ACNielsen and Galaxy: 55-45

The latest federal ACNielsen poll, published in today’s Fairfax broadsheets, has Labor’s two-party lead down to 55-45 from 56-44 last month. Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating is down four points to 51 per cent and his disapproval is up five to 35 per cent, while Kevin Rudd is more or less steady on 70 per cent and 22 per cent. Also included are questions on the government’s economic management (positive) and expectations about the economy (surprisingly optimistic).

UPDATE: Galaxy has also produced a poll showing Labor leading 55-45. The poll has Labor on 43 per cent of the primary vote, the Coalition on 40 per cent and the Greens on 11 per cent. No mention of a sample size that I can see, but in Galaxy’s case it’s usually about 800 (UPDATE: It’s 1004 for Galaxy, 1400 for ACNielsen).

UPDATE 2: A surprise from Essential Research: they too have Labor’s lead at 55-45 in their weekly survey. This is down from 59-41 last week, and as far as I’m aware is the closest result they have thus far produced. Also featured are questions on which party is deemed best to handle various issues (huge leads to Labor on climate change, environment and industrial relations, narrow ones to Liberal on inflation, national security and economic management) and the car manufacturing industry assistance package (47 per cent approve, 35 per cent disapprove).

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.

1,045 comments on “ACNielsen and Galaxy: 55-45”

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  1. [Dario , I’ll take your #651 first sentence as agreeing with me]

    To a degree

    [I take your later comment “while GWB is seen as a bit of a fool ” as rather generous to George]

    hahaha, yes probably 🙂

    [….and as for “recaliant” , well Paul smiled when he said it and th Mayalsian PM didn’t , so i assumed there was a PK insult somewhere in there]

    I think you mean recalcitrant… 😉

  2. The difference between what labour got in the last election and this poll result looks to me like it is within the MOE, as are several of the ‘shifts’ reported in the article. The big exception seems to be that the more the public sees of Turnbull, the less they think of him. Since this has been a bit of pattern with his acquaintances in his previous metamorpheses, no surprise, really.
    The big worry for Rudd in these polls should be the very high likelihood that all those optimistic folks are in for a disappointment. Unless, by ‘optimistic’ they mean they are optimistic that things won’t tank completely. If they become disappointed and blame Rudd, he is in trouble.

  3. I have not been able to follow all the ins and outs of the phone story. My main sense is a disproportion all round. For me there is a larger governance issue here: When can and should PMs and pollies ‘fess up’. Why should we simultaneously expect them to be perfect and then be utterly sceptical that they will be perfect? Doesn’t this cause a sort of rot in the body politic? Why is the bar so high that we almost force them to fiddle faddle and falsify? Why are we pushing them up Denial Creek? What would happen if Rudd said, for example, ‘Yep, it sort of slipped out the wrong way. Of course GWD knows what G20 means.’

  4. Tony Wright and La Stupenda say the government’s poll success comes despite the economic situation and despite “continuing intrigue” over Phonegate. Poor little dears… they don’t get it. Despite their best efforts to talk down the economy (especially La Stupenda) with continuous negative reporting, even making up statistics, and despite their assurances that Phonegate “just won’t go away” (inclusing more “body language” reporting by La S. fro a ball in the US), the public has not reacted to any of it.

    This is good for a couple of reasons:

    It shows that the Press Gallery are not setting the agenda as much as they’d like to think they are, and certainly not as much as they used to be able to do.

    It shows that Australians are confident in their government. They feel that Rudd can do whatever it is he did to Bush (including possibly nothing) and they’re still prepared to back him. The government – a Labor government – can handle the economy without sideline advice from the Libs. There’s a new pride emerging in our standing on our own two feet, and the voters are backing Rudd in doing so.

    Other sections of the poll showed that confidence in the economy has fallen, but not by as much as the pundits would prefer. Their doom and gloom “war” reporting has washed over the people who go to work each day and see commerce continuing, people interacting profitably and only fools leaving themselves with $5 in their bank accounts when the mortgage funds go bung. It ain’t perfect, but it ain’t “mega billions” either.

    There’s a sort of incredulity, dare I say “counter-intuitiveness” in the write up of the Nielsen poll in today’s Age. It’s as if Wright and Grattan are saying, “What do we have to do to force the buggers to panic and tut-tut about Rudd?” It’s a big slap in the face to the likes of the Insiders, who unanimously agreed yesterday that amateur analysis of videotaped body language was the new frontier in investigative reporting. They wanted Rudd to fess up and play the usual role for Australian Prime Ministers : abject supplication to the American President, any American President, even a lame duck who got rolled by G20 over the weekend.

    It’s all part of the “Labor doesn’t know how to behave in proper company” schtick. And it hasn’t stuck. The Libs have been rendered irrelevant, and now quite possibly so have the pundits. A few of them are starting to show signs they’re getting it, while the rest are mired in their studios and their smoke-filled (metaphorically, of course) offices, pontificating from on-high.

    Funnily enough it was Murdoch yesterday afternoon who launched into a diatribe against elites in the media believing they could and should be setting the agenda. OK, so his Boyer Lecture was full of holes and hypocrisy (especially when he got onto touchy issues such as “truth” and “honesty”), but his point was that a news organisation should understand its readership and/or viewership. The Grattans, Wrights, Cassidys, Shanahans, Brissendens et al I guess do have such a rudimentary understanding. It’s just that the number of those who follow their every word are dwindling. what’s the point of understanding a handful of pessimistic tragics who think we’re doomed, when the majority of the population is pretty upbeat, considering, and want to remain so?

    One of the things mentioned in the original Phonegate article was the pretty-well unconditional praise of Rudd’s diplomacy: Sticking it to Bush, arguing his case (in a way Howard would never have done, it was pointed out) and getting a result. The media chose to turn this into “self-aggrandizement” (who does Rudd think he is, after all?), which it plainly was not. It was a report telling the public that our PM stood up to Bush on behalf of our country and could be a person of importance in the coming year or so of global negotiations. That’s a pretty important thing for the Australian people to understand about their leadership. And it’s something the pundits clearly don’t understand, either in the fact or the reasons why.

  5. The opening words of the Adelaide Advertiser article on the poll are “Australia’s globe-trotting Prime Minister”… somehow they couldn’t manage to start the article off neutrally.

  6. “One of the things mentioned in the original Phonegate article was the pretty-well unconditional praise of Rudd’s diplomacy: Sticking it to Bush, arguing his case (in a way Howard would never have done, it was pointed out) and getting a result… It was a report telling the public that our PM stood up to Bush on behalf of our country and could be a person of importance in the coming year or so of global negotiations.”

    Not that I think anyone really wants to trawl through this debate again, but I thought all the Labor cheerleaders here thought the article was a complete fabrication. I thought both sides (US and Australia) didn’t think it was a true representation of the conversation? Yet the PM still should be praised?

    No. It was a puff piece cooked up and approved by the PM’s office. That’s why the media rightly characterised it as “self-aggrandizement”.

  7. Michelle Grattan looks nothing like the real La Stupenda (Dame Joan), she’s quite small. If the name is intended to convey that she is conceited about her status as one of Australia’s most experienced political reporters, that is totally false. She is an extremely diligent, cautious reporter and a scrupulously fair commentator.

  8. From an article in today’s SMH:

    “[Howard] did not like his border protection policy being challenged, be it in 2001 or much later, such as in 2005 when fourbackbenchers went to the Lodge to lobby for a softening of mandatory detention.

    [He told Russell Broadbent:]
    “What are you doing with this chardonnay-sipping set? They don’t represent the same kind of people as you. Their seats are not like yours. Why are you here? You don’t belong in this group.”

    To illustrate his point, Howard made available for his guests only three chairs, forcing Broadbent to fetch his own.”

    What a ghastly ghastly man. Thank god he’s gone.

  9. One last comment, sorry for so many Mr Bowe!

    An article in today’s West Australian (page 12) indicates that Dr Chris Back, a veterinarian, and failed Liberal candidate for the state seat of Alfred Cove has won the preselection to replace Chris Ellison when he retires at the end of the year.

  10. [ ltep – What a ghastly ghastly man. Thank god he’s gone. ]

    In that article we see rodent for what he is. Certain not as the statesmen he desperately wants. How able this :

    “To illustrate his point, Howard made available for his guests only three chairs, forcing Broadbent to fetch his own.

    Confirming the account to the Herald, Broadbent said the Lodge meeting was one of 13 the four had with Howard over mandatory detention. For the first 12 there was no chair for him. Only at the last was his chair there, directly facing Howard and in front of the others. Howard chose only to deal with Broadbent as a final compromise was nutted out, using him as “a bridge” to the others.”

    Doesn’t matter how much spin or sugar coating fran kelly puts on tonights show, australians know what an absolute prick rodent really is.

  11. BB@7

    I usually enjoy your writing but I think you may be a little off-centre on this one.

    It is reasonable for journos to note that two things that potentially might have had a negative effect on polling are not having a negative impact. They certainly would not be the only ones to think that poor economic times have the potential to impact on government approval ratings. The telephone stuff is fluff, and they know it, but it fits the general story pretty well. It has the potential to have an impact but it has not done so.

    In relation to ‘best efforts at talking down the economy’, it must be a difficult call for journos. They can’t just pretend that the economy is going well. In fact, if any of them were really doing their job well, they would be telling all those optimists out there that the terms of trade will swing decidedly against Australia’s favour by this time next year, following the renegotiation of coal and iron ore contracts. From my perspective, people have become very used to good terms of trade on those two items. Increased world supply and rapidly falling demand are going to make coal and iron ore prices look very sick indeed. Apart from the downstream impacts on the private sector, BHP and RIO occupy a disproportionate percentage of the stock exchange. Further, the implications for WA, Qld and Fed budgets are going to be more than just a little significant. Whether they are incompetent and haven’t picked up on this, or whether they are competent and lying doggo on it, I don’t know. Getting the balance of reporting right on that one would be problematic. Don’t want to scare the horses, but the horses do need to have the basic knowledge that they are galloping towards, if not a cliff, then a steepish hill.

    On journos setting agendas…I am inclined to agree that there is always a struggle between government and journos about what ‘the agenda’ is. Clearly, governments like to spin the agenda their way. In making the criticism of Wright and Grattan, for the sake of balance, you would also have to criticise Rudd for trying to spin things his way – unless of course you happen to believe that he is not trying to spin the agenda?

    Finally, journos are simply generally not very interested in spinning news in a positive way because they, and their editors, believe that good news does not sell. Apart from that, Michelle Grattan has generally been fairly even in her assessments. It does seem to me that the OO journos, who worked too closely together with Howard and his office to set agendas, are struggling without the direct drip. Albrechtson will not get favoured treatment under Rudd. She will not get specially sponsored trips to write up Iraq stories as she did under Howard. With no-one much listening any more, she is struggling.

  12. Good on Russell Broadbent. I was aware of some of his difficulties at the time. Petro Georgiou was another who destroyed his political career for principle. It was, and is, good to see that the Liberal party still has some real heroes in it. Only four of them, but still…
    Until the ‘broad church’ ceases to embrace only the right and the crazy right, the Liberal party is going to stay in deep doodoo.
    Since they have no apparent present intention of reclaiming the wets from independents, the greens or labour, it may be some time before they can present as credible holders of the middle ground.
    As for those who point out that this is just another example of the rodent in action, I ask that they use another phrase. Rats are sociable, clean and don’t eat their young.

  13. The text of the G20 summit statement is here:

    Its still really only an agreement to do somehting in the future, but it is more specific than I had expected. If it is implemented as written it will be a remarkably good outcome. A few bits stand out for me:

    3 “… Policy-makers, regulators and supervisors, in some advanced countries, did not adequately appreciate and address the risks building up in financial markets, keep pace with financial innovation, or take into account the systemic ramifications of domestic regulatory actions.”
    – that must have stuck in Bush’s craw!

    7 “… Use fiscal measures to stimulate domestic demand to rapid effect, as appropriate, while maintaining a policy framework conducive to fiscal sustainability.”
    – a strong endorsement of Rudd and Swan’s actions so far, and making a nonsense of Tony “economic skills” Abbott’s suggestion that the budget must remain in surplus.

    13 “… Further, we shall strive to reach agreement this year on modalities that leads to a successful conclusion to the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda with an ambitious and balanced outcome.”
    – that will be a very good outcome for Australia.

    The G20 will meet again in April 2009 to ratify the final details. With Bush gone and Obama in power, that should happen. The only losers will be the “financial engineers” and corporate cowboys, some of whom had better start looking for new jobs.

  14. other than rusted on followers the cane toad and Bolt are fading as well, i dont think anyone takes Shanahan very seriously after his spurious headlines lauding Howard’s so called comeback last year, Milne–well is Milne, an irrelevant little man who will be edged out as younger more savvy writers rise in the ranks, the best most balanced wordsmith we had of course has died, Matt Price’s Sketch was mandatory the first to be read and eagerly awaited on, somewhere out there another Price will eventually come up through the ranks, until then we have crappy stories and hopeful quotes such as Albrechson’s when Turnbull got the nod–“ladies and gentlemen it’s now game on”

  15. Boerwar
    Its the first time all the members of the G20 have agreed to finish off the Doha round, rather than just talk about it. That would remove a lot of agricultural protectionism. That would be good for (most of) our farmers. Some would be worse off, but most would have less competition from subsidised US and European esports.

  16. Boerwar
    Yes, very much so. That is why delegates from countries like Brazil at the G20 were also keen to include this in the agreement. Some Australian crops that are currently protected against crops grown in the third world, eg sugar, will lose. But overall we would be far better off. There was a fear that nations would revert to protectionism during the crisis, which would make things worse.

    Item 7 is really a stinging rebuke for everything that the opposition has been saying lately and endorses Rudd and Swan’s direction. Expect this to feature in QT.

  17. Malcolm Farr – Daily Telegraph:

    [But as the Galaxy poll shows today, the Government and the Coalition are roughly where they were at the election last year.

    It could be that voters simply don’t see an alternative.]

    What don’t the journos get??? People are NOT LOOKING for a different government – they like the one they’ve got!! I’m fed up with this type of reporting and I’m annoyed that I react to it and I vow to not post another comment about hack spin because it is a pointless exercise but sheeeeesh (silent scream).

  18. [People are NOT LOOKING for a different government]

    Not to mention that people rarely look for a different government so soon after voting a new one in anyway. It’s the ‘born to rule’ rubbish again really… to the journos the Libs are expected to be in power, it’s just a question of when the voters wake up to themselves and realise that they made a big mistake last year.

  19. Malcolm Farr again:
    [It will be a pleasant change for Kevin Rudd. In Washington his views on rehabilitating the international finance world will be given greater respect than they get in Australia.

    He’s no hero at home, and the Opposition has been dedicated to attempts to udo any economic credibility Rudd might have collected. But in Washington, he will be listened to.]

    (Part B of the last time I’m posting on bias) – these sentences bear no relation to reality on any objective or subjective basis. Finis.

  20. You’re right Dario – I just have to remind myself of their agenda and the fact that they spent a decade being hand groomed by the LNP and the old habit of pleasing the master dies hard.

  21. [He’s no hero at home]

    What is that tosser somking? Rudds’s in record poll territory and has been there for ages. The ALP has won something like a year and a half straight polling including an election in the middle. Seriously, Farr should get his head outside of Canberra once in a while and realise that journos are the last people who should be making those kinds of ridiculous comments. Typical BS.

  22. A story too Farr! Dario and Entre Nous you had better get over to Farr’s blog and support him, or something. The current posts on Malcolm’s blog are getting stuck into him for being a labour stooge! This despite his description of Rudd as ‘the nerd fluent in Mandarin and gobbledegook jargon’ and ‘being no hero.’ Farr, in his responses, seemed to be enjoying the fun.
    I do wonder, if not exactly a ‘hero’, how Farr does actually interpret a 48 per cent lead as PPM.
    Multiple parallel universes in action here.

  23. [The current posts on Malcolm’s blog are getting stuck into him for being a labour stooge!]

    Meh, just the Young Liberals at work… who really cares

  24. A final question – why bother with the expense of polling if journalists ignore the quantitative evidence and instead rely on a qualitative poll of three – usually themselves, a mate down at the pub and a random politician from the opposite side – to write the story?

  25. [A final question – why bother with the expense of polling if journalists ignore the quantitative evidence and instead rely on a qualitative poll of three – usually themselves, a mate down at the pub and a random politician from the opposite side – to write the story?]

    So they can use it as ‘evidence’ of their opinion being vindicated whenever there is a move to the Libs, even if it means ignoring any moves the other way

  26. I’ll give Malcolm Farr points for at least answering points raised on his blog.

    Shananhan gets a hiding from posters and goes awol refusing to answer.

    I’m not saying I agree with Farr on much but at least his blog is a two way thing.

  27. The whole ‘same old Labor’ and ‘Labor stooge’ stuff no longer works with the new Rudd government, because when people look back to the last government, they see the Hawke/Keating governments, who gave Labor an economic reputation to envy with the long list of reforms that made Australia’s economy what it is today, whilst maintaining a social conscience and Labor values.

  28. The ideals stuff is tired on both sides. There was a time when Liberal governments were interested in preserving individual rights, while having small governments. Hard to believe I know, after the last “Liberal” government trashed every concept of individual liberty, right to speedy trial and freedom of expression, while wallowing in the largest barrels of budgetary pork ever seen in Oz political history. Meanwhile the public service expanded to larger (in % of GDP & workforce terms) than under Hawke and Keating, despite spending less on health and education. Spending up, services down, great achievement there!

    Still, Farr is right about one thing – it is hard to see a reason to switch to voting Liberal (no matter how desperately hard he tries).

  29. ltep – you don’t remember what you wrote about at #12? You don’t know what a soap box is or the saying “getting on your soap box? Fair enough.

  30. You can call it what you want. I call it not being blind to reality. I thought dyno had a good point on an earlier thread when he referred to some people as having their eyes screwed shut to the fact that the Government could do any wrong. Maybe if I stuck up a picture of Kevin Rudd I could be truly objective.

    To those interested in the web filter debate, here’s a website that will help you see things from the Government’s perspective:

  31. Reading that article about Russell Boardbent being treated like crap by the leader who then is reported to have said that are not our people!

    I will remember that comment next time I see my local MP! It makes me mad when the ALP starts on class postcode based envy but when the ALP are doing that are playing to there hardcore union base for I’m sure the ALP would never be so fricken dismissing of its own heartland. thankfully we no longer have such a narrow minded tool for PM!!

    For lunch I’m going tom buy a latte! with that on to the more important news.

    This poll result confirms what many in here and out there in voterland have been saying for a long time and that is while things look gloomy over all the Australian economy is in good shape, Interest Rates are coming down, many Austrlains would already be planning how to spend the coming hand-outs and the Government while it has made mistakes it has actually got on with the job of Governing.

    The Liberal Party are a second rate opposition and we the voters expect out pollies to be focus on the national Interest, yet what have our so-called alternative Government been doing.

    Crapping on about why two different people had different forecast and who spoke with whom, while there is a real possibly of job losses and business going broke, for many years I felt it was the ALP that had no fricken idea on how to run a country but the more I listen to the Liberals, the more I see them has pathetic.

    The ALP have actually impressed me thus far sure its easy to say Ithey have made mistakes but unless you can show an alternive then all you are doing is blowing in the wind, that basically sums the Liberal Party up.

    These poll numbers while showing a slight narrowing as one expects for a 12 month old Government but unless the Liberal Party lifts its game it will get its just deserve.

    Overall I’m a little disppointed with this G20 summit for it appears all members will be developing their own policies and the timeframe of March next year seems a long way into the future when this issue has been around now for the last 12 months.

    Regarding the arguement about should the Government go into deficit, I for one don’t like deficits but looking at both the Melbourne Bust and the Great Depression the biggest mistakes made by Governments of those eras was to over cut spending and proceed with deep cuts to wages and pensions, while it makes perfect economic sense to follow that policy.

    The problem is regardless of how one may view the place of the Government, the fact remains Government is the biggest spending of Money within our economic system, yes I’m familar with the events that brought down the Cain/Kirner Governments so its important the Government doesn’t just spend for the shake of spending but focus on the really needed things.

    I felt Robert Gobleston (sorry about the spelling) made an excellant point in the Business Spectator about getting the Superfunds to work with Governmetn to invest in projects.

    I firmly believe what this country needs is to focus on broadening its approach to how it administrators public funding beyond the normal revanue and spend manner that we normally see.

  32. 44 -Ah, so you do know what I mean. Just playing the innocent ltep?
    You remind me of the old socialist left in Victoria. They became the conscience of the ALP. Trouble was they expected purity (to their cause) which meant exposing every little wrong, big and small and often, even around election time. The Libs loved them.
    As someone pointed out earlier no – one is perfect and no damage has been done. The issue is dead.

  33. Dario

    The retail figures are good news. Especially with the pensioners & carers bonus coming this quarter, if Christmas sales are half normal, oz should stay out of recession in 2008/09. There will still be a need for further stimulus in the second half of next year I expect.

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