Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor

The second week of Essential Research polling under Julia Gillard has perfectly replicated the first, with Labor and the Coalition steady on 42 per cent and 39 per cent of the primary vote and Labor maintaining its 54-46 two-party lead. This compares with a Coalition primary vote lead of 40 per cent to 38 per cent in the final poll under Kevin Rudd, when Labor’s two-party lead was 52-48. Essential has also surveyed on approval of Julia Gillard for the first time, finding her approval rating at 48 per cent (seven points higher than Rudd’s final result from May 31) and disapproval at 27 per cent (20 points lower). Approval of Tony Abbott has been gauged for the second week running, and it does not replicate the result of the previous week – which was itself reflected in Newspoll – showing a bounce in the wake of the leadership change. His approval has gone from 35 per cent on May 31 to 40 per cent on June 28 to 37 per cent on July 5, while his disapproval has gone from 50 per cent to 39 per cent to 47 per cent. Gillard leads as preferred prime minister 49-29, which is little different from the 47-30 lead Rudd recorded in his final poll. Also canvassed are best party to deal with various issues, which finds Labor gaining ground on every measure since three weeks ago (the interesting exceptions are “being honest and ethical” and “handling environmental and climate change issues”, which are stable). “Attributes to describe the Prime Minister” allow comparisons with Gillard on July 5 with Rudd on May 10, which are uniformly favourable to Gillard (who scores 21 points higher on being “down to earth&#148). Further questions show clear hostility to any notion of a “big Australia”.

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.

2,816 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor”

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  1. Longterm Kevin Rudd is integral to the success of this govt. He must be used in the campaign and installed as Foreign minister asap

  2. Talking about real thought bubbles, Abbott has announced that income tax reform and the sidelining of state bureaucracies from the delivery of health and education as the next big steps in productivity-boosting economic reform.

    Detail on tax? Turns out that he is neither ruling out nor in income tax cuts.

    Detail on health and education? Turns out that this involves a long hard look at it.

    Oh, and he reaffirmed spending cuts. Detail? None.

    MSM critical analysis of this? None. Breathless journos looking for detail? None. Questions about where the spending cuts will come? None.

  3. Not questioning you, morewest!

    Just wondering if Mr Wright has everything straight- because if he does, then it’s a slightly bent story…

  4. [I feel the same. Used to read his posts with interest, but is now on the ’scroll past’ list. Shame really]

    Exactly my sentiments Cuppa

  5. [Technically ignorant mums and dads I would hazard a guess]

    Perhaps. I still think the filter could cost them more votes than they could potentially gain. Younger voters for eg.

  6. Oh, oh, Gillard has made herself and boaties the issue for another day… unless Abbott really puts his foot in it is starting to look like day 3 will be another victory day for Abbott.

  7. There’s a link on the Pure Poison blog to a PBS webpage which has the text of an unpublished essay by Mark Twain (the real one!) on the journalistic interview…


    The data series presented here shows that mean surface temperatures have been above the 20th century average every year since 1982. That is, there have been 28 consecutive years relatively warm years. But this understates the extent of warming that has occurred. If the series is compared with the average from 1880-1920, there have been 90 consecutive years of relatively warming temperatures, and the trend is accelerating. Mean surface temperatures are around 1.5 deg c warmer now than at the beginning of the 20th century.

    The rate of change is accelerating, so that in another 90 years, we will certainly see much more rapid warming.

    Global climate change is the greatest social issue of our time – perhaps the greatest challenge in human history – and it is obvious that no-one really has a clue how to deal with it.

  9. [2701
    the spectator

    Longterm Kevin Rudd is integral to the success of this govt. He must be used in the campaign and installed as Foreign minister asap]

    Why? Why should Rudd be made FM? The single best thing he can do is retire, as former PM’s have done in the past.

  10. [ Looks like Conroy’s aides have been keeping an eye on Pollbludger ]

    The filter is toast, the flame on the backburner will be left to go out. This is good!

  11. [Oh, oh, Gillard has made herself and boaties the issue for another day… unless Abbott really puts his foot in it is starting to look like day 3 will be another victory day for Abbott]

    Abbott will need a LOT of victory days to get anywhere near winning this election.

  12. “Why? Why should Rudd be made FM? The single best thing he can do is retire, as former PM’s have done in the past.”

    Because the recent gaffe by Gilliard has shown she needs an expert in Foreign Affairs, Steven Smith was clearly being carried by Rudd. Rudd’s expertise around the cabinet table would be invaluable. I was leader I want someone there who can constantly challenge me and critique my views and opinions. So for the good of the country and govt Rudd is required making him retire is waste of talent. Any who cares about what happened in the past, why is that a template for the future.

  13. Gillard should have just specified that the government were negotiating with other countries in the region to establish some sort of processing centre, rather than hastily putting the East Timor option out there, prematurely!
    Whether it’s because of a lack of foreign policy inexperience or the whole thing was rushed, alas she’s fallen into a trap, and both Abbott & his MSM buddies are going after her unmercifully.
    Of course the hypocrisy of the media is breathtaking – I don’t recall them ever questioning the readiness of Nauru or Papua New Guinea to host asylum seekers in 2001, but Labor can’t afford stuff ups like this, particularly on Abbott’s chosen ground.

  14. Typo: meant to say “foreign policy experience”.

    And…… stupid did David Bradbury look on TV following the PM up to Darwin, to examine patrol boats?

    I hate to say it, but you’ve got to score the week as a win for Abbott & his enablers on talkback radion.

  15. evan14. Perhaps this trap has really been set up for Abbott. We still don’t know where this is all leading to.

  16. Glen, on how wll Julia Gillard will win the election:

    not well me thinks Victoria.

    Let’s hope the Liberals lose soundly (not necessarily by a huge landslide) as, if the seat lead narrows – especially to the point of it being extremely close, Tony Abbott’s leadership style will be validated and it will be considered that the more “moderate” of the Coalition’s policies were what held them back. Anything but a sound defeat for the Libs is a long term win for the far right of the Liberal party.

  17. @evan14/2716: hopefully this would mean the end of political nonsense surrounding ISP Filtering, since both major parities dabbled in both.

  18. [how stupid did David Bradbury look on TV following the PM up to Darwin, to examine patrol boats? ]

    Evan14 – he looked pretty good on SkyAgenda yesterday and held his own against the Oppn. He had some good points to make and I agree with Barry Jones who said this morning that Bradbury having a look at exactly what is happening will help him explain it better to all the worryworts in his electorate.

    Where was this mentioned in the MSM yesterday or today by any ‘hardhitting’ journo!

    [Tony Abbott has conceded his empty and false promise to turn back the boats can’t be delivered, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans said today.

    “Mr Abbott has today said he would rely on the discretion of Navy commanders to turn back boats if they deemed it safe and if there were appropriate arrangements in place with other countries,” Senator Evans said.

    “His simplistic and shallow slogan is becoming more qualified by the day and this is an admission that he can not deliver on his empty promise.

    “Mr Abbott can’t explain how he’ll stop people smugglers attempting to disable their boats on the open ocean or how he can guarantee the safety of Australian customs and defence officers.]

    If Oakes and Wilkinson can go hammer and tongs at JuliaG on 9 then why not do the same with Abbott. They are a rotten lot.

  19. Looks like Conroy’s aides have been keeping an eye on Pollbludger

    There you go. No need to worry about it in the immediate future.

    Shift to the right indeed.

    Should be noted that, in spirit, I am against an internet filter but, in reality, as the internet becomes more populated, it will become more governed (sort of cyber colonialism.) Conroy suggests this is to stop access to child pornography and other various criminal activities, which I have no problem with. As long as the “worst” of the legal websites on the internet are left alone ie fetish pornography, dark humour sites, such as 4Chan et al then I am not that upset by it. (Not because I use them, but because tolerance of the worst of opinions is how we test free speech)

    Handing it over to an independent panel will be better in assuring that something doesn’t get banned just for “upsetting the sensibilities of grandma.” My only suggestions, were this to go ahead, is to make sure the independent panel stays independent and is a permanent fixture, lest a future government decide to use the filter to impose their own ideals.

    Also, make the list of banned content available, even if only by court request (plenty of lawyers who are free speech advocates, who would gladly take up the opportunity to peruse the list for any unreasonably banned content) just to put one’s mind at ease that no websites have just been banned for moral reasons or dissent has been silenced etc.

  20. [a 30 year old quoted by Mathew Franklin in today’s Australian, I can truly remember how hard it was to get a job at the time.

    seriously check out this bit of great reportage:

    Sheaneen Green, 30, said she had backed Mr Abbott since she was 18.
    Ms Green said she had been angered by dumped prime minister Kevin Rudd’s style, which she described as superficial and calculated to fool young voters. … “I remember the early 1990s and how hard it was to get a job,” she said.

    Yeah it was tough in 1990 to get a job when you were 10 years old…. that’s quality journalism right there that just demands to be behind a pay wall…]

    Thanks Grog for an allround good read and I’m with you – the sooner the likes of Matthew Franklin are behind a paywall the better, but Murdoch won’t do it before the election here. He’s still got to get his boy Tone into the top job.

  21. The ALP and Julia Gillard have stuffed up.

    They dealt with the mining tax, quickly and efficiently – it’s now out of the press and is of no major import. There’ll be the usual suspects who’ll whinge they weren’t consulted and they missed out, but it’s too late, the caravan has moved on.

    She started the week well on the asylum seekers, trying to take all the heat and myths out of the debate. The best she could have hoped for was to be acknowledged as trying to show some leadership on a vexed issues for the electorate. She can’t win this debate in the short term, so all she could do was to flag how she was going to apporoach this issue over time. That would have been enough. Yes, the opp’n would have complained that she has no policies and wasn’t tough enough etc, but it wouldn’t have mattered, that caravan would have moved on as well.

    Instead, she’s now looking flaky nad tricky. She looks flaky on consultation, on foreign affairs, on leadership and on asylum seekers. This is much, much more damaging than just not being seen as tough enough.

    She needs to own up and say, “look this is what I was trying to do, but I needed to consult more widely. I’ve learnt that lesson now and will be more careful in the future, but I was keen to try to get a workable solution to what is a very difficult problem.”

    Then move onto to climate change and off this crappy issue for the ALP. They can’t win it in the short term, she may win it in the second term.

    So far, she’s going into lawyer speak, “I said this, no I didn’t say that……”, just admit the stuff up and move on.

    There was enormous goodwill towards her when she first came in, that will probably hold her up if she knocks this over quickly, but if she lets it fester and she looks more and more flaky and tricky, it will doom her.

    What undid Rudd can undo her as well.

  22. Laocoon today got his first piece of electoral material from Malclom Turnbull for he doesn’t know how long

    Not only Labor was caught out with the leadership change. The glossy anti-Rudd brochure is accompanyied by a letter that begins…
    [As everybody knows the Labor government in Canberra unexpectedly changed leaders, at the very time my newsletter was being printed…]

  23. Frank @ 2607

    [Is that you Piers ??

    You’re doing an excellent job for the Libs – you better join them as they love your work.]

    You’re being a bit caustic with this remark Frank. I’m afraid Thomas Paine is correct that the MSM are giving the PM a hiding on the AS “solution”. Every newspaper headline I looked at today was negative for Gillard. I work in a newsagency btw so see quite a few papers. The only one that did not have it headlined was the Gold Coast Bulletin but I’m sure there was some negative tale in there as well.

    Must be a poll coming up soon as the headlines always seem to turn nasty for Labor beforehand.

  24. Look, we might be getting this out of perspective. Most people do not give a damn about politics. We here on Crikey forums are political tragics, but we are not typical of the wider electorate. This stuff that we spend thousands of posts agonising over on Poll Bludger passes right over most people’s heads. Most don’t even tune in till the election campaign, and some don’t even think about who they’ll vote for till they’re about to put pencil to ballot paper. Let’s keep an eye on the forest, rather than getting hung up worrying about the trees…

  25. Aristotle: well said!
    Abbott and the MSM badly want an election on boat people, and it’s a contest that Labor will never win, especially in Western Sydney(anti-Muslim sentiment is conflated with concerns about boat people swamping Penrith & other suburbs).
    Gillard had the chance to neutralise this as an issue, so Labor could return to health/education/renewable energy policies – alas she gave Abbott and his media mates the opening they needed with an ill thought-out response.
    Maybe they’d have been better to stick with Rudd’s approach & not try to out-flank the Libs by going to the right?

  26. Aristotle – but it wasn’t a stuff-up. What exactly did she/they do wrong, or could have done differently? Ramos-Horta was (and remains) a sensible person to talk to. They couldn’t have had extensive discussions with anyone in the region without first outlining to the Australian media and people what they were proposing. All of the language Julia used was in terms of possibilities and discussions – she’s entirely correct. The problem (which can be argued was the same problem for Rudd) is the media is just wanting to score points and beat up nonsense.

    I’d also remind you of home insulation when Rudd did exactly what you suggested and gave up without much of a fight – it just became a permanent whipping boy of the media and there was no way to provide any context because he’d admitted it was all ‘a debacle’. Giving up on the fight isn’t a winner either.

  27. I wonder if announcing that Rudd will succeed Faulkner as Defence Minister would be a good idea, and might help them electorally in QLD?

  28. The problem is the ALP were always going to “stuff this up”

    Whenever the AS issue comes up, the media hold the ALP under a magnifying glass and demand an immediate answer straight away. Whilst doing that they have the camera set up to film a boat in the ocean coming to “get us” and soundbites of Tony smirking and sneering as he spews vitriolic rhetoric like the spoiled little fratboy he is. Gillard had no time to announce some sort of policy, that a government would normally take months to formulate to be received by a bunch of media hacks who compensate for their “take their word for it” attitude under Howard by closely scrutinising and dissecting every word that Gillard says in this issue and quoting Abbott verbatim.

    Meanwhile, on the sidelines, the Greens and the Liberals are holding eachothers hands looking on, shoulders quivering from amusement as they both know, no matter what happens, “Labor’s policy “won’t be good enough” and that they have an issue to gain some votes from. The Liberals get power and their divine right is adhered to again, the Greens get their precious balance of power in the Senate, and maybe a HoR seat and the Australian people get screwed by this mutual desire to prove themselves, all the while having everyone blame Labor for putting them in this position.

    It’s a classic case of a bully grabbing his victim’s arm and striking the victim with it, whilst taunting “why are you hitting yourself? Why are you hitting yourself?”

    AS is the one issue there is no way to win with the ALP, that’s why it needs to be minimised ASAP.

  29. No Jackol, unless you had a concrete policy with a concrete place to hold your regional centre, you don’t make any announcement.

    The most you could say is that the Faser govt dealt with the problem regionally and that’s what she intends to do. Yes, she would have got all sorts of questions about where and when, but that would have lasted a day, not three days and perhaps all the way to polling day.

    She just neede to say, i did it with the mining tax, i’m going to do the same with this issue and climate change.

    I’ve got runs on the baord with the miners, trust me on the other two.

  30. I wonder if announcing that Rudd will succeed Faulkner as Defence Minister would be a good idea, and might help them electorally in QLD?

    Probably not. It only really works when somebody is the leader. It has been accepted wisdom that Labor was going to take a hit in QLD once Kevin left the PMship, no matter what the circumstances, as the current ALP support in the state is inflated by the “favourite son” effect.

    This can hopefully be countered by increase of support in places like SA and Victoria where more liberal views prevail.

    NSW is where I am a bit worried because evidence suggests that state is all over the place as far as polling goes, and the Coalition will not hesitant to use a Gillard/Kenneally parallel to gain support.

    I wouldn’t rule out the possibility though of, with the right kind of strategy, maybe gaining a seat or two in WA, but I wouldn’t hold my breath there. (An awful lot of traditional Laborites have become FYIGMers!)

  31. How about the idea that Briefly (I think it was) suggested recently – that nobody who arrives by boat will ever be given a visa. That would halt the trickle, surely.

  32. No mention here of the egg throwing incident! This is exactly the sort of thing that causes polls to bounce

  33. tsop – I realize AS is now an almost intractable no-win situation for Labor, but that’s why this particular policy has/had promise. The crazy part about it is that for the most part there is broad acceptance of the core aspects of the policy – what is being ‘demolished’ is the nit-picky detail of who said what to whom, and that there hasn’t been progress in a couple of days.

    So it’s not a bad policy, looking at it as a policy – it’s not as generous to AS as the greens/left want, and it’s not as chest-thumping as the Abbotts of the world say they want, but significant people working in the area of Asylum Seeker policy have given it qualified support, given that it involves adherence to the convention on refugees and the involvement of the UNHCR. If a country like East Timor also allows more freedom and opportunities for those asylum seekers who get sent there, then that is also a win.

    For a country like East Timor it could be a potentially valuable source of employment and wealth for their citizens, so if the price is right for them the East Timorese could benefit considerably.

    If there is a ‘pull factor’ from Australia, then having the ultimate destination for any boats being not Australia will remove that incentive. This could save quite a few lives that would otherwise have been lost making the ocean journey.

    Again, the crazy thing is that the policy itself seems fairly sound as announced – people are just going nuts over details in the first couple of days. Why? Why not give it a chance?

  34. Aristotle – but you can’t have a concrete policy without having had extensive discussions with all the regional players – how do you engage in extensive discussions (which will be visible to the media eye) without first telling the public/media what it is you are having discussions about?

  35. Ideally we should just have more customs points and more people with the authority to process people.

    But then if we do that “going by boat” seems like a good option and the people smuggler’s trade increases (They are inhumane bastards who are profiting off people’s desperation)

    Unfortunately the issue is a bit of a paradox, and credit Labor for being the only party to actually acknowledge that (although it falls on deaf ears for the general population – people don’t like complexities like paradoxes – they like clear cut issues) unfortunately the other parties pander to the inhumane (irrational) or the fantasy (illogical) – which is an easier continuum for people to follow.

  36. If they hadn’t changed the previous government’s policy in the first place just to please a few bleeding hearts we wouldn’t be having this discussion. As I have said before taking the high moral road does not necessarily translate into votes especially when you have a hostile MSM trying to give as much traction as they can to the opposition however wrong that may be. I for one will be mightily pissed off if the Government loses an election over a matter such as this particularly if it means the return of workchoices which is far more important IMHO than asylum seekers.

  37. That’s my point Jackol. It can’t be done in a short period of time, so there’s no point talking about it. At best, just in general terms as an intention. But I wouldn’t have said anything more than the first three quarters of her speech on Tuesday.

    It can’t be done before the election, it can only be done in govt.

  38. ABC radio is the only media outlet that yesterday aired disquiet in defence circles over the navy being used to turn back boats of asylum seekers, yet not a mention of this in newspapers or on commercial talkback radio – of course I shouldn’t be surprised!

  39. Aristotle: will you be a regular on the new ABC News 24 channel?
    Your analysis of the polls is always spot on, you make a lot more sense than the supposed media experts. 🙂

  40. Aristotle – fair enough, I can accept that. She would have been attacked for not doing anything about the ‘current failed policy’ but it wouldn’t have been any worse than the current situation.

  41. Jackol 2735

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticising the plan. Although I am not familiar with its finer points, I agree with it in theory. (As long as it is treated as a humane policy, not just a “dumping” one like the Nauru situation.)

    My point is, no matter what Gillard was going to announce, she was going to get intense scrutiny from the Coalition, the Greens and the media, with the world “failure” being overused and the proposal perused for even the slightest hitch. (“They put a comma in the wrong place in the document. With sloppy errors like that, can we trust them to run this important issue?”)

  42. Racist dog whistles from the Libs in lieu of decent domestic policies for working Australians. They are more and more like the the Rethugs in the U.S. with their abortion and gay hate instead of good policies. Our wingnuts should be called out for this each time they use their ugly racist dog whistling con.

  43. If they hadn’t changed the previous government’s policy in the first place just to please a few bleeding hearts we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    That was done with the full knowledge that it wouldn’t be popular. It was the right thing to do. However, where the naiveté lied was that the gov didn’t think it would be such a defining issue that many people would overlook all of the other accomplishments of the government and hang them out to dry over this!

  44. Yes, Evan. I’ll be on the Breakfast News regularly through to election day, and that will be part of the 24 hour channel.

    I may also be part of other programs on the 24 hour channel, but nothing’s been finalised there as there flat out getting the station up and running.

    I am doing quite a few ABC radio interviews lately. If you’re interested, I did this one with Marius Benson yesterday.

  45. Hey! What do you know? A win for those of us on PB putting forward the cogent arguments against the mandatory filter.

    As late as yesterday Gillard said she endorsed the filter, and she was congratulated by the Christian lobby for so doing. Today Conroy dumps the filter.

    The only thing in between has been the more rational elements of PB ridiculing the policy endorsement. 😆

    It makes you wonder though whether Gillard has her act together, what with yesterday’s wholly unnecessary filter policy ‘flip’ followed by today’s ‘backflip’.

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