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.
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.