Newspoll: 63-37; Nelson preferred PM 7 per cent

The Australian reports Newspoll has Labor ahead 63-37 on two-party preferred, with Brendan Nelson’s preferred Prime Minister rating down a further 2 per cent from last fortnight’s headline-grabbing 9 per cent. More to follow.

UPDATE: Two-party records on the Newspoll site only go back to January 1996 (the company goes back to 1985); before tonight the best result was Labor’s 61-39 from 16-18 March 2007, the top six all coming from Rudd’s killer run from March to October last year. The Coalition’s best result was 56.5-43.5 from 5-7 October 2001.

UPDATE 2: Graphic here. Kevin Rudd’s approval rating is at 69 per cent, up 1 per cent to beat the record he set a fortnight ago. John Howard’s best ratings were 67 per cent from 10-12 May 1996, and 65 per cent recorded in the aftermath of the Bali bombing on 1-3 November 2002. Pollsters other than Newspoll had Bob Hawke over 70 per cent in 1983-84. I have derived two-party figures for Newspoll from 1985 to 1995 using preference distributions from the preceding election, and none comes close to 63-37. The Coalition’s best result was 59.9-40.1 from 20-22 August 1993, immediately following John Dawkins’ horror post-election budget. Labor’s was 58.0-42.0 from 12-14 June 1987, at the onset of the campaign for the July 11 election.

UPDATE 3: Rather embarrassingly, this post originally claimed Brendan Nelson’s approval rating was 7 per cent. This figure is in fact his preferred prime minister rating. Nelson’s approval rating is 29 per cent, which is not much to write home about but nowhere near the record-setting level of his preferred PM rating.

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.

836 comments on “Newspoll: 63-37; Nelson preferred PM 7 per cent”

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  1. BS Fairman @643

    Whatever you have done for Santa to bring you such a wonderful present, would you please keep doing it.

  2. The LNP will only need an out-house at the back of the Chamber if this was an election result. King Tuckey could sit on the throne with Bishop the royal paper holder and Hockey chief a-wiper. Might not be anyone else left. Are there 150 seats on each side of the chamber?

  3. GP, a month is not a person and so cannot won anything and so it is ‘last months’ without an apostrophe.

    Leadership change, leadership shmange. Get rid of deadwood, get rid of extrmeme righties from the branches, do some root and branch reform. Will still take you years and years to get back to looking like an alternative government, but at least a pathway will be mapped out. And go and change your policies.

  4. Time to send out the Cheka to find this recalcitrant 7%. Who could they be? Why do they persist in flaunting their membership of a what is no more than a statistical glitch? Do they have a fetish for strange haircuts, or is their motivation more sinister?

  5. If the sample size is as previous (for the 9%) then the seven percent has an MoE of 1.48. So he could be Mister 5.5 or Mr 8.5.

  6. More than one in five (almost 22%) who voted for Howard last Nov have switched sides. A pretty amazing statistic!
    A sure case of scales falling from eyes to a degree never seen before.

  7. GP @ 45,

    Agree. You can play the “give him time card”, you can say it is unfair because Nelson has not done anything wrong and you can blame Rudd’s honeymoon.

    However, these figures show that Nelson is not acceptable as a Leader even to his own side.

    I think Turnbull is about to have greatness thrust upon him.

  8. Labor would be quite happy if Turnbull took over now – has them playing their only trump so early in the game. He will be damaged goods long before the election. They need to bide their time. I imagine their plan will be to not get slaughtered at the next election.

  9. 50% of the country hated Howard and Howardism

    30% disliked or hated Howard and Howardism but couldn’t break their Liberal roots and never will

    20% loved Howard and Howardism but are now ambivalent to the rabble left behind.

    The Libs are in all sorts of doodoo thanks to Howard and Howardism and what it has done to the Brand. What he did over his last 2 terms guaranteed the little bastard 8 years of power but destroyed his Party….maybe to the point of no return.

  10. For those Laborites who laugh at Brendan Nelson, lest you forget that Simon Crean in 2003 had an approval rating of 26% whereas Nelson after electoral defeat of his Party has atm an approval rating of 29%.

    Just remember what comes up must come down, Labor can’t stay this high forever, soon they’ll actually have to make tough choices as all Governments must and the shine will rub off, if i were Ruddlover i’d be enjoying it while it lasts because it wont last forever.

    There will be no leadership change not for months anyway, why would someone be stupid enough to take over now, i doubt even if Turnbull or Bishop took over we’d be any more popular than we are atm, but thems the breaks.

    But from the depths of electoral oblivion in 2003 with Simon Crean just 5 years later they have according to Newspoll 63 2PP…just shows you what can happen in a few years….

  11. if you really think about just how bad 7% is just think:

    would Bronwyn Bishop get any lower?
    would Ironbar get any lower?
    would Alex Hawke get any lower?
    would Warrick Capper get any lower?

    Nelson has no more cred or likeability than these guys……it’s scary.

    He must go. They must think for 2 weeks and put someone else in and try rebranding again. if it fails again…………….

    you can’t accept 7.

  12. With a performance like this Glen, the nightwatchman if he had any principle or regard for the party, would just walk. He has proved he is not a leader, nobody is following. Time to go and let a real leader emerge.

  13. People hardly know Nelson at all even though he was a Minister the media are in love with Rudd and that’s all people get so its only natural more people would want Rudd as PM because all people have known in 11 years is Howard as Liberal leader. Im not surprised Nelson’s PPM rating is so low.

    Removing Nelson would just make things worse IMHO.

  14. 71 [Removing Nelson would just make things worse IMHO.]

    The problem the Liberals have is that keeping Nelson is making things worse. Is 7% better than 9% in your twisted world, Glen?

  15. Nelson was also a minister for years – a poor one – but still in the public gaze. Let’s face it, people don’t like him. I hope he stays on till the next election but I that’s unfortunately not likely.

  16. “Removing Nelson would just make things worse IMHO.”

    Ah, Glen, it doesn’t normally get any worse than this. PPM = 7%, 2PP = 63 – 37.

  17. It was the stolen generation apology that really killed Nelson and the rest of the Coalition by the looks of it. Ironic that Howard kept maintaining over 11 long years that Australians weren’t interested in an apology.

  18. 76 [I hope he stays on till the next election but I that’s unfortunately not likely.]

    I hope he resigns tomorrow. He’s had his chance, proven he can’t cut the mustard. Next…

  19. While it all makes sense for Nelson to resign or to be pushed out by some other contender, the Liberals are probably tempted to leave him where he is for now. As the months tick by, Nelson will absorb more of the damage from the election loss, and will ultimately be blamed for all the woes of the party, before finally being replaced by a REAL leader who will head a re-created party… or so they might hope.

  20. Here I was was today walking down the street and saw in the newsagent window The Australian Newspaper headline paraphasing

    “Libs craw back Rudd’s lead”

  21. 82 It will already be happening as we type Noocat. Every Newspoll is worse than the preceding one and there is absolutely nothing on the horizon to say that anything will improve for any reason in the near future. The behaviour of the Liberals in Parliament under Nelson has been atrocious especially on the Friday morning of the last sittings and he should go.

  22. Watching tonight’s 4 Corners I have never found John Howard so funny talking about being a wrecker of the Conservative side of Politics.

  23. They need a time machine to take them back to before, say, 2005, and the rodent’s suicidal WorkChoices mission.

    But of course, there’s about as much chance of that as there is of the party looking respectable (and electable) anytime soon in the wake of said CursedChoices disaster.

    Painful lessons all round – for Australia, and the Coalition.

  24. Gee, I really respect the way Nick Minchin has consolidated his position within the Party as a back-room Machiavelli with his brilliant stroke of keeping the Bantam of Wentworth on hold because Petit Mal was a tad too progressive. Ah yes, The Nickster, what an operator! The body of H.R. Nicholls lies amoulderin’ in his grave but his soul keeps marching on.

    And as Harry S.O. sez, how can the Libs ever thank the former El Rodente enough for the legacy he has left his beloved Party?
    Apparently, after eleven and a half selfless years at the top, the minor historical speedbump is currently a big hit on Pymble golf course as well as on the satellite lecture circuit. When he scurries forth The Hermitage, of course.

  25. The Liberals have only themselves to blame. They got dragged in John Howard’s tawdry game, and as predicted his legacy will be the political obliteration of the Liberals. The Liberals were lucky that the ALP only got 52.8% of the popular vote due to incumbency and a lot of postals. One imagines a double dissolution would result in the 100+ seats that was predicted earlier.

    Now that Howard is gone, people are realising just how bad he was, and how much better Australia can be. They are also seeing the shitstorm that Howard left the economy in, by his failure to invest in infrastructure and squandering the fruits of a generation.

    Good riddance.

    As for Brendan Nelson, he is in his honeymoon period. Wait until the ALP dig further into the Superhornets scandal and it will drop further.

    The Libs only have one small faint hope, and that is to get rid of the rabid right wingers and reform the party entirely.

  26. The Liberals need to do several things!

    1- Stop their silly behaviour in Parlianment

    2- sit back and wait for the Budget

    3- The respond with a senisible reply from which they can develop a platform to be compettitive

    4- Pray that no one has noticed their first 100 days out of Government

    5- Keep praying

  27. 91 The front page of ‘the Opposition Organ’ has a photo of Brendan Nelson waving us goodbye, what are they trying to tell us?

  28. Glen Says: @ 71,

    [ the media are in love with Rudd and that’s all people get }

    Glen, the Libs only have themselves to blame for Rudd’s high profile in the media.

    If they had quietly sat back and let any honeymoon period just quietly wash through the system instead of going into “attack” mode with the help of their supporters in the media, Rudd’s profile would not have been anywhere near as high for so long.

    Every time a poorly thought-out “attack” directed at Rudd’s integrity or character was mounted, his profile was improved.

    By their constant focus on Rudd verses Howard, they also improved Rudd’s recognition factor with the electorate. In so doing they focused people’s attention on Rudd and away from Howard and allowed people to make a comparison.

    And they liked what they saw. And they like it even more now. Further attempts to bring Rudd back to the fold will continue to have the same effect.
    His ratings will continue to climb.

    Unless or until they wake up and start to get a favourable focus back on themselves, the Libs are going to continue with their downward spiral. They are doing exactly the same thing that both Coalition Parties did in Queensland and look where that got them.

    Unless they look around and take note of what they and State Branches have done to put themselves in this position, then history is going to continue to repeat itself.

    Groundhog day after day after day after…….

  29. Scorpio there is no question the Tory side of politics needs to Reform itself. I have always stated my desire for the creation of a new single conservative political party and to copy Labor’s successful centralisation of its party structure.

    Most of all we need a fresh bunch of policies considering most of the Howard era policies are being dumped. Unless they offer an alternative nobody will think about turfing Rudd out, this is a big reason as to why we’re doing badly right now. But i hardly think this is Nelson’s fault he’s been leader for a couple of months give the man a break!

  30. 92 Scorpio,

    I agree, the Liberals should have Rudd on the backfoot over the looming budget and the dark economic clouds yet what have the Liberals done, they have shown no clear direction,. they have flipped and flopped on several policy fronts, and their behaviour in parlianment has been outright silly.

    The Liberals are where they are because they stopped Governing now they are out of office and bascially wont return until they get their act together, listening the Liberals blaming the media is as pathetic as listening the ALP supporters crapping on about the media looking after Howard and blaming the voters for not caring.

    Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Liberals it is time to go not for growth but growing up.

  31. Noocat Says: @ 79,

    [It was the stolen generation apology that really killed Nelson and the rest of the Coalition by the looks of it. ]

    There were three issues that did them the most damage Noocat.

    1. Nelson’s apology

    2. Howard not turning up for the apology with the other ex-PM’s

    3. Not totally disowning “Workchoices” right from the start following the election loss

    Except for those three main issues, they would probably be holding not much worse than they were by the first poll after the election and would be able to start to rebuild on that.

    It’s all academic now, far too late to undo those three things. Some times, opportunity only knocks once. They missed the train and now have to walk.

  32. Is is statistically possible for it to go lower than 7%?

    Is there a noise-floor, or a background radiation level kind of thing, which an approval rating cannot fall below?

    F’rinstance, in an approval rating of, I dunno, Jack-the-Ripper vs Mother Teresa, will you get 7% going for Jack-the-Ripper?

  33. [1. Nelson’s apology]

    I’m not convinced that what he said was the problem, but the way the Liberal Party seemed unable to reach a position

    [2. Howard not turning up for the apology with the other ex-PM’s]

    I don’t think the voters care that Howard did not show

    [3. Not totally disowning “Workchoices” right from the start following the election loss]

    Workchoices will haunt the Liberals regardless of what they say or do, their behaviour in the senate didn’t help but over all the Liberals are on a hiding to nothing

  34. If they keep Nelson and keep doing what they are doing it might take a big, fat zero to get the message through. Great listeners they are not but sooner or later the Australian public will get the message to sink in.

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