Newspoll: 54-46

The first Newspoll survey after the end-of-year break shows the Coalition recovering to 54-46 after the shock 59-41 result of December 9. The Australian spruiks this as the Coalition clawing back support, but a more likely explanation is that the previous poll was a rogue. Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister is down from 66-19 to 60-22.

UPDATE: Graphic here. Rudd’s approval is down seven points to 63 per cent; Turnbull’s is down two to 45 per cent, his weakest result to date.


• Essential Research’s weekly survey has produced a status quo 59-41 result, along with a 56-20 preferred prime minister lead for Kevin Rudd that marks little shift from the previous time the question was asked in late November. Also featured are questions on expectations of the year ahead economically and for the Barack Obama presidency. Most interestingly, respondents were also asked to name their favourite prime minister since World War II, which produced a win for John Howard on 28 per cent. This is largely because those supporting Liberals (45 per cent of the total) showed no interest for contenders other than Howard and Bob Menzies (11 per cent), whereas the Labor loyalist vote was split between Kevin Rudd (20 per cent), Bob Hawke (12 per cent), Gough Whitlam (9 per cent) and Paul Keating (8 per cent).

• Former Tasmanian Tourism Minister Paula Wreidt has retired from politics, creating a vacancy in the electorate of Franklin that will be filled by a countback on February 2. This provides a clear entry to parliament for Daniel Hulme, the only remaining unelected Labor candidate from the 2006 election. My election guide entry tells me Hulme was an “Australian Taxation Office worker and former Young Labor president described by Sue Neales of The Mercury as a ‘right-wing pro-development campaigner’”. Hulme was the last man standing after Paul Lennon’s exit in the middle of last year resulted in the election of Ross Butler – who, according to Peter Tucker at Tasmanian Politics, has raised eyebrows with his performance. If Hulme declines to nominate, or if any further Labor vacancies arise in Franklin before the next election, we might see the unprecedented activation of the clause which would allow Labor to initiate a by-election rather than have the seat go to another party. Still more from Peter Tucker.

• More casual vacancy news: the last remaining Australian Democrats MP, South Australia’s Sandra Kanck, has been replaced following her retirement from her upper house seat by David Winderlich. More from Andrew Bartlett.

• The NSW Nationals have intriguingly announced they will preselect a candidate for a yet-to-be-determined winnable seat at the 2011 state election by conducting an American-style primary, open to all voters enrolled in the electorate. Peter van Onselen notes in The Australian that “parties in countries such as Britain and Italy have increasingly embraced primary contests, more often than not with electoral success to follow”. The most likely electorates for the trial are said to be Dubbo, Port Macquarie and Tamworth, each traditionally Nationals seats currently held by independents.

• Counting continues in South Australia’s Frome by-election, on which I have written an overview in today’s Crikey. Read about and comment on the progress of the count in the post below.

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.

850 comments on “Newspoll: 54-46”

  1. dyno I would believe Curtain over Menzies as well.
    [Menzies also wrote that “Curtin has privately made it clear to me … that his own greatest ambition is to remain leader of the Opposition for the duration of the war”.

    Dr Edwards disputes this. He says Curtin’s defiance of Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in insisting that Australian troops be brought home from the Middle East rather than sent to Burma was a defining moment in Curtin’s leadership]

  2. [All the fuss about Dodson seems to be just the MSM doing what it does best: spreading misinformation in the name of a “good story”.]

    S.O.P. really.

    798, Dyno, I agree with you completely.

    Geez, how bad are the Aussie’s getting beat in the cricket?

  3. vera,
    I was possibly unclear, but what I was saying is that Curtin’s views (broadly) accorded with Menzies’ account, in relation to whether the Brisbane Line was real (they both said it wasn’t).

  4. Grog my opinion of journos is well known here, the motto of most is to never spoil a good story with the truth, believe me most live by it.

  5. Churchill nearly was shot – after he resigned from the house of commons he went into the trenches to do penance, and on 1 Jan 1916 was given command of a batallion – the 6th Royal Scots Fusileers, until May, when he returned to England & politics.

    Churchill bears a lot of responsibility for Gallipoli, but it was Haig who refused to give him enough soldiers (Churchill had effectively called him a murderer earlier in the war, so its unsurprising that Haig was willing to sabotage Churchills plans), and the Navy who refused to put the fleet in (possible) danger by sailing away from safety in England. Churchill at least deserves praise for having the guts to try something to break the deadlock in France.

    The Gallipoli campaign was a convincing failure, but it was far from the worst campaign of the war, and the relatively light fighting (compared to France that is) allowed the AIF to gain a lot of valuable experience, without being annihilated in the process. General Monash – perhaps the finest allied General of the war, earned his stripes there.

    In fact, by the kind of perverse logic that only operates in wartime, one could argue that it *saved* Australian & NZ’der lives, because those young men were undoubtedly bound for France, where casualty rates were much much higher.

    Furthermore, we wouldn’t have any of the ‘forging of a nation’ type narrative floating about today – which would deny politicians a whole lot of press & photo opportunities every April 🙂

  6. [the motto of most is to never spoil a good story with the truth,]

    the problem is, the motto never ceases to serve them well. In fact, it’ll generally lead to better pay. (and a gig on TV)

  7. [Furthermore, we wouldn’t have any of the ‘forging of a nation’ type narrative floating about today – which would deny politicians a whole lot of press & photo opportunities every April ]

    made for a great film as well.

    I heartily recommend Les Carylon’s two books – Gallipoli and The Great War (even if the latter is full of references to the father and grandad of a certain former Liberal PM… gee how DID it win the PM History Prixe???)

  8. Grog when you’ve a few spare days maybe i’ll tell you some of what i know about journos, saying that two beloved men in my life were/are top journos, dear old uncle Bob Whitington who protected me as much as he could and became a second dad to me till he died and Nigel, one i’d trust with my life.

  9. Dyno

    thanks for your coments in my #791 and of Mick Dodsons 7.30 Report interview whwere his views and mine ar in same ball bark about th 26th Jan date , which i sugested last nite

    Those that ar strong anti th 26th Jan date now find critisisng me means criticising Mick Dodson

  10. Not only did Churchill do “trench time” he also had been nearly killed two or three times in his youth, stuffing around in various British colonial adventures.

    Had there been no Churchill, WW2 may well have turned out quite differently. Halifax would almost certainly have become PM (Chamberlain was dying anyway, though this wasn’t realised at the time he resigned) and Halifax may well have negotiated peace with Germany after France surrendered, presumably on pretty crappy terms which would have left Hitler completely in charge on the Continent.

    So the youthful Churchill’s inability to get himself shot (seems to have) had major historical ramifications for the world.

    Funny how history works out sometimes …

  11. It is difficult to think of anything good to say about Churchill in a very long life in the public eye. However we should remember the one thing he did get right, and that was his aversion to Nazism. This was not a popular stance to take in the upper echelons of British society in the 30’s, especially before the abdication of King Edward, by all reports a keen supporter of Nazism. Much of what later became dressed up as anti nazism was only zenophobic anti German sentiment, definately not anti nazism. Most countries in Europe (and Australia) had very influential fascist parties and organisations throughout the 30’s. Popular support for those organisations only fell away as war became inevitable. My father among others spent the early part of his war service patrolling the south coast escarpment of NSW looking for and occasionally finding fascist sympathisers signalling to ships at sea, especially ships flying the flag of fascist states such as Spain and some South American countries.

  12. Michael,

    Yes it’s hard to know what to make of someone who got most stuff wrong but got the most important thing right, and had sufficient courage to stick it out through the “Wilderness Years”.

  13. Dyno

    i hav n o problam with churchill rightful place in helping to defeet Hitler burt as an australian I just cann’t forgive him for Gallopilli and then refusing & procrastinating , and diverting re John Curtins demands to hav our oz troops back here in oz to defend oz

    This is also my citisism of menzies in period Menzies wanted oz troops in england to sav Empire , Curtin wantd them back here fromm/e to sav oz and of empire got st.ffed then so be it So two diff approachs , for me curtin was right …this is Aug 1941 only months from Nov 41 Pearl Harbours I actualy think curtin our greatest PM on achievment and changin oz also

  14. Dyno seeing this aussie Day , like to test this theeory about Republic oposition as its many , how to elect like by peoples or by joint 75% parliament , our Queen , th flag , monarchists blah blah

    If a referendum was put that i tink should be tht asked one queston Do you suport an Australian Republic by…? (with note saying that NO Republic will occur unless a 2nd vote is made to oz people to decide how a President is electd)

    this ways , all Republicons ar united in same boat shed , now what % of libs do you reckon wuld supoort such 1 queston referendum , cause past poll questons may be influenced by confusions/doubts over method of Pres electon

  15. Ron,
    I reckon about half of Liberal voters would support the question as phrased by you. You might get that proportion up a bit more if there was a provision saying nothing would change till QE2 was no longer on the throne – more or less the Bob Hawke formulation, I think.
    But that’s just “what I reckon” – William, Possum, others – is there any polling on this?

  16. Dyno , i sent this to last Republicon talk feast in about 1999 , seeing they did not invite me Trouble was even beforehands I could see all th different pro Republicon factions like Phil cleary clan were just going to end up divided , and cann’t get Referendums thru unless there is general 2 party suport

    probalm with polling is i think it UNDERrstates Republicon suport BECAUSE of public prevously seeing confusing 2 Pres electon methods and obvously given a choise they’ll go for electing direct , rather than via pollies

    So thats why I reckon get th yes vote first , then all monarchists ar out of th ring confusing th issue , and after yes for Republic vote perhaps some more education of public on adds and minius’s of both electon options

  17. [I heartily recommend Les Carylon’s two books – Gallipoli and The Great War]
    Yeah, will get round to reading them one day – although I think I’d like to go right to the source first – Charles Bean.

    [Halifax would almost certainly have become PM (Chamberlain was dying anyway, though this wasn’t realised at the time he resigned) and Halifax may well have negotiated peace with Germany after France surrendered]
    When Chamberlain resigned Halifax was actually first in line – he was favourite amongst the conservative party, and also with the King (supposedly). He was too Machiavellian for his own good though – he thought that whoever succeeded Chamberlain was bound to fail, and thus he would be there to pick up the pieces in the aftermath.


  18. Churchill bears a lot of responsibility for Gallipoli, but it was Haig who refused to give him enough soldiers (Churchill had effectively called him a murderer earlier in the war, so its unsurprising that Haig was willing to sabotage Churchills plans),

    I think you mean Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, not Haig. Otherwise, you’re correct. Kitchener failed to supply the Dardanelles campaign with the necessary amount of troops. Prime Minister Asquith knew this but pathetically wouldn’t overrule his famed war minister. But Kitchener escaped blame because of his status as a war hero and his untimely death.

    and the Navy who refused to put the fleet in (possible) danger by sailing away from safety in England.

    I think you might be referring to Hamilton’s effort in the Dardanelles? He refused to sail on to a lightly fortified Constantinople, despite the relative impotence of the enemy. The only vessels that were lost had gone that way because they sailed too close to the shore. Alas, this timidity and procrastination proved counter-productive: by the time the British led forces were ready to fight, the Turks were ready for them.

    Churchill at least deserves praise for having the guts to try something to break the deadlock in France.

    I think this says too little. Opening up the southern front could have been a masterstroke. But for its woeful execution.

  19. It is also a fact that two (or was it three?) commanders of the royal navy were tried and found guilty of cowardice and relieved of command for the constantinople. As alraedy said, if it had been properly supported, it would have shortened the war and possibly saved millions of lives.

  20. Gawd Dio why read her scribblings, i’ve got more respect for my blood pressure than to inflict her or Akerman on it, you know the crap you’ll get from both of them and it aint pretty, while the Newsltd stable has some fairly rabid scribes those two take the cake for poisonous spiteful garbage, i guess she keeps her job because of her following of blue rinse set conservative happy clappers, dunno who else would bother, they can congregate together and lay the claws into whoever is Janet’s prey of the day and extol “that nice mister Howard”, i only bothered to read her wafflings once and that was enough, at the time she was extolling Turnbull becoming the lib leader, if i remember rightly it was sinking the boots thoroughly into Rudd and finishing with the term “ladies and gentlemen now it’s game on” — yeah right!

  21. Judith I keep my eyes well protected from those lot who still haven’t got over their mate Howard being givin the big A. I’ll stick to the SMH.
    [Iceland’s leaders say the economic crisis could bring down the country’s government within 24 hours.]
    Iceland’s govt coalition partner is threatening to withdraw support unless they sack the central bank governor, who is an ex prime minister.
    Imagine if we did that sort of thing here, Howard could have Glen Stevens job now and then we’d really be stuffed.

  22. Vera, thats the stuff nightmares are made of, Howard who thought the public purse was his own unlimited money stream and kept his nose very firmly in the trough, it doesnt bear thinking of.

  23. Yes vera let’s leave the RBA in the hands of a man who brought about a recession, 13% unemployment and 96billion dollars of net Commonwealth debt not to mention a 10b dollar budget deficit…yeah that sounds like an excellent plan!

  24. A very good article by Krugman here shooting down all the arguments against economic stimulus packages. Its practically a “how to” guide to shooting down everything Turbnbull is likely to say in the budget session. This assumes the Libs will mindlessly follow the rhetoric of US republicans on how to deal with the GFC, just as they have done with everything else.

  25. 834 – So Glen, you’d be happy to have the RBA run by Howard? Now, let’s see, what was his record as treasurer in the Fraser government again?

  26. Glen

    Harper faces the budget vote on the 28th. He seems to think he’s going to win it. The NDP and Bloc are voting against it so it’s all up to the Liberals.

    And in more great news for the world, Netanyahu looks like winning the Israeli election in two weeks.

    [Israel’s election race is back in full swing following the Gaza war and front-runner Benjamin Netanyahu has moved quickly to deflect allegations his victory could mean conflict with new U.S. President Barack Obama.]

  27. Dio the Liberals are cowards they wont bring Harper down because they know they’d not look good to the rest of the public which want Harper to continue in Government.

    Second the NDP are a bunch of radicals it would be like Rudd forming a minority government in the House of Reps with the Greens that would not help the ALP and would help the Opposition. Iggy isnt going to want to be PM if it means having to appease the NDP or the Bloc.

    Hurray for Bibi maybe they’ll eliminate Hamas for good and install Fatah in Gaza (which should have been done ages ago)…

  28. Glen 838

    That is an interesting view. Too bad we don’t sem to be able to find enough competent financial manages in the private sector to run the private sector lately 😉

  29. Glen my comment about PK was tongue in cheek (thus the smiley) I agree with you and Gary the RBA should be independent of the govt whether Labor or Lib are in power.

  30. Glen

    I do agree with you that we shouldn’t have a politician running the RBA. However, I think the GFC has exposed that the “best financial minds” AREN’T in the private sector. They (private sector financiers) are usually the best salesmen, not the best financial experts.

  31. the private sector couldnt even find a job for that wonderful economist Costello, but then it’s over run with Turnbulls mates and ex compatriots the merchant bankers, WHOOPS! isnt that the mob that helped bring about this global economical meltdown.

  32. The Age seems to have developed a philosophy of presenting the doom and gloom of the GFC in neon lights and whatever is positive couching it in negative terms so that we don’t get too confident. Hell, we mustn’t try and stop fear setting in must we?

  33. Gary let’s see the bad spin they put on this. Julia announcing and extra $719mil for NSW schools.
    I can hear it now, Libs will be up in arms saying Rudd is bailing out the NSW Govt.

    Julia has been busy today, she also is meeting with welfare loby to discuss ways to help those who are least well off.

    Finns you’d like Lindsay Tanner’s take on the effects of financial crisis
    [The Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, likened the situation to that of the Australian cricket team. The glory days were over and it was time to rebuild, he said.]

  34. cant you just hear it now, the libs screaming about the schools boost, even if it was another state other than NSW they’d find something to whinge about.
    i think maybe Turnbull’s lost his leak in the treasury because his demands dont seem to be spot on with moves the government ‘s making now, before now he seemed to have the info on what the government was planning next so he could trumpet it off as a demand they do that and then look as if he’s trumpted them and they’re following his advice, maybe the mole has been tracked down.

  35. Gary, Kerr is trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, how does he know theres been no contact? maybe the PM’s office is antsy in letting out info about phone calls after the other fuss.

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