Essential Research: 60-40

This week’s Essential Research survey has Labor’s lead at 60-40, up from 59-41 last week. Also featured are interesting findings on development of nuclear power plants for electricity generation (43 per cent support, 35 per cent oppose) and whether Australia has an obligation to dispose of nuclear waste from countries it exports uranium to (26 per cent agree, 53 per cent disagree), along with perceptions of the Australian-US relationship and a quiz question on Australia Day (which makes me wonder how many answered without recourse to Google). Other news:

• The South Australian Liberals have suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of independent Geoff Brock in the Frome by-election following Saturday’s distribution of preferences. Crikey subscribers can read my post-mortem here, and a still lively discussion is raging on my live coverage post. The Advertiser reports that Brock’s success might give other potential independent candidates ideas, including “ALP stalwarts such as Rod Sawford and Murray Delaine”, who were respectively Labor members for the federal seat of Port Adelaide and the state seat of Cheltenham. Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith says he is “ready to make deals with any independent candidate who ran next year in safe Labor seats such as Port Adelaide, Croydon, Lee and Colton”.

• Speculation about an early Queensland election continues to stop and start. Mark Bahnisch of Larvatus Prodeo says the Courier-Mail has damaged its credibility with its repeated wolf-crying on the subject, while The Australian’s D. D. McNicoll contends that “the whisper in Queensland political circles is Premier Anna Bligh will call the state election on February 28, a date that ensures bumper superannuation payouts for all the surviving members of the ALP’s ‘Class of 2001’ who were never expected to serve more than one term in parliament.” “Former Howard government senior adviser” David Moore surveys the landscape in The Australian.

• The NSW Nationals’ plans to select a candidate in a winnable seat for the 2011 state election by holding an open primary has caught the attention of blogger Tim Andrews, who is “unsure why this proposal hasn’t received more attention, as it has the potential to revolutionise Australian politics”. Ben Raue at The Tally Room reckons the idea is “at least a good gimmick”. The Nationals’ briefing paper on the subject can be read here.

• Western Australia’s daylight saving referendum will be held on May 16. Daylight saving was previously voted down in 1975 (53.66 per cent against), 1984 (54.35 per cent) and 1992 (53.14 per cent).

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.

519 comments on “Essential Research: 60-40”

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  1. now Bob stop being norty, you know it’s the narrowing, newspoll said so, the honymoon is over etc etc.
    MHS.{whats with these hyphenated names?} is whistling to the wind on independants following his drum beat, any independant capable enough to win a seat certainly wouldnt hitch his wagon onto the Sth.Aust. liberals.
    i must admit i’m surprised about the figures in the for/anti nuclear vote, everyone i’ve spoken to about it has been a NIMBY.
    the speculation about when Bligh is going to call the election is a bit of a head spin, it’s a little like UFO’s first you see it and then you dont.
    an open primary’s a bit different, i think quite a few on both sides of politics will be watching that with interest.

  2. I would have thought that “More than half of all Aussie’s don’t know what Australia Day is” would be a pretty juicy news headline for our brilliant media.

    Then again, I guess it doesn’t play into the “If you don’t like the 26th you’re a Marxist” narrative.

  3. Has this been mentioned?

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/factionhit-alp-faces-extinction-20090125-7pgl.html?page=1

    [THE ALP faces extinction because of an ageing and declining membership and a destructive culture of personal and factional advancement, one of the party’s elder statesmen has warned.

    In a letter to leaders of Premier John Brumby’s dominant Right faction, former cabinet minister Race Mathews reveals the party’s national membership has plummeted to about 50,000 — down from about 370,000 immediately after World War II — and the average age is about 50.]

  4. [Bull butter

    Essential Research arent credible…]

    Exactly. Where did all those nuclear power plant supporters come from? 43%-35% in favour. And Labor voters were split 50-50. That’s what happens when you use Roxby Downs as your polling sample.

  5. Diogs,

    The killer question would be “Do you support a nucelar power plant and or a nuclear waste disposal centre on that vacant land just up the road from where you live?”

  6. Dio most people arent anti nuclear and would support it…it’s a shame Rudd is a gutless wonder and will never do anything about it.

  7. GG they wouldnt put Nuclear Power plants so close to residential areas …how many people up the road to coal fired power stations hardly any. That is spurious question u r asking there.

    The killer question is…

    As nuclear power would significantly reduce Australia’s carbon emissions would you be in favour of its use in Australia to battle climate change?

  8. [Dio most people arent anti nuclear and would support it…it’s a shame Rudd is a gutless wonder and will never do anything about it.]

    Hang on, Howard was in power for 11 years, how come he didn’t do anything about it? And how come it’s in the Liberal Party platform?

  9. Glen,

    I am sure that you occaissionally follow day to day affairs but the “popularity” track record of new controversial developments isn’t good.

    Recent examples include the Tasmanian mill, the dredging of Port Phillip Bay, the Desaliantion Plant at Kilcunda, the Goulburn Pipeline, drug needle exchange facilities etc.

    The bi-election in SA demonstrates that voters aren’t much interested in the big picture. Just how it affects them.

    I am sure your attempt at logic will be more than trumped by a school yard full of kids painted in ghoulish green waving light sticks around.

  10. From the link by Oz at #6.
    This caught my attention:

    “Liberals …… president David Kemp warned that Liberal membership in Victoria had slumped to fewer than 14,000 …….. and that more than a quarter of the members were over 75”

  11. [The killer question would be “Do you support a nucelar power plant and or a nuclear waste disposal centre on that vacant land just up the road from where you live?”]
    This would be a moronic question because nuclear waste can only be stored in geologically stable areas. Nuclear reactors need to be built near cheap supply of water, which again limits where they can be built. Asking a question that asserts these things could be built anywhere would be push polling.
    [As nuclear power would significantly reduce Australia’s carbon emissions would you be in favour of its use in Australia to battle climate change?]
    I think it is great that 43% support nuclear power WITHOUT tying the issue to climate change. This demonstrates how much thinking has progressed on this issue in just a decade.

  12. Oz he took it to 2007 but since he got savaged by the media and the flat earthers in the ALP on nuclear energy ie Gillard they didnt put it front and centre. If you’ll remember they pushed it hard in 2005-6…

    Fredex that is old news…

  13. And what, you’re blaming the media and Labor for the Liberals not taking action? But you’ll happily savage Rudd when he does the same as a gutless wonder?

    What a hypocrite.

  14. Howard wasnt gutless he pushed it into the public arena in 2005/6 and got savaged so no wonder he backed off…but had we won in 2007 ill be he would have gone even further with it bob1234…

    Rudd is gutless because he allows uranium mining but is against nuclear power despite every climate change scientist saying you cant have a solution to it without nuclear…

  15. I thought the myth was that Howard had a backbone and stood up for what he believed in, no matter what?

    Guess nuclear power blows that myth away then.

  16. And 2005/6? That’s a decade after he came to power. Nuclear power was around for a long time before Howard came to power.

    Bit late.

  17. #11

    *Not in the platform.

    What do you think the percentage support would be for solar thermal plants, for example?

    Why are we acting like the only potential future power source is nuclear and it needs to be polled all the time.

  18. actually wasnt there a fuss about Howard having secret meetings with a couple of lib donators and signing a deal with them to give them exclusive rights to build reactors when nuclear power went ahead? and didnt those same men register a nuclear company right after those meetings? hmmm was Howard going to go over the heads of his cabinet and voters and illegally bypass the tender process?

  19. On the nuclear issue the problem is that a lot of public opinion is formed in a vacuum.
    We often see the claim that apart from Windscale, 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl modern nuclear facilities are ‘safe’. Modern plants are better and safer, so it is said.

    Yet how many people are aware that in the past few years nuclear plants have been forced to close down in France, Japan and Sweden because of varying problems causing releases of toxic materials? In the Swedish case there was toxic emissions for 3 years before they were detected.

    We were told that nuke power would be ‘clean, green and cheap’ yet none of those PR claims stand up to scrutiny.
    Roxby is SAs largest producer of carbon and that is before it even starts to be converted to electrical power.
    How many South Australians and Australians are aware of that?
    Roxby also requires massive quantities of water for its mine production, up to 40,000,000,000 litres per year in the near future.
    And thats in the “driest state in the driest continent”.
    Is that common knowledge?

    Its also interesting to note that in the last federal election both the Greens and the ALP recorded significant swings in their favour. The Greens nearly doubled the Nationals vote and had a swing of 1.3% and the ALP had a swing of 6.99%.
    For those of you who have lived in a ‘company town’ the significance of those numbers should resonate.

    Only a few years ago [May 2005] Newspoll recorded that 65% of Australians wanted no uranium mining and 51% were against nuclear power, only 38% supported such.

    There has been a strong pro-nuclear push since then, its a pity the media didn’t present a more balanced view.

  20. i dont believe EVERY climate change scientist is for nuclear reactors, in fact i’ve read of quite a few who say the opposite, that the waste would be impossible to get rid of and it would take years to build one and it’s working life would only be about 30 years, theres also the opinion with our population it wouldnt be viable.

  21. Love the way Glen says Howard wasn’t guttless and then says he got savaged and backed off.
    Quitting when the going gets tough is a perfect example of being a guttless coward!

  22. And the climate change debate should not be phrased in terms of “Coal or nuclear!” when there are cheaper, cleaner, more stable, more plentiful, more sustainable and quicker to get off the ground technologies.

  23. The hell is going on with Labor.

    [LABOR’S powerful NSW Right faction could follow its Victorian counterpart and split down the middle as early as Thursday, when caucus convenes to fill two cabinet vacancies.

    Senior sources within the NSW Right, also known as Centre Unity, told The Australian yesterday they could move to form a breakaway faction if the so-called “Terrigals” – the largest sub-group within the Right – insisted on filling both vacancies.

    It is estimated both groups would number in the mid-20s in a total caucus of 70. ]

    [This would mean that Centre Unity – the faction that has given Labor in NSW its stability over the past 30 years, as well assupporting stable federal Labor governments – would no longer exist.]

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24967839-5013945,00.html

    Factional turmoil in Victoria, factional turmoil in NSW…

    Give the Commonwealth to Labor and give the States to the Greens, easy done.

  24. Janet and Australian Papers ‘journalism’

    Dyno’s praise of Janet got me to read Janet for first time othr day , and Dyno was right her article critisising th liberal progressive US media for being fawning uncriticl of Obama did hav great substanse ,too many free rides for some politcans , although did say Janet doesn’t always (kind there with ‘always’ ) follow her own rules as well

    Now its diog’s fault mentionig a Janet article today , so read it ….geez this is Janet quote of quotes
    “would have been better served had he (Mick Dodson) refused to accept the Australian of the Year title given on a date he OPPOSES”

    So now I’ve got to fight th “some left” who oppose th 26th Jan date AND th “conservative right” who (wrongley) claim Dodson opposes th 26th Jan date
    Well eureka flags they ar both wrong wrong Mick Dodson said it unedited last nite face to face with us with no ‘Janet’s” in between quote ‘He does not hav a problam with th 26th Jan date Mickdodson said quote ‘some indigenous people and some white people do but I do not” Anothr time in interview says quote” I’m not fussed”

    So Janet of oz… like a truth wizard of oz so to speak , your article was false to say he opposes ,26th Jan date , as ar ‘some left’ opposing 26th Jan date who do not see as I do and as does Mick Dodson it happened , what we got now started from there so why hell wuldn’t you celebarate where we got to (but remember past injustices but that’s what we’re trying to fix like apology & reconcile ala) And to quote my mate Mick doson , its also a time of ‘reflecton , of whats gone before and what should be tomorrow

    Also janet’s shocker Story headine: “Dodson proves an ungracious winner” I said other nite ONLY reason before Mick Dodson interview , that Mick Dodson was ‘anxous about accepetanse of award was not becaue he didn’t value 26th Jan (since proved from his own TV mouth words he does value it , but CAUSE those who oppose reconcilaton wuld try to tarnish it like Mansell nutters accusing him as white collaborator , and assumed also conservative right like th Janet wuld try to taint his worthy Award Well b both hav done so , that’s why he was ‘anxous’ , to stifle anti recon opposition

    In end Mick dodson decided to as he indicated proudly accept it , and so he’s saying st.ff small minds undermining oz unity

    And as Janet’s new found Mentor …education: Mick Dodson also wants to accommodate those indigenous & whites that do oppose 26th Jan date by a discussion seeing quote ‘he has NO problam with this date’

    Mick Dodson is looking at future unity , not disunity Will send hims plan of ‘leaves’ type ceremony for every 26th Jan to help accommodate reluctants to make inclusive , so leaving still unsatisfied Mansell nutters and conservative right anti recon groups on a limb byselves It ‘leaves’ type ceremony could also be included in our later hoped for Republic Day celebratd on day of our aussie final free show we ar “one just ourselves”…Aussies only , and all …black white & multicultaral , and not “one only” of Queens subjects”

  25. Nuclear power

    May 05; for = 38%, against = 51%, 11%=undecided
    Jan 09; for = 43%, against =35%, 22%=undecided

    The pro-nuclear lobby is winning. Is it just Climate Change or is something else going on?

  26. Oz, {27} this is the Australian your quoting here, since when has the Australian hacks ever spoilt a good stirring story with the truth, did you read Christian Kerr’s piece of garbage, he’s trying to infer Obama wont ring Rudd because of the Bush phone beatup.

  27. Dio, it all depends how the question is framed, i get a questionaire from Essential Research every 6-10 weeks or so, some of the questions can get a bit off if you dont watch it, it’s done on line, firstly they ask what party your voting or leaning toward which is fairly straight forward and then they go off on other stuff.

  28. Touche, Judith Barnes!

    Grain of salt taken.

    Diogenes, two polls, from different sources, over 4 years. Not enough to determine a trend in my opinion.

  29. Well said Ron, you have a great heart for all Australians and I admire that in a person. Shame you can’t find a small part of that heart for Obama and give him some leeway to see what type of President he will end up being.

  30. Oz and Judith

    True. I’ll have a look for serial polls from the same organisation.

    Ron

    I’m pleased that I’ve contributed to broadening your education to those wonderful, incisive and brilliantly written article by Janet A. 🙁

  31. Unsurprisingly, the Oz is onto the nuclear poll like a seagull onto a hot chip.

    [More Australians support the idea of the country having nuclear power than oppose it, a new poll has found.

    The study found two-thirds of the population either support nuclear power or don’t have an opinion.
    Of those surveyed, 43 per cent thought it was a good idea.

    That was more than those who opposed nuclear power – about a third. ]

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24970633-12377,00.html

  32. [Why are we acting like the only potential future power source is nuclear and it needs to be polled all the time.]
    I see no implication in the question that is the only future power source. However, unlike many others, it is one that a) can provide base load power with pre-existing technologies b) it is currently banned by an act of federal parliament c) the complete nuclear cycle produces less green house gases than all fossil fuel based electricity generation methods AND some renewable forms, such as currently existing photovoltaic technologies.

    For those reasons alone it is not surprising that market research will be done on it from time to time.

  33. Strange the OO didn’t go with this bit from ER.

    Only 29% of those polled [57% of COALition supporters which would largely account for that 29%] thought the Howard/Bush relationship was of benefit to Australia.

    Yet 62% [even 59% of COALition supporters] thought the Rudd/Obama relationship will be of benefit to Australia.
    Sort of flies against Judith’s report at #30 about what Kerr is infering.

    Maybe not so strange.

  34. [Ron – I’m pleased that I’ve contributed to broadening your education to those wonderful, incisive and brilliantly written article by Janet A.]

    Diog,

    I’m equally pleased that I’ve contributed to broadening your education to those wonderful, incisive and brilliantly personal attribute that prepares to admit , in the face of total humiliation, “I am wRONg”.

  35. [Unsurprisingly, the Oz is onto the nuclear poll like a seagull onto a hot chip.]
    Why not? I think it is significant. I vaguely recall a poll done a few years ago that had opposition to nuclear power clearly in front. Now it is not so clear, but sure 22% of undecideds is still significant.

  36. Um, most coal-fired power stations are on the edge of metropolitan centres (Hunter, Latrobe Valley) because longer transmission lines waste more energy. The same would apply for nuclear power.

  37. Opposition to Nuclear Energy will continue to wane in the coming years…less people remember Chernobyl and more and more people are worried about climate change and are seeing Nuclear as an option to combat this not to mention help with the increased demands of energy that we face in Australia.

    Most people know nothing about the technology and more people ought to be taught about it in a fair and balanced manner. If that were to take place i would think those in favour of Nuclear Power would be in the 60s….

  38. we’re water starved here and nuclear reactors need massive amounts of water, we’re already going to alter the balance of the seas around us with desalination plants, so now are we going to make the our oceans radio active?

  39. Glen, noticed you conveniently left. Here’s a refresher:

    I thought the myth was that Howard had a backbone and stood up for what he believed in, no matter what?

    Guess nuclear power blows that myth away then.

    And 2005/6? That’s a decade after he came to power. Nuclear power was around for a long time before Howard came to power.

    Bit late.

  40. [we’re water starved here and nuclear reactors need massive amounts of water,]
    They don’t use anymore than large coal fired power stations. Liquid metal cooled nuclear reactors use less water.
    [so now are we going to make the our oceans radio active?]
    The cooling water is not part of the radioactive loop, so the answer is no.
    [I thought the myth was that Howard had a backbone and stood up for what he believed in, no matter what?]
    Well he was in his desperation phase so he tried anything. In fact, his nuclear power suggestion at that stage demonstrates how desperate he was. He was never going to turn things around with an issue that devise. The fact it was a good idea is beside the point.

  41. [They don’t use anymore than large coal fired power stations. Liquid metal cooled nuclear reactors use less water.]

    I already said there’s no point framing the debate as coal vs. nuclear, so why are we doing it?

    [The cooling water is not part of the radioactive loop, so the answer is no.]

    Nuclear waste is dumped in the ocean.

  42. Possum should be doing this, not me. This is going to look crappy and amateurish. Still, I suppose that’s appropriate. 🙂

    I’ve excluded leading questions which link nuclear power to climate change and pollution reduction. This has left me with these two questions, which I think are equivalent.

    1. “Do you support or oppose Australia developing nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity?”
    2. “Are you personally in favour or against nuclear power stations being built in Australia?”

    I’ll post the opinion polls chronologically, broken down as in favour/against/undecided.

    Gallup 79 34/56/10
    Newspoll 5/06 38/51/11
    Newspoll 12/06 35/50/15
    Gallup ’07 41/53/10
    Newspoll 4/07 36/46/18
    ER 1/09 43/35/22

    Using the highly scientific “eyeball test”, I’m calling there as a significant trend of the anti-nuclear power group into being undecided. I’d say there has been no significant change in the proportion who are pro-nuclear.

    Possum, of course, can correct me if you want to get all scientific about it.

    BTW you would not believe how widely that Essential Research opinion poll on nuclear power has been reported. I’ve counted fifteen different news sources. I think this debate is going to hot up considerably. And the 50/50 attitude of Labor supporters leaves the probability of a “wedge” by Turnbull.

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