Morgan: 60-40

It’s looking a very merry Christmas for pensioners and families and, not unrelatedly, the Rudd government, which has added a further 1 per cent to its already formidable two-party lead in a Christmas eve Morgan face-to-face poll. Curiously, the Greens are down from 10.5 per cent to 6 per cent in a survey conducted half before and half after the government’s emissions trading scheme announcement of December 15. The slack has been taken up by a spike in the Labor primary vote from 48.5 per cent to 52.5 per cent, their best result in almost seven months. The Coalition primary vote is also up slightly, from 34.5 per cent to 35.5 per cent.

Morgan also produced two sets of leadership ratings last week, one comparing Rudd to Turnbull and the other comparing them both with their party colleagues. Rudd’s approval rating was up four points from the previous survey of October 15-16 to 68 per cent, while his lead over Turnbull as preferred prime minister had blown out from 62.5-24 to 69-20. Worringly for Turnbull, his approval rating was down 13 per cent to 42 per cent while his disapproval was up from 24 per cent to 37.5 per cent, a much sharper turnaround than recorded by Newspoll over the same period (from 50-25 to 47-32). The preferred Labor leader results turned up no surprises, but the Liberal ratings interestingly found Turnbull tied with Peter Costello on 28 per cent. This compared with Costello’s lead of 31 per cent to 20 per cent in the previous such survey of September 10-11, when Brendan Nelson was still leader.

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.

391 comments on “Morgan: 60-40”

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  1. GB

    I have relaxed and drunk some good wine over the break and thought more about the Rudd ETS proposal. Thanks to a kind gift from Xanthippe I have even read some of the Garnaut Report. I am still dissappointed and concerned about the Rudd ETS, especially the 90% free permits and the compensation. I can understand the politics and hope that after aceptance this will lead to a better ETS target in future. However I do have two concerns:
    – there is an implicit assumption in the Rudd ETS scheme that we must “save” our emission intensive industries. There is one obvious standout – aluminium smelting. Trouble is, that is a bit like the previous government’s plan to save six cylinder cars – it assumes the market won’t change anyway. We are spending a lot of money protecting a small number of jobs in aluminium. Could we generate more jobs with the same cash in renewables? Garnaut suggests we might. Likewise the single easiest way to get a 20% reduction would be to give aluminium smelting the flick. Its a given the coal industry will surivive in the medium term, though it stops expanding.
    – my second concern is the bit accurately quoted by Mayo 338, that the renewable jobs wil show up in the same spots as the current coal jobs because of the location of the power infrastructure. This is false. Some of our power transmission infrastructure is just in the wrong place, especially as brown coal fields close down. The best wind, geothermal and solar prospects are in other places. So jobs will be lost in places like Latrobe Valley. We need a plan for those places.

  2. Maybe we should get Obama over here and put Kevin07 under the bus so the lovely Julia can take over. 2014 is just too long to wait.

    [Australia’s love affair with our acting PM – This week Ms Gillard was again acting as Prime Minister but performing like a veteran. Without a falter she stepped through a barrage of prickly media questions on issues including the Middle East conflict and the Haneef apology. She turned questions on trivia such as beach nudity and Paris Hilton’s lavish spending in Melbourne into opportunities to promote positive messages.]

    A song for her from Ted and the gang.

  3. Diogenes, do you know something, the action that many here are asking with climate change rests with your hero Barack Obama.

    “the greatest moral challenge of our generation”

    How do you think Australia is travelling at the moment compared to the rest of the world given the global financial crisis? That is all because of the mining boom! But some of you ALARMISTS don’t even want to consider the consequences to our economy, not that we could make much difference on our own anyway.

  4. Diogenes

    So, a conservative, right-wing NZ PM goes for the Rudd Labor Government outcomes?

    We can ‘honest’, to ‘balanced’, ‘practical’, ‘realistic’ as the leitmotiv spin words of the Howruddian CC Response Fudge Policy. Now, whenever a conservative politician starts using the word ‘honest’, who does that remind me of?

    Still, what is bad news for some is good news for others.

    Munich Re said the year was marked by high losses from weather-related natural disasters, continuing a long-term trend. Fortunately, not all were insured.,0,2889834.story

  5. Centre

    I don’t agree that its as simple as “the economy OR the ETS”. Garnaut deals with this at some length and dismisses that claim. As several have pointed out in previous threads. The amount already spent on bailouts in the GFC exceeds that needed to convert the whole US and European economies to alternative energy.

    As my post 351 suggests, even if we accept coal for the short/medium term, we could still go close to a 20% reduction by winding back the aluminium industry. The cost is not that high in jobs or $. Energy alternatives would create more jobs.

  6. Socrates, I have never said it is as simple as “the economy OR the ETS”.

    It’s all about BALANCE, given ALL conditions and circumstances. Something many on the far left fail to understand.

  7. Socrates @ 351 –

    Some of our power transmission infrastructure is just in the wrong place, especially as brown coal fields close down.

    I can’t access my copy of the WP ATM to quote the relevant passages, but I think what they were getting at on jobs being retained in major energy producing regions like the Latrobe Valley was that in addition to believing renewables will be attracted to the existing infrastructure, which you rightly point out may not be quite that simple, there is also the possibility of converting some boilers to run on cleaner fuels, particularly natural gas, thus extending their useful life-spans in a carbon restrained world. Indeed, it says that many coal-fired boilers are already sometimes fueled with gas and oil for short periods. The Latrobe Valley is only a relatively short hop from the Bass Strait oil/gas fields and the Moomba-Adelaide NG pipeline runs very close to the only other brown coal power station at Pt. Augusta.

    I’m due to fly OS tomorrow morning, but will try to post the page numbers before I go. Failing that, from memory, they’re in vol2, section 13 or 14.

    The best wind, geothermal and solar prospects are in other places.

    Another factor is that the current high voltage AC grid may not be the most efficient for the type of power produced by renewables. Some American solar researchers are claiming lower voltage DC is better for transmitting solar generated electricity long distances. I’m guessing that is also the case for wind. I have no idea what this means in terms of the wires strung, but assume it may require some reconfiguration of the grid.

    So jobs will be lost in places like Latrobe Valley. We need a plan for those places.

    Agreed. But as far as I can see they haven’t even begun to address it at the federal level, though I recall that the Victorian government has raised it. Can’t be too critical though. Until a few months ago it looked like our biggest employment problem was finding more workers.

  8. “How do you think Australia is travelling at the moment compared to the rest of the world given the global financial crisis?”

    I’d say we’re about six months behind them. A bit like being on the part of the Titanic that sank last.

    (Though, given that I am a small business owner, I’m hoping to be proved wrong).

  9. Mayo

    My understanding is that high voltage transmission is equally efficient regardless of the type of energy source. You get an initial loss in converting the current to high voltage and again at the distribution end, but that is the same for any input energy. In between high voltage transmission loses about 1% per 100km, so even 1000km is only a 10% loss. The problem here is not the efficieny of the power transmission lines we have, but lack of capacity – there are many places where we don’t have high capacity lines available. For alternatives I am familiar with (wind on SE SA / SW Vic, geothermal in NW NSW/SW Qld)) there is NO major transmission capacity near them. We need to invest in that grid capacity to make them viable in large scale.

    Interested in any references you have.

  10. dyno

    I suppose nobody knows for sure but I really don’t think we will be as badly off as USA or even Europe. Its not just time; our circumstances are different – we don’t have any significant public debt (except NSW 😉 ) and can spend to stimulate the economy. Given competent policy (Henry and Stevens have been good so far) and no vandalism in the Senate, it shouldn’t be that bad here.

  11. Dyno

    Very, very uncertain. I follow the stock market pundits with interest and they have been wrong, wrong, wrong – except when they have been professional Bears, OR when they have said ‘on the one hand, and, on the other hand’ OR when they have started to get really pessimistic.

    The major economies in the EU and the US are probably facing further job losses in the order of hundreds of thousands in the first quarter of next year. There is chat about a further 10 major retail chains going under in the UK alone. Britain is in for a shocker. France is expecting a further 170,000 job losses in the first quarter of next year. I am not sure whether people have done calculations to take into affect of job losses on further job losses. For example, restaurant jobs will go as people spend less or not at all on luxe items et cetera. China’s job losses would not be finished. Hard to say, buy I would expect order of magnitude job losses to be more likely to be in the order of millions there than in hundreds of thousands. I am not sure about the flow on effects on Australia but these could include:
    1. heavily reduced terms of trade
    2. reduced inbound tourism, matched with reduced domestic tourism (some regional areas will do well in Australia, others will be devastated
    3. world commodity prices including those for Australian agricultural exports have halved during the Crisis
    4. there will be a reduction in demand for some of our exports eg coal and iron ore. Major companies have already reduced capital and exploration programmes and some have already reduced outputs. I would anticipate more of this to come.

    The Great Unknown, IMHO, is when all that liquid capital that is now just sitting around the world (waiting for reduced risks) will finally be unleashed. How that will affect Australia is difficult to assess. There is an awful lot of super money sitting around in Australia. But the o/s mobs have marked the Oz banks down very heavily, so not much o/s capital is venturing into Oz. All very difficult to predict.

  12. I love the way that terms like “far left” are used to trivialise and marginalise anyone who dissents. It’s been one of the greatest achievements of Bush, Cheney and Rove to throw in a “liberal left” or “ultra-progressive” to denigrade the views of others. Howard used it a lot too. It’s great to see that Labor supporters have taken up where Howie left off when people disagree with them.

  13. Diogenes,

    I have a lot of sympathy for this comment. Those of us who vote Liberal have become very used to being termed “right-wing”. Labelling of this nature is usually a device to avoid answering the person’s specific points, in my experience.

  14. dyno

    I don’t mind it as a non-judgmental adverb, although the meaning left, right, centre is just a convenient shorthand. It doesn’t really add much to a debate.

    It’s when the terms are used perjoratively in the place of reasoned statement that it really is just an “argumentum ad hominem” (GG always loves it when I use that phrase). The terms socialist, Fabian, communist, capitalist, libertarian and neoconservative etc all provide information about an ideology. But they are often perverted into a form of derision.

  15. happy new year to all

    have been following the discussion here quite keenly.

    I do believe a certain maturity has been reached regarding the quality of information.

    Doubly good to see that alternative views can mostly be espoused.

    As an aside am redaing a greta book on curtin,am just up to the langites and their various intrigues.

  16. Dyno, to cut a long story short, if our economy was not as strong thanks to the mining boom, our interest rates would have been lower, leaving us with VERY little room to move. We are in a MUCH stronger position than most in the world.

    Boerwar, all financial institutions around the globe have been downgraded. But Australia’s are probably fundamentally the strongest.

    Diogenes, I will change far left to “so loony far left that I would be more comfortable voting for the liberals”, just for you. 🙂

  17. as a point of relevance

    Curtin faced and lived thru the great depression,was part of scullins govt. and saw the changing nature of money and credit

    Although the times are markedly different ,the root cause remains the same

    Nationalisation of certain sectors of the financial system was being considered,which ultimately led to the “nationalise the banks” of ’49

    Curtins passionate belief in the socialisation of capital,rings ever truer now.

  18. I don’t know why so many are so thick and don’t get it and can’t understand Rudd’s higher concern with the economic debate. I guess later this year a sledge hammer will make it all make sense. And when that environment arises there will be only one thing on people’s mind.

    [Mr. Fung estimates that 10,000 of the 60,000 factories in China owned by Hong Kong interests have closed or will close in the coming months. Other business leaders say the toll may be even higher and that factory closings are an even bigger problem among mainland Chinese businesses because these tend to be smaller and more poorly capitalized than those owned by Hong Kong businesses.

  19. TP
    I guess people dont see the irony in the last major communist stae determining the fate of the capitalistic system as we presently know it.

  20. Centre @ 366

    I agree with your point. To clarify: I wasn’t making a personal judgement on Australia’s financial system.

    I was making the point that overseas investors have reached adverse conclusions, and have marked the Oz banks down. My only uncertainty would be the under-reporting by the banks of bad debt risks. For example, one at least of them has under-written capital guarantees for managed investments that mostly likely went into free-fall last year but no-one has gone public on that yet. The bank concerned will have to pick up the difference. I just don’t know the quantum.

  21. Thomas Paine @ 366

    Not sure who you are talking about but to clarify my views:

    1. I have been much more pessimistic about the global economy and its follow-on impacts on the Australian economy than most of the posters here. For example, prior to reading your post I had put my estimate of Chinese job losses to come in order of magnitude of millions.

    2. I support Rudd’s interventions on the economy to date. He has had a very limited bag of tricks and he has played them well.

    3. I support the way in which the Government has somewhat over cooked the egg on the short- and medium- term prospects for the same reason. It helps to address the destructive fear factor. (Mind you, people who have invested on the basis of Governmental over-positivism may turn a tad resentful, ultimately).

    4. I regard the economic crisis, whether it lasts one, five years or ten years, as essentially a short term issue.

    5. I regard the climate response stuff as a long-term issue. There are obvious connects at many levels but the strategies should operate on different time lines.

    6. Conflating the short- and long-term issues is an easy cop-out for those who actually want to talk about CC responses rather than doing anything. For such folk, it is always the wrong time.

  22. Centre @ 366,

    Not sure if we are in a MUCH stronger position than others around the world – we will see. I also think the strength of our banks is one of the key reasons we are better off than most – but I am less convinced than you that the mining boom is going to save us – look at what is going on in China.

    Also, you say all financial institutions around the world have been downgraded. When were our Big 4 banks downgraded?

  23. Whether or not we are in a stronger position than the rest of the world, our current leaders are not as stupid as some. Here are some recent artiicles on how Peer Steinbrueck the German Finance Minister is still worried about the risk of a “growth bubble”!!

    Krugman comments on it here as “Crying fire-fire in Noah’s flood”:

    Up to a point he is right – you don’t want to set up conditions now to create another bubble in the future. But that is simplistic – the bubble didn’t just happen because of low interest rates. That ignores lack of regulation, fraud and perverse incentives in finance. Overall the urgent need is to get things moving, not slow down.

  24. Here is another really good explanation from Krugman of why US state governments are being really stupid cutting spending. By this definition NSW could be considered a US State.

    This illustrates something bad I perceived when I worked in Canberra. Outside of professionals in Treasury and the Reserve Bank, there are a lot of people in government (and the private finance industry too), including not only politicians but some senior bureaucrats, who have only a very superficial knowledge of economics. They have a “soundbite” level of understanding, and know the currently fashionable jargon words to use, but they don’t know or understand the underlying theory. So if “balanced budgets” and “AAA credit ratings” is the fashionable way for governments to look responsible, that is what they say and go for. But if things change so that balanced budgets are stupid, and AAA ratings are disredited anyway, they don’t know what to do. Here I think Turnbull’s flip-flops, and NSW Labor’s one-brain-cell mini-budget prove the point.

    These people are concerned about image, because they have no substance. Only by now it has gotten so bad that even their advisors lack substance, because the advisor’s job is to advise them on how to improve their image.

  25. The new year has arrived!

    Reading predictions on the GFC leads me to ponder what will this year bring! I agree we are approaching a point where things will either improve or worsten, back in March I felt sure that while the U.S was heading to recession that we could avoid one and the Government has moved to enhance the performance of the economy.

    Unfortuntely we are seeing some downturn and in reality last year we went quite well, in hindsight and at the time I criticised the RBA but 12 months ago they increased rates and since then the economy has slowed, therefore I am not sure we apart from the stock market have been impacted on by the GFC!

    Yes China is slowing and that has had an effect on the miners but it was reported several years ago that post games, China would slow and that has happened, our financial sector has suffered some blow back effects but again the balance sheets of our financials are quite healthy, yes there have been a few that are either gone or under pressure but if that a result of the GFC or a result of their general performance.

    I’m inclinde to agree with the Government regarding the potential unemployment rate rather than the very gloomy forecast put out by several economist, the very same ones who this time last year were talking about several rate rises, I recall some predicted rates would rise by several points.

    Therefore I am still tipping Australia will avoid a recession but I would not be surprised if there was at least one negative quarter, the factors for this, we have lowering interest rates and lowering petrol prices.

  26. GG

    You have hit the nail on the head there. I saw that Queenslanders are having water fluoridation FORCED on them in a dastardly plot by the evil Bligh to contaminate all their precious bodily fluids. I think they are the last state not to have fluoridation. Once they succumb, Australia will become an army of mindless zombies controlled by you know who… 👿

  27. (a) Eddie Maguire and Collingwood?
    (b) The Australian Cricket Selectors who don’t seem to want to exchange any bodies much less their fluids?
    (c) Is Mrs Diogenes aiming to extend her influnce?

  28. [the very gloomy forecast put out by several economist, the very same ones who this time last year were talking about several rate rises,]


    Previous on the ball predictions by economists:
    Interest rates to hit double digits;
    $AUS to hit parity with $USD;
    $NZ to hit parity with $AUD;
    Oil to hit $USD200 a barrel;
    Petrol prices to hit $3 a litre and days of petrol below $1 a litre gone for good.

    Agree we may avoid a recession, lot depends on consumer confidence, those with jobs now have extra money in their pockets from lower interest rates and petrol prices. Around $9,000 saved on interest rates and $5,000 on petrol, if only 1/3 of these savings are ploughed back into the economy thorugh goods, holidays and such then it will help. We should also see lower inflation and prices flow from this. Imports will be priced higher, helping local manufacturing whilst our exports will be cheaper and bring in more in $AUD terms.

    But consumer confidence can be fragile and having Turnbull running around like a headless chook screaming the sky is falling and Bishop talking of mega unemployment does not help.

  29. I’m really beginning to detest Turnbull. He now believes that he can speak for the Australian people when he employs his latest dog whistle. For some reason, it’s “unacceptable” for a few poor buggers from Gitmo who were found to have to have done nothing after five years locked up to come to Australia as migrants.

    [“So what (Mr Rudd) has agreed to, with the Americans, is to accept Guantanamo Bay inmates for resettlement in Australia in our community as migrants and that is completely and utterly unacceptable to the Australian people and it’s certainly unacceptable to the Coalition.”]

    [This is why we need Mr Rudd to immediately and categorically reverse this decision to accept inmates of Guantanamo Bay for resettlement in Australia.],22606,24864677-5005962,00.html

  30. Diogenes,

    I wonder what he would have said in 1788?

    Although his ancestor William Bligh (of Rum Rebellion fame) probably did not have much positive to say about the convict settlers either.

  31. I do not see any reason why Australia whould be taking ex-gitmo bay inmates, as far as I can tell they have a country to return to therefore that is where they should go, lets remember they did not seek to go to America they were forced to go therefore they should be allowed to return to their homeland.

  32. Further to my point! International law says that if a person is arrested as part of a war they must be allowed to return to their homeland therefore PM Rudd needs to remind the Americans that while Australia has an open immigration policy Australia will not commit what is lagally speaking a war crime! the only thing that would change this is if the Inmate chooses to coem to Australia then the normal Immigration rules would be followed.

  33. mb

    These are ones who can’t return to their countries for unspecified “security” reasons.

    At the risk of starting a flamewar, voluntary euthanasia is topical in SA ATM because Kym Bonython (who’s a famous adventurer etc in SA and used to live across the road from me when I was a kid) has urged politicians to pass right-to-die legislation on the front page of the Tiser. He uses the well-known figure of 80% of the population supporting it. Personally, I don’t agree with it but I’m in the minority.

    Adventurer wants right to die,22606,24863965-5006301,00.html

  34. mb

    That’s an excellent point. It wasn’t clear whether the unspecified “security” reasons for not returning to wherever were imposed on the inmate or whether the inmate requested not to be returned for security reasons. The article just says;

    [About 60 detainees have been cleared for release by the US but for security reasons they are unable to be sent to their home nations.]

  35. Just quickly respond to Dyno and Boerwar:
    372 – The mining boom has already contributed greatly to face challenges that lie ahead. Our banks have been downgraded in unison to others in the world as further information which directly affects us has come to hand.

    370 – The opinions of the market have downgraded our banks, not necessarily overseas investers. But you are right, disclosure is of absolute paramount importance, such as bad debt provisions, to maintain and enhance the integrity of the market.

    I agree TP @ 368. 😉

    Have a good one guys.

  36. Gary

    That article certainly reinforces GG’s comments that the ETS is basically over as a major issue (until Copenhagen I suspect) and that 2009 is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. I really believe those jobless percentages are going to be watched as closely at the interest rate changes have been.

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