 45 seats is not unimaginable. This would mean 15 years in the wilderness and perhaps a talentless front bench after the retirements and defeats. If I was a party member, I’d be ropable – just take your medicine and work towards the election after next!

    Swan has been much maligned by Costello recently and Swan has found it difficult to counter with Treasury on the Govt’s side. But Costello is now giving his opponent air time! Swan will relish the chance to show his wares.
    Labor could gain much out of this. Swan’s performance could add great weight to an area seen by many as a weakness. Swan might not do well but it won’t be catastrophic.

    Given the worm’s southern direction when Costello was mentioned on Sunday night, this economy debate has more risk for the Coalition than for Labor.
    But it’s not about the economy or the Coalition, it’s about Costello’s future.

    Also seen this morning was Howard deleting all reference to Costello on his election material in Bennelong.

    What an interesting time we live in.

  20. dembo, that was always gonna happen. i remember back when the rodent was shoring up themarriage laws, and gillard said she supported it because “traditionally” (yes, she used that word!) marriage was between a man and a woman and therefore that is how it should always be. tres radical thinking.

  21. Misty: Swan did well for himself last night on the 7:30 Report. Costello is the one the needs a week to prepare himself, Swan had to answer some tough questions from KOB. I’m sure Swan and the rest of the economic team with go in to lock down and prep Swan. Lets not forget that Swan, Emmerson, Gillard and Tanner all have economic backgrounds. Costello also can’t control his smirk, and that will turn people off.

  22. Interesting: Smirk likes and wants the worm, El Rodente does not. This further alienates Howard and makes him look even further out of touch.

    either way watching Swan and Smirk debating the Micro within the Macro fiscal implications of sutained CPI pressure will be boring as bats**t and no one will watch. Smirk will try and use it to sell his PM qualities but Swan has a simple brief, talk the boring stuff and keep him pinned down.

    I would have love to have been a fly on the wall in the Liberals Berlin Bunker last night. You can just imagine it: Howard mubling and rambling to no one in particular from miracle forces that will emerge and win the marginals to how dare this ungrateful populance even flirt with the idea of Rudd, Rudd, RUDD….. Nurse! Nurse!

  23. Will: I agree about Costello’s complete obnoxiousness being likely to shine through and that will be a factor, especially for the wormers.

    However I did see Swan on the 7:30 Report last night and as usual I wasn’t particularly impressed.

    He has a tendency to panic and get a bit jumbled under pressure, and Costello is likely to go at him aggressively.

    I think he is a weak link, but we shall see. I’d feel much more comfortable if it was Gillard going up against Abbott on IR.

  24. yes, misty, i have some reservations about how swanee will go against the smirk. but the ALP must be feeling pretty damn confident at the moment so maybe that will help steady wayne’s nerves.

  25. Wheres Steven Kaye? The “we’ll release our tax policy on the first day of the campaign in order to flush out Labors tax policy” really worked a treat with the electorate! Rope-a dope in reverse. As I said at the time Steven all you have left to offer is your industrial relations, environment, housing, health, and education policies-yeah right, cant wait to see those-especially IR.

    Just admit like lots of other Tories are: You have run out of puff, ideas, and inspiration(and no one likes you anymore)

  26. Dembo: as a gay man, I don’t support gay marriage, I think it’s too divisive. I support the removal of discrimination in the laws, especially taxation and superannuation. Polls over the year have shown majority of people won’t support gay marriage, but there is an overwhelming majority that supports civil unions and the removal of discrimination in the laws.

    Anyway, it’s better to win a war one battle at a time, rather than try to win a war in one huge battle. If public opinion is changing in favour for civil unions, then we should aim for that not marriage.

  27. Not sure about Swann debating Costello. Why give Costello a forum even if he is radically unpopular with the electorate? Its not like the masses are going to tune in to an economics debate is it? Swann could possible say something silly at the end of the day.

    Shanahans spin on the latest newspol was absolutely pathetic again. Why doesnt he just apply for a job with the Libs. He must know he has zero cred when he comes out with rubbish like this morning? The tax policy that knocked ‘Labor sideways’ has given them a 51% primay vote. Whats the matter with this donkey. He cant lose either way. He gets an ALP government to vent against for the next 3 years or he gets his beloeved Tories for another 3 year and can vent against the ALP.

    What is shows is how out of touch the commentariat is with the concerns, needs, desires, and thoughts of normal working people.

  28. 661 Mr Squiggle Says: October 23rd, 2007 at 6:23 am

    I could almost call this poll an outlier:
    THe primary vote for Others is down 3 and the ALP primary is up 3
    Coalition primary only dropped 1 point.
    Basically, I don’t believe this one, I think the TPP is still at 54-46 …….

    Didn’t you see the sample size? 1706… which is the largest poll conducted so far this year, as far as I’m aware, leading to a +/- of 3%. I think it’s at the top end of that scale too, but believe the actual 2PP to be around 55-56 for the ALP.

    Even as an outlier, it’s extreme.

  29. TC: “Its not like the masses are going to tune in to an economics debate is it?”

    It’s all about the reporting of the debate. There’ll be a fifteen second grab on the evening news, and Swann/Costello will be working hard to make sure it’s not fifteen seconds of them going a total blank over last year’s workplace productivity figures or whatever. A bit of orchestrated passion would get used, and best if it’s of you eviscerating your gaping opponent.

    Not sure if Swanny’s the eviscerating type, but we shall see.

  30. 738 Tory Crimes Says: October 23rd, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Not sure about Swann debating Costello. Why give Costello a forum even if he is radically unpopular with the electorate?

    Isn’t Costello co-leader? If there’s any debate on offer for Costello, it should be Rudd that spanks him.

    Swan should specify that he wants to debate the next treasurer… perhaps Downer?

  31. Julie, I think Janette will get Howard to ‘sell’ Kirribilli before she has to move out. A ‘private’ buyer will buy it, and then the Howards will stay there and they will bequeath it to the Liberal party in their wills.

  32. The Ruddslide is coming!!! I know the libs are clinging to the desparate self delusion, just keep telling yourself “it cant be true, it will change, good old Johnnie will come through, he’ll pull the fat out of the fire”, meanwhile the spin is already starting for the Turnbull challenge to Costellos ascension- “its all because the poeple didnt want costello, its nothing to do with Howard overstaying his welcome, and the ALP are desparately attempting to cling to underdog status, just cut out the pretence its embarrasing.

  33. Those who underestimate Wayne Swan, do so at their own peril. Don’t forget that, unlike Costello, he does actually have formal economic qualifications.

    And I am not gay, but I agree with Will that the gay community should take it one step at a time. Go for the important bits first, get equality on taxation and super, and introduce civil unions. You’ll get them easy (and so you should).

  34. The punters are always supposed to get it right-
    Centerbet after old Rat’s tax cuts ALP $1.71 LNP $$2.15
    Latest odds ALP $1.45 LNP $2.75

  35. Swan is going 🙂


    Federal Treasurer Peter Costello and his Labor counterpart Wayne Swan will have their own face-to-face election campaign debate next week.

    But already they’re debating who made the first challenge.

    Mr Swan says he’s been waiting for months for Mr Costello to take up his call for a debate.

    This morning, on Macquarie radio, Mr Costello said he had offered Mr Swan the opportunity for a debate at the National Press Club on Tuesday.
    “Given I’ve been calling for this debate for months, it is a little curious that Mr Costello chose this morning to ‘challenge’ me to debate,” Mr Swan said.

    “Nonetheless, I look forward to a robust exchange of views about the economic opportunities and challenges we face now and in the future.”

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