ACNielsen: 56-44

After giving Labor its worst poll result of the Rudd government era a month ago, ACNielsen has now returned to the field. This month’s survey has Labor’s lead up from 52-48 to 56-44, from primary votes of 46 per cent for Labor (up five) and 39 per cent for the Coalition (down three). Remarkably, both leaders’ approval ratings are up 10 points, Kevin Rudd’s to a personal best 71 per cent and Malcolm Turnbull’s to 55 per cent. However, Rudd has blown out to big lead on preferred leader, 64 per cent (up eight) to 26 per cent (down seven). Further detail on attitudes to the financial crisis from Michelle Grattan at The Age.

UPDATE: The weekly Essential Research survey has an unusually sharp two-point move in favour of Labor, who now lead 59-41 on two-party preferred. Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister has also blown out to 55-20 from 45-25 a month ago. Interestingly, respondents are more confident the economy can withstand the financial crisis than they were a week ago. Also included are questions on the government stimulus package, the emissions trading scheme and more.

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.

1,812 comments on “ACNielsen: 56-44”

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  1. I think that previous poll was faulty or a rogue. It was well below the Newspoll and Morgan polls which came out around that time which were fairly consistent, although there was that small, temporary “Turnbull bounce”.

  2. Also, I’m a bit surprised that this one is not a bit higher, similar to the Morgan, although the sample size is larger than the average outside of a campaign at 1400.

  3. Turnbull’s approval rating at 55% I would think has a little to do with the contrast between him and Nelson. Coalition voters think they have at last a viable candidate to support. And it has hurt in the least that the media has done all it can to give Turnbull lots of visibility and support.

    I think Rudd has found himself a pretty good and nationally palatable front line team in Rudd, Gillard, Swan and Tanner. These guys are presenting a fairly good image in my opinion and are starting to become a part of the furniture as it were.

    And there is a little irony in having an ‘international’ PM in this type of environment. The irony is the Murdoch media tried very hard to beat it into a negative for Rudd but in doing so highlighted Rudd’s international profile which, in this type of environment must be a great plus. People will be thankful that Rudd has a bunch of international relationships and may imagine them to be much greater than they are – thanks to the Murdoch/LNP hype.

    It will be interesting to see what we hear of LNP sniping if these types of figures last for a few more months. It is not as though Turnbull has lots of friends.

    I might put a few bob on Abbott to be Opposition leader at election time.

  4. The MSM seems totally preoccupied lately with “dramatic” headlines which in most cases, bares little resemblance to the substance of the article.

  5. Probably infer that with the reasonably coverage given to Rudd in the past week, that it could reasonably be expected that the figures would have been more favourable to the Government.

    Probably didn’t come up enough because the unemployed and single people and couples without children never got a chrissie present from uncle Kevin.

  6. Rudd’s international profile could be a real plus for him at the moment and become a permanent positive feature of how people see him.

    This less than scientific old ‘The Age’ poll demonstrates why it can be an advantage.
    [Reserves and reverses : Are we insulated from overseas economic turmoil?
    Yes – 14%
    No – 86%
    Total Votes: 1151 Poll date: 18/09/08]

    People see this crisis as an international event and thus the solutions to it are not simply domestic.

  7. Tony Wright from The Age seems to agree with my comments at #1 & #2.

    [Such tidings translate into voting intentions, with Labor’s vote rebounding since last month and the Coalition’s dipping, albeit to levels that have been about the average this year.

    Indeed, last month’s unusual poll was most likely the result of over-enthusiasm among conservatives for the end of the Brendan Nelson period and exaggerated concern among Labor voters at the coming of Turnbull.]

  8. Thats three consecutive polls the Morgan 57/43 F2F and Phone 57/43 and now 56/44.

    Rudd has had a strong support for a long while and some of that was based on expectations. With this crisis and the Government’s actions so far some of that expectation has been met and a lot of that support now solidified into something tangible. This will help make his vote more resilient come election time you would think.

    It is too late for the LNP to do anything about it. It started when Rudd was in NY and with his actions since.

    The interesting thing for Rudd will be what happens from now on. People probably wont blame the government too much if the economy suffers some what, they are fully aware that it is an international thing and that Rudd was out there early doing stuff.

    So Rudd needs to keep the international aspects of this crisis and its solutions front and center and tie domestic issues to the international scene when he can when it is plausible.

  9. ltep, told you the 52-48 was a rogue poll. All of Rudd Labor’s polling has consistently been 55-45 or better, with only the very occasional rogue poll giving a lesser result, with the exception of some of the 2007 election campaign polls.

  10. Thomas Paine @ 4
    Your ‘part of the furniture’ is going to the heart of one of the reasons why the tories are going to find everything a bit more difficult from now on. Fear campaigns based around shapeless fears – terrorists, union thugs, can’t handle the economy, interest rates, have got no experience and so on, simply will not wash. Bottom line, the Government crew look, sound and act fairly ordinary, a bit earnest, a bit wonkish, but ordinary. This is the best antidote to the shapeless fears. In government they appear to be unable to frighten the chooks, even if they wanted to.
    However, I believe that there is another consistent element in all the thinking and that is a propensity to volatility in the electorate. It may have a bit to do with gen y’s freedom to move, not sure. But the upshot is – and I am not statistical so have no idea whether or no I am whistling in the wind – the upshot is that the numbers can shift quickly.

    I still think most Australians have not quite conttoned on to how serious the state of the real economy is overseas. Apparently polls are showing that lots of Australians are optimistic or are feeling positive about the economy. Crikey. Britain lost 146,000 jobs in July and August alone. I have seen figures that France will lose over 140,000 jobs in construction alone this year. The European governments have now put over $Au3600,000,000,000 on the table to try to save the banking system from collapse. They don’t have that sort of money so they will have to print it. In France that equates to $Au12,000 debt for every man woman in child. The per capita figure is greater for Britain. The bloody banks are still playing beggar they neighbour, with one of the British banks, awash with money given by the Government actually raising interest rates. They are foreclosing like crazy – sometimes for the sake of a couple of hundred quid. I have seen estimates that 2 million brits will have the good old ‘negative equity’ in their homes by the end of 2010. ‘Negative equity’ is like ‘negative growth’ – a spinmeister’s dream. You might as well be clear and say that they will be up shit creek without a paddle.

    Clearly, there is going to be a significant reckoning in the real economy and it will catch up with Australia. The question is:’How patient will the electorate then be with Rudd?’ Because of the cognitive disconnect in Australian voters, I still think that today’s polling figures, practically speaking, have little predictive strength.
    The reverse has happened to Gordon Brown. He had all the electoral appeal of an over-ripe kipper. He came up with an idea to save the banks. His stench left him and has washed over the Tories. Crazy stuff.

  11. This is an outstanding poll result, just on 2 years since being made ALP Leader.
    Lets not forget the ground work done and poll results by Beasley in 2006-7.

  12. It seems to me that the World Governments are acting more decisively and in co-ordination, unlike what must have happened after the ’29 crash. Which hopefully results in a less harmful World recession. Also we might see the economies of China and India still growing, albeit less than the last 10 years.

  13. Labor will certainly not be disappointed with this poll result. I’ve always said Turnbull is a dud… but really they have noone else at the moment.

  14. *****Warning to Bushfire Bill*****

    Bushfire, mate, whatever you do, don’t go anywhere near Glenn Milne in the OO this morning 😉

    Todays, really is something special :shakes head: (not providing a link, I’m not taking responsibility for anyone reading that)

  15. [*****Warning to Bushfire Bill*****

    Bushfire, mate, whatever you do, don’t go anywhere near Glenn Milne in the OO this morning]

    Thanks for the tip, Spam.

    I’ve already read Hartcher, who wrote an interesting jutaposition of words. I see what he means, but it looked funny when I read it:

    [IF THERE is opportunity in crisis, Kevin Rudd has found it.

    By every measure in today’s Herald poll, his swift and decisive response to the financial crisis has given him an enormous boost.

    It has vaulted Rudd to a popularity peak that only one other prime minister in the past 36 years has reached.]

    so far so good. And then the next sentence was this:

    [The financial crisis, which is in the process of becoming an economic crisis as well, may yet destroy Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership.]

    As I said, I can see what he means, but the wishful thinking sticks out a mile.

    Now to read Milne…

  16. Spam Box, pmsl, i just came in to warn BB but you beat me to it, i read the first paragraph and gave it up from there, there was no reason to go any further, did you hear rainman laud the poisoned dwarf on telly yesterday after he was accused of verballing Rudd?

  17. Hartcher is quite right – of course the economic crisis could destroy Rudd, if it’s still running in 2010 and the voters decide *then* that Rudd’s response has not been adequate. A lot of people are going to take a real economic hit over the next year, and the usual response when that happens is to blame the government. It will take political skills of a high order for Rudd to get re-elected in a declining economic climate. Rudd indeed has political skills of a high order, but that doesn’t by any means guarantee his re-election.

  18. Ok, so Milne says Turnbull forsaw it all, months ago, and gave a precise prescription for combatting the “GFC. That’s the global financial crisis, in case you missed it.” Rudd went further than Rainmaker on the deposit guarantee and the cash handout – made with “our” money (to ourselves, which would seem logical, but I quibble) – just to spite Turnbull, in a “venal” way. And now bankers are pleading with Turnbull (in private, of course… they don’t want to miss the gravy train that’s 100% guaranteed their deposits and made them the safest banks in the world, with the highest credit ratings) to keep his mouth shut in case Rudd does something else stupid, like save our economy, or minimize unemployment.

    I guess the ANZ and NAB (who over the weekend have reduced their interest rates voluntarily as a direct and attributed result of the guarantee) were lying. Or perhaps they’re not so happy that Rudd helped out their non-bank competition? Who’d know? I can’t begin to conceive how thinking patterns organise themselves at the Big End Of Town. Lucky we have TPD to guide us through it all: it was Turnbull who saved Australia.

    Except he didn’t. At the time he made his selectively quoted statements, he was languishing as Shadow Treasurer, outputting thought bubbles like a five year old with a dish full of soapy water. It says something that the man who Glen reckons knew it all, the Rainmaker himself, was in no position to influence events in any way because the right wing droids in the party of which he is a member (Nick Minchin, Tony Abbott… this means you) were too busy whiteanting him (and his leader) in favour of turning towards the sun of the perennial loser of Australian politics: the Greatest Prime Minister We Never Had, Peter Costello. Why install someone who’s got a bit of a clue when you have the Messiah himself on hand?

    Instead of making something out of Turnbull’s experience in the byzantine ways of high finance, the dummies of the Liberal Party (and their urgers and spruikers in the media… TPD in particular) spent their time examining the political droppings of a congenital coward too scared of failure to contemplate the top job and too arrogant to admit it. We had Cozzie on the radio the other day saying how much he missed the cut and thrust, and how desperately he wished he was in charge in this crisis. Well, if he’s such a nation-saving savant, and knew what was about to happen, why didn’t he step up to the plate on November 25th, 2007? One word: gutless. Another word: clueless. Oh alright, a third word: Turnbull.

    Costello and the rest of the Old Guard hate Turnbull’s guts. They’d rather trash their own party and what was left of its credibility than elevate Truffles to somewhere where he might be able to do some good for them. Glenn Milne, sycophantic dweeb that he is, is now trying to latch onto the Rainmaker’s caravan (“Come one! Come all! Come see the Poison Dwarf crawl three feet up the Rainmaker’s arse!”). But at the heart of the problem is this: Turnbull is the wrong man, in the wrong party, at the wrong time. No amount of post facto bolstering by the freakshow performers at News Ltd. can change that fact. As today’s Neilsen poll demonstrates, the voters aren’t approving of an Opposition Leader who said something in February. They’re approving of a Prime Minister who’s doing something in October.

    They don’t care that Telstra can’t issue paper. They hate Telstra. They get enough paper every month from Telstra to sink a ship anyway. BHP can look after itself. It’s only the biggest mining company in the world. It’s their deposits and their jobs that the voters are interested in. Their money is held in places called “banks” and their jobs are dependent, at the most fundamental level, on banks being able to trade on a daily basis, while charging them interest on their mortgages at the lowest possible level. That’s your paradigm, Glen, only it’s not a new one.

  19. Malcolm’s biggest problem at the moment is that he is too easily caricatured into “Moneybags”, with top hat and tails.

    Moneybags clearly comes from the top end of town, the very same top end of town that is so much on the nose(dive).

    Turnbull can’t hide behind Liberal Party and Poison Gnome sponsored spin for long.

    Tony Abbott has better people skills – along with a better chance at leading the Libs at the next election – than aloof Moneybags, who would much rather be in his counting house counting his money than dealing with Joe Punter and an “overblown” economic crisis.

  20. [Malcolm’s biggest problem at the moment is that he is too easily caricatured into “Moneybags”, with top hat and tails. ]

    Yes, exactly. Not sure that TPD’s little anecdote about the senior banker at a private dinner telling Rainmaker to ease off criticising the government was all that wise.

    If TPD got it from the banker, it’s a bad look for the bankers. They come across as killing the goose that laid the golden egg for them.

    If TPD got it from Turnbull, apart form the obvious negative ramifications of a story about how Rainmaker privately dines with senior bankers just about the most despied species of parasite in today’s society), there’s also the aspect to it that Milne gets his predictions so wrong, so often, Truffles would be a fool to think he’ll get any joy out him. Remember, the last person who thought Milne might be useful was Peter Costello.

  21. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. Mr Rudd talking tough about limiting the salaries of greedy banking types. Meanwhile alluding to the folly of unrestrained market capitalist fundamentalism.

    Wonder what Opposition Leader (in a former life) and political party have their ears burning right about now?

  22. With all due respect Fagin, Malcom’s biggest problem is that he’s an idiot.

    Unfortunately for the general public, the media built him up as this political giant who was created for the role of PM and would bring the fight to the ‘one-term’ Labor government. Now we all know that’s not the case, but all the sycophantic journo’s are unlikely to say “Woops, we got it wrong!”.

  23. The media has been somewhat refreshing the last two days. Excluding the regular Liberal Party stooges in their columns, we’ve barely heard a peep out of the Opposition. The way things should be, imo. We’re two years out from an election. Let the Government govern. Who gives a toss if Julie Bishop is ‘considering’ tax cuts at least 3 years away.

  24. [Who gives a toss if Julie Bishop is ‘considering’ tax cuts at least 3 years away.]

    Julie who?? Oh, you mean the WorkChoices lady. Ah, no.

  25. I don’t believe the government will be held responsible for this mess, It isn’t being held responsible now, as the polls show and if Rudd keeps on trying to do all that is possible he won’t be held responsible in the future either. This is not the 1930’s and Rudd is not Scullin.

  26. Hi all, long time no see (speak? write?) – my first time on WB’s shiny new site.

    It certainly seems that Kev is having an excellent crisis, with the right balance of the appearance of action and actual action. I don’t buy for a minute that the crisis will impact on the government’s fortunes, so long as they keep appearing that they are on top of things. (As an aside, comparisons with the Scullin Government are flawed, as are most excursions by the MSM into history; Scullin lost not because of the Depression per se, but that the government split to both the Left (the Beazley faction) and the Right (Lyons and chums). It was disunity that did them in more than anything else, something that won’t be an issue for the Rudd government).

    AS for Truffles, I think he has performed OK, but this is not a great time to be an Opposition Leader – we have a new government (still broadly popular) ably handling its first real external crisis. In those circumstances, there’s not usually much an OL can do apart from save the furniture (see Tampa & 9/11 – or 11/9 as we say in English).

    On another (but related) matter, I think the chances of a Double Dissolution next year are receding, now that the Senate looks like it is starting to behave itself – an early election in the current climate will look too much like opportunism.

  27. @32 – and Labor is far more structured and in-line now than it was back then, with Labor splitting in to three parties over how to handle the economic crisis.

  28. The crisis has only just begun folks, so don’t get too carried away. Scullin also got lots of praise in the first year or so for his earnest but futile efforts to get Australian out of the Depression. It wasn’t until late in 1930 that things began to fall apart. The voters are not blaming Rudd *now*, but who knows what mood they will be in by 2010, after two years of real economic pain?

  29. While the Global Recession could wreck the Rudd Government alot will depend on how he handles it and thus far the Government has managed the situation well.

    Some of the measures while questionable will have the effect of appearing to do something, someone mentioned the trip to NY last month, since then the Government has moved on several fronts.

    The guanteening bank deposits, while the cynic in me wonders why we need that when the Banks are said to have strong balance sheets with minimal exposure to Sub-prime.

    The $10.4B mini-budget while very political, aimed at the two big issues that have bugged the Government all year, home affordability and Pensioners both receiving a large handout.

    Interesting, considering property prices are moving down, I have noticed in the Higgins, Kooyong and Melbourne Ports areas a clear dropping in property prices.

    I’m surprised the Government choose to ignore the Unemployed in the mini-budget.

    There is one thing to remember when talking about a recession wrecking the Government, its the policy response that matters, in the 1930s & 1890s Governments took the approach that inorder to deal with economic touch times you needed to cut spending and government wages and pensions this in turn added to the economic problem, while I am cynical about some of the measures of the Government, if they can pull the country though 2009 without a recession then by default they deserve to be returned.

    The Opposition have started to move in the right direction, Malcolm looks more like a leader and has push the Government on several fronts but in saying that he has made several errors like criticising Rudds trip to New York.

    There is one big problem for Malcolm, in normal times you would expect it too be a strength, but Malcolm is a Banker and this crisis is caused by Bankers therefore Malcolm needs to ensure he is on message for the Government can as I suspect they will home in on the fact that its people like Malcolm that have caused the problem.

    Of Course that would be a dangerous approach for the Government to take and I suspect Rudd will do as he did against Howard and just focus on the issues, in many ways this issue is too Rudd what 9/11 became to Howard, it allows him to show his Fiscal Conservative nature and therefore own the debate.

    We do indeed live in Interesting times.

  30. [I’m surprised the Government choose to ignore the Unemployed in the mini-budget.]

    The electorate has been conditioned over 11 years to perceive people on unemployment benefits as “unworthy’s”, unwilling to work and undeserving of community support. (ie Single mothers esp.)

    With the economy still facing shortages in a number of critical areas as far as workforce participation goes, it would be foolish of Rudd to offer a handout to that demographic and make them far less inclined to seek employment opportunities.

    The Lib sycophants in the MSM would crucify him especially as it doesn’t seem to be noted that unemployed with children still qualify for some of the handouts.

  31. Interesting…

    Paul Sheehan, a big spruiker for the Howard government in its time, and abig critic of Labor, quotes a foreign economic commentator favourably:

    [ “It is amazing that in the midst of the biggest commodity boom ever seen they have still been unable to get a current account surplus. They have been living beyond their means for 10 years. What worries me is that productivity growth has been very low: they have been coasting after their reforms in the 1990s.”]

    That’s a neat and pecise a summary of the mistakes of Howard that I’ve seen in a long while. After Keating’s reforms, Howard blew it. Except Paul doesn’t acknowledge the clear meaning of the quotation.

    Sheehan uses a curiously passive voice in describing Australia’s fiscal and economic travails, including the ones a’comin’:

    [Did the lucky country became the greedy country? Did it fail to sufficiently embark on a program of nation-building during the resources boom? Was most of the bonus redistributed as tax cuts, which were spent chasing bigger mortgages, bigger homes, new cars and general consumption, stimulating short-term economic growth but not enough on long-term productivity and higher savings?]

    Gee, Paul, who was in charge in those days? They must have been a very irresponsible government!

    Considering how Sheehan wrote loud and long over many articles (not a passive voice to be seen) that firm hands were on the tiller (in the shapes of Howard and Costello), it’s interesting to see his choice of words: “… did it fail to sufficiently embark on a program of nation-building during the resources boom?” Oh, I see, Australia failed. Nothing to do with the economic gurus and geniuses, the superb economic managers, that were running it at the time and taking all the credit for house prices never being higher. It was Australia that failed itself.

    So says Paul Sheehan. The only government that gets a serve by name is the Rudd government, by risking an increase in the current account deficit via its $10.4 billion handout. As for the hundreds of billions that Howard and The Messiah pi$$ed up against the wall, that wasn’t Paul’s heros who did it. That was all of us.

  32. [Mr Rudd’s personal approval rating has shot up 10 percentage points to 71 per cent, making it the highest rating he has received.

    It puts him second only to Bob Hawke as the nation’s most popular prime minister in the 36-year history of the poll.]

    The electorate appears to be convinced he is doing something right. I wonder if over time Rudd can overtake Hawkey.

    [Mr Rudd’s disapproval rating has fallen 11 points to 20 per cent.}

    This is a definate indication that people are following what is happening and have given Rudd a “tick of approval” for his package and the fairly prompt action taken to implement it.

    Rudd still has quite a number of tricks up his sleeve at the moment and the likes of Turnbull and his supporters in the MSM are well aware of that fact, hence the levels of frustration being in evidence at present.

    There are really “NO” credible avenues of attack available for the foreseeable future and they would be best served by sitting back and waiting to see how events unfold for the time being. It may well be that errors in strategy & implementation do occur and then would be a more opportune time to dive in and pick up a few brownie points.

  33. GB 32

    Spot on. In the 1930s when the depression hit, governments didn’t know what to do so they did nothing – and were severely punished by the voters.

    The situation today couldn’t be more different. The Rudd government has moved quickly to control the situation with a massive increase in spending and the polls are already showing a very positive response from the electorate.

    An added bonus is that because of this crisis the opposition is being made to look totally irrelevant and their constant attacks on Rudd (can’t make decisions, travels overseas too much etc etc) are being exposed as the petty nonsense they have always been. Strap yourself in ALP supporters for a long occupation of the lodge.

  34. Kev is toying with the Libs, for the last few days one after another (Bishop, Allbull Abbott & Robb to name a few) have been on TV or radio pushing the line that the next budget will be in deficit,if it isn’t allready! after Rudds reckless spending.
    So what does Kev do, gives them enough rope then last night calmly says, you know i’m so glad we put that $20bill away because now we can use it for this stimulus package and still have a good bottom line, a decent surplus,
    I like his style.

    All ords up 106 Aussie $69.65

  35. Once again I say this is not the 1930’s and Rudd is not Scullin. Looking back 90 years to predict the future in politcs is like looking back to the T – model Ford to predict what Fords will be like in 2 years time. No comparison and no relevance.

  36. 41 – Vera, and these are the same people who were encouraging Rudd to spend while at the same time trying to stop him from building on the surplus. They are all over the shop.

  37. Yes lets ignore the Unemployed for they are undeserving opps what about those who are fired by Employers who are narrow minded salfash arrogant bastards or what about those who are made Unemployed due to the currant Economic condictions.

  38. There is one other big different between now and the 1890s and 1930s, the Union movement is a more mature organisdation than it was back then therefore we wont be hit but unnecessary national strikes

  39. gary 43, all over the shop is right , now Robb has got the nerve to say he’s worried about regional rorts! (last paragraph)

    “The Prime Minister will bankroll local councils to deliver small projects with short lead times to keep the economy moving and shield communities from job losses and reduced growth that will stem from the crash of global capital and stock markets.

    The new regional and local community infrastructure fund will replace the Howard government’s controversial Regional Partnerships program.

    It was to have been created in next year’s federal budget. But sources told The Australian yesterday it would be announced earlier, possibly at a meeting of the nation’s 565 mayors in Canberra on November 18”

    ‘Andrew Robb warned that money in both funds could be used to prop up marginal Labor electorates and that the public had a right to expect transparency in decision-making. ‘,25197,24521422-601,00.html

  40. Gary Bruce makes a good point. Going back to the 1930s for indications of future electoral trends is somewhat fraught. Back then global communications were in their infancy. These days people have a better understanding of how global conditions embroil Australia. People may also have grasped that, despite their best efforts, Australian governments are actually little more than benevolent spectators to what goes on.

    For a more contemporary look at recessions and changes of government, the last recession (under PM Keating) saw no change. The recession before that, PM Fraser, the coalition was voted out. Recessions do not always mean governments are removed.

    Neither is the corollary rule set in stone that governments are re-elected in time of prosperity. Take Howard’s defeat last year for instance.

  41. It’s a pity that Channel 7 didn’t show the full program “Minding Your Money: An Audience with the Prime Minister” last night.

    I found it to be quite enjoyable and was impressed by the way Rudd handled himself and the audience interaction was one of the best I have seen. The picture accompanying this article in the smh says it all really.


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