Newspoll: 58-42

The first honeymoon Newspoll has Labor leading 46 per cent to 35 per cent on the primary vote and 58-42 on two-party preferred (hat tip to James J). Kevin Rudd has a predictably massive 68-11 lead as preferred prime minister, and personal ratings of 59 per cent satisfied, 11 per cent unsatisfied and 30 per cent undecided. However, Brendan Nelson has also started well with a surprisingly strong 36 per cent approval rating – although his 19 per cent disapproval is also high under the circumstances, as demonstrated by this table showing earlier opposition leaders’ ratings at their first Newspolls:

Satisfied Dissatisfied Undecided
Andrew Peacock (June 1989) 22 50 28
John Hewson (April 1990) 33 15 52
Alexander Downer (May 1994) 31 12 57
John Howard (February 1995) 45 23 32
Kim Beazley (April 1996) 39 15 46
Simon Crean (December 2001) 30 25 45
Mark Latham (December 2003) 32 17 51
Kim Beazley (February 2005) 40 22 38
Kevin Rudd (December 2006) 41 10 49
Brendan Nelson (January 2008) 36 19 45

The only point of comparison for an incoming government in Newspoll’s historical data (which goes back to 1985) is the Howard government’s debut entry of 52 per cent to 34 per cent on the primary vote, with no two-party figure available. Past incoming prime ministers’ ratings were Paul Keating’s 21 per cent satisfied, 42 per cent dissatisfied and 37 per cent uncommitted, and John Howard’s 45 per cent, 12 per cent and 43 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.

374 comments on “Newspoll: 58-42”

Comments Page 1 of 8
1 2 8
  1. “However, Brendan Nelson has also started well with a surprisingly strong 36 per cent approval rating – although his 19 per cent disapproval is also high under the circumstances”

    I can’t see how you work that out. John Howard had similar results (as below, with an even higher disapproval rating) in 1995, and we know what happened after that.

    John Howard (February 1995) 45 23 32

  2. James J, isn’t that what the Greens DO – poll reasonably well in non election periods but have their vote clawed back when it gets serious?
    I would expect that the more unelectable the Coalition becomes, the more of a protest vote will go to the Greens. I would expect also that a reasonable percentage of that vote will go back to the ALP when voters are actually in a booth with a pencil.

  3. I know some quite conservative Green voters! – but point taken.
    However, I still contend that a large proportion of Green votes will come back to the ALP at the actual election.
    Most people are sensible enough to realise that the Greens policies are not ‘real’, in that the Greens don’t expect to deliver on them and therefore can indulge themselves in wimsy (just as they can portray themselves as anti politics because they don’t actually have any power so they can’t misuse it – although Vic Greens seem to be giving this a bit of a run for its money).
    Others say they’re going to vote Greens with no knowledge of Green policies other than they’re for the environment.
    Others regard voting for the Greens as the ‘stuff the lot of you’ option – punishing the ALP for not doing what they want them to do but recognising that the Libs will NEVER come near doing what they want them to do.
    For all these reasons, when life gets serious Green votes go out the door (and declines significantly in what voters see as ‘important’ elections).

  4. How disappointing 🙁 but what do you expect at this point in the electoral cycle, the Liberal Party is at its lowest point in its 64 year history so its not surprising that its primary vote is languishing in the low 30s with Labor’s in the mid 40s. The Green vote is far too high the Nat vote as they stand with just 10 seats at 3% sounds is about right.

    Still this poll hardly counts for anything Mr Rudd hasn’t done anything significant since becoming Prime Minister even Kyoto was a non-event we havent seen him tested in Parliament or making any tough decisions so his ratings are superfulace IMHO same as Nelsons ratings but that wont stop the Bulliten from running articles about ‘Mr 11% why does Nelson bother?’ i fear he wont be given a fair shot at the leadership.

    I can only hope that if the Queensland Conservatives can form a new political party that it could be a possible Federal model and one that can be transplanted to the States.

    Is it just me or is Malcolm Turnbull trying to build a big media profile it seems just about every night he’s the one rebutting the ALP when it comes time to hear from the Coalition. I dont know if this is Nelson’s doing or whether he’s just too busy working hard on preparing for the next sitting of Parliament.

    I wouldnt take any notice of Federal polls until March IMHO, what’s more interesting will be the State polls. Personally the Liberal State Opposition leaders ought to meet more than twice a year they ought to meet at least 4 times every year because they’ve got a lot of work to do!

  5. OK, I’m wrong and apologise profusely (but would still contend that a party which wants to portray itself as a growing threat needs to do better than less than 1% rise in primaries between elections…and my point was that they won’t get anywhere near 12% in a real election).
    Anyway, someone has to say rash things based on opinion and not hard evidence now that the likes of Nostra and Steven are off licking their wounds, or where would we be? (Hi, Glen).

  6. Glen: “Is it just me or is Malcolm Turnbull trying to build a big media profile it seems just about every night he’s the one rebutting the ALP when it comes time to hear from the Coalition. I dont know if this is Nelson’s doing or whether he’s just too busy working hard on preparing for the next sitting of Parliament.”

    Yes, it’s Nelson’s cunning plan. He’s dragging Turnbull kicking and screaming into the limelight, because he’s worried that Turnbull’s media profile isn’t high enough. It’s a very clever strategy for dealing with a leadership rival.

    In a similar vein, Julius Caesar appointed Brutus to the high-profile position of praetor back in 45 BC, and it worked out brilliantly for Caesar.

  7. zoom 4 and 7, better that a political party builds slowly with voters who are dedicated to the policies of that party than eg the One Nation experience. The Greens now have a core group of voters and I do not see those voters going elsewhere for some considerable time. Both state and Federal voting patterns have been very consistent for the Greens. Slow steady growth.

  8. OK, Brenton – a 1% rise in primaries every 3 years (and that’s being generous) means that in about 32 elections time (2103) they’ll have 40% of the primary vote.
    That’s scarcely going to have the majors quaking in their shoes.

  9. zoom, the important thing for Australian politics is to have diversity. I do not want to see Australia only have an entrenched 2 party system like the USA. If proportional representation was introduced into our lower houses of Parliament then smaller parties like the Greens would be having more impact. It seems that many Labor people are disturbed by the presence of the Greens. I wonder why?

  10. Well the Liberals really have to get this Mr Undecided into a leadership position somewhere. First he was way ahead of whats-his-name for Queensland Coalition leader, and now he leads Brendan Nelson for preferred PM 30 to 11! Certainly a great month for Undecided in the polls. ROTFL

    Seeing the share markets continued slide so far today, with a US recession now obvious to even Bush-supporters, its hard to see how people are going to look back kindly on Liberals here (or Republicans in the US). They blew the surplus when times were good, and now its looking bad. What annoys me is how many credible people were warning last year that the spending had to stop, yet they still couldn’t get the message till it was too late. I wish Rudd would just say he shouldn’t have matched Howard and ditch or at least revise some of hte stupider promises. This is getting serious.

  11. zoom said
    “OK, Brenton – a 1% rise in primaries every 3 years (and that’s being generous…”

    2001 Federal election Greens 1st pref 4.96%

    2004 Federal election Greens 1st Pref. 7.19%

    2007 Federal election Greens 1st Pref. 7.79%

    2007 Federal Senate election Greens 1st pref 9.04 % increase of 1.37% on 2004.

    Hey zoom I’m not having a go at you, well maybe just a little bit.
    But us Greens followers know that the reporting of Greens performance is generally negative [Credible commentator on election night “The Greens vote is disappointing because….”] and divorced from reality.
    As Brenton says “Both state and Federal voting patterns have been very consistent for the Greens. Slow steady growth.”
    Increased vote, in real and relative terms, increased parliamentary representation in states and federal houses, increased funding from increased votes, increased public awareness.
    Contrast that to the Nats, FF, ADs et al.

  12. I’m in the state of Utah just now, watching the Democrats debate on CNN live

    Let me tell you, Barrack Obama is a windbag and is pretty bad at debating. He looks like he does not have substance on this live-across-the-nation debate.

    I think his challenge for nomination just failed.

    Hillary, on the other hand, is cut through and devasting.

    Edwards is the surpise package. Polite, witty, on message clarly aligning himslef with Hilary – this boy wants to be VP

  13. Don, I can’t work out what point you’re making. I believe you’re disputing what I said about Nelson’s high disapproval rating with comparison to Howard in 1995, who by that time was very well known to the public as a former leader who had unsuccessfully contested an election – hence the very large gap between Howard and Nelson’s “uncommitted” ratings. Nelson has the highest disapproval rating of genuinely new leader in the table, other than Simon Crean (and we know what happened after that).

  14. Fred, you may be right about the Green vote increasing, but also (and connected) they may be right when they say the world is coming to an end.

    Because a country with a “Green” government is not a country worth living in.

  15. What happened to the Democrats? Will there be a resurgance? Will they merge with the Greens or quietly dissapear into the distance?

  16. The 2007 election delivered a blow to the Australian Democrats but it does not have to be a fatal blow. In fact it has been a trigger for a tidal wave of brilliant ideas for rejuvenation.
    We have no intention of going quietly. We have no intention of going at all. We will take our place in the Senate until July next year and we will be there for the next election. The critical fights to protect people and the environment must still be fought.
    If you think it’s time to rebuild and regrow, join us. Because the defining characteristic of the Australian Democrats is not how we are knocked down but how we stand up.

    Join the fightback!

    (from their website)

  17. Willum said: …Howard government’s debut entry of 52 per cent to 34 per cent on the primary vote, with no two-party figure available…

    The calculated Newspoll COAL TPP jumped from about 54% pre-election to as high as 60% post-election. The election result was about 53.2%.

  18. 21

    Centaur, that’s an interesting question.

    I don’t think they will disappear as such, but I could see a very close allignment.

    One question…if the Wilderness Society was given a place at the table of input to the future of this nation, would this improve the prospects of The Greens in future elections?

  19. OK I have a grump about the Greens…
    based on –
    (i) purer than thou attitudes because they don’t have to produce policies or positions which take into account the reality of government (interestingly, where Greens have had power, they’ve split into purists and realists, with the realists winning and taking the party to a more centrist posititon);
    (ii) a lack of real guts when it comes to environmental issues – dodging difficult policy issues because they don’t want hassles within the party (windfarms for example); lack of support for governments which make good environmental decisions and face voter backlash because of these (where was the Green Party when Labor refused to let cattle back on the High Plains?)
    (iii) Bob Brown’s incredibly parochial attitudes on the environment, where Tasmanian forests are more important than global warming (what were his 2004 preference deals based on?)
    (iv) their habit of overclaiming before each and every election;
    (v) the grating cry of “Labor would not have won without us and therefore owes us” which ignores the fact that – if Greens did not exist – the majority of their votes would go to Labor anyway (as stated below, many Greens campaign on the ‘a vote for us is really a vote for Labor’ line).
    (vi) dishonest statements overheard from Greens who pretended to be more moral than the other parties, that “a vote for the Greens is the same as a vote for Labor” without the more honest “if you vote Green, the vote still goes to Labor but we get the money” rider.
    I like the Greens. Some of my best friends are Green. I am a committed environmentalist myself (and have actually got some real runs on the board when it comes to having policy implemented) – I just can’t stand the pretence that they’re somehow better people than the rest of us.

  20. “Where Greens have had power, they’ve split into purists and realists, with the realists winning and taking the party to a more centrist posititon.”

    That sounds like the ALP in its early days. It would be interesting to see the Green supporters declaring the Greens no longer stand for anything (which is not far from the truth).

  21. 58/42 2PP with Nelsen as leader? Poppycock! It’s only a matter of time before Turnbull takes over the leadership.

    Still I believe that the liberals best chance is for Costello to take over at some time when the PM may not be travelling as smoothly. As has been said before, perception is everything in politics. I remember how unpopular Howard was before he became leader. Coconut was elected from a position of strenth as opposed to a position of weakness (his party needed him) and the rest is history.

    I think Cossie has got a contract lined up with one of the major financial institutions, but I like playing with his mind. 🙂

    Good to hear from you again zoom. The greens have got to learn to win before they can be taken seriously about anything. By the way, I think Nostral and Kaye have left the country lol.

  22. Aside from debates about the leadership, this would certainly make by-elections interesting at present. I imagine a few of the past-their-prime brigade in the coalition must want to go soon, but they would surely hold off on these numbers. Or would they?

  23. Zoom , sorry about the ALP and all of their liar leftist MPs , putting up their hands in unison to DENY the rights of so many individuals and then their inner city MPs say how LUCKY we are to have them.
    I will never forgive them for their betrayal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. blacklight Says:
    January 22nd, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    In Qld the deed has been done.
    ‘Nats, Libs agree to form one party’

    In principle means little more than we had to say something for the press release.

    It won’t happen, but if it did I really hope they call it the conservative party and stop this charade that there is something liberal about this bunch of conservatives.

  25. marky marky Says:
    January 22nd, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Yep Labor ahead in the polls, and what exactly have they done other than signing Kyoto.Federal Labor and its State Governments a visionless useless lot.

    Oh lets have a look, they haven’t deported anybody on fictitious charges. The Australian that was silly enough to jump onto Japanese ship didn’t end up in Guantanamo bay, and I haven’t yet heard Rudd threaten to invade any other country yet even though I am sure some right wing nutters would feel India should cop it cause they was rude to our rude cricketers..

    It’s been a pretty good year so far.

  26. Adam, I thought you at LEAST would remember her announcement a few years ago to the press at Parliament House about the ALP supporting a particular change to a certain act! Sorry about my vitriol, but I actually will never forgive the ALP , especially the ‘Left’ , for denying my rights to have my relationship officially recognised.

  27. Come on Brenton didn’t they go half way. And lets be honest family law is about families, and as one witty prime minister put it: Two blokes and a poodle don’t make a family.

  28. There’s no point blaming her personally for that, she was announcing a decision made by the Shadow Cabinet.

    As you may recall, I said in print at the time that the ALP was quite right not to fall for Howard’s “wedge” on that topic. If the gay and lesbian community wants progress on that issue, they (we) have to do some work to gain public support for it, and should start at state level where a lot can be done, but where very little has been done. It was quite unrealistic to demand that the federal Opposition go out on a limb on an issue where no preparatory political work had been done.

  29. charles, Australia is TOTALLY out of step with most other countries. Great Britian, Canada , New Zealand , South Africa etc. Even Uruguay and Hungary in recent weeks. Actually , my partner and I were recently in New Zealand and 2 Canadian couples at breakfast said to us, “You poor things you live in Australia!”

  30. Adam , sorry I was a teenager and a young adult under the Dunstan Government! I dont accept the ALP of today! The ALP is a Conservative Party with No Balls!

  31. 38
    charles – i think for the purposes of Queensland they ought to call themselves either The Queensland Party or the Queensland Conservative Party, as this would make it easier for them to switch names in the hopefully likely event that nationally the Liberals and Nats will form one Conservative force.

    I hope that the model offered by Queensland will get the Federal leaders Truss and Nelson to seriously consider a single party.

    Ideally they ought to use either the Conservative Party of Australia or the old name of the Tories in Australia the United Australia Party far more an apt name considering it will be a merger of the Liberal Party and the ‘Country Party’. Thus if federally it was to occur id be happy with either name but i like the UAP best.

    Hurray im really glad they’re going to get the ball rolling in Queensland i hope they have every success so as to get the rest of the country behind creating a single Conservative force against Labor.

  32. Brenton; yes I know. But surly the issues has three levels, legal, cultural(religious) and family. From the children,s point of view the legal issues are critical, but from a relationship point of view I believe ( and I know it’s only my point of view) it’s the cultural and family support that are more important.

    And from a cultural and religious ( in some churches) point of view you would, I think have to agree things have moved forward.

  33. Dunstan may have worn some pretty outlandish cloths, but he did live in a period were these things were whispered about and from memory he was pretty careful to leave it at that level.

    You are in fact asking a lot more from the present labor government and I think Adam put it well, if you want it, you have to lay the political ground. The Government has only so much political capital to burn, they have to ask is it worth burning it for this issue. And be honest labor is not one voice, there will be people that worry they may end up in a catholic hell.

    To be fare to the government you have to deal with the cultural issues, and lets be honest marriage is pretty central to our culture.

    Is it really the legal document you want, or is it recognition from our culture that relationships between same sex couples are valid, and the legal document is a means to force that recognition.

    I guess i’m asking are you trying to put the cart before the horse.

  34. Glen I would be really happy if the Liberals and Nationals joined forces and called themselves the Australian Conservative Party. People like me could then stop dreaming that one day the Liberal party would return to it’s roots.

    That act alone would probable rejoivinate the democrats. To be honest a look at the Liberal party and I despair.

  35. marky marky reading the cry baby remarks of sore-loser Tories is the enduring joy of the election win. Enjoy opposition (everywhere)

  36. Well just as the Tories in Britain have moderates and hardliners so would a single Tory party in Australia. But the Liberal Party name had little if nothing to do with liberal social policies rather economic liberalism. BTW would returning to its roots involved returning to the White Australia Policy??? Personally i like the name the United Australia Party seeing as it would be a merger of the ‘country party and the liberal party’ but the Conservative Party of Australia wouldn’t harm our voting block after all the Tories have a minority government in Canada and it didnt hurt them when the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance joined to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

    The Conservative parties of Australia have had a long history of reforming themselves into new organisations. The Commonwealth Liberal Party was replaced by the Nationalist Party of Australia in 1917, which was replaced by the UAP in 1931, which was replaced by the Liberal Party in 1944. I see no reason why there need be 2 Conservative parties its almost like when the ALP shot itself in the foot by splitting up in the 1950s.

  37. charles, I have to laugh at your ignorance! Did the few people who fought for the end of Slavery, force that recognition????? Did the Suffragettes force their recognition of the right for women to have the vote etc ????? I actually find I can tolerate heterosexuals sitting in judgement of gay relationships because they dont no a damn thing about them! It is amazing that people delight in saying how promiscuous gay people are but the whole idea of them having some form of legal recognition for their realtionships under the law is oh so difficult! I can assure you that this issue in Australia is not going away! What I cannot stand is gay people who make excuses for the policies of the ALP!

Comments Page 1 of 8
1 2 8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *