Morgan: 61.5-38.5

The latest Morgan survey combines two weekends of face-to-face polling, and it confirms the message elsewhere that Labor has opened up a lead to rival its honeymoon period early last year. Labor’s primary vote is up 2.5 per cent on the last survey to 51.5 per cent, while the Coalition is down 3.5 per cent to 33 per cent: its worst result since May 2008, and 1.5 per cent below the previous worst result on Malcolm Turnbull’s watch. The two-party split of 61.5-38.5 compares with 59.5-40.5 last time. Furthermore:

• Talk of Attorney-General Robert McClelland abandoning parliament for a diplomatic post had escaped my notice, but the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader has reported on the implications for his seat of Barton should it come to pass:

The reports said he would make room for NSW Senator Mark Arbib who wants to be a minister in the Rudd cabinet and had set his sights on Mr McClelland’s seat. If Mr McClelland was “white-anted” he would take a diplomatic post and Rockdale councillor Shaoquett Moselmane would be called in as a potential powerbroker to help Senator Arbib take Barton in any preselection fightthat might arise for the next federal election.

The story is denied by all concerned.

Paul Austin of The Age gets a bit over-excited about the Victorian Electoral Commission’s ruling on independent candidate Les Twentyman’s complaint of misleading electoral material during last year’s Kororoit by-election campaign. Twentyman argued that a Labor pamphlet stating that “a vote for Les Twentyman is a vote for the Liberals” constituted material “likely to mislead or deceive an elector in relation to the casting of the vote” under the meaning of section 84 of the Electoral Act, an offence potentially punishable by six months’ imprisonment. Those familiar with complaints of this kind will not be surprised to learn that it was rejected, on the grounds that the section is narrowly concerned with matters such as how-to-vote cards that deceive voters into backing the wrong candidate. The VEC’s report on the by-election states that “legal opinion is that the pamphlet is misleading in its suggestion of an affiliation or agreement between Mr Twentyman and the Liberal Party”, but since this is neither here nor there as far as the Electoral Act is concerned, I can’t help wondering if it’s the commission’s place to say so.

• The Derwent Valley Gazette reports that the Tasmanian Liberals have named six candidate for Lyons at next year’s state election: incumbent Rene Hidding, “Brighton councillor Leigh Gray, vascular surgeon Philip Lamont, transport operator Geoff Page, business consultant Jim Playsted and Meander Valley Mayor Mark Shelton”.

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.

1,210 comments on “Morgan: 61.5-38.5”

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  1. The only reason that Cossie is still in the dock is that nobody in the private industry will give him a job.

    He was so desperate last night on Q&A, that he wanted to steal Tanner’s job and begged for a job from the Ruddster.

    from Crikey:

    [What a miserable, bitter and small-minded man Costello must be to get his kicks from being a professional wrecker. They really hurt you, didn’t they Peter, when they refused to countenance you leading them while you were in Government. And Turnbull’s tax efforts from the backbench in 2005 obviously stuck in the craw, didn’t it.

    Now you’re going to make them pay and the rest of us, along with your party, because the chances of having an effective Opposition diminish every time you open your mouth.]

  2. What was very telling last night was the way Cossie refused to say “Workchoices is dead”. For heaven sake according to Turnbull that is party policy. Obviously Cossie doesn’t think so. He could have killed it stone dead or at least have gone some way there.

  3. Just for the record, from the last thread:

    [we seem to have lost a slab of comments there … william how can i write my memoirs if you carelessly erase my witty remarks?]

    I have no idea what happened here.

  4. [I couldn’t get onto Crikey at all for two hours or so this afternoon.]

    GB, yes, there was an “outage” this arvo for Crikey and PollB. Bilbo’s revenge?

  5. the only reason why Captain Smirk is still in parliament is that no-one in the private sector will employ him. Hewson nailed it when he mentioned his laziness as treasurer. He is enjoying bringing down the party (why wouldny he rule out a leadership tilt EVER, why wouldnt he declare Workchoices dead as Turnbull said??) the didnt give him the leadership he felt entitled to.

    and from the other thread GP fell into the trap of counting books SHIPPED with books SOLD in relation to the costello book. Its like when record companies say an album is platinum, which is based on albums shipped rather than sold.

  6. [and from the other thread GP fell into the trap of counting books SHIPPED with books SOLD in relation to the costello book. Its like when record companies say an album is platinum, which is based on albums shipped rather than sold.]

    Even though Digital Downloads may have stopped that practice, apparently there have been allegations that Record Companies have created dodgy download accounts to artificially boost download “sales”.

    Though back in the olden days before electronic scanning of Albums, artists and/or Managers and Record Companies would find out where the chart shops were and would buy up copies so as the song would enter the charts.

  7. 10/11, me too, I couldn’t get on from round about 1-ish Perth time until close to 2 hours later. It wasn’t an ISP issue either, was just confined to PB, as other sites would load without any issues. Glad to see you back now, William 🙂

    Btw, since you are here in Perth too, William, did you have any issues of your own getting on with your ISP today?

  8. I don’t know that Barton’s quite so safe a seat for Labor that they could lever McClelland out and install a party heavy without risk of defeat. Why not boot out someone like Julia Irwin or Roger Price? Mega-safe Labor seat for life.

  9. I couldn’t get Pollbludgers or Possum for a couple of hours this afternoon, at all. Does anyone else think Costello is trying to do Turnbull slowly? And might this be, sooner rather than later if these abysmal polls keep up. Next Newspoll should be interesting.

  10. [the trap of counting books SHIPPED with books SOLD]

    I have a friend in the music industry. A few years ago a box of 1800 copies of Demi Hines (Marcia’s daughter) arrived in his store by courier with the express instructions that the box remain unopened. A different courier arrived later that same day to collect the box. Rumor has it that this unopened box was moved across Melbourne to several retail music stores. Guess what? Demi Hines single hit the #1 spot on the charts.

    My guess is that only a handful of copies were ever sold.

    Record companies will do anything to distort the charts. I don’t see why book publishers wouldn’t do the same thing.

  11. Question: If Costello had taken the Oppo Leader job after the election, as Beazley did in 1996 in comparable circs, would he still be in the job now? Labor gave Beazley a very long clear run, despite bad polling, because we respected him and knew there was no-one else. Would Costello have got the same consideration?

  12. In June 1997, 15 months after the 1996 election, Howard was still at 53.3 in Newspoll. But there was not a whisper against Beazley’s leadership. At the same stage in the cycle, the Libs have trashed one leader and are trashing a second.

  13. steve K my understanding was the charts were ACTUAL sales but the platinum/gold status is items SHIPPED. So basically you can ship 50,000 and get a GOLD album. Happened with former Australian Idol Casey Donovan. The album was “double platinum” they shipped 150,000 but far fewer than that.

    re: these polls. Turnbull should be glad of the Costello distraction. When are those in the MSM going to point out that he has TANKED as Opposition Leader and his 2PPs are as bad as Nelson. Question: Why did Nelson get such a hard time for similar numbers yet barely a word is written or spoken about Turnbull’s ratings

  14. Another couple of points, Adam.

    1) Labor’s defeat in 1996 was indisputably a rout. I suspect few in the ALP seriously expected Beazley to win govt back by 1998. After a loss like that there’s nothing to do but regroup and look long term, so Beazley was given that luxury. The Liberals are close enough to win in 2010, so the pressure on their leader for short-term results is much greater. In many ways it would have been better for them to suffer a Keating-esque thrashing to force them to get their house in order.

    2) Beazley started to make ground fairly quickly due to various Howard stuff-ups in his first term- travel rorts, Ministers getting the boot, etc. There’s no sign Rudd is making similar mistakes.

  15. [ Adam in Canberra
    Posted Friday, March 6, 2009 at 7:17 pm | Permalink
    Question: If Costello had taken the Oppo Leader job after the election, as Beazley did in 1996 in comparable circs, would he still be in the job now? Labor gave Beazley a very long clear run, despite bad polling, because we respected him and knew there was no-one else. Would Costello have got the same consideration?
    Excellent question, I suspect that the Libs would have grown impatient with bad polls and their would be ongoing squabbling and recriminations.


  16. i dont think the coalition have a chance 2010 and i think they know it as well, it just depends if Cossie wants to cool his heels in opposition for a second term, he’s so lazy that it might just appeal to him,the glaring lack of business suiters banging on his door might just keep him in parliament.

    some bluddy idiot put up a profile for Von Einam under the name Bevan Spencer on facebook, he hasnt got internet access so it’s either a pal of his or someone stirring, the government is trying to get it closed down.

  17. [The only reason that Cossie is still in the dock is that nobody in the private industry will give him a job.]
    The problem is obviously that he doesn’t think he has a better economic argument than the government. If he knew what to do and say to attract more support to the Liberals, surely he would currently be adopting that plan. But he knows that he was only ever as good ast he advice he was given from Treasury, and that he isn’t good enough to attack the government at this time.

  18. [Would Costello have got the same consideration?]

    Only if he was doing ok. Otherwise Turnbull would be destabilising him.

    Having said that, Costello is behaving like a fool atm. Turnbull is the Leader: either support him, or challenge.

  19. No 36

    Forgive me, but where has Costello denied his support for Turnbull? It’s the media that is presupposing leadership instabilities.

  20. [Forgive me, but where has Costello denied his support for Turnbull?]

    Most recently on Q and A, where he was directly asked the leadership question
    and stonewalled
    yet again

  21. GP are you SERIOUSLY telling/spinning that the Costello instability is all a media beat up? He wont deny a leadership tilt. He could close this down in a minute

  22. I have thought what crikey is saying about Costello for some time now – that he’s in pure wrecker mode, ‘it should have been my party and if I can’t have it, nobody can’.

    After all, if you REALLY believed (and I think he did) that Howard was going to lose the election, and you REALLY believed that your party was the best for Australia, then surely you would risk ANYTHING to get rid of JWH. To say, in this situation, that challenging for the leadership was not in the best interests of the party or the government was (at least in Cossie’s eyes) an untruth.

    And, similarly, if you really believed you were the best hope your party had of taking back government and you really believed that Labor was doing an atrocious job….

    So, either (i) Costello believes that his party is crap and Labor is the best possible govt at this time or (ii) he believes that Labor is crap and the Libs are the best possible government but he’s happy to have both Australia and the Libs suffer cos neither of them realised how wonderful he is and one day they will and then won’t they all be sorry…

    Anyway, I found it interesting that he’s offered to give Rudd advice when he’s refused similar offers from his own party…

  23. GP @ 37, a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf 😉 …. a la the old looney tunes cartoons where the coyote dons sheeps clothes to try to steal some sheep for his next meal and the real sheep puts him off, I think their names in that episode are “Frank” and “Ralph” (and yes, I know I’m showing my age)

  24. It looks like Wilson Tuckey supports Costello:

    “But fellow WA Liberal MP Wilson Tuckey defended Mr Costello’s right to speak out about issues, and said those who were accusing him of destabilising the party were the real destabilisers.”

  25. GP: So you did see Costello’s appalling performance on Q and A.

    Is it Liberal policy to bury work choice or not; wouldn’t be able to work that out from the performance of the spoilt brat. Is Turnbull the leader of the party or not; wouldn’t have twigged from the discraseful effort seen on Q and A and the response from the happy clappers. It was the most appalling self promoting drivel I have ever seen from a senior politician.

  26. When Beazley became opposition leader in 1996 he rightly suspected that he would never be Prime Minister. However he did it because he was the best placed to rebuild after such an election loss. He did it for the good of the party, not just out of self interest.

    What I don’t understand is that Costello was in exactly the same situation after Rudd won, yet Costello seems to think that it is ore important for him to maneuver himself into a position where he may become P.M., rather than taking over for the good of his party.

    Costello likes to say that Labor has the cult of the party, whereas the Liberals have the cult of the leader. Well, why doesn’t he support the best interests of the party, rather than his own best interests at this time?

  27. An ANU political expert on Turnbull’s failure as Liberal leader:

    “ANU political scientist Dr Norman Abjorensen said Mr Turnbull had history against him because he was only the second person to be Opposition leader.

    He said it usually takes the third leader to win an election and become Prime Minister.

    He said it history is to be taken as indicative of what may happen in the Liberal Party, it may taken Mr Costello a couple of strikes to seize the leadership.

    “If a Liberal leaders not going to deliver the goods they are gone. Brendan Nelson’s problem is he never got out of the doldrums and Turnbull’s been going backwards since he came in,” he said.

    “Turnbull’s got a black mark against him in terms of the Liberals very instrumental view of the leadership he is not delivering either a rise in popularity or the prospect of winning the next election.

    “That brings the weight of history against him.”

  28. [It looks like Wilson Tuckey supports Costello:]

    Gee thatt will really wont it Bree??

    “vote for costello or I’ll belt ya”

  29. Costello really blew a hole in everything when he told the media about the supposed ‘secret deal’ between him and Howard. I think that hardened Howard’s resolve not to hand over the leadership. If he’d have kept quiet I believe Howard would have left late 2006 and given Costello a run.

    To be fair, I understand his decision not to challenge Howard after this point. From late 2006 onward it was increasingly likely the government would be going down. Why would he want to inherit “the fag end” of the term (as Keating put it)?

    (Oh and if someone could answer #35 I’d be very grateful)

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