Morgan phone poll: 53-47

The first opinion poll of the Tony Abbott era has turned up a surprise: Labor’s two-party lead is a modest 53-47, and the Coalition is in front on the primary vote 43 per cent to 41 per cent. However, there are all sorts of reasons to treat this with caution. The poll is a Roy Morgan mid-week phone poll, which have a rather erratic record, and the sample was a very modest 597 respondents. The normal weekly face-to-face poll, conducted last weekend while Malcolm Turnbull was leader but considered unlikely to remain so for long, had Labor’s two-party lead steady at 58.5-41.5. Labor was down a point on the primary vote to 47 per cent, the Coalition was down half a point to 35 per cent and the Greens were up half to 9.5 per cent.

The phone poll has also produced questions on preferred Labor and Liberal leaders, which find Kevin Rudd coming down off previous highs and Tony Abbott enjoying a new-found legitimacy that hasn’t been quite enough for him to overhaul Joe Hockey. Rudd also has a leads as better prime minister of 60-25 over Abbott, 55-31 over Hockey and 64-25 over Turnbull. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Abbott did not perform notably worse among women than men.

Couple of other things:

• The Wentworth Courier reports Steven Lewis, Slater & Gordon lawyer, anti-high rise activist and members of the Jewish Board of Deputies, will contest Labor preselection in Wentworth. Former Australian Medical Association president Kerryn Phelps has been mentioned as a contender in the past, but declined to comment when approached by the Courier. The Australian reports barrister Mark Speakman, University of NSW deputy chancellor Gabrielle Upton and “most of the losers from the Bradfield preselection” would be in the running to succeed Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal member. The Courier throws Arthur Sinodinos into the mix. Speakman, Upton and Sinodinos have all been mentioned as possible successors to outgoing former state leader Peter Debnam in the corresponding state seat of Vaucluse.

• It was reported on Wednesday that NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal might seek to assume the premiership by entering the lower house as member for Wollongong, whose sitting member Noreen Hay would then take his place in the upper house. This plan has presumably been overtaken by events, at least in the short term.

• The Liberals are pressuring Labor to drop Wanneroo mayor Jon Kelly as the candidate-presumptive for the marginal Perth seat of Cowan after a Corruption and Crime Commission report spoke of “dealings” between Kelly and Brian Burke, without making adverse findings against him. Kelly has long been associated with the Burke-linked “old Right” faction, and ran as an independent against Margaret Quirk in the state seat of Girrawheen following the split that created the latter’s “new Right” faction.

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.

424 comments on “Morgan phone poll: 53-47”

  1. [Dog the should have a law against one party having more than one candidate for an electorate. The Christian Democratic Party hope to get somewhere by flooding the place with candidates.]
    The silver lining is that they will all lose their deposit.

  2. Looking ok for the Greens at the moment, Bop/Bob! Too nervous to follow the action eh?

    [Strong swing to the Greens in the first two booths, both from strong Liberal areas.]

  3. [As I said above I’ve got mixed feelings. Would like to see a protest against abbott and the libs, but at the sametime, not sure the greens have earnt support given their squibbing in the senate this week.]

    Dave, I would think it is more a protest vote at Abbott becoming the “accidental” leader of the Libs than anything else!

  4. [ I maintain my prediction of Lib retain after swing. 53-47. ]

    That may or may not happen. We will all know very soon.

    But…Time and time again your posts respond to other bloggers with personal abuse. You show no capacity to tolerate any competing points of view or respond in any way apart from sneers.

  5. [ dave, insults to Labor and Greens occur all the time on PB. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    That is all ]

    Suggest you read the blog guidelines. Or are you saying you have no intention of complying ?

    If you cannot cope with the opinions of others or even be remotely civil, then you are the one who should *get out of the kitchen*

  6. Seems to me that Abbott and Co are going the Glen Beck route and I think it will be successful, to some extent. How well it will work here is yet to be seen though its probably the best path for them at this low point. The interesting thing will be to see how much the wingnut element will take hold here, I don’t believe it will deliver them Government, it may get them more support then we think.

  7. The best path for them was to have a moderate leader and a moderate front bench and work from there. The right wing loony vote was always theirs, even if it flowed through a couple of minor parties first. To actively seek the right wing loony vote a the expense of the moderate centralists is suicidal.
    Oppositions become electable when they cut the ties with their past. Victorian Labor only became competitive when all their Cain/Kirner ministers were gone; the same with Federal Labor, with Beazley finally getting the boot. Howard was the only Lib of any prominence left from the Fraser years and had repudiated his Fraserian past fairly completely.
    Promoting former Howardistas to positions of prominence simply entrenches them, deprives potential future ministers of the experience they will need to be competitive, and keeps government out of the hand of the Libs longer.
    The loony right rump has always been there. They were totally side lined under Hawke/Keating; under Howard and his ON fliratation, they gained a sense of importance they have not yet lost. If Abbott doesn’t encourage them, they will crawl back under their rocks very quickly.

  8. I hope you’re right Zoom. Although I tend to see all of this stuff in cycles, the hard right are giving it to Obama big time, “Our Tone” is taking his inspiration from this … hence my worry

  9. Possum was right, electing Clive was a major (SNIP: See article 2 of comment moderation guidelines), it cost the ALP the the seat. MM I assume, is inside the bunker he built years ago, when he first started predicting elections.

  10. Poorly worded on my part ltep, no doubt, though I’m sure most readers understood my proposition. Do you really need me to point out the obvious or can you deal with that all on your own?

  11. Here’s a comment on Tony Abbott that readers may find interesting:

    ‘TONY Abbott was not kidding when he said he was John Howard’s ideological son, it’s just that he is selective about the bits of dad’s dogma he backs.
    ‘Forget the deregulation and small government of the early Howard years and remember the welfare spending and push to centralise power of the last two terms.
    ‘Focus instead on backing Treasury’s truck up to the white picket fences of middle Australia and shovelling cash into the yard.
    ‘And look for more control from Canberra over the states…
    ‘Abbott explains his ideas in Battlelines , which was received with polite lack of interest when it appeared in August. It will now be popular with Coalition frontbenchers, and with Labor strategists keen to learn how appealing some of
    ‘Because Abbott’s election locks the Liberals into a set of policies that, with a bit of rhetorical tweaking, the Labor Left could endorse….

    ‘His main policy is to take us back to the 1950s, when everybody agreed with government spending money on welfare for the right sort of people: working couples with kids and their grandparents.
    ‘But there is more ideology than opportunism in Battlelines, which sets out strategies Abbott learned in his spiritual home, the Democratic Labor Party. The DLP was a power for two decades, thanks to the way it preferenced the conservatives. The anti-communist party loathed the left-wing union-dominated Labor Party of the 50s and 60s and despised how Gough Whitlam turned the ALP into an alliance of public sector unions and social reformers. But otherwise it was keen on big spending, as long as it was on defence and subsidies to uncompetitive factories. And it was keen on welfare spending that went to God-fearing families with children. This strategy is straight out of the Howard playbook. Under Howard, some middle-income earners with dependent children were net creditors to the commonwealth, collecting more in welfare than they paid in taxes. And the last Howard budgets gave money to retirees regardless of income….’
    (Stephen Matchett , ‘Abbott keen to lead us back to a 1950s-style welfare state’,?The Weekend Australian

    I have predicted elsewhere that this attempt to define Tony Abbott as an extremist will fail badly. Rather, it will act in the same way that the Howard haters cemented support for him by the extremity of their language.

    Of course, I have responded with a letter to the editor, which may not get published so here is an advance copy for Poll Bludgers:

    ‘Stephen Matchett’s claims regarding the Democratic Labor Party and Tony Abbott (“Coalition’s man of the moment keen to lead us back to a 1950s-style welfare state”, 5-6/12) are nonsense. Far from the DLP’s being his “spiritual home”, its senators would have vehemently opposed the lack of social justice in the Howard government’s industrial relations laws.

    ‘The DLP’s welfare policy included a guaranteed annual income, and it applied, not only to “God-fearing” families but also to those with no fear of God and to singles.

    ‘Nor was the DLP opposed to public sector unions and social reformers. It was after all the first parliamentary party to call for the end of the White Australia policy, it ran a campaign for prison reform, it supported land rights for Aborigines and it argued for substantial class size reductions, as also supported by the public sector teacher unions, as early as 1967.

    ‘It was environmentally aware long before the creation of the Greens, advocating the “protection and conservation of our natural environment and the planned use of natural resources in recognition of the close relationship between man and nature and the finite nature of the earth’s resources”.

    ‘Kevin Rudd, with his support for the dignity of workers, excellence in education and protection of the environment is far closer to the DLP than Tony Abbott is.

    ‘Yours sincerely,
    Chris Curtis
    (Vice President, Victorian DLP, 1976-78)

    ‘e-mailed to:
    as Spiritual home my foot!’

  12. [Possum was right, electing Clive was a major (SNIP: See article 2 of comment moderation guidelines), it cost the ALP the the seat.]

    Oh pish. Labor would not have won Higgins, which is why the realists at head office decided not to bother running. There has only ever been ONE federal by-election which has produced a swing to Labor while there has been a Labor government in office – at Fremantle in 1994, when the candidate was the extremely high-profile and popular (in Fremantle anyway) Carmen Lawrence. And Higgins is not a swinging seat. It’s stuffed full of very rich people, who have very good reasons for voting Liberal. It has very few of the key swinging demographic, the socially conservative working class, aka Howard battlers.

    Chris Curtis, did you notice that the DLP polled 10% at Hughesdale? When lower-income Labor voters had a choice between a Liberal and a Green, quite a few of them found the DLP an acceptable alternative.

  13. Such was the diversion to the by-election thread that this thread has remained open despite there being a Newspoll thread.

  14. 421

    The Higgins by-election may have been another. Had there been an ALP candidate the ALP voters would have turned out and the anti-Abbott swing would not have been hidden.

  15. Psephos,

    I did not look at individual booth results, but this low-income earner would have voted DLP too had he been a Higgins resident. Now, we have to put up with the usual misinformed press commentary on Tony Abbott’s “success”.

    The Australian did not publish my letter, but I have submitted it to three of their blogs today, those by Dennis Shanahan, Glenn Milne and David Burchell.

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