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. Frank, in the words of that old song “but that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.”

    A whole political lifetime has passed since the last Newspoll telephone call was made on Friday or Saturday just gone.

    The Little Emperor is now seen as being naked, and his Courtiers as being empty vessels.

  2. gebungalah @ 2841

    [ The Lateline story on 2 seats in the west seemed to be saying Ms Durack has no chance in Stirling. Am a Victorian so don’t know much about the issues there beyond what I think the show was saying, ie: mining is everything. Also very interested that in Hasluck the Libs are putting an indigenous candidate forward

    -well, I certainly haven’t given up on Louise Durack. She needs less than two percent, and the way the PM is going relative to Abbott, the ALP could regain Stirling. It is one of those seats that seems to give each side two or three terms before switching again. There’s not a lot of mining money in the part of the electorate I haunt.

  3. [From someone that didn’t see the interview, it sounds like he reverted to the approach that he took to that so long ago health debate with Rudd.]

    It was exactly like that. Just a few slogans about pink batts, BER, Labor waste and nothing else. We weren’t expecting much, but an alternative PM on the day of a policy launch ought to have some idea of the issues on NBN, even when his own policy is a crock. Red Kerry took him apart, and then he got him on the BER “waste” as compared with the Corgill report. It seems he’s lazy and not prepared to do the hard yards.

    I cannot see how he can credibly come back from this. It’s the ABC and all that, and the average voter would never watch it, but word slips through. No matter how hard Alan Jones and all the RW shock jocks try, he and the party won’t recover, especially with Gillard having a flawless week.

    My guess is that the Sydney marginals in play will come in fairly safe for Labor, and very likely the outer satellite seats. The problem with them mostly has been the appalling mess that State Labor is in. Gillard’s rise after that dreadful start will help voters discern the difference between federal and state.

    Queensland remains tricky because of the remoteness and the resonance of the coup. Again there is an overlap from State hostility. We have so little reliable polling that we’re only guessing. But it helps that the LNP organisation is an awful mess.

    WA could yet become an interesting positive for Labor.

  4. Labor will pick up Stirling Swan and Canning, and will retain all of their other WA seats. The Nationals will probably take O’Connor.

  5. Seriously Fulvio? I think Canning is more likely than Stirling. Keenan seems to be one of those people who have to really dynamited out of their electorates.

  6. [Labor will pick up Stirling Swan and Canning, and will retain all of their other WA seats. The Nationals will probably take O’Connor]

    That’s a huge call Fulvio..

  7. Huge call Fulvio, but i hope it comes to pass.

    Oh, and Pyne to lose Sturt, or else Gus will do the naked running thing in Canberra and we wouldnt want our Julia to have to put up with that!

  8. My assessment is that individual sitting members in WA (from both parties) don’t have cult followings, especially in the inner metropolitan area.

    If there is an overall swing towards Labor of 2-3% from the last election (which was a very low result for Labor) those three seats will fall.

    Labor had half that swing in the last Newspoll and Westpoll, taken at the height of Abbotts popularity. It will be downhill for the Libs from there, not by a huge margin, but enough to cost them those seats.

    Plus it’s The Vibe. 🙂

  9. Watching 730 report online. Tones’ inability to answer any question without simplistic cliches and slogans is actually quite astounding.

    Dont his team prep him? It seems totally derelict for a major party playing the biggest game.

    He seems to have no knowledge of any detail about govt debt, broadband, or even some details of the BER investigations.

  10. OO:

    # australian

    Warning on Digger deaths: AUSTRALIAN forces in Oruzgan can expect more casualties as Taliban insurgents move there… 4 minutes ago via twitterfeed

    # The Australian australian

    Why bother with analysis on a $43 billion NBN?: Stephen Conroy at the National Press Club yesterday: 4 minutes ago via twitterfeed

    # The Australian australian

    Schools slugged double for BER projects: NSW government schools are likely to pay as much as double what Catholic … 4 minutes ago via twitterfeed

    # The Australian australian

    Welfare linked to child checks: JULIA Gillard will today unveil new rules requiring parents of four-year-olds to t… 4 minutes ago via twitterfeed

  11. The Rabid Rabbott’s Internet Plan => “Dial Up Internet”
    ALP’s Internet Plan => “Super Fast Broadband”

    Which will u choose ???

  12. [The Rabid Rabbott’s Internet Plan => “Dial Up Internet”
    ALP’s Internet Plan => “Super Fast Broadband”

    Which will u choose ???]

    To paraphrase Grog, the one that provides the faster speed of light.

  13. Two points;
    (1)…Abbott seemed unready and unable to answer Kerry’s questions tonight..and simply saying he wasn’t a “Techhead” was a very lame excuse for his lack of preparation on Broadband etc. woefull!!!!…especially after Julia’s “tour de force” last night !.:”.Oh Oh oh what a Girl “as the old song says!

    (2)I have made an exhaustive check of the odds offered on two of the major betting sites for marginal seats. It seems that the Bookies think the Libs will win Leichardt and Flynn in Q’Land..and possible Dawson,,,but who know after today’s revelations there !…all that adolescent sexism and racism,but does Tony care ??

    All the Brisbane marginals seem OK…close in a few,,but OK
    In NSW ,Labor seems likely to lose Macquarrie and Robertson,but is ahead as far as the bookies see it in all the others..especially in the seats in Western Sydney which is surprising after all the talk about Lindsay et al .
    In Victoria the only change will be a Labor gain in McEwan,none in Tasmania,and South Australia and perhaps one or two in the West and a tight result in Solomon(NT)
    The final result …given that Labor has notionally 88 seats after the Redistribution..would be about 80-83 seat for Labor
    This assumes last time..the bookies have it right
    Here’s hoping !!
    PS I think I am falling in love with Julia !!

  14. there was an abc newsradio report today saying $250,000 was wagered on labor via centrebet which brought their odds down to $1.48 and fibs out to $2.63

  15. [Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has dismissed as merely “colourful” a series of anti-gay, anti-female and anti-Semitic articles either penned or edited by the Coalition candidate in the ultra-marginal Queensland seat of Dawson.]

    Tony Abbott MUST resign immediately as the Opposition Leader!

  16. Old peeps saying wireless is adequate r stupid and don’t know the facts, wireless is adequate in flat terrain area with short distance, but hopeless elsewhere. Country areas need mainly line of sight broadband, and only satellite can give them that everywhere. Labor’s plan give 90% fiber to the Home, and the rest Satellite.

  17. “Country areas need mainly line of sight broadband” sorry for not clarifying it, but country areas in Australia are mainly hilly so line of site on the ground is very difficult!!

  18. [First two callers on Delroy re Broadband are old people sprouting Liberal talking points.]

    I think you will find mostly Old Peeps listen to dellers

  19. stopped listening to delroy when he made the claim that there must be some truth behind the stories leading david hick’s incarceration at gitmo.

  20. It is my considered opinion, (even though there was a good Getup online ad about Tone’s views on women that I think comes from his university days) that things said or written in university or college days should be off-limits for dragging out years later to attack people trying for office. (Particularly if these are from the early uni years.) If there are recent examples that show that views are unchanged, maybe then there MAY be valid to show a pattern, but it’s still shaky.

    People go to uni presumably to learn, grow and try out lateral and critical thinking.(yeah, I know, it’s also to get quals to make big bucks, but not everyone does law.) If students have to worry about the use of their words decades later, will this stifle inquiry, examination of new ideas, and development of thinking skills?

    I also think a few joints, getting blotto on the pub crawl and joining the Socialist Green Tea Whale Huggers, the Tax Breaks for Caviar Club or signing the Barnaby Joyce Line Dancing Manifesto should not count either. Leaving all that in the closet should be a benefit of graduating, along with not having to suck up to lecturers you completely loathe.

  21. Frank at 2876 linked to an article about a Liberal candidate that started out like this:

    “AS a former ABC broadcaster, Sarah Henderson makes an unlikely conservative warrior.”

    Oh dear,major error.
    They should replace the word ‘unlikely’ with ‘likely’ in the interests of accuracy.

    Sarah is in fact the latest in a long line of ABC staff who have become Liberal candidates or staffers for Libs MPs or similar.

    The website Friends of the ABC has a list of about 15-20 such.

  22. Agreed puff.

    Frank, who would you want in control of the filter – ALP or Libs? – they both wanted it. I think more here would be anti-filter if it were the libs doing better and hadn’t dropped it.

    At least have the blacklist available. No hiding of subversive ideas. Filter sites, but at least have the filtering properly publicised online, and don’t prevent back door access. I can understand the government very occasionally keeping secrets from us for our own good, although it irks me. I feel that I could handle just about any truth, but some people can freak out over small things. We can hopefully revisit this issue when we have free internet.

    We want to be free to communicate with each other. Don’t hide us from each other. That is Orwellian.

    Here’s an idea – our solar reflector stations should be adaptable to be able to zap any orbiting spacecraft. Keep us safe from future (and present?) threats.

    Big land mass = big bug zapper! So let’s make lots of them. Green doesn’t mean wus, but we do strive for peace. If it’s not patented, one there for free from me to the ADF. Mind you, it is a very old idea – Aristotle’s ray – so I doubt it’s new.

    [the deployment of Australian Defence Forces (ADF) must be for defence and peace-keeping, and not for offensive action.] Greens Peace and Security Policy number 5.

    We must stop making our people targets. They should be at home.

    With a good result, we greens will inspire positivity. Just what we need to reduce and hopefully eliminate military conflict!

    I love a late night plug!

  23. [Have heard bits and pieces of the Fibs funbling and mumbling on broadband. They simply have no idea. I suspect that they feel they have painted themselves into a corner by vowing to oppose the NBN. While they know its actually a pretty good idea, they have to come up with a different way to do the same thing to differentiate themselves.]

    Would probably discuss it as thus as perhaps the message didn’t cut through to non IT specialists, particularly as proferred on the nightly news (excuse the pie metaphor).

    The coaltion plan is like one pie, every user takes up a slice of the pie and they diminish the speed for everyone else, whereas the NBN, there is a pie for everyone (etc, maybe it’s a simiie…)

  24. #2783
    [ Bets of that size at this stage reek of an arbitrage play. Weeks ago the Libs were $4 and now Labor had drifted to $1.60 it was time to lock in a profit.

    Exactly, for those who love to be in a win-win situation.

    *Laughing all the way to the bank*

  25. One of the more interesting local campigns in Longman, where the LNP have put up 19yo Wyatt Roy.

    It is reminscent of an American Mayoral race (i cant quite remember which), but a black guy ran in a white neighbourhood. He got elected without anyone really knowing who he was. He didnt use pictures on his posters or anything. Next time he ran (despite being a good mayor) the opposition ran his pictures next to their candidate on their posters. (ie dogwhistling through the use of comparison). The white guy won easily.

    I would have thought (regardless of the Roy’s abilities) that being so young would kill him in the polls. But this hasnt stopped him (or his advisers) plastering his face all over his brochures (

    In return, the ALP have used the tried and true comparison brochure. They have used the phrase “who has the experience to deliver”, with lots of history about his 25years of experience in industry etc and lots of pictures with him looking fatherly/grandfatherly. (

    I would have thought the ALP would have gone harder and done a comparison picture maybe with a comparative timeline of life experience. (ie when Wyatt was learning to use a crayon, Jon Sullivan was running a successfull business etc).

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