Newspoll minus three days

Some tidbits to tide you over through the middle of an agonising week-long federal poll drought.

• Chris Back, who narrowly failed to unseat independent Alfred Cove MP Janet Woollard at the September 6 state election, has been nicely compensated with the Western Australian Senate vacancy created by the retirement of Chris Ellison. It was initially expected that the position would go to Deidre Willmott, who stood aside as candidate for Cottesloe so Colin Barnett could cancel his retirement plans and lead his previously demoralised party to victory. However, Willmott withdrew from the race a few weeks ago when it became apparent she wouldn’t win, thereby continuing the state party’s sorry recent record on female representation. The West Australian reports that Back won the preselection vote “on preferences from party treasurer Dean Smith and the pre-contest favourite, senior vice-president Anthony Jarvis”. It also informs us that Back was “the veterinarian who controversially did not swab champion racehorse Rocket Racer after he won the 1987 Perth Cup by 10 lengths”. Back has more recently been “group managing executive of oil and gas company Equinox Energy”, but it’s “his role in the Rocket Racer affair which attracts the most attention”. Curious then that the paper didn’t say a single word about it prior to the state election.

• In case you missed it, George Megalogenis’s analysis of the grey vote in The Australian last week was essential reading like only Megalogenis number crunching can be.

• Courtesy of Possum comes a detailed breakdown of figures from Monday’s federal ACNielsen poll. Possum also weighs in on under-publicised Nielsen online polling.

• The recent Newspoll on issue perceptions inspired me to knock together the following chart based on its surveys going back to 1989. The chart averages the results for each year, in which time Newspoll usually publishes about three such surveys. Some issues are featured more frequently than others: immigration for instance is usually included once a year, so the spike to Labor in 2005 might not be all that meaningful. Note that “economy” wasn’t featured as a distinct category between 1991 and 2004.

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.

223 comments on “Newspoll minus three days”

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  1. Georgiou is retiring. From the Age: ‘His stand on asylum seekers infamously prompted Victorian Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella to call him a “political terrorist”. It did not bother him in the least. As he told one confidant, barbs only hurt if you have respect for the person delivering them.’

    Then there were three.

  2. Scathing review of the NSW Libs in the SMH today. My experience with the SMH during the Federal Election is that they were biased towards JH so surprised to see this.

    You can send your policy donations to: Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Level 10, Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000. Please give generously.

  3. classic from Annabel Crabb this morning 😀 ….

    Service OK – no bots about it
    Annabel Crabb
    November 22, 2008

    An open letter to the people of Australia from Prime Animatronix Pty Ltd, manufacturer of the RuddbotTM.

    Congratulations again on your purchase of Ruddbot TM.

    Here at Prime Animatronix, we value our clients. And as part of our post-sales service package, Prime offers a comprehensive (and complimentary) 12-month warranty check on all prime ministerial androids supplied to Southern Hemisphere customers.

    Prime has already conducted significant market research among stakeholders, and we are pleased to report that, in general, your RuddbotTM appears to be performing within the “reasonable” to “fair” band.

    His first 12 months in service appear to have been free of major malfunction.

    Your RuddbotTM, as should have been explained to you at point of sale, is a completely unique and experimental piece of machinery.

    He is designed to evolve.–no-bots-about-it/2008/11/21/1226770738072.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

  4. Shaun Carney is at it again, gorging from the cliche bucket.

    His wrap-up of the first year of the Rudd government is hinted at early in the piece:

    [This is not to suggest that the Government is not in a welter of strife. It is, or is about to be.]

    Rudd is not an orator. The Caucus is angling for a fight. He’s not a true Party Man. His ministers are haughty. Rudd himself is smug. Only ever had to beat Beazley. He’s a technocrat. Obsessed with detail and process. And, amazingly, he’ll never be loved by the public.

    Sure, the polls are sky high, and have been for two years but…

    [For now, the Government draws comfort from its status as an administration that managed to avoid a major blunder in its first 12 months.

    In democratic politics, the bar is set pretty low.]

    So take heart Libs: the bigger they are, the harder they fall.


  5. Amazing how, after such a year, Rudd still has a better opinion poll rating than when elected! 🙂 I guess Labor’s opponents will keep referring to it as a honeymoon period because they don’t want to admit it might be true love, or that terrible “r” word (not recession, the other one) – respect.

    I think Rudd has had a hard working, honest first year where he has delivered as many of his promises as he responsibly could, without backing away from those he has put off. those who can recall how insipid Howard was prior to Port Arthur will appreciate the comparison. I’d give Rudd and most of his colleagues an A, Tanner an A+, Garrett a B, Conroy a D. Nelson was an F, Turnbull is improved btu still yet to harm Rudd’s rating, so he gets a C.

  6. Noting Georgiou’s retirement, it will be interesting to see who replaces him. If its another from the Andrew Robb school of neo-con head kickers then it will shift the Liberals even further to the right, as if thats possible. There must be a lot of unemployed stockbrokers out there now looking for a secure job in a safe seat…

  7. From Annabel Crabbe’s column:
    [The constant, nagging sadness at the heart of many dedicated political tragics is the thought of what Matt Price might have made of Rudd’s Australia, had he lived to see it.]

    Amen to that.

  8. [What a load of rot this is. The Courier Mail have “conducted their own poll” on issues in four marginal seats. They spoke to, wait for it, scores of people in each seat. How scientific.]

    Yes, the DT has featured the same ridiculous poll, with the headline “On first anniversary of Labor Government, voters say Kevin Rudd all talk, no action”, then in a linked article they list the Rudd election promises and their current status. Surprise, surprise, more than three-quarters of them have been delivered. The media have their ‘idea’ of the government’s performance, and then there is reality.,23599,24688944-2,00.html

  9. For the information of members and their guests.

    Some polling analysis since Malcolm Turnbull came to the leadership and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

    (see detailed tables below)

    The A C Nielsen and Newspoll weighted average of polling shows that after an initial burst of interest in Turnbull in Sept, shifting the primary votes to 41.5 ALP and 40.2 L/NP resulting in a 53.4/46.6 projected two party vote, the subsequent two months have placed the L/NP in a worse position than when Nelson was still leader.

    Primary votes are now 44.6 ALP 38.6 L/NP, and a projected TPP of 55.5/44.5. That’s significant shift of primary votes back to the ALP with the L/NP holding only a fraction of the primary votes that Turnbull first brought with him in September.

    There’s little doubt that this shift is all about Rudd and Turnbull and their respective responses to the GFC. If we look at Rudd’s approval figures he’s directly shifted from a 56/34 (approval/disapproval) in September to a 68/22 (approval/disapproval) in November, with the undecided’s constantly at 10.

    Turnbull’s approval/disapproval ratings have stayed about the same 53/28 in October to 52/31 in November, although his disapproval has increased from 28 to 31, and the undecided’s maybe trending down, having shifted from 19 to 17, meaning people are making up their minds about Turnbull and it’s not positive.

    The preferred PM ratings show Rudd moving from a 55/29 lead over Turnbull with 16 undecided in September, to a 64/25 lead with 11 undecided in November. That 11% undecided is the key figure. It’s just about the same as the 10% who have consistently been undecided about Rudd’s approval, it means people are having a good look at both Rudd and Turnbull, and they like much more what they see about Rudd and much less what they see about Turnbull, and are less uncertain about their opinions.

    Couple this with Galaxy’s questions this week about Rudd and Turnbull, and again it shows that Rudd is being marked well with 45% saying he’s doing a good job, with only 11% saying the same for Turnbull.

    These shifts in voting intentions and leader approvals and ratings, started with the shock of the GFC, but the continued move towards Rudd and the ALP, and away from Turnbull and the L/NP, is all to do with the way the two leaders have responded to the GFC. Whilst there are some who are always impressed by Turnbull’s “Rumpole of the Bailey” performances in parliament, the public does not have as high a regard for him.

    In short, the public have been impressed with Rudd, and disappointed with Turnbull.

    This is clearly reflected in the independent measures of the pollsters.

    Polling weighted average of Newspoll and AC Nielsen.

    May ALP 46.3 L/NP 37.5 Projected TPP 57/43

    June ALP 44.5 L/NP 37.1 Projected TPP 56.5/43.5

    July ALP 43.9 L/NP 38.9 Projected TPP 54.9/45.1

    Aug ALP 44.1 L/NP 38.4 Projected TPP 56.1/43.9

    Sept ALP 41.5 L/NP 40.2 Projected TPP 53.4/46.6 – Turnbull started

    Oct ALP 44.4 L/NP 38.8 Projected TPP 55.3/44.7

    Nov ALP 44.6 L/NP 38.6 Projected TPP 55.5/44.5

    Approval Rudd, (Nielsen and Newspoll weighted average)

    Month Approval Disapproval Undecided

    May 66 23 11

    June 62 28 10

    July 62 28 10

    Aug 58 31 11

    Sept 56 34 10 – Turnbull started

    Oct 66 24 10

    Nov 68 22 10

    Approval Turnbull (Nielsen and Newspoll weighted average)

    Month Approval Disapproval Undecided

    Oct 53 28 19

    Nov 52 31 17

    (Oct and Nov only as Newspoll didn’t ask that question when Turnbull first came in, in Sept)

    Preferred PM (Nielsen and Newspoll weighted average)

    Month Rudd Nelson Undecided

    May 70 15 15

    June 67 17 16

    July 65 17 18

    Aug 65 17 18

    Month Rudd Turnbull Undecided

    Sept 55 29 16

    Oct 61 26 13

    Nov 64 25 11

    Galaxy ratings Rudd/ALP and Turnbull/LNP

    Leader Good job Average job Poor job

    Rudd 45 42 12

    Turnbull 11 55 30

  10. Considering the critism many ALP supporters have regarding the Australian, I though todays over view of PM Rudds first year was extremely positive!

    I for one am not sad to see Petro go! he is the laziest MP I have ever seen!

  11. Good to see Kev is still pushing climate change at Apec despite other leaders concentrating only on the financial crisis.

    [While the financial crisis has pushed climate change off the list of top priorities this year, some leaders argued that environment and economics were closely related.

    Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said countries that move quickly to wean their economies off fossil fuels would set the stage for greater growth later on.

    “The alternative is inertia, and the real economic and environmental costs of inertia are incalculable,” he told a group of business leaders on Friday.]

  12. [Am I the only one who is going to notice that the “employement” category is the only issue where the ALP has gone backwards?]

    As I should have noticed immediately, this was a data entry error – I was using the Coalition’s figures rather than Labor’s. Now corrected.

  13. [Possum and Andrew Bolt having an armwrestle here.]

    Interesting article, but I have to say Bolt has got Crikey nailed for making a disgusting joke about Palin’s son with Down Syndrome.

    It’s one of the unfortunate things about William locating to Crikey is that my coming on this site is no doubt contributing to the hit count of a newsblog that thinks comparing kids with DS to mongrel dogs is funny.

    A poster here on one of the US election blogs a few weeks back made the same joke and I responded in pretty strong terms, if for no other reason than my daughter has DS. I like to think I would have responded in the same wayregardless, but… well obviously the personal aspects always makes one more aware of such things. But comments like that are rare on Pollbludger, and William is very good about slapping such posters down, and banning the truly bad. His blogs are civilised and, a few stupid nicknames aside, fun places to comment on.

    But I have to say after reading the Crikey article on “the contest to name Obama’s dog”, I don’t really feel like contributing anymore to the hit count of anything connected to Crikey.

    I’ll probably come back, but I’ll think perhaps I’ll give this all a miss till next year – my small protest – call it a month boycott – given I don’t subscribe, I can’t exactly demand a refund. But it’s sad because I pretty much live on this blog (which is probably sad in itself!)

    Merry Christmas all, safe travels for those going on holidays, see you in the new year.

  14. Petro Georgiou is notoriously lazy, both in parliament and in the House. The reason he is retiring is that he would undoubtedly be rolled if he sought endorsement again. I assume Josh Freidenberg is still interested in the seat. If he were to win he would be the first non-Labor Jew in the House of Reps since 1906, when Isaac Isaacs went to the High Court. (Since then there have been Falstein, Einfeld, Cass, Cohen, Klugman, Berinson, Danby and Dreyfus, all Labor). It would also see three Jews holding Melbourne seats, which I’m sure would be a record.

  15. Grog,
    Hope you haven’t gone yet. I too was offended at the Crickey article you mentioned. I was disappointed in the article, and even more disappointed in the lack of response from Crikey subscribers in the comments.

    I have cancelled my squatter’s email, and sent an email to boss@crickey voicing my objections. I am really glad I didn’t get a paid subscription.

    I too have a DS daughter, and it really rankles that even in supposedly enlightened online communities we still have to fight these battles.

  16. I hadn’t seen the offending article till Grog’s post raised it but I have to agree that the joke about Palin’s son was not acceptable. Its bad enough to target political family members who are not involved in politics in the first place, but picking on personal characteristics as well, whether positive or negative, is just mean. That sort of remark is exactly why some good people hesitate to be involved in politics and we are left with the choices we have. I would happily lead the charge on making any jokes about Palin herself, but must agree – lets leave the families out of it please.

  17. I agree with all of the above comments about the Crikey article. As the father of a child with multiple disabilities, it is extremely offensive and says a lot about the people who wrote it and their standards of conduct. We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars. Others of us just turn face down and inhale the filth to regurgitate later.

  18. polyquats I’m still here – (seriously, I clicked on “pollbludger” in my favourites by accident – it’s a freaking reflex!)

    Yeah, the article just hit me in the gut (probably more so because I only found out about it through a Bolt blog!)

    I’ve also sent an email to “boss@crikey”.

  19. Haven’t read the offending article yet, perhaps thats a good thing. In general I find Crikey to be a good place, so I’m left wondering what has happened too upset so many people, people who’s opinions I have come to respect over a long time.

    Oie! – Crikey! – without reading it, I’m going to assume you’ve (SNIP: See Article 2 of Comment Moderation Guidelines – The Management) up accidentally and obviously, you need to fix that

    Might want to have a look at that and apologise/retract/grovel or whatever as you’ve pissed off the people above. It seems out of character for your publication and a (SNIP: See Article 2 of Comment Moderation Guidelines – The Management) of highest order

    Mr Green (or whoever’s lap this falls in, get over here(and there) and fix it

  20. Getting on with the usual business ’round here, is it just me or has The Australian been a bit more balanced lately?… There are of coarse the usual attacks rants etc.(all papers do that) But I note a change in the overall reporting in the last few weeks.

  21. re: “the snip” sorry William, must admit I hadn’t read that bit and fair enough. don’t you think it might be better to just blank that word rather then delete the whole paragraph? (just this once. pretty please) 🙂

    I honestly didn’t know

  22. [On another note: good riddance to Petro Geogiou.]
    1) He is retiring at the NEXT election
    2) The Liberal Party will never be in government ever again if it ignores its liberal wing.

  23. “On another note: good riddance to Petro Geogiou.”

    And that’s the type of attitude that will keep your party banished to opposition for another 13 years.

  24. In today’s print edition of the Canberra Times, from the editors (assumption, the article is not listed as being attributed to a specific author) is a listing of the first year grades for various people upon Labors front and back benches. I can’t bloody find the link to this on the Canberra Times website, so I’m only going to list the names and grades but the print edition has minimum several paragraphs each to explain their grades.

    Rudd B+
    Gillard A
    Swan C+
    Evans B-
    Faulkner A
    Albanese B
    Bowen C+
    Burke B-
    Carr B
    Conroy C-
    Crean B
    Debus C
    Elliot C
    Ellis C+
    Emerson B+
    Ferguson B-
    Firzgibbon B-
    Garrett C+
    Griffin C
    Ludwig B-
    Macklin A
    McClelland C
    O’Connor C
    Plibersek B+
    Roxon B+
    Sherry C+
    Smith B
    Snowdon C+
    Tanner A-
    Wong A-

    A+: A star performer
    A: Excellent on both policy and political fronts
    A-: Stellar work
    B+: Rising star
    B: Above average but short of a star
    B-: Showing talent
    C+: Solid performance
    C: Average bordering on mediocre
    C-: Struggling

    If no one else can turn up the URL for this story on their website, I will retain the print edition and can go back to the explanations for those who wish on a person by person basis and summarize what they said about each one. I won’t do that though unless no URL turns up and unless someone asks about a specific one.

    Cheers 🙂

  25. GP, why are you happy PG is going? I’ve read a few ALP people who seem happy he’s off because he’s apparently lazy

    Why are you happy about it? (seriously, no attack here, I’d like to know)

  26. I wonder how they would have rated Howard’s ministers over their first year, those that were left from the beginning of their term.

  27. bob1234@ 38,

    The B+ comes mainly off of the back of 3 things in their opinion – mostly being wrong footed on petrol and pensions at various times in the last 12 months and the recent phonegate issue.

  28. [On another note: good riddance to Petro Geogiou.]

    What the hell? He’s a liberal! Economically liberal, socially liberal.

    He’s too liberal for the “Liberal” Party.

    If you guys resent liberals being in the party, why do you call yourselves the Liberal Party? False pretenses, if you ask me.

  29. Conroy is pretty lucky that the Canberra Times grading system only goes as low as C-. I think he’d be looking at a big F for fail using most schemes.

    Which brings me to a topic Adam raised earlier. Rudd hasn’t lost a minister yet. The State governments have lost countless in the last few years (someone added them up to me yesterday and said there were more than 20 sackings in disgrace, with WA being the leader). Who will be the first Rudd Minister to get the boot? My money is on Conroy.

  30. Dio, I don’t know enough about Conroy to say one way or the other. My main beef with this list was that I thought they was being way too harsh on Pete. I would have given him a good solid B not a C+.

  31. ShowsOn@ 35,

    2) The Liberal Party will never be in government ever again if it ignores its liberal wing.

    Shhhhhhh!!!!! ………… Don’t tell them what they need to do to fix their problem and it won’t ever get fixed. 😀

  32. juliem@37
    Thank you. Did they do one for the Opposition as well? After all, Opposition Ministers get paid a motsa to be in the shadow ministry.

    There would have to a different rating system:

    A = Has developed a coherent policy, explained it well to the public, held a consistent line, and debated on issues and the evidence rather than on personalities and misinformation. Rising star.
    B = Has put forward at least a single positive idea based on common sense. Shows promise.
    C = Is known to more than 1% of the population but has done nothing. Still breathing.
    D = Has done nothing. Not known to anyone. Still draws pay. Moribund, but not quite dead yet.
    E = Has been active but negative. Is inconsistent, incoherent and full of fear and loathing. Has said things destructive about their own party and about others. Does not mind saying things detrimental to good governance of the nation. Time to access some well-earned super.

  33. William
    I take it Crikey is aware of the concerns of others on this blog? I enjoy this site. It is mostly fairly civilized, and, if it occasionally strays from acceptable norms, the errant ones are either brought to their senses, leave or get the heave-ho.
    I suggest that Crikey does a post here, apologising. We all, including yrs trly, make cock-ups. Doing something about it is what sets people apart.

  34. I’m confused. Generic P. thinks a bit of silliness about naming the Obama’s puppy is the offending article? It’s beyond me.

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