Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

Crikey reports today’s Essential Research poll has Labor’s two-party lead down to 52-48 from 54-46 last week. Essential polls are a rolling two-week average, so it makes sense that they should have trailed the pack in recording Labor’s mid-campaign slump. The Coalition is up three on the primary vote to 42 per cent and Labor up one to 41 per cent, both taking up slack from a three-point decline for the Greens, down to 10 per cent. More to follow.

UPDATE: Full report here. Julia Gillard is down a point on approval to 45 per cent and up two on disapproval to 40 per cent, while Tony Abbott is up two on approval to 40 per cent and down three on disapproval to 45 per cent. On preferred prime minister, the gap has narrowed from 48-30 to 45-33. Thirty-eight per cent say their opinion of Gillard has gone down since the election was called against 18 per cent who say it has gone up; more surprisingly, the respective figures for Tony Abbott are 9 per cent and 42 per cent. There are also questions on which party is best to handle various issues.


• Michael Kroger has written an article for The Australian on prospects for the election which becomes doubly interesting if you read between some lines. Throughout the article he operates off post-redistribution seat status, giving Labor 88 rather than 83 seats, before concluding that “Labor would do well to keep its net losses to under 10 seats”. While this may have been framed negatively for Labor, the suggestion seems to be that he expects them to narrowly win. Kroger sounds especially confident about Sturt and Solomon, though by omission the former suggests he may expect trouble in Boothby. The Coalition is also rated likely to win a “swag” of seats in Queensland and up to five in New South Wales, along with Hasluck and Swan in Western Australia.

• On the Channel Ten news last night, Paul Bongiorno said a Liberal insider had offered him the implausible claim that their polling showed “Labor would be lucky to hold on to one seat” in Queensland. More believably, Geoff Kitney of the Financial Review offered that both sides’ polling showed “the Coalition is in front in every marginal seat in the state”, with Labor “battling to prevent the loss of all its Queensland seats with a margin of up to 4.2 per cent”, namely Herbert, Dickson, Longman, Flynn, Dawson, Forde, Brisbane, Leichhardt and Petrie. Mark Ludlow of the Financial Review says seats likely to be targeted by Kevin Rudd are in fact slightly beyond this range: Bonner (4.5 per cent) and Moreton (6.2 per cent).

Tom Dusevic of The Australian comments on the Coalition’s latent fear of Labor’s marginal seat sandbagging abilities, which succeeded beyond the bounds of what appeared possible in the South Australian election in March. Significantly, Tony Abbott felt compelled to declare during his campaign launch that “to change this government you have to throw out your Labor MP”.

• Former Labor Senator Stephen Loosley writes in The Australian that “Labor is seeking to hold government without necessarily achieving the accepted prerequisite for winning”, namely that “every federal Labor government from Chris Watson to Paul Keating has been based on carrying NSW”.

• The Canberra Times reports a survey conducted for the Greens credited to YourSource (the panel used by Essential Research) has the Senate vote in the Australian Capital Territory at 36 per cent for Labor (down 5 per cent on the election), 30 per cent for the Coalition (down 4 per cent) and 26 per cent for the Greens (up 4.5 per cent). If accurate, the Greens would probably just fall short of taking the second seat from Liberal Senator Gary Humphries.


Leichhardt (Labor 4.1%): Tony Abbott was in northern Queensland last Monday, where he promised $62 million would be spent on the tourism industry. The choice of Cairns as the scene for the announcement was highly significant, as unemployment has rise to near double-digit levels there due to a downturn in tourism.

Herbert (notional Labor 0.4%): Abbott’s northern Queensland sojourn also included a stop at Townsville, where he promised $21 million flood-proof Blakeys Crossing. Tony Raggatt of the Townsville Bulletin found this “strange”, as apparently any local can tell you that flooding on the lower Bohle Bridge of Bruce Highway is a greater concern. On Thursday, Julia Gillard was in town promising “up to” $160 million for a section of a ring road linking the Douglas Arterial to the Bruce Highway at Mt Low.

La Trobe (Liberal 0.5%): Labor has promised $55 million to widen a dangerous stretch of Clyde Road, which the Liberals have trumped with an $85 million promise of a railway underpass. Sushi Das of The Age surveys the electoral terrain:

Labor’s strength around the mountain area has been countered by increasing Liberal dominance in the south of the electorate, where new housing estates have emerged. Narre Warren North and Pakenham form the heart of these newly developed areas attracting trades people, small business owners and young families who have been forced further out in their hunt for affordable housing. More housing developments are planned for nearby Officer over the next few years, making the south of the electorate one of the fastest growing corridors in Victoria. Indeed, an average of five families a day are moving into the area, according to the Cardinia Shire Council. The developments have provided local employment alongside jobs provided by more established light industries and firms producing car accessories.

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.

2,905 comments on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor”

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  1. Of course they havent outline how they’re going to pay for 300m dollars worth of spending.

    It is a mute point about Treasury, the Libs will release it in the last week as Labor did in 2007.

  2. [The ALP has spent well below the Coalition – I have seen somewhere that just one of Abbott’s policies is more expensive than the entire ALP spend to date.]

    Counting the NBN?

  3. [BK

    If you saw it, what did you think of Julia’s press conference on education?]
    I did see it. She was her usual informed, clear and confident self answering many pertinent questions.
    She did manage to get in a good follow through on Costello’s concern about the ads featuring him. She got right on the front foot there.

  4. Glen, if you mean will Labor pay off debt with revenue raised from current tax arrangements, then the answer is probably yes. Which I know isn’t normally enough for the Right because they always believe that taxes are too high, and the government provides too much.

  5. But I’d give it to Hockey on points for not sounding so craven and calling out to Robb in the audience.

    But not on what Hockey actually said (or rather, didn’t say) about the economy then?

  6. Swan: “You have $27 billion in spending that you haven’t costed yet.”
    Hockey: “$27 billion? Where did you get that figure from? It’s $25 billion…”


  7. @triton/52,

    The NBN is an INVESTMENT.

    Not to mention the $11 Billion doller deal with Telstra, includes the customers.

  8. BK I suspect Labor will pull them or re-jig them.

    The last thing they want is a pissed off Costello 🙂

    Also hasnt Cossie come out and said he now reckons Abbott is ok with the economy.

    It just goes to show all politics is dirty from all sides.

  9. BK

    The part re Costello, I thought was great. She was prepared for the question.

    Costello has nowhere to go from here. She was after all quoting his own words.

  10. [Swan: “You have $27 billion in spending that you haven’t costed yet.”
    Hockey: “$27 billion? Where did you get that figure from? It’s $25 billion…”]

    Glory talk about an epic fail from Swanny 😀

  11. [BK I suspect Labor will pull them or re-jig them.

    The last thing they want is a pissed off Costello

    Also hasnt Cossie come out and said he now reckons Abbott is ok with the economy.

    It just goes to show all politics is dirty from all sides.]
    Glen this will be a very interesting dynamic to follow.

  12. [Perhaps because Nicholas Gruen was part of the meeting I attended on Friday, I was prompted to reflect on a campaign he has been trying to get off the ground on the blog Club Troppo and on Twitter using the hashtag #hesaidshesaid, which he later decided to modify to #mediacarcass, having considered several other suggestions, such as #failureofthepress, #urkillingdemocracy and #soufflejournalism.

    His most recent post is this rather devastating, to my mind, analysis of Annabel Crabb’s response to a press conference. He points out that, faced with criticism, the election coverage them becomes partly journalists self justifying. “They might be bored by policy, but my god, they are absolutely fascinated by themselves.” ….

    And race calling?—?treating the election as though it were spectator sport, rather than something in which all of us have a serious stake?—?is one of the abuses at the top of my list. Because this election is about stuff. Elections always are.

    So what to do about it? Well, you can feed Gruen some examples of #mediacarcass reporting, or me for that matter. He is on Twitter as @nicholasgruen. I am @margaretsimons.]

    At least some are trying to get the profession to lifts its standards.

  13. BK

    What I also found interesting at her press conference was her challenge again to Abbott to debate the economy. As she pointed out, they will be at the same place at the same time on Wednesday night. What will his excuse be now??

  14. Liopleurodon

    I should have said a new low for THIS campaign. I must have missed the burning lesbians policy from them.

  15. [It is a mute point about Treasury, the Libs will release it in the last week as Labor did in 2007.]

    The mute point about Hockey is that he should stay moot until 22 August.

  16. So Abbott is getting desperate — he’s gone back to Labor has “put Australians in danger” by causing 4 deaths and 200 housefires.

  17. jenauthor.

    Abbott is a disgrace. Those industrial deaths are subject coronial and legal enquiries. He has absolute no shame, and he calls himself a christian. Christian my ar…………..!

  18. Psephos said

    If Labor really is doing that badly in Qld and NSW, and yet has a national 2PV of 52%, then we must be heading for a killer result in Vic and SA.

    But, seriously (and very politely) are there enough winnable seats in those two states to offset the losses in NSW and Qld?

  19. Glory talk about an epic fail from Swanny

    Didn’t Hockey just admit he has 25 billion in uncosted promises?

  20. Now tony is dodging is costings questions in presser in which he is trying to cash in on tragic deaths of insulation installers. (new low) No mention that the program actually added regulations for the first time.

  21. [The NBN is not an 2010 election promise Triton.]

    No, but the Libs are scrapping it, so does that free up more money (in their eyes) for promises all through the campaign?

  22. [For the week, ABC News 24 averaged 14,000 6am to 6pm Sunday to Saturday last week, against 16,000 for SKY News. But in prime time, 6pm to midnight, ABC News 24 listed to average 20,000 viewers and SKY News fell to 11,000. So overall a narrow win to ABC News 24.]

    Interesting figures – only a few thousand tragics watch either. rofl.

  23. [I doubt the coalition has any credibility right about now.]

    Well they do have Abbott for a leader so you may have a point. However on the flip side you have Gillard still fresh with Rudd’s blood on her hands and Latham popping up now and again which is never a good look.

    I think we’re being offered two of the most incompetent alternatives to run for the government of this great country.

    Like I said if there was another alternative that would be credible would win 10-30 seats and was centre-right the Libs wouldnt have got my vote.

  24. Wouldn’t the first person arrested by your new task force be Warren Truss? Would you arrest him? re highway project, who was that journo? lol

  25. [$7b difference in Abbott and Hockey’s sums]

    Sloppy:[“So far this election campaign, we have announced expenditure of $25.733 billion,” he said.]

    Action man: [“Our promised expenditure is well under that ($18 billion),” he said.

    “We will get back to surplus in 2012/13, and it will be a bigger surplus than the one that the Labor party is promising.”

    Asked to clarify that – “So you’ll be spending under that $18 billion figure?” – Mr Abbott said, “Yes, that’s correct.”]

  26. [Are you of the opinion that SA and Victoria will carry the election for Labor?]

    If Labor polls 52% 2PV then we will win. If there is a swing against us in NSW and Qld, but our national 2PV is still 52% as in 2007, then there must be a swing of equal size towards us elsewhere. The only “elsewhere” is Vic and SA. You can’t argue that the Libs will win seats with their swings in NSW and Qld, but we won’t win seats with our swings in Vic and SA. Of course, there are 78 seats in NSW/Qld, against 48 in Vic/SA, so if there are equal but opposite swings in these two regions, then we will lose more seats than we gain. As I said last night, I think it will pan out at about 80 seats for Labor.

  27. @triton/80,

    No, it won’t be more money freed up, we are in debt already.

    So both parties would have to use government bonds.

  28. Triton,

    From what I know, Abbott is counting at least some of scrapping it as a saving.

    However, anyone I know who knows about how these things should be accounted for tells me that they can’t really do that.

  29. Glen, if more genuine and capable small ‘l” liberals joined the party and pushed for office, you would have had a party who you could have proudly supported. the country needs that to happen.

  30. Psephos.

    I have just said that best Labor can do is gain three extra seats between SA and Vic.

    I also think Labor will get 80 seats.

  31. [But, seriously (and very politely) are there enough winnable seats in those two states to offset the losses in NSW and Qld?]

    No idea. I would have thought that it’s hard to lose with 52%, but the SA Libs managed to with 51.6%.

  32. Glen, actually even if more conservative Liberals with genuine policy interest were near the top you’d have a better party.

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