Morgan: 60-40

Like Essential Media before it, Roy Morgan‘s first poll of the year shows no significant change from the last polls of 2008. The face-to-face survey has Labor’s two-party lead steady at 60-40 and their primary vote down one point to 51.5 per cent, while the Coalition’s is down half a point to 35 per cent. The Greens have recovered two points from the curious slump they suffered in the first poll after the government’s emissions trading scheme announcement, which brought them down from 10.5 per cent to 6 per cent. What’s more:

• South Australia’s first state by-election since 1994 will be held tomorrow in Frome. Read and comment about it here, and tune in to this site for live coverage of the count from about 6.30pm local time.

• It appears a contest is on to fill Petro Georgiou’s Liberal preselection vacancy in Kooyong, with reports emerging that merchant banker Josh Frydenburg is not the shoo-in many had assumed. Frydenburg pursued a membership recruitment drive before the last election in an unsuccessful bid to topple Georgiou, but sources quoted by Andrew Landeryou at VexNews say two-thirds of these memberships have lapsed. This leaves Frydenberg vulnerable to opposition from Institute of Public Affairs director John Roskam, previously an unsuccessful candidate for Senate preselection (and more recently mentioned as a successor to Peter Costello in Higgins), who stands poised to garner support from Georgiou and the locally powerful Ted Baillieu/David Davis faction. Also mentioned is John Pesutto, described by Melissa Fyfe of The Age as “an industrial relations lawyer who led a rewrite of the Victorian Liberal Party’s constitution last year”.

• Liberal Senator Judith Troeth has announced she will retire when her current term ends in mid-2011, adding a new dimension to the Victorian Senate preselection contest for the next election. The Nationals are likely to secure an extension of the agreement that will give them second place on a joint Coalition ticket, leaving the Liberals with the safe first position and the dangerous third. Michael Ronaldson is presumably likely to retain pole position from the 2004 election; Troeth’s departure enhances Nationals renegade Julian McGauran’s chances of taking number three.

Marc Moncrief of The Age on the race to fill Evan Thornley’s vacancy in the Victorian upper house region of South Metropolitan:

Labor’s factions are also in a battle over how to fill the vacancy in the upper house created by Mr Thornley’s departure, with confusion over whether the Southern Metropolitan seat will be delivered to Labor’s right-wing Unity faction or to the Socialist Left. Unity faction powerbroker Michael Danby, the federal member for Melbourne Ports, is believed to have collected a number of names including Julia Mason, former candidate for the federal seat of Goldstein. However, one member of the Right faction said the Left was more likely to have a claim to the post, as Unity now holds all three of the top positions in Parliament – Premier, Deputy Premier and Treasurer. If the Left is given the nod, it will have to ensure the choice is a member who can keep the relatively conservative seat at the next election.

• Other ructions in the Victorian ALP: forces of the Right associated with Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy have formed an alliance with the Socialist Left, freezing out what The Australian’s Rick Wallace describes as “the portion of the Right aligned with state frontbenchers Tim Holding and Martin Pakula and the shop assistants’ union”. More commentary plus an intermittently interesting comments thread at VexNews.

• Large parts of the media remain convinced that Anna Bligh will shortly be calling a Queensland state election. Mark Bahnisch at Larvatus Prodeo/Crikey isn’t so sure, while fellow local Possum deems Lawrence Springborg to be no better equipped to pitch to Brisbane as leader of the Liberal National Party than he was as head of a fractious coalition.

• The silly season news cycle has been awash with talk of Barnaby Joyce seeking a berth in the lower house to assume leadership of the Nationals, at the urging of John Howard. Joyce himself has mentioned Labor’s 2007 gains of Leichhardt, Dawson and Flynn. More intriguing has been talk of a move south of the border to take on independent Tony Windsor in New England, which locals quoted by Matthew Clayfield of The Australian had no trouble recognising as a most courageous proposition. Possum notes that any such move might cost the Nationals Joyce’s Queensland Senate seat in the event that the Liberal National Party disintegrates following a state election defeat.

Peter Tucker at Tasmanian Politics gets in early on this year’s Tasmanian Legislative Council periodic election action. This year is the turn of Derwent, a Hobart seat held for Labor by Treasurer Michael Aird; Windermere, which extends from outer Launceston up the eastern bank of the Tamar River to the sea, and is held by independent Ivan Dean; and Devonport-based Mersey, held by independent Norma Jamieson. Jamieson’s retirement after one six-year term sets the scene for an unpredictable contest likely to attract a Melbourne Cup field. Aird and Dean are almost certain to be re-elected, potentially without opposition in Dean’s case.

• The indefatigable Ben Raue at The Tally Room has moved to his own domain.

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.

294 comments on “Morgan: 60-40”

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  1. I am looking forward to the demise of the Traveston Dam loopies, the only political career it has ended is Kate Malloy’s. After her spectacular protest and dummy spit she failed to get close to winning a seat on The Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

    I am sure the LNP policy to build a desal plant at Bribie Island will cost it more votes than it gains them.

  2. A remarkably consistent set of bull butter from four different pollstes now… just a set of unfortunate coincidences for Turnbull.

  3. Now for something different, a promise that is unlikely to see the light of day.

    The Queensland Opposition has promised to release details of some of its major policies ahead of this year’s election. They’ve got till September to get their policies out to the public especially after the better than anticipated job figures yesterday, have dropped off another bogus reason for an early election that the Liberal National Party has been pedaling.

    [The Government has frequently accused the Opposition of not releasing new policies.

    The poll is due in September, but Deputy Opposition Leader Mark McArdle says the Liberal National Party (LNP) will make its platform public in its own time.]

  4. So Mark McArdle admits the LNP is skint, lets spend $5 million each, get real. 😛

    Ha he should be more worried about his own seat, but maybe he can tell people the Bribie Desal is a Labor idea?

  5. ruawake, I’ve heard the Bribie Island desal plant policy described as less water for more money. Must make sense to someone but I don’t know why the Liberal National Party is so impressed by the idea

  6. So the ACN 52-48 poll a few months back can be struck from the record then? Should make the Labor supporters on this forum happy 🙂

  7. Steve

    Plus the Borgs policy, the Springborgy one, not the LNP one, derides Labor for not building new dams.

    Or you could go to climateproof, not the Borgy site or the LNP site but the semi official Borgy – Simpson – LNP wish list.

    Is this LNP policy? Who knows.

    At least the Nats and Libs used to be able to provide two platforms, now they are doing it as the same Party. Talk about schitzoid. 😉

  8. Glen, this poll must be an outlier – just like the other 70 ot 80 of them hey? Obviously Rudd is just in the honeymoon period.


  9. It will be fascinating (in a horrible sort of way for us Liberals) to see how long the Liberal Party will tolerate this sort of polling from Turnbull.

    Unless things improve noticeably, I’d give him six more months, nine max.

    It’s not as if the Party likes him.

  10. Party members will vote for a leader (i) they like; or (ii) they respect; or (iii) they agree with; or (iv) they think will lead them to victory; or (v) who can pitch an appropriate mix of these qualities to a good majority in the party room. Make up your own minds about where Mr Turnbull stands in the eyes of his party room against each of these criteria.

  11. Party members will vote for the person they percieve will enhance their position. Remember its politics, not tiddlywinks.

    In either side you get preselected, get front bench or committee positions by forming alliances. Labor has a more formalised faction system but factions exist in the Libs as well.

    Howard kept the factions in check – I doubt there is anyone in the Liberal Party who can do the same now.

  12. ruawake @ 18

    That’s a good one to add to the list. In pre-democratic countries with clientilist politics – think Cambodia – it’s the dominating factor, but when it comes to dominate an Australian party room’s thinking, it’s often a sign of a dying government as in NSW (grab the silver on the way out the door), or a moribund opposition (bald men fighting over a comb).

  13. Turnbull is sitting on his hands and just popping his head up to take snipes at the government, secure in his belief that the economic meltdown will eventually sweep Rudd out of office, he’s certain he wont have to do anything at all but wait, just like Howard and Costello waited for that budget largesse to bring the voters back to heel, or the confected scandals, the strip club and Burke, they waited and waited and they’re still waiting as Costello put it to filter through, looks like Turnbull might have a long wait as well.

  14. The latest clown to put his head up was Hockey over the unemployment numbers. Basically his criticism of Rudd was that Rudd had promised to keep unemployment low so he had broken a promise. Even if that was the case, and I don’t believe Rudd promised that at all, haven’t the Libs heard of the GFC and don’t they realise, like the rest of us do, that Rudd isn’t responsible for that?

  15. “and I don’t believe Rudd promised that at all,”

    well he did…….although there ar other parts of th Rudd promise sentence relevent

  16. Will Obama have the courage to do what is needed and on the scale that it is needed and, will the Republicans let the USA recover?

    The requirements are staggering and much new and wildly innovative thinking will be required by Obama. Probably the stars have aligned and given the USA an intellectual with political ability the role as POTUS.

    The situation described by Krugman is daunting to say the least.

    [What Obama Must Do
    A Letter to the New President


    First, let’s put the costs of the economic-recovery program in perspective. It’s possible that reviving the economy might cost as much as a trillion dollars over the course of your first term. But the Bush administration wasted at least twice that much on an unnecessary war and tax cuts for the wealthiest; the recovery plan will be intense but temporary, and won’t place all that much burden on future budgets. Put it this way: With long-term federal debt paying the lowest interest rates in half a century, the interest costs on a trillion dollars in new debt will amount to only $30 billion a year, about 1.2 percent of the current federal budget.]

  17. Deflation in the US looks like being a big problem. The stimulus provided by dropping interest rates is almost meaningless if deflation makes low interest rates a bad deal. We’re about 4.5% CPI in Oz so we don’t have their problem , and our interest rates are much higher.

    It just looks like we have lots more levers to pull to regulate the economy than the US, which appears to be running out of options. I read someone describing a stimulus package as like driving a car up a slippery slope. If you can control it well enough you reach the top and all’s good; but if you lose momentum the car can slide all the way back to the bottom and you’ve used a lot of petrol you really needed.

  18. Diogenes when we were kids we had to jump out and put chocks behind the tyres to stop that downhill slide, that’s when we weren’t all running along behind pushing it to get us started 🙂

  19. [when we were kids we had to jump out and put chocks behind the tyres to stop that downhill slide, that’s when we weren’t all running along behind pushing it to get us started]

    So we might all need to get out and push occasionally, which presumably equates to spending money we don’t really have. I’m not sure what chocks we can use but interest rate cuts and stimulus packages might fit the bill.

    I’m very concerned about running behind the car and pushing; we’ll all get squashed if it slips backwards then, like these poor employees.

    [Bankrupt Circuit City Stores Inc., the nation’s second-biggest consumer electronics retailer, said Friday it failed to find a buyer and will liquidate its 567 U.S. stores. The closures could send another 30,000 people into the ranks of the unemployed. ]

  20. Could not have put it better:

    The Liberals biggest enemy are the morons writing for the Australian. But then they don’t help themselves by letting Minchin open his mouth in the parties name. While they have the voices from the dark ages crying out Turnbell has no hope.

  21. Ruawake, Howard’s semi magical ability to keep the factions in check can be put down to incumbency. He was fortunate enough to come to the leadership when a very unpopular man was prime minister of a very old government, he had no such authority in his party in 1987 when Peacock was wreaking havoc on the frontbench. If Rudd had not looked like he was going to beat Howard in the lead up to the election you would have seen the Ferguson left and the socialist left giving him grief as they did Latham and Crean.

    Turnbull has chosen one of the worst times to make his bid for the premiership, anytime in this term is probably ill advised but to do it so soon after Rudd took government was very bold and possibly very silly.

    Down the track you’ll probably see Hockey or Pyne or someone else take the party leadership when Rudd’s popularity isn’t so strong and find that the factions will suddenly toe the line.

  22. Turnbull will be crucified by Easter if his woeful poll numbers continue: he won’t make it to next year, regardless of polls.

    Costello won’t contest an election that he has Buckley’s chance of winning: he’s there simply to control his faction’s numbers (which dangle over Turnbull’s head like the Sword of Damocles).

    Pyne has a snowflake’s chance in hell of leading the Libs: he’s further to the left than Turnbull, and power-broker Minchin would rather have hot knitting needles poked into his eyes than have Boy Wonder Pyne in charge of an electoral annihilation.

    Bishop, J has done her dash by being not only a hopeless Treasury spokesperson, but more so by being a plagiarist: she’s finished.

    Hockey suffers the Beazley syndrome of being a jolly, overweight Uncle Buck type figure: no ticker, just like the hapless Beazley.

    Andrew Robb is as insipid and uninspiring as Hockey.

    That leaves either the fresh face of Greg Hunt or, wait for it… Tony Abbott.

    Abbott offers the Libs a chance to re-connect with the party’s core Conservative support base. His love of all things WorkChoices can be overcome by a trip to Big George’s confessional and 10,000 Hail Marys.

    It’s a little fanciful I know, but my $20 @ $34 (Sportingbet) says Abbott will lead the Libs at the next election. The Australian would be jolly well behind a Mad Monk leadership, to be sure.

  23. I still don’t get why people think that just because the coalition continues to poll poorly, that it somehow translates to a death sentence for Turnbull. Exactly who does the coalition have in its ranks that has more self-confidence and would be a better performer than Turnbull?

    I’m not saying Turnbull is a good leader, but the coalition would really be scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone better to lead them. I can’t think of one.

    And no, not Costello. He’s as popular to the electorate as Tony Abbott.

  24. While she sure isn’t helping the cause, I don’t think for one second that she contributes to any of the poor coalition vote. They could have any other deputy leader/shadow treasurer at the helm, their vote would still be where it is. It is the fact that the party made themselves unelectable over the past decade with their far-right policies and the fact they think they can walk back in to govt at the next election without renewal, let alone no coherent policy positions, not to mention the incredible popularity of Kevin Rudd, which is the reason behind the coalition polling.

  25. I’m of the view that the currant poll numbers have nothing to do with how the Liberal Party are traveling but are a sign that out there in voterland people are happy with how the Rudd Government is performing.

    The Government has handled several issues well, lets take the main ones.

    I.R: Regradless of what the Unions may think, in general Julia Gillard has put together a well rounded policy, Sharon Barrow needs to pull her head in for I’m not sure if she understands the currant situation facing the Government but thankfully Julia Gillard does understand.

    I’m aware that there is some disquiet regarding Jules keeping the Building Commission, I’m inclinde to think Jules is playing a game for while Glen likes to claim she is in the pockett of the Unions but in reality Jules and the CFMEU are not friends and by keeping the commission that could be her way of showing who is boss!.

    Economy: In many ways this is Turnbulls problem for under normal circumstances having a successful career in finance would be a strenght but with the currant economic crisis caused by bankers Turnbull by virture of his background that once strenght could well become a weakness.

    PM Rudd has been on the front foot since August and while the slowdown is on and this year is shaping up to be very Interesting as long as the overall economy remains recession free Rudd will remain in control of this issue.

    12 months ago I felt the U.S were already in recession and have maintained since that time that Australia would remain recession free, I’m confidence for the reasons I have previously outlined that we can remain recession free.

    I’m looking forward to this years budget for the Government has several possible ways to approach it, hopefully it will remain positive.

    ETS: Sure the political Left may be unhappy but again Rudd has delivered a sound policy yet at the same time as left the door open for further policy developments, this again shows Rudd is on the ball.

    Sometimes I wonder if political types actually think about what they want the Government to do, I’m sure I have criticised Governments for not doing more but in general the role of Government is to take the advice and develop a policy that takes several factors into account.

    The Government has been very clear about its objectives of protecting Jobs and when I last checked that was the first proity of an ALP government, in many ways Rudd is performing as a tradition ALP Government should and as a result those who like Governments to focus on pretty pictures will be disappointed but guess what the voters are loving it.

    I’m of the view that all Malcolm Turnbull can do is be patient and I thibnk it was Adam who once suggested that first term oppositions should not be about releasing policy, if that comment was correct then I agree for Turnbull needs to recongise that the Voters rejected the Liberals Party for several reasons.

    Malcolm needs to focus on developing a unified team that can Itenify what the Government does wrong and from there start to develop a new set of policies that should be rolled out during Election year, not two years out from polling day.

    Sadly for Turnbull his effort has been poor, in part for he hasn’t shown himself to be focusing on the big issue, lets take when the economy went into meltdown, during that time Turnbull focused not on what the Government was doing but which public servant said waht to whom, while out there in voterland people were watching a sea of red on te stock-market.

    If as I think will happen and that is while Unemployment will rise but in all the economy will avoid a recession, and with that the Government may even sneek a small sulphus then Turnbull is going to suffer a swing.

    I’m of the view that apart from NSW I can’t see the Liberal Party making too many gains, in reality the next election may well be a repeat of the last but again everything at this stage is nazel gazing.

    I’m not hearing the voters calling for Rudd’s head and that tends to occur well before a Government support starts to declinde, therefore Rudd looks safe for a second term.

    At the moment the Liberal Party need to accept that it can’t go changing its leadership team although the likes of Costello and Nelson need to be on the frontbench.

  26. Vera

    “…..we had to jump out and put chocks behind the tyres to stop that downhill slide, that’s when we weren’t all running along behind pushing it to get us started”

    Hi Vera , i’m with you , a choock led recovery is way

    US hav tried lowering interst rates in US to almost zero and hasn’t helped Then US gurus tried a unstrings atached 700 billion bailout to Instatutions to get lending going & so growth to get oils of th econamy moving….now guess what what do Financae czars did & ar doing , yep just what you’d expect…not lend to get rhingy econamy/business going , but pucker upp there own balanse sheets for survuival , and some greedies with tax payers bailout loot even ar going four for takeovers of weaker instarututions , but thats what an unregulatd un unstrings attached capitalism system was always gonna do , and is doing

    Time to thow away th text books , get th choocks involved , put money into infrastucture and get lending going , but then those US financial wizards ar just such proven experts what with Wall steet and thats , so supose i shouldn’t come up with an alternitive choocks theory …but Ruddy likes th choocks aproach , and those polls for ruddy 60/40 mean people like th chooks way as well

  27. Under Tony Abbott, the Coalition will be reduced to just 29 seats in the lower-house. Costello is the real deal for the Coalition, he is just being patient at the moment.

  28. I have tipped Tony Abbott to be the next leader of the Libs for many months. Why? He is a political animal, he is happy to be the last man standing after everyone else has beaten themselves to a pulp.

  29. G’day Vera

    you ar right there ! , yes I seem to hav mixed up chocks and chooks there Of course those US financial gurus do sort of run around like headless chooks creating a mess 🙂

  30. I decideed to watch a small amount of Fox News channel today. Greta Someone. You know, the fair and balanced channel. They had a poll. Apparently Obama went to a restaurant while Bush’s last address to the nation took place. The question was, was Obama disrespectful to the president or was it no big deal. The result was “disrepectful” 96%. This after O’Reilly did a thing about the “Bush haters”.

  31. Tony Abbott leader? Surely those of you have said this jest. Tony Abbott’s election would be something of a cross between Mark Latham’s and John Brogdens.

    First of all he has made it clear he outflanks all but Wilson Tuckey on the right wing, his views are well known, his views are ill recieved and presuming he doesn’t run a campaign that polarises 70% of the population he will never be able to convince the population that onces he’s in “we’ll change it all”.

    Next members of his own party find his views to genuinely wrong, immoral and offensive. Some centralists cracked under Howard’s leadership, the most prominent was obviously Turnbull over Kyoto and under an Abbott leadership you would see more and more of that forever undermining his position as leader. Furthemore his right wing chums would be genuinely frightened that should Abbott win a slender majority in the house people like Petro( I know he won’t be there anymore but other progressives) would cross the floor a fair bit, perhaps join the crossbench and most frightening of all support a no confidence motion.

    And finally, he’s a dill. He will say so many stupid, offensive, idiotic things within the campaign the electorate will think he has dementia.

  32. Tony WorkChoices Abbott would certainly be praying hard that his heavenly father may give him dispensation to be party leader. I’m praying nearly as hard myself that this happens.

  33. “Obama went to a restaurant while Bush’s last address to the nation took place.
    The question was, was Obama disrespectful to the president or was it no big deal.”

    If Rudd went to Maccz’s , whilst Howard was giving his concesion speech , what wuld you think

    I think th answer is Rudd would be being disrespective both to Howard and to th “office” , even though Labor suporters may try to argue Howard does not deserve respect , wuldn’t cut with me

    BTW , why couldn’t been clever and had his Macca’s home delivered , then no one would hav known whether he watched Bush’s speech or not Outside of lack of respect shown , hell not very earth shattering ‘News’ as th World is not gonna change either way is it

  34. cuppa, i’m with you there, everytime he does an interview i cringe for him, to add to his idiotic utterances he sits there with his mouth half open and a feral look as if he’s going to jump on the questioner and take out a big bite, i cant see him endearing himself to joe voter, the mad monk definately describes him.

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