Crikey reports that what is presumably the last Essential Research poll for the campaign has Labor’s lead at 51-49, down from 52-48 last week. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up two points to 44 per cent and Labor is down two to 39 per cent, with the Greens steady on 10 per cent. As always, it should be noted that Essential Research is a composite of two weeks’ combined polling: reading between the lines, the week-level results for Labor through the course of the campaign seem to have gone 55, 55, 53, 51, 51. Jason Whittaker at Crikey relates:
There’s little movement in personal approval ratings, with Julia Gillard climbing a point to 46% approval (her disapproval ratings remains steady at 40%), while Tony Abbott also jumps a point but remains behind on 41% approval (44% disapproval). Head-to-head, 46% believe Julia Gillard would make a better prime minister (up one point) ahead of Tony Abbott on 35% (up two points). Gillard’s attention on the economy in the final week of the campaign is backed by Essential. Asked which leader would better handle another financial crisis should it eventuate, 42% named the Labor leader while 35% nominated Tony Abbott and the Liberals.
Full report from Essential to follow shortly.
George Megalogenis in The Australian argues that while the mortgage belt has less reason to be grumpy with Julia Gillard this year than it had been with John Howard in 2007, owing to slightly lower interest rates and an even lower real debt burden than at that time, the grey belt has a simple financial trigger to loathe Labor, and to long for a return to the Coalition’s brand of economic management, because superannuation nest eggs have been smashed over the past three years. He also says Labor’s troubles in Queensland can in part be traced to the sharpest rises in petrol prices in the nation, while Brisbane home owners have seen their capital gains party come to an end at a time when the rest of the nation was still booming.
Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald reports that according to media buying agency MindShare, Labor spent $3.5 million on television advertising in capital cities during the second fortnight of the campaign compared with $3 million for the Coalition, after sitting out the second week of the campaign. A close student of the TV ad industry says Labor is screening four attack ads for every one positive, while the Liberal ratio is three to one.
Steve Lewis of the Daily Telegraph reports an Auspoll survey finds Wayne Swan with a 54-46 lead over Joe Hockey as best able to manage the budget, 32 per cent rating the Building the Education Revolution program a success against 42 per cent who deem it a failure, and a narrow majority being comfortable with the Greens holding the balance of power.
Longman (Qld, Labor 1.7%): News Limited has obtained footage of an incident in which a Labor agitator was set upon by a campaigner for Liberal National Party candidate Wyatt Roy. As AAP reports it, Roy can be seen just metres away on his phone during the altercation, but does not intervene.
Dawson (Qld, Labor 2.4%): Labor candidate Mike Brunker has been involved in an altercation with 68-year-old Bowen Turf Club president Cyril Vains during a dispute about the former’s attempts to place election signs near the entrance to the racetrack. Brunker says the club president king hit him on the nose in an unprovoked assault. His account is backed by Whitsunday deputy mayor Rogin Taylor, who says Vains seemed intent on fighting Mike. The turf club says Vains has scratches and a bruise from being punched in the face.
Parkes (NSW, Nationals 13.7%): Barrie Cassidy referred to a strong independent prospect in Parkes on yesterday’s Insiders. This turns out to be John Clements, a former staffer to New England independent Tony Windsor, who has been talking up his chances. Windsor also rates Louise Burge a good chance in Farrer.
Lingiari (NT, Labor 11.2%): The management committee of the Northern Territory Country Liberal Party has defied its leader in the Territory parliament, Terry Mills, by refusing to disendorse Lingiari candidate Leo Abbott for neglecting to inform the party he had pleaded guilty to breaching a domestic violence order.