Newspoll: 58-42

After three successive 55-45 results, the latest fortnightly Newspoll returns the Coalition to its lowest ebb, with Labor leading 58-42. This hasn’t been matched by any seismic shift on the preferred prime minister rating: Kevin Rudd is up two points to 67 per cent, but Malcolm Turnbull is also up one to 18 per cent. If you’re feeling creative, you might interpret the results as a vote of no confidence in the Coalition party room’s hostility to the emissions trading scheme. More details to follow. UPDATE: Labor’s primary vote is up three points to 46 per cent, the Coalition’s is down three to 35 per cent, and Turnbull’s disapproval is down two to a four-month low of 48 per cent. Graphic here; more from Dennis Shanahan.

Meanwhile, the latest weekly Essential Research survey has Labor’s lead up from 59-41 to 60-40. Further questions cover Kevin Rudd’s performance at the G20 summit (good if not great), confidence in his representation of Australia at such events (high), whether respondents agree with Bill Clinton’s kind words about him (they do), confidence in economic conditions over the next 12 months (sharply higher), concern over personal job security (correspondingly lower) and employees’ perception of how their employer is travelling (mixed).

Some big news on the preselection front, as you’re probably aware:

• Peter Dutton appears to have failed in his bid to move from Dickson to McPherson, having lost Saturday’s preselection vote to Karen Andrews. The state executive of Queensland’s Liberal National Party can refuse to ratify the result, but senior figures in the party have reportedly ruled this out. Dutton is said to have come within a handful of votes of victory on the first round, but was defeated on the third after the excluded Minna Knight’s supporters moved en masse to Karen Andrews (although the ABC records Andrews’ win on the final round being a reasonably comfortable 75 to 59). Liberals are telling the media of a “bloc of up to 40 Nationals” accounting for both local branch and state executive delegates voted against Dutton, but Barnaby Joyce (who supported Dutton) gives this the status of “scratching on the back of a public lavatory door”. Jamie Walker of The Australian reports the outcome was influenced by a “boots and all” attack on Dutton at the preselection meeting by Judy Gamin, former Nationals member for the local seat of Burleigh; the role of Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey in shifting Knight’s votes to Andrews; and the absence of the seat’s Dutton-supporting sitting member, Margaret May, who “opted to continue with a scheduled parliamentary visit to Britain”.

• Dutton’s defeat has led to speculation he might instead be accommodated by a retirement announcement from Fisher MP Peter Slipper or Fairfax MP Alex Somlyay, but neither seems to be biting. Scott Prasser of the Australian Catholic University observes: “The trouble is when you are in opposition both federally and state, you can’t offer any existing MPs any positions overseas or posts so it is very hard to sort of lean on someone say could you please go for the good of the party because we’ve got nothing to offer you.” Many have noted there’s a vacant seat next door in newly created Wright, but as Andrew Landeryou of VexNews notes, this is designated Nationals turf under the merger arrangement.

Stephanie Peatling of the Sydney Morning Herald reports high-profile constitutional lawyer George Williams might challenge Bob McMullan for preselection in his northern Canberra seat of Fraser.

• The ABC reports Tamworth councillor and Winton district farmer Russell Webb will seek preselection for the Nationals in the state seat of Tamworth. The seat has been held by independents for all but two years since 1991: by Tony Windsor until his entry into federal parliament as member for New England in 2001, and by present incumbent Peter Draper since 2003.

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.

1,794 comments on “Newspoll: 58-42”

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  1. On these strong Newspoll results, turnbull should fold and pass the ETS with no amendments. Otherwise Rudd should go to a double dissolution election forthwith!

  2. I’ve just watched Steve Ciobo on Lateline. Never really noticed him before. He looks passably presentable.

    But what a mindless party hack. He has his scripted talking point from HQ and just won’t deviate from it. Whatever the question the answer is the same.

    Did Fifield openly defy Turnbull? We should vote on the ETS after Copenhagen.

    Is disunity destroying the Liberal Party? We should vote on the ETS after Copenhagen.

    Is that a dog humping your leg? We should vote on the ETS after Copenhagen.

  3. [Is that a dog humping your leg? We should vote on the ETS after Copenhagen.]

    Are you a Testa di Cazzo ? We should vote on the ETS after Copenhagen. 🙂

    Well you do get the picture.

  4. I just love punching these numbers into Antony Green’s 2010 election calculator.

    Nice also to see Citizen Rupert’s mob still haven’t fixed the “War on Gaza Interactive” header for the Newspoll graphic.
    I gawf everytime I see it.
    AND he thinks I’ll want to pay for it? sheesh…

  5. If the Federal Libs want Dutton to have another job then they had better send him an application form to rejoin the Queensland Police Force. That would seem to be one of the few options left for Dutton now the LNP hierarchy have ruled out the seat of Wright as an option.

    The LNP could sweeten the attraction of Wright for Mr Dutton by offering him a fast track to preselection through a selection committee of state executive members and other officials, rather than face another encounter with the rank and file.

    But Mr Spence dismissed that, saying he was “as sure as I can be that the mood of the state executive” to hold a plebiscite in McPherson would be carried through to every other preselection, including that for Wright.

    “The culture of this party is not a top-down approach to dealing with the membership,” he said.

    “The culture of this party is that leadership works with our members to take the party forward … the membership drives the party and there will be a preselection in every one of our federal seats, excepting those seats where we have grandfathered candidates.”],25197,26171012-5006786,00.html

  6. Tom, don’t see why it wouldn’t be right. He was a Liberal Lawyer who did a short stint on a Merchant Bank board, wasn’t he? Most of the economic management crud is just hangover from the Howard Government’s neverending gloating self assessment.

    It is exactly this time last year that the polling shot away from the Liberals and it took until the budget this year for them to begin to reign it in.

  7. Steve
    I am so with you on that. Calling him a merchant banker is also consistent with a Labor ploy, much like in NSW continuously refering Debenham as the Member for Vaucluse.

    MT was at Goldman Sachs for only 4 years (97-01); he has be an MP for longer. At that time, GS was a very boutique operation (pre-JBWere integration in 2003), a perfect vehicle for a narcisisst individual like MT.

    Refering to him as a merchant banker besmirches all good honest merchant bankers around town 😀

  8. Happy birthday for Friday, William — I was singing along with HSO, but she’s so loud you wouldn’t have heard me.

    Steve @ 7 – think it’s a typo – they meant ‘except for those seats where we have grandfathers as candidates.’

  9. Just a quiet protest being registered here against the manic stories on whether there will be an interest rate rise or not.

    Headlines everywhere – radio, TV and the press – “Odds firm on interest rate rise” etc., however…


    What’s the point of wasting all the energy on predicting whether something will happen one way or another in a few hours?

    I know the bizoids and merchant bankers and the traders all have bets on it, but…

    (a) When have they been right about anything in the past year?

    (b) Who cares what they think anyway?

    Yours Sincerely,


  10. bob

    From Possum’s commentary:

    [Firstly, this Newspoll wasn’t taken over the weekend just passed as is usually the case, it was taken over the period between the Monday and Thursday of last week – simply to avoid polling over the long weekend period (because, as a rule of thumb, holidays make life absolutely miserable for pollsters seeking accuracy).]

  11. I think the piping shrike has pretty much hit the nail on the head:

    Debating point: The Liberals don’t seem to be as silly a USA republicans; is this because:
    a)They are less well organized so are not as efficient at creating the image.
    b)The right win nutters have more work to do before they have total control.
    c)It’s dominated by 65 year old men not 13 year old brats.

    When god botherers want to rewrite the bible you have serious problem.

    Note that the edit tab is now ‘view source”, wouldn’t want the pesky liberals changing things.

    When will these conservative nutters realize business isn’t about making money and there is money in climate change.

  12. [A WOMAN whose estranged husband allegedly assaulted Mike Rann last week was repeatedly contacted by the South Australian Premier before her marriage broke up, say friends of the couple.

    The Premier has admitted striking up a friendship with Michelle Chantelois, who worked in the dining area and members bar of the state’s parliament house more than five years ago, and remaining in contact with her after she left her job. ],25197,26171002-5006787,00.html

  13. Re: George Williams.
    A couple of points…1) At the recent ALP National Conference Mr Williams had a noticeably higher profile. Ergo, you would have had to draw the conclusion that he has been spotlighted for a bigger role in the party going forward.
    2) I imagine he is future Attorney General material. Hence, a position in the Lower House is more appropriate, even considering that the Opposition has chosen to go with George Brandis in the Senate.

  14. BB14

    Yes there is a real risk that interest rates will soon rise to their second lowest level in 45 years. Gosh, how terrible!

  15. “Turnbull’s initial strength, a perception of being financially capable and a better economic manager than Kevin Rudd”

    Where are the numbers behind this claim??

  16. Yes socrates, it is the end of the world as we know it. Yahoo is leading with “Are the good times over” as its headline. How ridiculous

  17. [I imagine he is future Attorney General material. Hence, a position in the Lower House is more appropriate, even considering that the Opposition has chosen to go with George Brandis in the Senate.]

    There is absolutely nothing precluding an Attorney-General being a senator. If I recall correctly Gareth Evans was Attorney-General for a period of time whilst he was a senator.

    In fact a quick look shows that 9 Attorneys-General have been senators, including Lionel Murphy and Peter Durack.

    I’m not sure why you think it would be ‘more appropriate’ for the Attorney-General to be in the Lower House.

  18. BB 14

    Further to your post, IMO markets always try to talk up the prospect of a rate rise for reasons of self interest. Higher interest rates mean higher incomes to wealthier individuals with capital to invest. They also make it easier to hide percentage based fees on investment funds. So most market players usually want the highest interest rate short of a recession-inducing level to be in place.

    Still, its not as bad as property market analysts. For many years BIS Shrapnel and their kin always said the market was either booming or about to boom. Only recent talk of bubbles has made them more cautious. None of these guys should be regarded as impartial analysts – they have a clear self interest to promote the up-side.

  19. [Seems the LNP are prepared to do everything to help Dutton stay in Parliament except allow it to happen.]

    The LNP can’t help it if part of the merger agreement was the grandfather clause where sitting members won’t be challenged for preselection.

  20. [Higher interest rates mean higher incomes to wealthier individuals with capital to invest]

    Well…the higher discount rate would tend to drag down capital values though

  21. [I thought McMullan was already retiring. And Annette Ellis likely to go too.]

    I think McMullan has said he will retire at the next election after this one.

  22. bob

    But surely the point is that the State LNP blocked Dutton getting Moncreif? The sitting member was retiring, so nobody had ot be tipped otu to give Dutton the job. Yet the SMH reportede that Dutton lost when a large block of votes was delivered by the local State LNP member to the rival candidate. So the State LNP party has effectively put a sitting Federal Shadow Minister out of a job.

    I don’t think Dutton is a genius, but he no more deserves to lose his job than half his colleagues. This is purely a coalition factional fight, and Turnbull’s faction is losing.

  23. On Copenhagen climate conference, is it a realistic expectation that “on-the-day” there will be a global agreement???

    Or is a more likely scenario that things will drag on for some time afterwards (hopefully not as long as trade talks!), in which case, the global framework would not be known for some time?

  24. laocoon

    Yes, you and I both know that, but in my experience these people think purely short term. They only have to convince the punters, not other economists.

  25. The last I heard both McMullan and Ellis were intending to stand again. But I think higher powers may have something to say about this later on. McMullan would of course make an excellent diplomat. 🙂

    Dutton does look a bit like Keating, but he has absolutely none of Keating’s wit. He’s a very dull and dour performer, always seems to be angry about something. Well now he’s got plenty to be angry about.

  26. All the rancour over the McPherson preselection is laughable when will the Southern Liberals realise that the (L) NP is an independent political outfit affilated with the National Party at the federal level.

  27. Laocoon @ 40

    This is the factor that is ignored by everyone (i.e media) The Copenhagen Conference will be a start to negotiations etc.. but there will not be anything from Copenhagen that will all of a sudden convince the Liberal and National parties to support an ETS (or not).

    This is a typical delaying technique by the sceptics which the media should be aware of. There is a couple of simple questions they should ask the ‘wait till Copenhagen’ brigade – what do they expect will come out of the conference? And what part of the current legislation will that impact upon?

    I think they will not be able to answer either of those.

  28. yes bob, funny how the libs and many in the MSM also forget that the 58-42 poll number was also achieved under Howard, so its not a new thing by any stretch

  29. [Dutton does look a bit like Keating, but he has absolutely none of Keating’s wit. He’s a very dull and dour performer, always seems to be angry about something. ]

    Agreed, but these days both Labor and Liberal are full of boring people. Labor doesn’t have the likes of Keating or Gareth Evans anymore…

  30. Lets all remember that Peter Dutton didn’t even come from the Gold Coast and for Southern Liberals to expect automatic selection when they need to hold on to their scant Brisbane seats makes the whole matter riduculous.

  31. [Labor doesn’t have the likes of Keating or Gareth Evans anymore…]

    I can’t say that I found Gareth Evans very interesting, except once or twice when he couldn’t hold his temper and let fly.

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