Essential Research: 59-41

The first poll of the year comes from Essential Research, and it shows Labor’s two party lead up from 58-42 in mid-December to 59-41. Also featured: leadership approval (Rudd steady since late October, Turnbull up five points), economic expectations, ranking of issue importance and the conflict in Gaza.

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.

397 comments on “Essential Research: 59-41”

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  1. Although a story not yet writen but perhaps being penned as we speak by Shanahan to explain away what is an decisiv Essential Research 59/41 result for Labor Govt after 14 months …emphasing a snarrowing from there last poll (of 60/40) And good news for Turnbull 41% favorable approval , and when one adds th 29% “I don’t knows about Turnbull’ there is a potental 70% approval nand that is only figure of promise

    Also 34% ar not confident we can ride out international finance issues , so there is a core of Rudd disatissfacton there about Rudd’s econamic credentals (without pro Lib econamic voter suport , only a (yet unknown) FA issue could assist them) Do not feel Greens figure of 8% loks right , should be higher than that , and perhaps Labors 49% Primary a bit over stated Other suprising figures was only 20% actual suport for Israel taking military action in gaza , so people ar looking at TV with there eyes hearing casualities 870 to 13 and ignoring some commentary & most MSN in deciding opinion Message clearly for Turnbull is people ar more aware today of events through internet & other optons , and if reporting or MSN slant is too far out of sink with reality , it will hav no effect although 100 million W/C add campaign of false W/C ‘benefits” should hav taught Libs that , but didn’t , and 41% 2PP reflects that

  2. Oh Dear, those pesky climate scientists just are not getting with the program.

    Dr Andrew Glikson in yesterday’s Crikey wrote a screed on CC response:

    ‘That an interest grows in atmospheric geo-engineering, including US conferences, underpins the bankruptcy of international attempts at emission cuts. This includes partly watered down IPCC reports and woefully limited emission reduction targets of Kyoto — not to mention failures in Bali and Poznan, Garnaut’ conservative emission cut recommendations, and the 5/15 whitewash paper.’

    He quotes an article from the Independent which polled 80 scientists. Most of them thought that it was time to start investing in geoengineering research.

    (Examples would be to dump lots of iron filings in the ocean, create algal blooms and get the dying algae to take lots of carbon to the depths. Another example is lace the upper atmosphere with sulphur droplets, as per volcanic eruptions).

    Those silly, increasingly desperate, scientists obviously don’t get it. What part of ‘balanced’ and ‘practical’ don’t they understand?

  3. We can just count ourselves lucky that the political staff of the Courier Mail aren’t writing about this poll or they would be demanding in ever shrill voices that Rudd rush to an election before things get worse, unemployment rises, the GFC envelopes us, general pestilence strikes us, and we are all reduced to a generalized wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  4. About a month gone by with Turnbull saying precious little about anything, and his leadership approval goes up by five percent.

    There’s a message in there somewhere …

  5. Steve

    I think in the week or so after Rudd’s election I sort of recall predicting that Rudd would be facing a tough economic situation and that might contribute to a single term Rudd Government.

    For me the turning point will be when global private capital once more takes real risks, something that is more less completely absent at the moment. The only activity on that front at the moment is takeover activity. The perceived risks are fairly minimal because the takeovers are of sound assetts that are virtually at fire-sale prices.

    Current stock market movements are on very thin trade. No-one is taking much of a punt. People are essentially lying doggo.

    I would actually stop calling it the GFC. It is certainly Global, but it is way past being simply a financial crisis and is steadily eating its way into the ‘real’ economy.

    New private capital investment has virtually disappeared. Consumption underpinned by Government largesse and capital works underpinned by Government funding can only go so far. I believe that the challenge for the Rudd Government is to speed up its expenditure to create a bridge over the next couple of years.

    The Rudd Government could speed up approval processes for Government capital works. There is plenty of stuff that urgently needs doing. No need for extensive policy development process. Just do it. These could include significant upgrades of urban public transport infrastructure and significant speeding up on spending on fixing the MDB irrigation infrastructure. Some of the former could be speeded up fairly quickly – replacement of urban rail tracks and such like, for example. The latter could be cranked up pretty quickly. These are labour-intensive works, with a fair bit of the irrigation stuff happening in regions that are already in trouble.

    The other useful investment, again labour intensive, and a growth accelerator in the medium term, is higher investment in tertiary education.

    The other thing that the Rudd Government could do is to announce that it wants every house in Australia to have a solar roof within ten years and that it will tip a couple of billion dollars into the kitty to achieve it. (I see no problems with borrowing to this – it will end up paying for itself at a national level). This will generate enormous economic activity just about everywhere in Australia. Lots of labour. The stuff could be manufactured in Australia. It would encourage private firms to invest in plant and equipment. Get the ball rolling. Good medium and long term pay-off as well. Each house should be able to contribute back to the grid. It would also turn a current political liability (all the frigging around with the solar rebate) into something big, visionary and something supported by pretty well everyone.

    Speeding up expenditure on the Indigenous housing would also be a possibility. The funds have been allocated. It would just be about accelerating the timing.

    Nevertheless, it seems to me to be very highly likely that this time next year employment uncertainty will be by far and away the number one worry for the vast majority of Australians will be job security. This will constrain prospects of a consumer-led recovery. People will pay off debts and save like buggery, for a change. The other thing they will do is constrain discretionary expenditure. Tourist areas within public transport reach of the capital cities, or within a couple of hours drive of the cities are going to do very well in the next year. International venues and more distant tourism destinations are going to be in real trouble.

    Fortunately the Chinese Government knows it is sitting on a volcano and is going to use its cash reserves to keep the ball rolling. Nevertheless, I believe their latest predictions are inaccurate – too high. Private capital in China has had a huge hammering.

    The other thing that the Rudd Government should give serious consideration to is the funding allocated for huge ticket items like the airwarfare destroyers. The funding should be re-allocated to domestic infrastructure improvements.

    It is pretty clear that the Federal Opposition simply does not have a coherent response to the Crisis. It is highly unlikely that it will go the next election in its current form.

    As for the Qld Opposition, I wonder whether they gave the trail bike policy any serious thought at all. It is a joke – and for once, a rather enjoyable joke. I am looking forward to a horse policy, a bullock policy and a chainsaw policy. What part of SE Qld sensibilities don’t they understand? They are looking shot already. Anyway, while Bligh has not been spectacular she looks a lot more competent than Springborg’s mob, so good luck to her.

  6. So, Howard is acting like a spoiler. It is interesting to speculate on his main objectives:

    1. Keep Costello out of the top job. (revenge)
    2. Get Rudd out of the top job. (revenge)
    3. Cement his place in history. (revenge, ego)
    4. Get a populist, manipulative, egoistic chap into the top job. (father/foster-son rule).

  7. I am so sick of self-congratulatory peace medals.

    I think it is time for the Poll Bludger War Monger Medal. Here are some criteria:

    1. It does not matter whether the war was declared or formal. The essential thing is that lots of people were killed with extreme violence.

    2. Preference would be given to candidates who have come up genuinely spurious reasons for going to war.

    3. Candidates who could reasonably have solved the problems by diplomatic means will receive preference.

    4. Only wars that were started in the last ten years count.

    5. Candidates who started multiple wars should get more recognition than candidates who started only one war.

    6. Candidates who started wars that killed very large numbers of people should gain special recognition.

    7. ‘Wars’ on poverty, starvation, malnutrition and disease do not count as ‘wars’ for the purposes of the Poll Bludger War Monger Medal.

    8. Candidates who have managed with their extreme incompetence to keep wars going for longer than strictly necessary should receive recognition for their intiative.

    9. Candidates whose wars resulted in the slaughter of significant numbers of civilians should also receive special consideration.

    10. Candidates who showed special enterprise in lying about the reasons for going to war, or who showed special talent in deceiving their own citizens should also receive special consideration.

    11. Preference should be given to candidates who launched wars that ultimately made the situation worse rather than better.

  8. Regarding the poll, it would be interesting to compare the holding up of Rudd’s popularity with other western leaders during the GFC. I suspect that, apart from Sarkozy and Brown (who were down in the polls but have tried to respond positively), most others would have gone down in their polls, so keeping at the 58-60% level is doing pretty well, I think.

  9. Bush has given a bizarre part-defensive, part-unapologetic speech leaving office. He bagged elites for criticising him, ruining the credibility of some of the favourite lines of Gerard Henderson and fellow culture war warriors. Not much good soundbite material for them to plagiarise here:

    He was dissappointed the WMD in Iraq were missing!! WTF?? He was missoverestimated by 50 million US voters.

  10. Bob

    I don’t kow enough about what is going on in Qld now to comment. I just thought in the past Bligh had said she wouldn’t go early. But yes, if the coal industry starts tanking then she might be better off going now. However I am also aware of a lot of large projects in SEQ that will mean the economy there won’t go off the boil too quickly.

  11. Further on that Bush speech, (and apology for the diversion), Bush has promised to do a Howard and keep comenting on his legacy, which should help reelect Obama in 2012:
    “Thank you for giving me a chance to defend a record that I am going to continue to defend because I think it is a good, strong record.”

    From cunning to clueless (without Karl Rove around), thats Dubbya.

  12. with Howard keeping his finger in the pie stirring like mad that can only help Rudd’s chances of re election in a couple of years, every time Howard raises his head people remember just why they ousted him.
    Joyce having a go at Costello out of the blue just after dining with Howard would have Howard’s fingerprints all over it as well, Howard keeps on giving and he’s too egotistical to see it.

  13. I think the lady that brought up Bush and Howard in a positive way should be given the full 5 years jail. I am insulted let alone the sheikh

  14. bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    “Socrates, wouldn’t it make sense to go now rather than in 6 months when the economy is even worse?”

    Every morning th Pineapple party wake up & bleekly look at there sad future , and you want to spoil th fun , and put them out of there misery quickly as well , they deserve better

    And I’d be worrying about econamy basket in NSW & some problams in SA long before Q’ld , and by way you need blatant continous poor econ mismangement for it to be a State factor and anna does not fit th bill but Rees does

  15. QLD Labor is in a worse position than SA Labor, they’ve been in power longer. And SA Labor maintains the polling lead in metro areas that they did at the record-breaking 2006 election, with metro areas deciding elections.

  16. And Socrates

    glad to see you return , in th absense of you & diog Greek philosoghers of note , my blasphemys against th unmentionable and th uncritisisable led me to guillotine steps , and there i remain , gagged temp with Joe th plumber as my only sourse and Obama as my saviour Ah yes when Obama ascends on 20th I guarantee all will be quiet on western front its called “civilised courtesy”

    Then i can unleash , although Bush should be first target , him with his ‘legacy” to defend what is undefendible , and who will believe Bush when all around is financial ruins accross America and mountains of red ink of debt

  17. I like this comment from the ABC link Judith posted.
    13 Jan 2009 11:30:48am
    This is just another case of the clueless one trying again to pre-empt another upcoming government announcement.
    I wonder though if this is another ‘false leak’, like the so called ALP bank that Turnbull got all excited about last year.]

  18. I had to read this twice, happy pensioners (fully clothed) not bashing Rudd for a change. The opposite in fact.
    [Pensioner Mavis McCormack, who had her Manly house repainted because the existing paint was peeling off, was so impressed with the cash bonuses that she sent a hand-made card to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last month – and received a personalised letter in response.]

  19. Vera, Turnbull seems to be trying to make a career by pre-empting government announcements via leaks, i dont think it’ll take long before he’ll be getting some embarrassing doozies, it’d be worth keeping the leaker in the fold to use him/her.

  20. bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “QLD Labor is in a worse position than SA Labor, they’ve been in power longer.”

    No , Anna Bligh leads a brand new Govt , voters can see that…and will return her
    whereas Rann has been there in SA much longer , and looks like a slick used car salesman for mine Who wuld you buy a car off Mike Rann or Anna Bligh

    Hi VERA
    “the clueless one….” Could he be th cluelessest or th cluelessless of th clueless

  21. Ron, Labor has been in power in QLD for over a decade. The people know that.

    Newspoll had Bligh’s latest Preferred Premier rating at 49%, much lower than Beattie’s. Rann has 50%.

  22. Bob

    True about the ten years, but Joh was in for 17, and the Nationals for over 20. As I recall it wasn’t until a competent opposition showed up that things changed. Looking at the pinneapples, that doesn’t seem to be the case yet.


    Thanks for the kind words. I also think that Bligh might like the opportunty to pass one more budget in May, where she can probably make some more major (positive) announcements. There is a lot of activity in SEQ at the moment that should be seen positively whne it comes to fruition. And as I said, it also keeps down unemployment. Hence I think if Labor is clever they could still get returned in Qld via SEQ, even if they lose seats outside of SEQ.


    Yes its amazing the difference in perception when you chose to leave graciously rather than get forced out. Perhaps an implication about character?

  23. G’day Ron
    think we’ll stick with clueless 🙂

    totally uninformed about what is going on; not having even a clue from which to infer what is occurring]

  24. bob

    The gerrymander was often a factor, but there were a number of elections in the early 80s where Joh was returned by a majority (foolishly or not). The labor opposition then, under figures like Keith Wright, was a rabble. It wasn’t until capable party secretaries like Beatty and Swan rebuilt the strucure, and Goss took over as leader, that Labor won easily. Anyway I still think the point is valid – Blight is a different style leader to Beatty, adn will be judged differently. 10 years is a factor except that (unlike NSW) it has been ten years of genuine prosperity marked by spending on social as well as physical infrastructure. I think Bligh at least has a chance, and Springborg is no genius.

  25. And Newspoll on Preferred PM has Bligh 49-30 Springborg, while in SA it’s Rann 50-25 Hamilton-Smith. I maintain QLD Labor is in a worse position than SA Labor.

  26. More from the amazing world of George Bush’s brain. He is delivering a televised farewell address later this week, with the room carefully stacked with people with stories of adversity:

    You can see the spin – George W Bush, a president who may not have achieved much, but faced great adversity and overcame it to “stay the course”. LOL!! It sounds good till you realise he created his own adversity. He was given a country with good foreign relationships, a budget in surplus, and booming economy. He busted all those things. The only adversity he has ever faced is scrutiny of the consequences of his own bad actions, from his days as a drunk, to his days as a president starting the Iraq war, blowing the budget, and then letting the economy collapse. even September 11 generated great sympathy for him, till he turned it into a bizarre rant about an axis of evil. Meanwhile it only came out later that he had ignored warnings about the risk of terrorist attacks in 2000 and 2001. Not to mention ordering torture and phone taps.

    He was the misoverestimated man.

  27. I’m torn. I don’t know whether to post this or not since it’s about the ME, but specifically about elections. I figure I’ll post it and William can delete it if he thinks it’s inflammatory.

    [Two Arab political parties have been disqualified from running in Israel’s parliamentary elections on February 10 after they were accused of not recognising the country’s right to exist.

    The panel voted on Monday to back a motion filed by two right-wing parties which also accused the National Democratic Assembly (also known as Balad) and Ra’am-Ta’al of incitement and supporting “terrorist” groups.]

    The two parties hold 7 seats.

  28. bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    “And Newspoll on Preferred PM has Bligh 49-30 Springborg, while in SA it’s Rann 50-25 Hamilton-Smith. I maintain QLD Labor is in a worse position than SA Labor.”

    Thats a Shanahan beauty argument , PPM …however if you look at th same polls you got that info from Qld Labor 57/43 , and SA 54/46 so i wuldn’t be maintaining your position on that cliff

  29. Either way Ron, it’s a bit rich to rank SA Labor as in trouble and QLD Labor as not in trouble – I think neither are in trouble. I think SA Labor is better off than QLD Labor as they’ve been in power for less time, the new leader thing doesn’t mean much, look at NSW or WA. Either way, in Labor, the party controls the leader, not the other way round. New leader, same party.

  30. The rumours I am hearing re Queensland are that the state finances are in worse shape than generally expected and that Bligh will go to the polls in March to avoid the fallout from what will be a rather nasty budget.
    Although Newspoll’s 2PP has Labor leading 57-43, Bligh’s approval ratings and preferred Premier figures have been falling throughout 2008. Likely, Labor will have their own polling which would also be part of the equation.
    However, given the NT & WA experiences, you would think the outlook must be pretty depressing if they are considering going early.

  31. Down in Tassie, Paula Wriedt has quit parliament:,25197,24904511-2702,00.html

    So there’ll be a recount in the electorate of Franklin under the weird Tassie system, with some guy who got 620 votes last time apparently the favourite. (There was another recount when Paul Lennon quit, so this guy is the fifth and last Labor candidate on the list.) This quote’s interesting:

    [ With the loss of Mr Lennon and Ms Wriedt, many in Labor are bracing for the loss of two seats in Franklin next year. ]

    They got 3 last time (Libs and Greens one each), so I wonder where that’s coming from. Losing one, I’d pick, but being reduced to one seat out of five would be the kind of disaster NSW Labor is expecting. Anyone know more than me?

    Also Wriedt’s website is down for, um, ‘maintenance’.

  32. Why do we bother with Essential Research show me a poll they’ve done that doesnt have the ALP ahead by more than 15 points…bull butter to me!

  33. Whenever the Qld election is held (my bet is Sept.) Bligh will win with a reduced majority.

    The LNP cannot win Brisbane – without Brissy no Govt. Can the LNP hold its Gold Coast seats? Maybe but it will be a hard job, given that the LNP policies will be aimed at regional and rural Qld.

    North of Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast is danger for the LNP. They could easily lose 3 seats.My prediction is a 15 seat Labor Majority.

  34. bob1234
    Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    “Either way Ron, it’s a bit RICH to rank SA Labor as in trouble and QLD Labor as not in trouble…”

    I did not

    You said in #13 an ECONAMIC point “wouldn’t it make sense to go now rather than in 6 months when the (Q’ld) economy is even worse?

    I replied in #19 suggesting your ECONAMIC point had no great substanse
    “And I’d be worrying about econamy basket in NSW & some problams in SA long before Q’ld , and by way you need blatant continous poor econ mismangement for it to be a State factor and anna does not fit th bill but Rees does”

    so you THEN SWITCHED #in 20 & #33 claiming a POLITICAL poll point
    “QLD Labor is in a worse position than SA Labor, they’ve been in power longer”
    “And Newspoll on Preferred PM has Bligh 49-30 Springborg, while in SA it’s Rann 50-25 Hamilton-Smith. I maintain QLD Labor is in a worse position than SA Labor.”

    so I repy to your POLITCAL point in my #37
    “thats a Shanahan beauty argument , PPM …if however if you look at th same polls you got that info from Qld Labor 57/43 , and SA 54/46 ”

    So you started with abit flawed econamic argument (which i replied to) , then you switched to a flawed politcal argument claiming Q’ld Labor were worse politcaly than SA (which i exposed as flawed) , and now checkmated you wrongly claim I said SA ar in trouble , i did not , after all I was one who quoted SA Labor 54/46

    Only point you had a chanse on as its subjctive is , you tink Rann is da man , whereas he doesn’t over impress me and i’m for Anna IF given a choise

  35. [Why do we bother with Essential Research show me a poll they’ve done that doesnt have the ALP ahead by more than 15 points…bull butter to me!]

    Date/ALP two party preferred

    2nd Jun 56
    21 Jul 57
    22nd Sep 57
    13th Oct 57
    17th Nov 55
    24th Nov 56

  36. [Why do we bother with Essential Research show me a poll they’ve done that doesnt have the ALP ahead by more than 15 points…bull butter to me! – Date/ALP two party preferred – 2nd Jun 56] etc

    Glen, just as well you are not Japanese. Otherwise you have to commit hara-kiri.

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