ACNielsen: 58-42

The Fairfax broadsheets have published an ACNielsen survey of 1400 voters showing federal Labor’s two-party lead at 58-42, up from 55-45 at the previous poll in November. Labor leads on the primary vote 47 per cent to 37 per cent. Also in the poll:

• Kevin Rudd’s approval rating is up four points to a stratospheric 74 per cent, the highest ever recorded by ACNielsen, while Malcolm Turnbull’s is down eight to 43 per cent. Their respective disapproval ratings are 22 per cent (steady) and 47 per cent (up 12 per cent).

• Rudd leads Turnbull as preferred prime minister 69 per cent to 24 per cent, his lead increasing seven points.

• Remarkably, 57 per cent say Kevin Rudd would be “justified in calling an early election to try and break the Senate impasse that has frustrated the passing of some legislation” (although they might think differently if they realised no double dissolution trigger existed, and that any election for the House of Representatives before the middle of next year would throw the two houses’ cycles out of sync).

• Peter Costello is favoured as Liberal leader by 47 per cent against 39 per cent for Turnbull, although Turnbull has closed the gap six points.

• 66 per cent say they oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan, a near identical result to last week’s Newspoll.

In other news:

• Newspoll has published its quarterly geographic and demographic breakdowns. Charts aplenty from Possum, here and here.

• The Victorian Liberals have advertised for federal election candidates in Kooyong, Corangamite and Deakin. Andrew Landeryou at VexNews says “long-time Liberal fundraiser and multi-millionaire Andrew Abercrombie is believed to be the Baillieu faction’s secret weapon candidate” to run in Kooyong against the Josh Frydenberg, who is backed by the Kroger camp and “Malcolm Turnbull’s numbers man”, Senator Michael Ronaldson.

The Australian reports the Left faction Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Right faction Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association have joined in a “Moscow-Berlin pact” to seek a “Senate-style system for Victorian upper house preselections”. This would deny rank-and-file members a vote, and circumvent the recent deal between the two unions’ intra-factional rivals. For their part, the latter group are threatening to back separate ballots for each position rather than proportional representation, which would allow them to secure a clean sweep. More from Andrew Landeryou.

• Steve Grant of the Fremantle Herald reports that former Premier Alan Carpenter has backed Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri to replace Jim McGinty as Labor’s candidate in Fremantle. His presumed rival, LHMWU state secretary Dave Kelly, now says he is no longer interested. While still denying it publicly, it is almost universally anticipated that McGinty will shortly quit parliament so a by-election can be held in conjunction with the May 16 referendum on daylight saving. Last week the Herald reported that Keith McCorriston, Maritime Union of Australia official and local party branch president, had “also emerged as a contender”. It was also reported that WA Opinion Polls had been canvassing the electorate asking respondents about Tagliaferri and Greens candidate Adele Carles.

• Speaking of which, The West Australian reports daylight saving advocates have been peddling an “online poll of 610 voters conducted last week by independent research company Synovate”, showing 50.5 per cent planning to vote yes against 46.8 per cent for no. Despite the smaller sample of 400, a Westpoll survey published earlier in the month showing 57 per cent for no and 42 per cent for yes might be thought more credible.

• The Tasmanian Liberals have been keeping busy with preselections for the state election due next March. Mark Worley of the Sunday Tasmanian reports three new candidates have been chosen for Franklin: Vanessa Goodwin, a criminologist who narrowly failed to win a seat in 2006; Clarence City Council building inspector David Compton; and Huon Valley small business owner Jillian Law. Party leader Will Hodgman will be a fourth, while the fifth will be “left open until later in the year”.

• In Bass, sitting members Peter Gutwein and Sue Napier will be joined by Michael Ferguson, who gained the federal seat for the Liberals in 2004 and lost it in 2007, and David Fry, who filled a vacancy in 2000 but failed to win election in his own right in 2002 or 2006. As in Franklin, a fifth position has been left vacant for the time being.

Sue Neales of the Mercury reports plans to preselect candidates in Denison have been deferred as the Liberals are “concerned by a lack of high-profile talent”. Michael Hodgman, whose parliamentary career goes back to 1966, is apparently set on another term despite being 70 years old and “suffering ill health”. From Michelle Paine of the Mercury (thanks to Peter Tucker of Tasmanian Politics for scanning this) comes a report that Marti Zucco, Hobart alderman and twice-unsuccessful independent upper house candidate, is also gearing up to nominate despite troubled relations with the party.

Over the fence, Rebecca White, a 26-year-old electorate officer to federal Denison MP Duncan Kerr, has been confirmed as a starter for Labor in Lyons.

• Anna Bligh says she will discuss fixed terms, possibly of four years, with whoever ends up leading the Liberal National Party. Queensland is the only state which still has terms of three years.

• Graeme Orr writes on the impact of optional preferential voting at the Queensland election, and related matters, at Australian Policy Online.

Gary Morgan takes aim at Newspoll and Galaxy over their under-estimation of Labor’s vote in Brisbane. To which they might justifiably reply: either shit or get off the pot. When Morgan starts publishing his own state polls, and when these prove more accurate than his rivals, then he can reasonably presume to start giving them advice.

UPDATE: Essential Research has Labor’s lead blowing out to 63-37 from 60-40 last week, and also shows Kevin Rudd’s approval rating at record levels: 21 per cent for “strongly approve”, his best result since this question was first asked last September. Malcolm Turnbull’s overall approval rating is down four points to 28 per cent and his disapproval up five to 48 per cent. In answer to George Megalogenis’s question on Insiders yesterday, 50 per cent say our troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan, and 75 per cent say there should be more armed security at airports.

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.

1,669 comments on “ACNielsen: 58-42”

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  1. Vera I watched that Negus interview regarding Rudd. I knew Rudd was a bit of an expert on China but that guy was implying that he was more than just an expert, more like an expert’s expert. I gathered he taught the professors in those meetings over in the US a few things. He said that Obama will regularly seek Rudd’s views on whatever policies and actions they consider regarding China in the future.

    I guess if they need the views of a merchant banker they could ask Turnbull.

  2. With the Turnbull dog whistling Labor has a number of seats it can help hold / or get over the line at the next election.

    All those places that are looking to a China recovery. Qld & WA. All those place with a significant China / Asian population. i.e. Bennelong, Darwin.

  3. How many times have any of Turnbull’s approval, dissaproval or PPM ratings actually improved compared to a previous poll? Once? Twice?

  4. It seems to me that the interesting things are:

    1. This poll reverses the recent small drop in Labor polling. The Opposition had a small momentum which now seems to have been lost.
    2. It seems to be showing that the Liberals are getting ever more tired of Costello’s roll as a party spoiler.
    3. It suggests that Turnbull may do well to re-examine his oppose-at-all-costs approach.
    4. It also suggests that Work Choices is still a live influence on voting patterns.
    5. Right-wing MSM carping, whinging, posturing and nit-picking is being more or less totally ignored by the punters.

  5. Thomas Paine, this was from that interview too
    [And I think that other leaders that Obama has met with, my sense is that he and Rudd have gotten along better than the other fellows that he has met.]
    What with the poll as well The Merchant Banker will be spitting chips tomorrow, 🙂

  6. I think it makes a difference the reason a person has gone into politics how they come over to the public, especially if they have not been career politicians.

    I get the feeling that Turnbull entered politics because he wanted to have PM against his name and not for some ideal about making Australia a better place. Or if he did enter for the right reasons it has certainly been overwhelmed by his ego.

    I don’t think many doubt that Rudd’s drive is to make Australia a better place even if we don’t agree with how he goes about it sometimes.

  7. Have a read of Peter Harcher’s front page article in the SMH. Grudging credit given to Rudd. The headline to it is derisive and sardonic. “Hail King Rudd” or somethig equally juvenile. Nevertheless, the core message is, Rudd on the up and up, Turnbull in trouble.

    But does anyone else think the last sentence of his article is a non sequitur? It is a reference to Rudd having recent contact with highly placed Chinese officials without informing the Australian public. Totally off topic, unless it is a directive that any Rudd article has to end in a negative. Incomprehensible.

    On another point, I noticed that Harcher is obviously an avid reader of this blog. Certain turn of words, certain ideocyncracies of phraseology, have been borrowed from posts on this site, consciously or unconsciously. He’s not the only one either.

  8. I recall Hartcher predicting Rudd would lose. As did many despite the continuous high polls he got. People have trouble dealing with factual data in its proper context when it conflicts with their bias.

    This beat up over ‘China’ is ONLY getting air because it is a large non white country. People not like most of us. If it were any white country (anybody in Europe, USA, Canada etc) it would have died out quickly. But the media and the Opposition cannot resist using a bit of racism or xenophobia to sell papers , to attack the non Liberals and to hopefully wins some votes over.

    This is like living in the middle of the Howard years. Luckily the Liberals are not in power or we could expect a raid on some hapless Chinese restaurant, arresting some hapless Chinese student, locking them up, and wheeling out Andrews again to give his usual spiel on keeping imprisoned bystanders imprisoned.

    These people are well aware that Governments speak quietly to each at all levels all the time. Always have and always will.

    Australia really needs a Huffington Post.

  9. Shades of 1933. It seems already that the G20 meeting will be a total failure.

    Germany’s economy contracted another 2% the other day making it -7% I thought? And they are against stimulus spending. So I guess they wait for higher unemployment, then start printing tons of money, figure out they need some huge stimulus spending and so start increasing the military industrial machine.

  10. Queensland’s enrolment projections were released last week. (NSW will presumably follow this week.)

    I work out that the 19 seats in the south-east add up to 20.1 quotas. Which suggests that not only will the new seat be in the south east, but that neighbouring regional seats will be more drawn into the south-eastern orbit.

    Hard to say where exactly where the new seat will be. Perhaps in South Brisbane/Gold Coast. Fadden is by far the most over quota seat and others like Forde, Oxley and Blair are also well over quota.

    On the other hand, the seats around Sunshine Coast (Fairfax, Fisher, Longman) are also over quota.

    Most of the inner Brisbane seats will be little changed.

    Of the regional seats, Leichhardt is the most over quota. Crunching the numbers, it could be refashioned as a seat based purely on Cairns Regional Council. Wherever it sheds voters, they’ll have to go into Kennedy – which will probably also take some of Herbert’s surplus – requiring Kennedy to make compensating adjustments. Maranoa is well under quota, so a push northwards into Flynn with Flynn doing likewise into Kennedy might seem logical. But Flynn’s a pretty awkward looking seat as it is, and will be even more so if it’s forced to deviate away from the Capricorn Highway. Perhaps instead Maranoa could go around Flynn and into Mt Isa. (Farrer-like)

    A more radical option might be to abolish Flynn and return Hinkler and Wide Bay to their old configurations. Then create two news seats, one either side of Brisbane.

  11. [Tunbull and Hockey can also be called on their dog whistling on race with a reference back to the Howard years which I think people realise the Liberals were pretty grubby.]

    From the previous thread.

    TP, this shows how out of date these people are. If they think in 2009, they can just pull out that boogey-exenophobic-let-bash-China/Chinese doll from the bottom draw, they are sadly mistaken. Just as Howard discovered with his 1980s comment on the Asian immigration, people have long memory. Turnbull, Hockey and co. will discover likewise.

    It’s time they grow up and have debate about the real issues, such as: What is the rightful place for China, India, Brazil and Indonesia in the new world order, socially, economically, environmentally, militarily and politically. The old order of the West is waning and they dont have the mortgage over the wisdom, if they ever had, anymore.

    Just to echo Pres Lula’s comment again that: “This crisis was caused by the irrational behavior of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing”.

    In particular, the USA, it might still be the most powerful nation in the world, but it is time to show and learn some humility. The G20 will be a real test for Obama. If he can re-brand the USA, it will be a great achievement. Go Obi, go.

    Oh God, it’s not hard to be humble, even though you are perfect in every way. What a great way to start the week.

  12. Old Memsa interviewed on abc news radio full of bile so early in the day.

    She sounded as if she had been sucking lemons all morning. Typical stuff, everthing Rudd is doing is wrong and allbull is right.

    Please please mesma keep thinking exactly this. 🙂

    Oh how the high n mightly (or so they thought) have fallen

  13. In my SMH Hartcher’s article is headed “Election trigger? Go ahead, make his day”. The banner head is “The Rudd Supremacy” and there is a nice photo of The Kevin on the BBC. Nothing to complain about there.

  14. It must be driving GP and the other liberal supporters to distraction all this,wonder how the mad right is reacting Bolt Blair and last but not least Ackerman

  15. It’s been so long since one of their polls, was beginning to wonder if AC Nielsen were still in the polling biz. Good to see them back, especially with this “beautiful set of numbers”.

    Interesting to see the percentage of people who think Mr Rudd would be justified in calling an early election. The opportunity to call a double dissolution has now all but passed; perhaps the ETS would be a suitable trigger. Somehow, though, I don’t think he would chance it on that issue. The GFC would be weighing heavily on people’s minds; pragmatically speaking they might punish him for such a move at this time of uncertainty.

  16. I predict Hockey to take over a month after budget is delivered. He will try and build his profile by continually objecting to the budget, offer a mild alternative that will appeal to the suburbanite Howard battlers and go from there

  17. Joe Hockey appeal to the Howard battlers? I think they will long remember the “appeal” of his WorkChoices rip-offs and forked-tongue spiels about workplace conditions.

  18. Cuppa @ 21

    Joe Hockey will only appeal to those of equal depth as his own – ie not very much.
    He and the Libs are more and more trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

  19. dave @ 15: I might be having a slow morning, but who’s Memsa?


    Carry-over from last night’s thread, the FREE Australia Party (aka the Bikie’s Consorting Association) supports gay marriage. As well they should. Got to love all those hairy, boofy blokes . . .

  20. funny enough Cuppa his appeal is a fat bloke with a big mouth – he is just like us/he is one of us, a good bloke I’ll vote for him. Turnbull doesn’t have any of that and it is also where Rudd will miss out- unless there is more swearing and visits to strip clubs but then he alienates the rest of the electorate

  21. The Nielsen is lovely: Turnbull hits negative approval for the first time, which is nice.

    I’m also taken (sorry if previously noted) with something George M said on Insiders yesterday: in every Newspoll since late 2006, ALP + Greens PRIMARY vote has been above 50%. Every one.

    Costello? Hockey? Mal Brough in shiny armour on a white charger with a seat parachute? Maybe all just a teensy bit irrelevant at this stage of the game?

  22. Centaur, a few well-chosen and -directed grabs reminding the battlers of Hockey mouthing off about SerfChoices would surely neutralise much of his boofhead appeal.

  23. [the Libs are more and more trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator.]

    Things must be getting really desperate in Liberal HQ. It must now be down to trying to hang on to what little constituency they have left. Forget about winning back ‘the battlers’ or those who might have entered a protest vote at the 2007 election. There must be a large number of people now supporting the government who have voted Liberal at the last election and the elections prior.

    I’d like to know the demographics of the dwindling number of Liberal supporters. If any of them are anti racism or detest the politics of personal attacks then this section might be the next to move to Labor.

    The Liberals need policies out there and they need to show a lot more respect (at least in public) for their opponents if they want to become relevant again. Rudd was always careful to refer to Howard as Mr Howard or PM and would never contemplated calling him a toxic anything.

    Stockdale should make sure that the finger food available at the next party room meeting includes individual serves of humble pie.

  24. Steve K:
    That of course is the thing about the Lib’s ‘Yellow Peril (All New 09 Edition)’ . . . do they really think they can afford to write off most of the Australian-Asian community?
    That’s a big lot of people. A lot of uni grads, a lot of small business owners. Without the Hansonista regression that the Libs are currently flirting with, they’re usually (and mostly) a natural conservative constituency.

  25. Also an excellent piece by Paul Sheehan on how the behaviour of Australian Muslims has produced so-called “Islamophobia.”

    Read that article sipping your “Magic Water” did you, AiC?

  26. Rudd rivals Hawke as most popular PM –

    [TONY EASTLEY: Kevin 07 might be replaced with Kevin 70 after the latest polls show him approaching the mass appeal of Australia’s most popular prime minister, Bob Hawke.

    Today’s Sydney Morning Herald/Age AC Nielsen poll shows Mr Rudd’s approval rating is continuing to rise – it’s reached 74 per cent, just short of Bob Hawke’s high of 75 per cent, 25 years ago.

    While Mr Rudd soars, the Opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull plummets. For the first time, more voters disapprove of the job Malcolm Turnbull is doing as Opposition leader than approve.]

    A double edged sword. Not only do people love Rudd, but regardless of his popularity people hate Turnbull, and Costello is barely any better.

    It’s a long road back to government for the coalition. I’m predicting they’ll be out on their ear longer than the last time they were in opposition.

  27. [do they really think they can afford to write off most of the Australian-Asian community?]

    It’s a pretty dumb move, especially on such a thin premise

  28. Dario:
    Absolutely (queue a ConservoBot to start nattering on about alleged ‘threats to national sovereignty’ and other furphies).
    I think it’s indicative of their world view problem: the last 2 years have shown up a serious disconnect between the conservative base and contemporary Australia.
    Or to put it another way: Malcom’s ‘Rampaging Asian Hordes’ may well work as a dog whistle, but he’s trying to rouse a really old, diabetic and blind dog that can barely get up from its basket . . .

  29. Socrates at 30,

    Guy Pearse is a great contributor to the carbon debate, however, in the argument regarding the “blank cheques” he fails to mention that the cheque signatories are not us but other emission intensive industries. Sure the $ ultimately come from us consumers (which include big business consumers, BTW), but the point of the ETS is that it increases price so we don’t consume as much, therefore it costs us the same in $.


    the Government sets a limit on emissions.

    The Government gets lots of $ for selling bits of paper (permits).

    They give some permits and some of the $ to industries disproportionately affected.

    Some companies buy permits elsewhere.

    Companies which provide our electricity and import income don’t precipitously fall over.

    Consumers don’t have black outs and/or massive energy price spikes from using (at this stage) very expensive low emission energy sources.

    Global emissions go down.


  30. kat, I get the feeling its partly because the Govt has given the Libs such a small ‘target area’ to battle them on, that they seem to grab hold of any half-issue as soon as it pops up, without really thinking about it.

    Fitzgibbon is the only minister who has been in any difficulty (sure Conroy, Wong and Garrett have had issues, but they have been more about policy than poor performance), so they have grabbed hold of it with both hands and demanded his sacking from the very start. Now they have gone for the anti-China angle, and because they are in Opposition they can’t exert the same accompanying fears through policy that they did when Howard had his xenophobia period.

  31. Fulvio

    [On another point, I noticed that Harcher is obviously an avid reader of this blog. Certain turn of words, certain ideocyncracies of phraseology, have been borrowed from posts on this site, consciously or unconsciously. He’s not the only one either.]

    This blog was certainly the first to predict the dog-whistling from the Libs about the Chinese.


    It’s not hard to avoid security cameras in Australia’s airports as none of them work. How much footage was there of the Sydney Airport assualt? None, because our AFP is a joke. I heard that there was another bikie shooting today, the brother of one of the bikies assualted at the airport.

  32. [It’s not hard to avoid security cameras in Australia’s airports as none of them work]

    I know… that’s just beyond belief. People should lose their jobs over this… it’s totally unacceptable.

  33. Seems the Brit press are really smarting after Obi’s piss poor gift to Brown the other week. This is hilarious!,27574,25261741-421,00.html

    [A WAVE of ridicule greeted Kevin Rudd as he arrived in London for the G20 summit yesterday.

    Not only has the Prime Minister been downgraded to “second tier status”, the British media has dubbed him a boot-wearing geek from Down Under.

    Ignoring the success of his visit to the US and talks with President Barack Obama, they instead chose to dredge up everything from his New York strip club fiasco in 2003 to petty sniping about his clothes.

    One newspaper described Mr Rudd’s style as being “a charisma-free zone” and said he was best known for “a drunken trip to a strip club”.

    Another commentator took Mr Rudd a little more seriously, describing him as a fan of IMF reform and a globally co-ordinated solution to toxic bank debt.

    But the spell was broken when, under the heading “distinguishing features”, she said: “Cool exterior belies inner chaos. May wear RM Williams boots.” ]

  34. Oz and Socrates

    You should get the current Quarterly Essay which is by Pearse about “Quarry Vision”, ie Rudd and Howards blind devotion to the coal industry. It’s very, very good.

  35. [Did you read it?]


    In my opinion, an article which simply lists 3 or 4 incidents involving one religious group, some violent, that occurred over the past few weeks is not worth the paper it’s written on.

    For some reason this means the “image” of Muslims has been dealt a “blow”. Yes, probably those like Paul Sheehan who view completely unrelated incidents as some kind of Muslim conspiracy now view the world’s 1 billion Muslims in less positive terms.

    After the gang murders and the like we saw in Melbourne in a few years ago, I don’t recall Sheehan arguing that the “image of Christianity” had been dealt a blow. Probably because Christianity had nothing to do with what was going on. Just as Islam has nothing to do with the shooting of Darwiche or gang rapes. I think what Sheehan has a problem with is certain elements of the Australian Lebanese community but instead of openly attacking them he’s framing his points as a rebuttal against the idea of an irrational fear of Islam.

  36. [You should get the current Quarterly Essay which is by Pearse about “Quarry Vision”, ie Rudd and Howards blind devotion to the coal industry. It’s very, very good.]

    You give them too much credit. The major parties in general are addicted to coal. But I can feel for Labor especially, as coal workers typically vote Labor.

  37. Yeah good article, Diogenes.

    If I didn’t make myself clear before, this bit sums up by Sheehan is writing nonsense:

    [Consider the series of blows to the image of Muslims]

    The only people like Alan Jones would view gang crime in the Western suburbs of Sydney as a “blow to the image of Muslims”. What the hell is the “image of Muslims”? Sheehan seems to think that Muslims = young Lebanese males in Bankstown and if they get up to no good than the apparently stupid Australian population acts as dumb as him and decides they are a reflection on all Muslims.

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