Morgan: 64.5-35.5

The latest face-to-face Morgan poll shows Labor breaking its record result of a few weeks ago. It now leads 56.5 per cent to 31.5 per cent on the primary vote and 64.5-35.5 on two-party preferred. Morgan also presents us with qualitative findings on perceptions of the two leaders, which gives a strong impression that Brendan Nelson failed to please anybody in attempting to have two bob each way on the stolen generations apology.

Other news:

• The AEC has commenced redistribution proceedings for Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It is likely that no change will be required for the latter; the outlook for the former was earlier canvassed here.

• A transcript of a High Court hearing regarding Labor’s appeal against Fran Bailey’s win in McEwen has been published, the upshot of which appears to be that the matter will be heard in the Federal Court late next month.

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.

690 comments on “Morgan: 64.5-35.5”

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  1. No. 46

    Asanque, the party has changed considerably since the Menzies era. I hope you aren’t suggesting a return to extreme economic protection and re-regulated financial systems as well as a White Australia Policy. 😉

  2. No. 50

    I find that astonishingly hypocritical Andos. Don’t pretend that you’re willing to change your opinion of the Libs.

  3. No. 52

    Actually, my opinion of Ms Cornes changed quite a lot after watching Australian Story on Monday.

    Despicable treatment by the media and the ALP!

  4. GP @ 30 – I think the wires have got a bit crossed here. I was offering some possibilities for where the line could be drawn on what counts as a polarising and/or tough decision, and was asking where you would draw said line. Or did you mean that any (or all) of those suggestions I put forth could fit?

    In any event, the main thing I was getting at was your statement in post #19 that the government hasn’t had to make any polarising and tough decisions, which might be why (particularly in light of your response @ 30) the numbers will come down. Personally, I think the apology, and the ratification of Kyoto, were two decisions/actions that could’ve negatively affected the poll numbers, although it seems like they haven’t. While both decisions may have been symbolic to a greater or lesser extent (Kyoto moreso, IMO), I put them forward as two examples of decisions that could’ve polarised the community and thus affected poll numbers.

    Personally, I think this reflects more than just a honeymoon effect for a new Government. I could see that there’d be at least two additional factors at work here – 1) Morgan, in the last 12 months or so that I’ve looked at it, has always seemed to be high for Labor, and 2) the performance of the Coalition in Opposition, and Brendan Nelson in particular. Putting aside any link to the election result for a moment, it’s possible that the movement upwards of the ALP vote reflects a condemnation of Nelson/Coalition as much as any approval of Rudd/Labor. GP, I’m willing to allow that the numbers will most likely narrow as the government has to make more decisions, but I don’t think they’ll narrow much unless the Opposition picks their act up.

  5. Gary Bruce at 24. Youve a got a good point. Rather than get frustrated at the Libs denial/ lack of insight, we should be happy about it. It will increase the their number of terms of opposition!!

  6. 50 Andos – You’re a spoiled sport. It’s fun shooting down these simplistic arguments. There’s no fun arguing with you. I usually agree with most people here. How is that fun?

  7. The problem with shooting down GP’s simplistic arguments is the fact that this has little effect whatsoever on the conversation. You know GP’s wrong, I know GP’s wrong, but does GP care? Not in the slightest…


    I agree with GP that these early post-election polls are almost always meaningless but this one might not be for one reason. The poll may well be tested in William’s Super Saturday scenario of a glut of Lib by-elections. That polling, if translated to a swing in each seat, would amount to the loss of Mayo, Higgins and Gippsland. The poor poll may mean we are stuck with Cossie and Dolly for longer until the polls turn around!!! And that may take forever.

  9. No. 65

    Yes, there is merit to your argument. I would agree that the polls are correct if the Liberal Party loses the forthcoming by-elections.

  10. Diogenes @ 65 – Thanks for a good laugh 🙂 However, I feel the need to point out that for that to happen, you’d have to assume Costello, Downer et al. would put their personal plans on hold and hang around for the benefit of the party. Perhaps I’m judging them too harshly, but I doubt they’re that selfless.

  11. I forgot – also, the swings weren’t uniform at the last election. From the 2004 – 2007 election, there was, what, a 5.something % swing to Labor? Costello only took about a 1.7% hit in Higgins, if I recall. So even though these numbers might show a 10-12% swing generally, which would be enough to take Higgins (and more), it might not translate into that much at the actual seat level.

    Conversely, of course, it could translate into more if the “personal vote” of the retiring members were taken into account.

  12. GP at 66 youve come close to a reasonable point for once, except that this is a national poll not one done in those specific seats

  13. Labor has increased its primary by 2.5, taking 1.5% from the Coalition and 1% from the Greens.

    In my opinion, two things are happening. Firstly, some Greens supporters shifted to the Labor side after the Stolen Generation Apology. They will probably swing back to the Greens in the next couple of months.

    Secondly, the Coalition lost more support because they have had nothing positive to say about anything. They appear wishy-washy. They were pro-WorkChoices, then anti-WorkChoices, then pro-Workchoices again, before finally becoming anti-WorkChoices. They supported the apology without qualification according to Nelson, but then a heap of Libs comdemned it. They also can’t seem to find their feet on climate change, had difficulty with Kyoto, and on and on it goes. In short, voters out there see a party that has no platform, no clear direction, little strength, and lacking leadership. It’s a mess.

    So, is it any wonder that some more wavering Coalition supporters have shifted to the other side? The Coalition inspires zero confidence. Only the MOST faithful will stay now, hoping to God that the party gets itself organised.

    The Coalition is a victim of the new order politics. They can’t cope in a bipartisan, inclusive environment because for eleven years, they have only learnt to survive and thrive on Rovian-style divide-and-rule tactics. Being focused on real solutions that pull the entire country together is anathema to their current brand of politics because it doesn’t give them the space they need to whip up fear campaigns and encourage and exploit human selfishness.

    And the funny thing about all of this is that, on the one hand, we could think of Rudd as a master tactician by using bipartisanship and unity as a weapon against the Coalition, but on the other, Rudd is really just doing the RIGHT thing, that is the more respectful, inclusive, solutions-focused thing. Funny that this is like poison to the Coalition side of politics…

  14. I think GP’s argument is correct. If there are a couple of by-elections, these polls move from perception to reality and it would be infinitely more damaging to lose three safe Liberal seats than one silly Morgan poll. I can’t imagine Cossie and Dolly would be allowed to let that happen, as they’d be leaving the party on very poor terms. I guess we’ll see how committed they are to the party.

  15. No. 70

    Noocat, it is reasonable to expect the Coalition to be in a mess. They were tossed out of government with a substantial swing against them. The Labor party was a mess before Rudd arrived on scene.

    In the immediate aftermath of election losses, it is a period of rebuilding, consolidating and reality-checks. Of course, I am disappointed that the Libs lost, but to expect them to be perfect in opposition so soon after their loss is naive and a bit rich.

  16. Personally I’d be quite happy if Dolly was forced to languish on the backbench for the whole term of parliament. He obviously considers it far beneath his dignity to be a mere backbencher. My opinion of him has managed to sink since the election which I didn’t think was possible.

    MPs retiring halfway through the term really annoys me too. They’ve signed up for three years they should stick around barring some good reason like ill health. They shouldn’t be able to quit because they don’t feel like playing any more.

  17. If Kevin Michael Rudd can now ‘walk on water’ (at least, figuratively speaking), then there is no doubt that his shadow cannot. But imagine if the figurative became the reality for the Opposition Leader. Suppose Dr. Nelson called a press conference near water’s edge (say, Milson’s Point under the Sydney Harbour Bridge), and (assuming some members of the press are in attendance) the good doctor proceeded to ACTUALLY walk across to Miller’s Point. In the present political landscape, I can envisage the headlines: ‘Opposition Leader Evades Bridge Toll’ or maybe (and perhaps more aptly), ‘Nelson Cannot Swim’.

    Yes Andrew (24) the latest Morgan poll is ‘diabolical’ for Nelson. His leadership of the Liberal Party is sunk before it has even started.

    I expect that the Australian Labor Party will continue to win the politics of perception handsomely for a while yet and most certainly for so long as its Federal parliamentary leader is thought of in the community as ‘Kevin from Queensland who’s here to help’. Bless all the Labor barrackers who regularly visit this wonderful website: “God’s in His Heaven, All’s right with the world!”

  18. No. 71

    On reflection, Costello would’ve been a decent opposition leader if he decided to stay on. At least he would have hindered the free-fall into uncertainty and delivered excellent parliamentary performances.

    But it isn’t so. I can understand why he intends to leave, however.

  19. They shouldn’t be able to quit because they don’t feel like playing any more.

    Of course they should be able to quit. If they no longer have the passion to represent their constituents, they should resign and hand over to someone who does.

  20. GP, of course, any party that loses government goes through a period of rebuilding, and tend to tank in the polls. But you have to admit that the Coalition have done themselves no favours so far. They seem to be having a harder than usual time dealing with it, hence we have their leader on a record low PPM of 9% and now a record Morgan low of 31.5% primary (Libs down to 28.5% compared to ALP 56.5%!).

    I know Morgan tends to overestimate the Labor vote by a couple of points, but just wait for the Coalition’s record low in the coming Newspoll of Nielsen.

    Howard sucked the life out of the Coalition.

  21. If they think they are going to get off the WorkChoices hook as easily as just saying they now disown it, they should think again.

    I am sure Rudd plans to keep reminding people of the Liberals WorkChoices defibrillator: throw the switch, bring the monster back to life. Keep it on life support in the back room lab, ready to be wheeled out again at midnight when everyone is asleep.

  22. Quite simply this is a “honeymoon” period for Rudd but as time goes by this lovely set of numbers will not last.
    To me Rudd has not done a great deal, though he is being smart politically for example holding a summit or talkfest is not about doing things it is simply a diversionary tactic taking the focus off interest rates to a summit.
    Shane Warne could not have spun a better idea if he tried.

  23. No 78

    I don’t think so Rx. Rudd knows as well as anyone that isn’t easy to make considerable reforms in areas like IR. He famously labelled the GST as a fundamental injustice in 1999. That doesn’t mean he’s going to reverse it.

    Likewise, the majority of his IR policy from the last election won’t be in place until 2010.

  24. When you say major reforms Generic the Labor Party isn’t making many major reforms, health- private health rebate stays, Education- wealthy schools continue to get their bonuses, Housing- nothing being done about the causes of price rises such as negative gearing and first home owner grant, economic reforms all about spin and oh how terrible the banks, energy owners and big supermarkets are but in reality they can continue to do as they please. And on IR not much in the way of change as said until 2010, hence what about the Qantas dispute at the moment regarding workers in a particular area being forced onto AWA’s with a loss of pay, now what is the Rudd government going to do about this?
    Put simply this government has been getting good press from the media barrons which has contributed towards their poll numbers, and isn’t it strange that a director of News Corp is on the main table of the summit and another is helping regarding infrastructure priorities. And silly me thought that things had changed.

  25. I am afraid that it is going to take a consistent set of horrible polls to convince the Liberal party that it really does need to change and change a great deal. Turnbull is not the answer, Hockey maybe one day, as leader of a new bunch.

  26. David Charles at 74. I can see your pain. I can see the gentle shuddering of your shoulders. Your desperate resignation and plaintive sobs obviously come from the heart.

    I feel like that reporter watching the fiery demise of the Hindenberg. “Oh the humanity”.

  27. @79, Why would you expect Rudd to have done a lot. He is setting the directions and laying the foundations. Time will tell if the actions pick up from these.

  28. I think Noocat at 70 is onto something. It looks very like the LNP are trying to ditch the things that were central to Howard’s Way, but doing it very clumsily. In the case of the Apology, Nelson’s inclusion of current cases of abuse, in explicit detail, on national TV and radio, was one of the most spectacularly ill- advised and grossly tactless acts I’ve seen in a good long time, and he doesn’t appear to have worked out while people spontaneously turned their backs across the nation. At the same time, Rudd extends a hand to Nelson to include him in a bipartisan approach to solving the Aboriginal housing problems, and Nelson declines and makes no attempt to compel his members to obey the Speaker, or they defy him, or think he’s irrelevant. No wonder these numbers are so bad.

  29. No 88

    Harry, that’s the problem with the alternative approach to indigenous policy: no-one wants to face up to the facts that children were and are being abused.

    It’s not something you can sweep under the carpet, and certainly not something an Apology will fix.

  30. Love this, from GP:

    Of course, I am disappointed that the Libs lost, but to expect them to be perfect in opposition so soon after their loss is naive and a bit rich.

    Haven’t we heard loud GP bleating about how he expects Rudd Labor “to be perfect in [government] so soon after their [win]”?

    Perhaps an admission from GP that he is being “naive and a bit rich”?

  31. marky marky. I think Rudd has a much longer game plan and tackling those things, head on, would do against what he has said repeatedly he would do, which is stick to the promises he took to the electorate. I recall him being interviewed by Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 Report in which he said he thought taking the country in a different direction was like turning a huge ocean going cargo carrier, that you couldn’t do it suddenly, you needed to do it incrementally.

  32. Just saw GP’s latest about how children “were and are being abused”, presumably in relation to the Apology.

    Where’s your proof GP, that the children were stolen because they were being abused way back then?

    Remember: “abuse” in those days was defined as “being aboriginal”.

  33. 12#Generic Person,

    Yes the poll numbers are pointless for the next election is Three years away, guess what try telling that to both ALP HQ and 104 for they know that time will pass very quickly and while at some point PM Rudd will stuff up but at the moment he is further ahead than ever before.

    The real problem for the Liberals is if after the Government delivers its big budget cuts and in 12 months time the polls still have a massive lead to the ALP.

    At state level the ALP have proven very good at developing a core vote and maintaining it regardless of how poor a job it’s doing.

  34. {90Generic Person Says:
    February 29th, 2008 at 5:58 pm
    No 88 Harry, that’s the problem with the alternative approach to indigenous policy: no-one wants to face up to the facts that children were and are being abused. It’s not something you can sweep under the carpet, and certainly not something an Apology will fix.}

    If abuse was happening why were the abusers not assested.

    Child Abuse is a crime
    Rape is a crime
    Sexural Assult is a crime
    Assult is a crime

    Why not arrest those who commit the crime.

  35. Generic Person. The problem is that there is no one “alternative approach to indigenous policy: no one wants to face up to the facts that children were and are being abused. It is not something you can sweep under the carpet…”.
    Speaking as someone who has workerd in the area, presented at conferences and written peer reviewed papers and researched the subject, I can assure you I and many others have been doing our level best to shine as much light on this subject as possible. For starters, there’s not just one cause, there are many, as well as many contributory factors. That it occurs in dysfunctional Aboriginal communities might lead one to question the complex question of why. At least one contributory factor is the chronic over crowding and sub-standard housing.
    Rudd, in attempting to make this bipartisan, is attempting to go beyond just one alternative approach. I just think Nelson was very foolish and if he’d had the sense to consult with someone like Fred Chaney, wouldn’t have done something that so clearly and unnecessarily upset so many people.

  36. One of the probs for Labor already is that it continues to do everything to the script hence we can’t break what we said during the election campaign..
    Yep lets do it incrementally pity about those Qantas workers who must either take a pay cut or find another job. And a Labor government plans to do nothing about this for two years.. Is LABOR spelt LABOR OR LIBERAL.
    Incrementally also means allowing murdoch appartchiks in on policy development code for helping big business.
    Sorry folks time you realised this government will do very little for the battlers and why do i say this, their are six Labor State Governments in this country and most are helping the top end of town with their policies to get richer.

  37. So we keep the promises we promised, meaning that kids in private wealthy schools continue to have their rowing clubs and digital scoreboards and people with private health insurance continue to have a lavish rebate for the next three years and house prices continue to spiral out of control whilst battlers struggle to even save for a house…
    Doing nothing means that such policies become entrenched, meaning that they will be very difficult to remove if ever in the future.
    Thus less funds for public hospitals, higher interest rates for battlers whilst investors due to negative gearing get their tax rebates and less monies for public schools or the tiny unfinancial independent schools thus allowing the wealthy private schools to continue to build up funds to lobby harder for more funds…
    All this whilst State Governments are forced to pay for public health, education and public housing… hence in all three areas they are struggling.

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