ACNielsen: 53-47

The first post-budget poll is an ACNielsen survey of 1400 respondents, and it’s given Labor its second weakest poll result since the election of the Rudd government. The first was the same outfit’s 52-48 result from September last year. ACNielsen’s previous survey in March had Labor’s lead at 58-42. The poll finds that:

• Labor’s primary vote is down three points since March to 44 per cent, while the Coalition is up six to 43 per cent.

• The Coalition has opened up a most unlikely sounding five point primary vote lead in Victoria, after trailing by 20 per cent in March.

• Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred prime minister is down from 69-24 to 64-28.

• Rudd’s approval rating is down 10 points to 64 per cent, and his disapproval is up 10 to 32 per cent. Turnbull’s ratings are unchanged at 43 per cent and 47 per cent.

• While 56 per cent believe the budget to have been fair, only 40 per cent support the budget’s phased increase in the age of pension eligibility from 65 to 67, and 38 per cent say the budget will make them worse off personally. Twenty-three per cent say it will make them better off.

The print edition will presumably feature a full chart with none-too-reliable state breakdowns.

UPDATE: No such budget narrowing from Essential Research, which has Labor’s two-party lead up from 61-39 to 62-38. However, Kevin Rudd’s approval rating is down nine points from three weeks ago to 61 per cent, while his disapproval is up eight to 29 per cent. Turnbull is respectively up two to 30 per cent and up one to 49 per cent. Interestingly, fewer people found the budget bad for them personally than had expected to beforehand. Twenty-five per cent say it will make them more likely to vote Coalition against 22 per cent Labor. Peter Brent has ACNielsen’s state, area, gender and age breakdowns here.

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.

717 comments on “ACNielsen: 53-47”

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  1. Wow, the narrowing. Pretty well back to the election result. Glen and GP WILL be pleased.

    The only problem is, when compared with the ER 61-39 and the previous AC Neilsen of 58-42, it looks a bit out of place.

    BTW William, the link you provided doesn’t work.

  2. 884 on the thread before last (where I had typed this up but the comments closed before i could submit it)

    On a population basis China would have most power followed by India (Labor position)

    On a GDP basis the USA would have the most power followed by Japan (Liberal position)

    On a land area basis the Russians would have the most power followed by the Canadians (the Nationals` position except for Russia having the most power).

  3. Scorpio i wont accept this figure unless it is repeated by other polls (newspoll/galaxy) until that day it means very little to me.

  4. This does seem oddly low; I really didn’t think the budget was that harsh on the vast majority of voters. The main losers were in the top 10% of income distributions (or even smaller).


    Re previous thread, yes that is the point. We are not a superpower, and international agreements might be easier to get if we just tried to be credible, rather than influential. Credibility leads to influence.

  5. Let’s see Newspoll and Essential Research befor writing off this poll. Glem makes a good point though.
    I note that Grattan says the government would be having second thoughts on a DD. Actually I don’t think this poll would do that. If Labor got a primary vote of 44% they would win the election easily.

  6. [ALP strategists are concerned that inroads by the Greens into Labor’s inner-city heartland vote could threaten federal and state Labor seats, after the Greens’ surprise primary-vote victory in the by-election for the West Australian state seat of Fremantle.],25197,25498176-601,00.html

    Good old “Greens strategists” getting excited after a positive result. I don’t see how talking up your chances does you any good.

  7. Labor would only struggle to win an election if their primary vote just 40%
    The Tory pv needs to be 45% at least if not higher to win…

  8. [Essential – 61 – 39
    Morgan 60 – 40
    Neilsen 53 – 47]

    Nielsen was post-budget though, the others were all pre-budget.

    I think most people were expecting a swing against the government after the budget but I think this one is a bit much and Newspoll will be less.

  9. When you look at the figures on the reaction to the Budget, it shows that then people polled really don’t understand it and are just reacting to the pollster as though they do.

    I think Michelle Grattan is drawing a very long bow with this statement though.

    [The poll is a reality check for the Government, and should scotch speculation about an early election.]

  10. I would agree with Glen. I would have thought that the pecentage of Green preferences flowing to teh Liberals was getting even smaller with no change in turnbull’s cliamte change position. So even if the Green vote is up at Labor’s expense, , that doesn’t mean the coalition would win.

    OK really off to sleep this time 😉

  11. The Oppositions probably going to see this as vindication of their “Debt and deficit” strategy, which is not only stupid, but bad for the country as Brian Toohey and George Megalogenis were pointing out on Insiders.

  12. This article is a bit of a teaser and not as clear as Michelle normally is.

    We don’t have enough information here to work out what is going on but there is something peculiar about this.

    It is unlikely that it is Turnbull’s Battlers, the ones who were the big budger losers in the budget, who have switched here – they were most likely in the bag for Turnbull already.

    These figures, unless they are an outlier are not about Turnbull. The fact that neither Turnbull’s satisfaction nor dissatisfaction ratings have altered tends to support this view.

    A change of 25% from March in Victoria does not seem credible.

    Looks like I am going to have to retract on a discussion in a previous thread – I was arguing that the pension age decision should have been brought forward and that as it was it was not a decision. Well, maybe the decision wasn’t tough but the consequences may be tough. It looks like the Aussies treasure their grey nomad days. Grattan mentions the word ‘surprise’. Perhaps it was too important a policy shift to be introduced without public consultation?

    If the voters broke from Rudd but did not go to Turnbull, does this mean that the Greens have picked up what Labor has shed? Not enough info here, either.

    Still, much more interesting that the boring old 60/40 split of the last couple of months.

  13. When you compare this poll with all the others over the past two months, then this just doesn’t fit. There seems to be something strange about this poll. Nothing similar seems to have happened to any other poll.

    [The Coalition’s primary vote has jumped six points in the past two months, with Labor falling three points. The ALP is now only one point ahead on primaries — 44 to 43 per cent.]

  14. [If the voters broke from Rudd but did not go to Turnbull, does this mean that the Greens have picked up what Labor has shed? Not enough info here, either.]

    Well at lot of people who are about to approach retirement age would’ve been Teenagers or young adults during the late 60s/Veitnam War Era who would’ve been Left Wing ALP types, but would now be more at home in the Greens.

  15. Tony Wright must have been looking over Michelle’s shoulder while she was typing her piece. Although he added a bit more strange conjecture with some blatant truths.

    [But the two-party preferred vote is enough to give serious pause to anyone in the Government dreaming of an early, double dissolution election while the Coalition is on its knees. Double dissolutions have a history of biting governments, and this poll doesn’t give the Government enough protection if the electorate decided the Government was taking voters for granted by going early.]

    [Turnbull is justified in holding out this poll as proof that he is making some headway for the Coalition.]

    [Rudd, however, is left with reason to be concerned about the trend. It can be hard to stop a slide if it gathers pace.

    Turnbull at least has no worries about a trend here — his disapproval and approval ratings are going nowhere.]

  16. Scorpio

    What fun it must be to be a journo! I wonder what Wright’s definition of a ‘trend’ is?

    BTW – is your catchment on the inland side of the great divide?

  17. An encouraging, but meaningless, result unless there is a demonstrated trend in the other published polls.

  18. The opposition supports the increase to the pension age. Once that fact sinks in there should a move back to the government.

  19. I like it. Anything that keeps the Coalition thinking that it just has to keep doing what it’s doing and keeps it away from deeper analysis, is fine by me.

    MT will think his brilliant 3 cents a ciggie tax has been a circuit breaker, just as BN thought his 5 cents reduction in the price of fuel was.

    BTW, the above shows how lacking in clear direction the Coalition is – they can advocate a tax cut at one budget and a tax rise at the next.

  20. Castle, i wouldn’t worry too much a public muttering from one analyst that was published in the OZ. It’s the unseen that is more important.

    As SUN TZU said in “THE ART OF WAR” : Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

  21. It’s hard to get all that excited about one poll, when all the others are showing 60-40 or thereabouts.

    I suspect the SMH line on this is born more from a desire to write about something (anything) than anybody seriously thinking this is the beginning of the end for Rudd.

  22. If Newspoll doesn’t show a similar swing back to the Coalition, we’ll have to dismiss Nielsen as a dud poll.
    Of course the MSM are wetting themselves this morning at the thought of a Liberal revival, particularly that toad Alan Jones and his radio station.
    Peter Hartcher must have written his SMH column in a state of mass excitement, he argued a week ago that Rudd was TOO popular.

  23. I haven’t been able to trust an AC Neilson poll since their election eve shocker in 2007.

    This one is hard to believe without the wider context of similar trends in other polls.

  24. Very impressed to see GP and Glen not getting overly excited about it.
    I’m with Zoomster- anything that gets the opposition to think they’re back in the game and thus not change anything is great news for the government

  25. As for the Toad, as long as he trumpets the polls shifting back to the government with equal vigour that’s OK. What? He wont do that??

  26. Andrew: 2GB in Sydney should be renamed “Radio Liberal Party”, Jones/Ray Hadley/Chris Smith/Jason Morrison all card carrying members of the Libs.
    No wonder Rudd and his ministers prefer 2UE/ABC/FM radio.

  27. Whether this is a real shift or not. I find it incredible that after getting egg on their face time after time since Rudd became leader about the honeymoon ending and the narrowing, the MSM still parrot the same stuff. Then, don’t acknowledge with the same emphasis when the polls widen again.

    And ,after all, this is a WORSE result than the last election any way. Michelle Grattan has been very disappointing of late and her Shanahanesque take on this poll continues the trend? Scotch thoughts of any early poll? Please

  28. Must admit I have been impressed by the Liberal supporters here not jumping to melo dramatic conclusions about this poll despite any inner desire to sing hallelujah. Trends are important and getting excited about one (possibly) aberrant poll would only lead to tears.

    Clearly, this poll is out of sync with the prevailing orthodoxy so I’ll be looking to the next round of polls to ascertain if anything has changed.

    From talking to people over the weekend, concern about the level of debt seems to be an issue for people. Also, I noticed that crowds at the regular watering holes seem down, especially among the younger crowd. Maybe the recession is starting to bite!

    Do others have any similar anecdotes?

  29. Where is the headline about Turnbull supporting the change to aged pensions? Kept that one very quiet our dear MSM

  30. GG, the debt worry certainly has some resonance particuarly being attached to Labor. The opposition however has failed to show how they would do things any differently in the context of a global recession

  31. Hopefully this is no more than an outlier. A six-point shift in primaries does seem unrealistic. However, maybe it’s time for the government to consider talking about WorkChoices again, and the Coalition’s agenda to undermine the conditions and living standard of Australian employees. They might also advise people that Turnbull let slip their agenda to privatise / abolish Medicare.

  32. This highlights the point I made somewhere else sometime against the purists that Labor’s poll lead should not be assumed and that they should take a DD while their advantage still existed, if offered the chance.

    If this poll is born out by others then the DD will now feel too risky.

    But will the Coalition get suckered and on the basis of this one poll and block the Alcopop tax?

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