Newspoll: 55-45

The latest Newspoll confirms the trend of recent Morgan and Essential Research results in showing an easing in Labor’s lead, from 58-42 in the previous two fortnightly surveys to 55-45. Labor’s primary vote has dropped five points to 42 per cent, its lowest level since November, but the Coalition’s is up only one point to 38 per cent. The Greens’ account for two points of the difference, up from 9 to 11 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating has dropped a further point to a new low of 36 per cent. Kevin Rudd’s preferred prime minister rating is down three points to 64 per cent, while Malcolm Turnbull is steady on 19 per cent.

UPDATE: Graphic here (how long have they been waiting to use that photo of Kevin Rudd?). Interesting supplementary question on what the government should have done with the stimulus package money – 78 per cent say they would have preferred it be spent on infrastructure, which is the kind of opinion poll response political operatives hesitate to believe. Opinion is divided on whether promised tax cuts should go ahead as planned.

Other news:

Essential Research has Labor’s two-party lead nudging downwards for the fourth week in a row. It’s now at 57-43, compared with 63-37 on April 6. The survey also reveals slightly more optimism on the economy than was recorded in mid-March, mixed messages on what should be done in the budget, a persistence of illiberal attitudes towards asylum seekers, and a widespread belief that Pacific nations such as Fiji should be “left to sort out their own affairs”.

• An anonymous business figure tells Glenn Milne of The Australian that “major business donors” have a hit list of 14 MPs who must make way for new blood if the Liberal Party is to get their donations. These are Bronwyn Bishop (Mackellar) and Philip Ruddock (Berowra), Kevin Andrews (Menzies), Alby Schultz (Hume), Joanna Gash (Gilmore), Judi Moylan (Pearce), Wilson Tuckey (O’Connor), Margaret May (McPherson), Andrew Laming (Bowman), Michael Johnson (Ryan) and Alex Somlyay (Fairfax), along with Nationals John Forrest (Mallee) and Bruce Scott (Maranoa) plus one lone Senator, former Howard numbers man Bill Heffernan. Some of these point to the Coalition’s undoubted surplus of MPs past their use-by date, as noted in detail recently by Peter van Onselen in The Australian. Others on the list fall well below van Onselen’s nominated cut-off point of 60 years of age, the most striking examples being Johnson (39) and Laming (42). Milne’s source also reckons Barnaby Joyce is “divisive and not a team player or a regional centre vote winner” – the latter judgement at least seems a very big call. While Milne describes the list as “non-factional”, Liberal sources are evidently putting it to Andrew Bolt that responsibility for the article ultimately lies with party treasurer and Turnbull ally Michael Yabsley, who scores an indirect compliment from Milne’s source.

Submissions for the redistribution of New South Wales federal elections have been published, compelling the major parties to suggest which electorate they think should be eliminated. The Liberals have excitingly decided the axe should be wielded on their own turf, suggesting Kay Hull’s seat of Riverina and Alby Schultz’s seat of Hume be merged into a new seat called Bradman. Schultz has reacted by calling for a return to rural malapportionment. Ben Raue notes that the Liberals want territory transferred from Wentworth to Sydney, which would at once make Malcolm Turnbull safer while leaving Tanya Plibersek more vulnerable to the Greens. Labor’s submission calls for the abolition of Pat Farmer’s seat of Macarthur further to the north, where the Liberals propose to strengthen their position by adding territory from Hume.

• Swoon over the new-look Crikey. Now no longer featuring my goofy 2004 vintage mug on the front page, praise the Lord.

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.

1,434 comments on “Newspoll: 55-45”

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  1. [Its a weird old world when the likes of Gerard Henderson are praising Rudds Defence white paper and other such as michelle grattan move away from balanced reporting.]

    I’m not sure the definition of ‘balanced reporting’ means agreeing with the Government on everything.

  2. No 52

    You wouldn’t think so by reading this blog – which basically expects every mainstream media outlet to praise the Government. Otherwise, they must be biased if, heaven forbid, they actually agree with what Turnbull says (little though there is with which to agree).

  3. Quo Vadis Malcolm? You certainly can’t hide.

    Lenore Taylor in today’s OO, “MALCOLM Turnbull must now decide: will he negotiate over an emissions trading scheme supported by business and conservation groups, or will he reject it and risk a double dissolution election at a time when the Coalition trails the Government by 10 percentage points in the latest Newspoll.

    It is an ironic, and probably galling, position for the Opposition Leader to find himself in, since the revised ETS unveiled by the Rudd Government yesterday was very similar to the one that he, as environment minister, took to the last election.”

    Galling too, since several of the changes are pretty similar to a series of amendments he had been foreshadowing.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25430246-5017906,00.html

    What a p*ss weak leader Turnbull has turned out to be. Leading a rabble of an Opposition that has become the “Party of No”.

    A question for the political historians on PB : Is this the most hopeless Opposition in our political history? Maybe the lot of them should be on the “Hit List”.

  4. 23 Frank,

    [
    Frank Calabrese
    Posted Monday, May 4, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink
    Why wouldn’t the dog whistle send people back to the coalition? The coalition’s vote has hardly moved.

    Unless the rise in the Green Vote is the result of Rudd mentioning that People smugglers are Scum and should Rot in Hell upset a few of the more leftish labor supporters.
    ]

    Might have upset a few, but not all of us get off of the Labor train 🙂 [tempted for about 5 seconds though 😀 [

  5. 39 Oz,

    [
    Sorry for the millions of posts, but everyone else has a life it appears.
    ]

    Yeah, we do 😉 …. but consider also the time of day (12:20am) on the east coast, heck it was bedtime for me even here in Perth and the topic. Climate change is a topic that gets specific regulars on PB posting about it but otherwise, the majority avoid that topic.

  6. This is a GREAT result for Labor. It means Turnbull stays and the opposition doesnt change course. Sweet

    BTW Hunt is a fool- was on ABC saying how fantastic a job Turnbull is doing, yes Mr 19% and 10-20% behind in his 2PP polling. Great job indeed

  7. The announcement re more troops to Afghanistan could be a factor – those committed to an anti-war stance on any front would not be impressed.

  8. 48 Frank,

    [
    Frank Calabrese
    Posted Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 5:30 am | Permalink
    ]

    Was that staying up late or getting up early 😉 ? Remembering the blogs times are east coast time 😉 In either case, I’m impressed 😉

  9. No 57

    Hunt is useless. He doesn’t stand for anything, much like Turnbull.

    Love them or hate them, at least we know where the likes of Abbott and Costello stand on issues.

  10. No 32

    Penny Wong has the patience of an ox and I admire her zen-like composure. What a god-awful portfolio she has with having to deal with the likes of the head of Woodside (it does stick in my craw that an ex-pat American with republican leanings – born out by his claiming the ETS plan was like ‘a pig with lipstick’ on AM this morning – gets to so heavily influence the climate debate here). But my money is on Pen and she’ll have bragging rights if she pulls this one off.

  11. GP 60

    I happen to agree. I think one reason why Labor was in opposition so long was that it couldn’t admit that Beasley was weak defending policy, and Latham crazy. Simon Crean raisd the real problem (influence of unions in cnoferences due to 60/40 rule) and was doomed for it immediately.

    I think one major reason why Labor is doing better now is that none of the key leadership team come from the poisionous NSW right – Rudd and Swan (Qld), Tanner (Vic) and Gillard (NSW left) are all at least sane and can be seen to identifiably stand up for traditional Labor supporters against legislation like Workchoices.

    As much as I disliked Howard, if you voted for him, you certainly did get the conservative you expected. As GP said, he stood for something. I didn’t feel the same was true with Beasley. If Labor under Rudd does nothing more than give people what they expect, plus better than anticipated economic management skills, they will romp home in the next election.

  12. Regarding this poll, I think the coalition would be deceived if they were pleased with it. The 2PP result has returned to believable historical norms, yet Turnbull’s personal popularity is still flat. Most people just don’t believe he should be leader.

  13. Has Penny Wong ever considered that instead of having a revolving door of mining lobbyists through her office that she could actually visit a few of her parliamentary colleagues and get their input? Her approach clearly isn’t impressing her colleagues.

    [The Australian Greens, Coalition, Family First senator Steven Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon have all said they will not support the new scheme, revealed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday.]

    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25425113-5006301,00.html

  14. [Penny Wong has the patience of an ox and I admire her zen-like composure]

    #63, She’s a Malaysian born, Chinese Hakka woman. the Hakka women are the toughest in the world.

    😀

  15. Diogs,

    Andrew Landeryou asks a legitimate question:

    “Three key environmental groups – key parts of the political and financial base of the Greens – not only supported the change of policy but apparently also played a role in devising it.

    Despite the strong support from leading Greens groups like the Australian Conservation Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund and the Climate Institute, the Greens political party will be voting the proposal down”.

    http://www.vexnews.com/news/4023/ouch-greens-groups-split-from-greens-political-party-on-carbon-emissions-plan/

  16. [Has Penny Wong ever considered that instead of having a revolving door of mining lobbyists through her office that she could actually visit a few of her parliamentary colleagues and get their input? Her approach clearly isn’t impressing her colleagues.]

    The Greens want a stronger scheme. Fielding wants a weaker scheme. There’s no real way to negotiate the scheme through the Senate without the support of the Opposition, even if that were a good option. You would imagine that with such a large change the best situation would be to have both major parties supporting it in order to provide business certainty into the future.

  17. GG

    Funny you should say that coz I was just reading exactly that. I was wondering why on earth they would support it. It’s an old tactic to neutralise your opponents by making them feel important by getting them in and coddling them and telling them how valuable their input is. It gives them ownership. Wong should be using the same tactic with her colleagues.

    I suppose the counter-question is that it was also supported by the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry so why didn’t Turnbull support it?

  18. No 65

    Turnbull also has the misfortune of looking physically moribund on television. It also strikes me that a man with so much money never seems to be well coiffed or dressed.

  19. No 64

    Well said. Australians prefer their politicians to have a solid position on issues. The current opposition lacks a sufficient policy framework and its values and principles are ambiguously proffered by the leadership.

  20. GP,

    Looks can be deceiving.

    There’s that famous situation where Marilyn Munroe sat on George Bernard Shaw’s lap and opined that wouldn’t it be wonderful if they had a child that looked like her and had his brains.

    GBS said he was more concerned that it would look like him and have her brains.

  21. GG

    That looked so dodgy that I went to the WWF website (to see if it was true and them give them a blast). The WWF do not support it. This was posted on the 2 May 2009. I’ll check the other two to see if they are BS as well.

    [Stronger CPRS must start in 2010: WWF

    “The emissions reductions we make by 2020 need to be at least 25 per cent and 80 per cent by 2050 if Australia is to contribute to an effective and fair global agreement to tackle climate change.”

    Despite these issues, delaying this Scheme would cost Australia dearly, Mr Toni told Senators at the Committee meeting in Canberra.]

    http://www.wwf.org.au/news/stronger-cprs-must-start-in-2010-wwf/

  22. [Penny Wong has the patience of an ox ]

    Well the ox is slow but the earth is patient.

    Not sure how patient the earth is though on this issue…

  23. Diogs,

    Um, read your own quote.

    “Despite these issues, delaying this Scheme would cost Australia dearly, Mr Toni told Senators at the Committee meeting in Canberra”.

    Means support or no support for the legislation?

  24. So, if they introduce the legislation in May/June what will happen?

    Referred to committee and then back in the Senate for a vote by October?

    (The minors and coalition may prefer it to go to committee and waste time if they think a DD may be in the offing over this??)

    Knocked back and then they have to wait at least three months to re-introduce it So another vote by February?

    Knocked back again, and only then it becomes a POSSIBLE DD trigger.

    Can’t have a DD less than 6 months before you would normally have an election (i think), so they would have to have one by May 2010 rather than November 2010?

    So really, May 2010 is about the practical earliest they COULD have a DD election on this issue?? Not sure if they would bother given that, but if there is anyone out there with a better appreciation of the possible timings I’d be keen to hear from them.

  25. What really stands out with grattens recent reporting IS its departure from her previous balanced approach. Prehaps she has been talking too much to that moron fran kelly.

    Hendersons article summarises the point pretty well :-

    ” Last Saturday, journalist Michelle Grattan commenced a column by opining that “those with long memories will recognise in this white paper a modern, sophisticated version of that old Australian fear – the yellow peril”. This is mere hyperbole. ”

    Indeed.

  26. [Has Penny Wong ever considered that instead of having a revolving door of mining lobbyists through her office that she could actually visit a few of her parliamentary colleagues and get their input? Her approach clearly isn’t impressing her colleagues.]

    Don’t let facts get in the way of your argument Dio. The changes made to the plan were essentially an Opposition wish list. Try again.

  27. GG

    The quote came out before Mark II of the ETS. They want 25% by 2020 and to start in 2010 according to their press release. I struggled with the “despite these issues” line but included it for fairness.

  28. [Referred to committee and then back in the Senate for a vote by October?]

    This depends on whether the Opps+Greens want the bill to be referred after the committee has already considered the exposure draft. In any case I doubt the bills would be referred to report in October. August would be the deadline.

    [Can’t have a DD less than 6 months before you would normally have an election (i think)]

    Don’t know where you got this impression from.

  29. Gp

    I think another problem Turnbull suffers from in the current environment is his background as a merchant banker. Up till recently many of these banker/financier types were feted by the media as creative geniuses. Now it looks increasingly like the only creativity involved was in their hiding how much of our money they lost. They are like emporers exposed for being naked. So now we look at Turnbull and others like him and wonder – what has he really done? what skills does he really have? This isn’t entirely Turnbull’s fault (though I don’t think its a marker of virtue to have run a merchant bank in the boom years) but it is unfortunate timing for our perception of his character. I usually think it was good for a politician to have had a real job before politics, but not if its a job that brings baggage.

    As for his appearance, he looks like a man under pressure to me. Some people respond better to that than others.

  30. Dario

    The facts are that she didn’t consult with the Liberals and it’s basically Liberal Party policy.

    If she really wanted it to pass, she would have spoken to them to try and get their support but she’s just playing political games with it. She doesn’t want them to get even a sniff of credit for it and have Turnbull say it was bi-partisan. She’s more interested in scoring political points than having a climate change bill pass.

  31. [The changes made to the plan were essentially an Opposition wish list]

    And yet she didn’t meet the Opposition to draft it but did meet the Business Council and AIG.

    Ouch, facts in the way again.

    Diogenes, if you’re still wondering how the carbon trust will work I can tell you.

    What happens is, if a household wants to reduce it’s emissions it buys a solar hot water system or something. It then goes to the website and the website tells it how much money it is saving. You then give that money to the Trust and it buys carbon permits on your behalf and sits on them.

    So while the big polluters get massive exemptions, thus shifting the burden onto smaller business and households, households will have to pay twice. First, to actually reduce their emissions and secondly to get their emission cuts recognised.

    [The man who first raised the issue of household action not counting towards overall emissions, the Australia Institute’s Richard Dennis, rejected the Government scheme yesterday.

    Mr Dennis said the proposed scheme amounted to “greenwashing” and distracted people from the genuine flaws in the emissions trading scheme.

    “There is still no direct link between reducing your household emissions and the overall reduction of emissions in Australia,” Mr Dennis said.

    “We are instead asking Australians to spend their own money to do something the scheme should already be doing.”]

    http://www.theage.com.au/environment/how-emissions-plan-will-work-for-households-20090504-aso9.html

  32. I think that the Greens have to start making hard decisions if they want to get above 10% of the vote. Pragmatism and middle-ground politics is a reality if you want to get a significant section of the Aussie vote. With environmental becoming a main-stream issue, the Green’s can no longer afford to be seen as radical. The German Greens, the ACF and the WWF have understood this but the Green Party is falling behind. The ETS issue is where they can really stand up and establish their credentials as a responsible alternative. It think there are a lot more urban voters who would flock to them if they espoused less radical policies

  33. What really stands out with grattens recent reporting IS its departure from her previous balanced approach. Prehaps she has been talking too much to fran kelly.

    Hendersons article summarises the point pretty well :-

    ” Last Saturday, journalist Michelle Grattan commenced a column by opining that “those with long memories will recognise in this white paper a modern, sophisticated version of that old Australian fear – the yellow peril”. This is mere hyperbole. ”

    Indeed.

  34. [She’s more interested in scoring political points than having a climate change bill pass.]

    This isn’t surprising. She is a politician.

  35. The so called “split” between The Greens and conservation groups is interesting but not really relevant.

    They were never a single cohesive unit. One is a political party and the others are non-partisan advocacy group. There are no links between the two further than the fact that some members of the ACF and WWF are members of The Greens. I’m sure some are members of Labor and Liberal as well.

    Also the support from the green groups is hardly equivocal.

    [This is a step forward in Australia’s negotiating effort and will help Australia pressure other countries to cut their emissions, but there is still a long way to go.

    While the target to cut emissions by 25 per cent is welcome, much more still needs to be done to tackle climate change.]

    [While ACF will continue to call for Australia to reduce carbon pollution by at least 30 per cent by 2020 and increase our commitment to 40 per cent if other developed countries do the same, we support this step in the right direction.

    The Government has said cutting emission by 25 per cent target is at the top end of the range it will consider, but if we want our kids to have a chance to experience natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef, 25 per cent is really the least we should be aiming for.]

    http://www.acfonline.org.au/articles/news.asp?news_id=2241

  36. [It think there are a lot more urban voters who would flock to them if they espoused less radical policies]

    The policy is less radical than that of the UK Labour and much closer to the policies of the conservative governments in France, Italy and Germany than Australian Labor’s.

    This makes your post, but the entire of the debate on the topic in Australia, hilarious.

  37. Oz

    This is from Adam’s 371 press release. Dunno how effectively it works. Looks a bit messy.

    [As part of the new measures announced today, additional GreenPower purchases above 2009 levels will be directly recognised when the Government sets caps under the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

    Additional GreenPower purchases will be measured annually and future caps will be tightened on a rolling basis. ]

    ltep

    [This isn’t surprising. She is a politician.]

    She’s also meant to be spearheading Oz’s approach to CC. Her priorities seem to be politics first and CC second.

    GG

    The ACF and the Climate Institute have quotes that they are support ETS II, but I can’t find one for the WWF and given what’s on their website, they would have to have a bigger backflip than Rudd if they do support it.

  38. [She’s also meant to be spearheading Oz’s approach to CC. Her priorities seem to be politics first and CC second.]

    I still don’t understand. She is not a lobbyist. She needs to manage the politics of the issue in a way to implement the Government’s policy. Are you arguing she should just ignore political realities altogether?

  39. [I think that the Greens have to start making hard decisions if they want to get above 10% of the vote.]

    Can’t see it happening any time soon. The bigger issue for the Greens in my opinion is working out what to do once Bob Brown exits the stage…

  40. GG,

    What can I say. It’s in The Age and on Landeryou’s site. Therefore, it must be true!

    Oz,

    You are saying the Greens have factions. Heaven forbid! I know it’s only a flesh wound, but it looks like a couple of limbs have been hacked off. But, you can denounce them as being the running dogs of the polluters or other such rubbish. Afterall, that’s what you usually do to anyone who disagrees with you.

  41. Oz,

    I agree that it would be good to have bigger targets and to lead the world. But this is my point, Australia is different to the UK, France, Italy and Germany. What’s conservative policy there will never be considered conservative here because we rely so much on emissions-intensive industry. The Greens have to understand this.

    I concede I mentioned the German Greens as a model, but I was thinking more that historically they have been less radical regarding the environment. I don’t think you should look at the European’s experience in terms of reduction percentages but more in terms of how the policies will play out in their own electorate. If the German Greens stood up today and touted 95% reduction they would not get as many votes as they do now.

    All I’m saying is that, likewise, the Australian Greens standing up and saying 40% means they will never attain a significant vote increase and I they backed the position of the more cautious environmental groups they would.

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