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. Boerwar 89

    A self-sacrificing effort to wade through that lot. While reading the list I realsied I didn’t even know what Truss, McFarlane and Johnson were responsible for! And I thought Robb had a finance role, not infrastructure. Which rather proves your point. ROTFL 🙂

    I would agree that Hunt, Dutton and Turnbull have performed as well as they could, though Turnbull’s lack of real udnerstanding on economics has been exposed. Quite dissappointed in Coonan, Bishop and Robb. The number of coalition “leaders” who can actually come up with alternative ideas is indeed few.

  2. [So you disagree with what one says, but defend their right to say it, or not?]

    So you don’t understand the difference between your right to freely express your opinion, and your responsibility to treat other people with respect and dignity?

  3. On the censorship issue, bob1234 seems to be making the Palin argument, ie criticism of her imbecilic statements is an attack on her right to free speech.

    The lowlifes at Crikey are free to make the kind of comment they did. The rest of us are entitled to point out that people who act in that way are usually inadequate humans who disgust most members of the human race.

  4. “So you don’t understand the difference between your right to freely express your opinion, and your responsibility to treat other people with respect and dignity?”

    Moral responsibility or legal responsibility?

    And again, I don’t agree with holocaust denial. Just pointing out the contradiction with the Mohommed cartoons.

  5. bob

    I assume you saw this. I just read a book on Holocaust deniers. Evidently the new denial angle is that Europe would be better off if Hitler won. I don’t agree with making Holocaust denial a crime. No-one ever thought differently because something was a crime. There will always be wackos like them. There is still a Flat Earth Society, which still publishes the OO (Official Organ). It’s a great irony that the ex-GG has become the OO as they really still ascribe to the Flat Earth theory that Oz would be better off under the Libs (any Libs seems to do).

    [‘Holocaust denier’ free from jail

    Germany has abandoned efforts to have Gerald Toben extradited
    An Australian historian has been freed from prison in London after the German authorities abandoned efforts to have him extradited from the UK.
    Dr Gerald Toben was held last month at Heathrow Airport on a European arrest warrant.
    The revisionist historian was accused of publishing anti-Semitic material on the internet. ]

  6. It is usual for ministers to hold safe seats for the reason that it is quite inconvenient and embarrassing for a minister to lose their seat.

  7. [It is quite inconvenient and embarrassing for a minister to lose their seat.]

    Or a prime minister, heh, heh.

    Speaking of ex PMs who have lost their seat, I noticed that comment where Howard accused Broadbent of joining the chardonnay set.

    Does this date back to Wran, he was well known for his love of chardonnay, especially the Rosemont brand.

    Maybe it reveals a deep seated hatred of Wran by the libs, even deeper than that of Whitlam. Wran was merciless to them, dispatching opposition leaders at ease.

    Poetic that Howard lost his seat, wonder if Wran had a slight chuckle at that.

  8. 105 – Tom, that maybe true but many a minister has lost their seat. I really don’t believe that is an important consideration when choosing ministers. Bronwyn Pyke in Vic has been a ministers for 9 years and has difficulty holding her seat each election. In fact it could be argued that it is her high profile that helps her retain it.

  9. You know how well ministers are going when opposition supporters ask for their sacking. Bolt on Insiders wants Rudd to take up some post with the United Nations with Julia as PM, and for Swan to be replaced by Tanner as treasurer. How quaint?

    They obviously think that Julia would be a lot easier to get rid of than Rudd, and as for the treasurer, it would be one down (Swan) and one to go (Tanner) instead of two to go!

    Yeah, Rudd has achieved a life long ambition to be PM and is going to give it away because the conservatives want him to? Rudd is MORE than well on track to break Hawkies record as longest serving Labor PM. SO GET USED TO IT!

    As for Swan and Tanner, Australia has the first and second best REAL treasurers in order since Keating. SO Bolt and your mates Akerman, Milne, Shanahan, Fish Face, Abrechtson, etc. etc. GET USED TO IT – LAUGH OUT LOUD!

  10. I think its a hard thing grading opposition MP’s, sure some of them are out of there league people like Abertz, Coonan, Michin & Abbort should be moved on beyond that there are several MPs who could be better used in alternative portfolios

    The Liberal Party does have some talent but due in part to the narrow focus of the Howard Government some MP’s are still learning how to be frontbenchers.

    I don’t think Julie Bishop is performing that badly, admittable she should be in I.R or Attorney General role not an economic role.

    People like Greg Hunt, Chris Pyne, Marie Paynes, Bruce Billson, Paul Dutton could be better used but in saying that due to the strength of the Government’s performance life for the Liberal Party is not going to be fun.

    Regarding Petro, G.P I’m not sure how across the history of the Liberal Party you are but the Liberal Party always performs best when it is run by what can be called the Deakin-Menzies type rather than the Howard-Bruce-Reid types.

    I find Petro lazy not because he is a wet but because I cannot point to him having done anything within Kooyong, Petro is never in the local media sure I’m not expecting him to have built a Hospital or a School but even something has mundane as congratulating the Hawthorn Football Club on winning the AFL flag.

    Lets take his latest effort, we have a major economic issue yet Petro writes a colunm in the Age about needed to remain committed to Multi-culturalism, I’m sorry but I don’t see anyone in Kooyong raising that as an issue, I see people worried about their businesses, jobs, property prices etc.

    Petro just seems trapped in a timewarp! he is a one issue MP! who seems struck on an issue that really no one cares about for it isn’t the color of a persons skin that is causing concern but does this company or that one have red or black ink.

    The other big issue Petro never seems to speak about is Climate Change for it seems above him, just as the Workchoices debate seemed above him, Petro makes himself out to be big and brave on issues that make people feel good but when it comes to issues that directly effect the people of Kooyong Petro goes completely missing.

  11. The debate of wealth equalisation is an interesting one? In the US the conservatives have used the term “sharing the wealth” to successfully belt the liberals over the head with great success.

    I like most people, do not believe that your wealth should be shared with others. My wealth is my wealth and your wealth is your wealth. Hence the great success of the line “sharing the wealth”.

    The problem however, in true economic terms, as I’m sure GP would be interested in, is that the SYSTEM of the taxation is wrong, which greatly advantages very high income earners and the rich.

  12. Tom, Tanner is not going to lose his seat. Be real. No excuse for him to not have the Treasury should Rudd decide to put him there. If his seat had .10% margin, perhaps. But it doesn’t, and Lindsay is fighting Greens as the second vote in that seat and they give most of their first prefs to Labor anyways.

  13. Re 111,

    with Julia as PM, and for Swan to be replaced by Tanner as treasurer. How quaint?

    They obviously think that Julia would be a lot easier to get rid of than Rudd,

    😀 …… how soon they forget Thursday of the last session 😀 …….

  14. Nobody changes their vote based on what they see in parliament. Rudd is the master of the sound byte, and fits the Australian slight-conservative mould nicely.

  15. If they do at some point, bob1234, (I don’t happen to personally think so though), Tanner will be parchuted into some other safe seat for the next election after that happens much as Garrett was parchuted into Kingsford-Smith.

    point was that imho I thought Tanner was safe in Melbourne. if I am wrong, I think Tanner will rematerialize somewhere else. He’s too good of an assett for them to not use.

  16. [with Julia as PM, and for Swan to be replaced by Tanner as treasurer. How quaint?]

    The conservatives commentators aren’t touting Julia for PM because they think she’s any good, they just want to whiteant Rudd as a means to getting the Libs back in power, nothing more. Similarly they are promoting Tanner over Swan as well. You can bet your house on it that if either move actually did occur, the conservatives would start hammering Julia or Tanner just as much despite their current ‘praise’ for them.

  17. Here’s a very early election tip Lindsay Tanner to hold Melbourne!

    Yes the Greens do very well in certain parts but its like that other Greenish seat Melbourne Ports the Greens support while solid across the seat is mainly focused on certain parts.

    One thing that needs reminding is that many Green voters can be considered small L Liberals and the next elect is going to be fought on economic management this covers both the economic situation and the ETS debate!

    In light of the Government’s successful handling of these issues thus far I see no swing happening towards the Greens, If the Liberals with Malcolm Turnbull is struggling to gain traction then the Greens will also struggle.

    I would imagine Malcom Turnbull is more popular in Melbourne than Howard ever was, maybe the Greens will be a real change come 2013 or 2016 for by then this Government will be starting to wear out its welcome.

  18. “In light of the Government’s successful handling of these issues thus far I see no swing happening towards the Greens”

    I do, the disaffected left-wing Labor voters who are disappointed with Rudd’s conservatism.

  19. Boerwar, I generally agree with your ratings, with two dissents.

    * I think Abetz is better than you give him credit for. He has the right skills for opposition – persistence, grasp of detail, a nose for weak arguments. He has given Carr and Conroy a lot of grief, and is smart enough to stay away from Wong, Labor’s best Senate performer.

    * Abbott’s problem is that he stuck in a “girl’s portfolio” he has no interest in. If he was given something more butch, like IR, he would perform better. Don’t get me wrong, I think Abbott is a very nasty piece of work , but he has more ability than he is showing at present.

    Who is going to give us a smiliary detailed ranking of the ministry?

  20. Bob1234! I know who you are referring to but its one thing to talk about disaffected left-wing ALP voters dumping the ALP for the Greens but that will more likely be an issue after a few terms.

    Another way of looking at it is for several years during the Howard Government we would hear about the doctor’s wives! come election day Kooyong moved by .5% yes their was a bigger swing in North Sydney but still the fact remains the ALP have maintained though-out the Howard years a very high primary vote.

    Lindsay Tanner is a very likible local MP and what makes Melbourne historically safe is people don’t change their voting pattern very often.

    Yes the Greens are incresing their vote but more at the expanse of the Liberal Party than the ALP, lets take the state seat of Melbourne, 10 precent of the Green vote comes directly from Kennett area Liberal voters.

  21. Speaking of girl’s portfolios, Genderanalyzer (“man or woman – who is writing that blog?”) reckons I am 83 per cent likely to be male. Compare that with the girlymen of the right, Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair, who respectively rate 51 per cent and 28 per cent. Man’s man Possum weighs in at 77 per cent.

  22. In 1999 State election in the seat of Melbourne the Liberal Party polled 33% in 2002 the Liberal party polled 24% basically all that 9% drop went to the Greens were it has for the most part remained.

  23. Spam Box, being totally objective, I think the performance of the Rudd ministry has been uniformly brilliant. That’s why someone else should have a go.

    I would have thought people called William, Andrew and Tim are nearly 100% likely to be men, but then I’m a bit old-fashioned.

  24. “Compare that with the girlymen of the right, Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair, who have respectively rated 51 per cent and 28 per cent.”

    Probably the ‘whinging’ factor.

  25. Also William doesn’t “blog” in the same way Bolt and Blair blog. He provides some facts and allows us all to ramble on about them. He doesn’t orate about his opinions – I don’t even know which way William votes.

  26. i will go one better i’ll give ratings for the government as well out of 10 out of 20 ministers
    opposition- M Turnbull 8/10 hasnt got it down pat as policy goes but has a good satisfactory rating has a good profile and does seem to know how to play politics.
    J Bishop 5/10 sorry, but I’m not a big fan of her shes got in trouble copying speeches she letting turnbull be treasurer as well doesnt really understand economics.
    W Truss 6/10 as already pointed out his letting the national party fade away.
    Minchin 6/10 i dont want this to seem a left leaning comment but his too right for middle Australia plus he admitted he doesn’t know how to use a computer then Turnbull puts him in technology.
    Abetz 7/10 the main person keeping labor on there toes in the senate wasn’t entirely happy with the way he acted with the Ken Henry saga but that’s his job.
    A Robb 6.5/10 has some potentially but how boring is he plus i too didnt realise he was in charge with infrastrature.
    Coonen 5/10 my liberal freind loves her but i cant stand her hasnt got a clue horrible being interviewed
    Hockey 7.5/10 unlike others i dont mind him always got respect for him after taking IR last year, love seeing him get angry could be a beazley and be competitive but never PM.
    Macfarline 5.5/10 annoying
    Abbott 5/10 i honestly don’t believe his a good politician last years election campaign was horrible “peoples Skills”
    Ronaldson 5/10 havent heard much from him
    Scullian 5/10 same as above
    Hunt 8/10 doing a good job actually putting polices out there i’ve meet him before not a bad bloke.
    dutton 7.5/10 one of the up and commers
    D johston 5/10 havent heard much
    Pyne 6/10 up and commer but geez never a leader preety weak
    Brandis 7/10 dont mind him
    Cobb- 5.5/10 not the worst but ewwww
    Keenen 6.5/10 his not to bad good campaigner
    Ciobo- 5.5/10 not the worst but preety bad
    Total- 122.5 ave-6.1
    Govement- K Rudd 9/10 really popular ranking committed to 75% of policies which is what the people voted for and pretty good reviews
    J Gillard 9/10 the best performer in parliament 2 important portfolios and handling it well
    Swan- 6.5/10 improved dramatically after bad start starting to be solid but still seen poorly by many.
    Evans- 6/10 not high profile but no mistakes so far
    J Faulkner- 7/10 doing a good job keeping over a disciplined government
    Tanner- 9/10 should be treasurer good in Parliament and in media experienced
    S Crean 7/10 preety good performer preety quiet until maybe getting as free deal with china
    S Smith 8.5/10 surprisenly good no mistakes so far very solid
    Fitzgibbon 7/10 very solid
    roxon 7.5/10 preety happy last year with her still am seems like she cares but i beleive she can go head hanting to much lately
    macklin 7/10 preety solid
    Albanese 7.5/10 preety good in Parliament seems to give everything handles his responibilities well
    Conroy 4/10 sorry dont like him filter idea stupid and struggling with the high speed broadband idea bad infront of media
    Carr 7/10 quiet but handled car plan preety well
    Garret 7/10 pretty quiet as he doesn’t see over climate change but improved dramatically in question time
    P Wong 9/10 very very good performer starting out when she went to bali awesome in the media
    Mclellend 6/10 decent does his job
    Ludwig 5/10 havent heard much from him
    Burke 6.5 preety good performer
    fergusian 5.5/10 okay but preety annoying
    Total-141 Ave-7

  27. viclabor,

    I’m a Liberal, so have different biases to yours, but I reckon you’ve done a good job with those ratings. I’d only question a few of yours:

    Turnbull – very disappointing so far as Leader. Needed to be far more statesmanlike during the acute phase of the global financial crisis. More like 6/10.

    Hockey – could sstill turn out to be a good performer, but has dumbed down his act – a lot – since the election. Who knows why. 6/10.

    Gillard – sorry about this, as I know she is a Labor darling, but what has she actually achieved apart from flaying the Libs in Parlt (at which she is admittedly very adept). All the hard work re WorkChoices was done before 25/11/07 (not by her, either). Education – ?! Overall ok but nothing more. 7/10. *Holds his breath and waits for the cries of outrage to begin*

    I’d give Swannie 8/10 though.

  28. “All the hard work re WorkChoices was done before 25/11/07”

    Perhaps I should clarify this. As soon as Labor won it was inevitable that WorkChoices would be repealed. I can’t see what is so inherently brilliant about the way in which Gillard has done it.

  29. Diogenes,

    Just goes to show how brilliant we all must be at expressing our complex ideas in accessible language.

    Err … or maybe …

  30. The basic point about Turnbull is that being in opposition really, really sucks, and there is often no “right” way to deal with situations. It’s all very well to say that Turnbull should be statesmanlike over the GFC, but no opposition ever won an election by agreeing with the government. He’s in the same position Beazley was in after 9/11. If he criticised the government he was unpatriotic, if he didn’t he was “me-too-ing”. All and opposition leader can really do is stay on the attack and wait for the breaks. If the breaks don’t come – as they didn’t for Beazley – you’re cooked. That’s just the nature of parliamentary politics.

  31. Adam,

    Accept all that, on the other hand he’s given us about ten times the optimal dose of phonegate, and it’s also a point of note that the election is two years away whereas Beazley was stuck with 9/11 just before the 2001 election, so maybe Malcolm doesn’t need to be quite as combative all the time at this stage.

  32. I’m also not sure where the Opposition is going with the “never run a deficit” theme, it’s totally obvious that the Govt is going to run one, and that most economists (rightly or wrongly) are going to say it was the right thing to do. When Kev + Wayne start changing their tune the Libs could be left trying to defend last year’s orthodoxy.

  33. Fair enough Dyno
    With gillard maybe i was using my biases but i do include how they perform in the media and perception which she has a good one, plus being a lefte i think shes done a great job with education.
    I’m very happy with your views on swan but i took the whole year and he worried me for the first half and my lib friends unfortunately dont havce the same view as yours and think hes a joke.
    Turnbull i can see where your coming from but from speaking around the traps he has reasonable favorable reviews.

  34. I think the difference between the Liberal opposition now and the Labor opposition in 1996 is that Labor accepted that they deserved to lose, because Keating had succumbed to arrogance and vanity, and that they had to have a period of introspection and rebuilding, which Beazley was the right leader for. Beazley, you will recall, has said that he never expected to be PM – his job was to rebuild the party, lose a couple of elections, then hand over to a leader who would win. That is in fact, more or less, what happened. This opposition, however, does *not* accept that they deserved to lose. They think the Howard government was right on all the big issues, and that they only lost because Howard miscalculated his retirement. They are really, really angry about being in opposition, they think Rudd is a complete fraud, and they expect the voters to come to their senses very soon. That’s why they ditched Nelson so quickly. No-one could seriously expect the polls to turn in less than a year, but they apparently did expect it.

  35. (to continue) That’s why Turnbull is attacking everything Rudd does so frantically – because he is the slave of the same high expectations that Nelson was. He *has* to turn the polls around by the middle of next year, or the knives will be out for him, too. Given his obvious level of frustration, I expect Abbott to be the next one to have a go at the leadership.

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