Essential Research: 52-48 to Coalition

The latest weekly Essential Research survey has the Coalition gaining a point on two-party preferred after three weeks at 51-49. This sets a new record for their best ever performance from Essential Research, which began polling in early 2008. The Coalition primary vote is up a point to 46 per cent, with Labor and the Greens both down one to 37 per cent and 10 per cent. I guess we have to wait another weak for questions on Wikileaks: this week’s supplementary questions relate to whether it’s been a good or bad year for various industries, the environment, political parties, politicians and the respondents personally. Respondents were also asked which news sources they use, which more than any such question I’ve ever seen suggests the long hegemony of television news is under serious threat from “internet news sites”. Six per cent said they used blogs to get news on an average weekday, with intriguing party breakdowns: 10 per cent among Greens supporters, 7 per cent among Coalition supporters and 4 per cent among Labor supporters. Public broadcasters maintain solid lead as the news sources considered most trustworthy.

UPDATE: Roy Morgan phone polled another 528 respondents between Friday and Sunday to add to the 550 polled on Wednesday and Thursday for Friday’s 55-45 result. The additions to the sample have only slightly reduced the Coalition two-party lead, to 54.5-45.5. Together with a weekly Essential Research sample that was bad enough for Labor to drag the rolling fortnighly total from 51-49 to 52-48, there is now meaningful evidence to suggest the Coalition two-party vote is at least as high as 53 per cent. Morgan also has state breakdowns of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott’s personal ratings, though it probably wouldn’t do to read too much into them.

UPDATE 2 (14/12): Westpoll has published a survey of 400 respondents showing the federal Coalition with a two-party lead of 54-46 in WA, compared with 56.4-43.6 at the election, from primary votes of 48 per cent Coalition, 33 per cent Labor and 13 per cent Greens. The poll was conducted between Monday and Wednesday last week, and as usual the sample was 400 and the margin of error about 5 per cent. The poll also finds 61 per cent of respondents supporting gay marriage against 33 per cent opposed. Figures published from the survey yesterday had 35 per cent saying they would be less likely to vote for the state Liberals if Troy Buswell was returned to cabinet, against “almost one in six” more likely and 45 per cent no impact.

UPDATE 3 (14/12): Roy Morgan has now published full figures from the phone poll alluded to in the first update, remembering that half of this is the 55-45 result which was published on Friday. Taken together, the poll has Labor on 31 per cent, the Coalition on 46 per cent and the Greens on 13.5 per cent, with the Coalition’s two-party lead at 54.5-45.5. Results are provided for that half of the survey conducted since the results published on Friday, which are only slightly better for Labor than the Friday figures. Rather pointlessly for a national survey with 1078 respondents, they have also provided us with state breakdowns: here are the Labor two-party figures for each state followed by the election results in brackets, then a rough margin-of-error after the comma. The Victorian figure suggests to me that static from the state election might have been a factor there.

New South Wales: 45.5% (48.8%), 5.25%
Victoria: 47.5% (55.3%), 6%
Queensland: 36.5% (44.9%), 6.75%
Western Australia: 50% (43.6%), 9.5%
South Australia: 52% (53.2%), 10.5%

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.

3,482 comments on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Coalition”

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  1. beazley was constantly out polling howard in the years & months before each election by even more than this poll. election was called polls tightened and voters did not want to change

    Errr Howard benefited from quite a bit of good ‘luck’ and was a master of the twisted political pharse. Don’t tell me Gillard will hoping for a Tampa, or Latham is going to take over Liberal party leadership. She is more likely to suffer a Left version of Pauline Hanson.

  2. SK
    I had a look at the article by Stutchbury? Spelling may be off.
    What a big croc! He does not acknowledge that Swan was already working on a banking policy for months before Sloppys blunderbust.
    Oh, Swannie cobbled this out to answer Sloppys populist cries. Give me a break! 😡
    btw, I think Sloppy has another mole in treasury.

  3. Space Kidette,


    I also think at the moment people just don’t care, are not paying attention and therefore not really looking at what is happening.

  4. Newspoll whch is a reliable guide shows labor av of all there polls since 21/8 losing 4% of its primary vote , that is massive

    it has not gone to Greens , but to Lib pref leaning ‘others’ , and at least 2 clear changes did occur since 21/8 neg affecting Labor’s primary vote (and niether is caused by Inde’s)

  5. Dee,

    I saw that as well.

    The head of NAB has said today in the Senate enquiry that, although he did not know what the final makeup of the package would be, NAB had been consultated about every part of the package over the last 6 to 12 months.

  6. For what this poll is worth a significant number of voters think Julia has had a good year. Poor old Tony not so many.

    The concerning thing for Labor is that they are definitely behind and have been struggling since Gillard took over; their leader not a great performer, and they Opposition probably cannot get any worse than it is.

    If the Abbott Opposition even slightly get their act together Labor is in for a very rough time.

  7. Dee,

    I read that story last night and while I wasn’t surprised by the angle the outright lie is inexcusable because it can be corrected quite quickly.

    I noted something else. The only economics specialist in the OO pack – did not run a story on the reforms.

  8. PoK@2759 on Morgan phone poll: 55-45 to Coalition – The Poll Bludger

    I guess that the non stop bleating by the press for the last three years about the poor bloody mortgage holders just had to have an effect sometime.

    All the media bleating about interest rates will have not an iota of affect on them. Nor will the Government’s or Opposition’s.

    As the RBA has categorically stated at least 3 times since the last increase, rates are where the RBA wants them to be. Had the 4 retail banks not gone over the RBA’s cash rate then it would have have added another 25 basis points itself and lenders would be paying even more interest than they are. Glen Stevens made this clear on the day rates went up, it was repeated in the Board minutes and Stevens restated it again at the Senate inquiry yesterday.

    While the bank reforms announced yesterday will no doubt have some positive effects, lowering home loan interest rates won’t be one. Neither would Hocky’s 9 point plan. If either did the RBA would simply change the cash rate to bring the level of mortgage pain back to where it feels it needs to be to achieve the results it wants such as dampening inflation.

    That is the whole unvanished truth. Everything else said about mortgage rates is mere flimflam designed to shift the heat off the utterer.

    If people want to do something about interest rates they need to focus on those applying to other loans. Credit cards rates, for one, are scandalous given Australian’s low default rate, IMHO. And no, I’m not talking out of my wallet.

  9. [Errr Howard benefited from quite a bit of good ‘luck’ and was a master of the twisted political pharse. Don’t tell me Gillard will hoping for a Tampa, or Latham is going to take over Liberal party leadership. She is more likely to suffer a Left version of Pauline Hanson.]

    no gillard does not have to wait for any of those things just focus on good policy and government. polls at the moment are irrelevant. if this poll was a week before the election was called it might matter but 30% of voters decide in the last week of the election campaign. look at brumby he was ahead 52/48 at the state vic election. polls shifted in the campaign mainly in the last week. a large proportion of people are not focused on politics except every three years and then in only one -two weeks of the campaign.

  10. SK
    It seems coincidental & good tactics that Sloppy came out with his outbursts stealing Swans thunder. 😡
    Were the reforms being worked on leaked or common knowledge?

  11. [If the Abbott Opposition even slightly get their act together Labor is in for a very rough time.]

    Good thats means they might be advocating good policy instead of negative opportunism. that would be good for the country. If they continue with the later they will not be able to go much higher and that lead will evaporate in a election campaign.

  12. I had read somewhere long before Sloppy said anything that they were investigating changes to the banks but it was just an aside in a raft of things they were working on. But there were no details.

    But I do know that in an interview on ABC24 that Laurie Oakes verified that the work had being going on for some eight months at the time of the interview.

  13. Sloppy mentioned ideas in parliament which were actually in the reform package.
    Swannie yelled at him that yes, they are good ideas but are not your own.

  14. Dee,

    I can’t believe that allowing blatant lies is the sign of a high quality of journalism. Forming and opinion based on facts is one thing. But lying in the press to drive an outcome should be made illegal.

  15. blue_green@47

    I think the reason why Abbott would win is that they are sick of him complaining about how bad the Gillard govt is and the only way to end the endless whining is to vote the blighter in.

    Nah, because he’ll be blaming Gillard for everything that his government stuffs up and continually frightening us about the Rudd/Gillard supposed failings – pink batts BOO, schools BOO, fuelwatch BOO, etc – until he’s booted out again. Remember, Howard was still jabbering about Keating era interest rates until the day Maxine kicked his arse.

  16. [Hope the ALP have got their PR tactics worked out & bloody sell what they achieve.]

    Not in the light of recent media releases.

    [A competative and sustainable banking system

    Wayne Swan posted Sunday, 19 December 2010

    Today the Gillard Government is announcing it will take further action to promote a competitive and sustainable banking system to give every Australian a fairer go.]

  17. [But lying in the press to drive an outcome should be made illegal.]
    Exactly what I said on the last thread. When pollies start attacking the media for their beat ups, lies and skewed reporting they are labled sooks & the media goes feral.
    God help us all with the two Murdochs, Packer & Rhinehart having almost unfettered control of the media.

  18. [So can the coalition maintain their election winning lead for three more years?]

    LOL. 3 Years?

    The punters are betting on a 2011 election.

    Whatever your views on when the election is held, one thing is clear now: Gillard has no mandate.

  19. [The punters are betting on a 2011 election.]

    brought on by who – the independents? not in their interest to go to the polls geewiz. keeping clutching at straws.

  20. Julian Assange is worthy of being accorded the status of an Australian hero imo. He certainly deserves that status much more than that other notable and oft wheeled out Aussie hero; whose claim to the title included being a convicted Police murderer and armed robber on a grand scale……

    Why do I think he deserves that accolade, when he is clearly a voracious sexual predator/completely lacking a moral compass/meglomaniacal…..and not forgetting, an itinerant who sponges on the goodwill of friends and supporters?

    My reason for having him amongst my small coterie of heroes is because he is challenging the lies, distortions, misrepresentations and unwarrented secrecy which is destroying our democratic way of life. The powerful members of the first – fourth estates are deliberately hiding facts from others in society for their own aggrandisement/ sexual gratification/ financial gain,etc…….at the expense of the vast majority of us.

    Julian Assange has the balls to stand up to these villains…….he is trying to “keep the bastards honest” (apologies to the late Don Chipp). For that he gets my enduring gratitude, and if his actions stop only one other episode such as this:  then he has done enough…….

  21. Correct me if I’m wrong on this as I haven’t been following politics as closely as I normally do but it seems to me that the recent spate of poll improvements for the opposition have come at times when they have done and said the least.

    Maybe William or Possum have the data at hand or can undertake the arduous task of correlating frequency and period in the media spotlight compared to polling outcomes. The reason I raise this is if Abbott only improves in the polls when they hide him away and the opposition are mostly mute, then the moment they have to make media appearances, as in an election campaign, then I suspect their fortunes may well reverse.

  22. Manager of Adelaide and Bendigo Banks, in an interview on ABC24, said that the Oppn were wrong in their criticisms of the new regulations.
    While he was speaking, the running footer said “Hockey says…”

  23. Well the indies might get jittery if they see they’ve backed the wrong horse.

    They might begin to think the jockey is trying to throw the race.

  24. [is freedom of speech trashed to hav th freeom of speech rite to hav a private converse kept private at a FA social function instead of publihised denying rite of privacy of private converses that is on of very fundamentels of freedom of speech]

    I would have thought, Ron, that if, as has been repeatedly indicated, the contents of the current “wikileaks” cables are already available directly to some 3 million US citizens with direct access to the stuff anyway, that claims about “private conversations” start to look a little thin!

    Pretty clearly if the US already provide access to such a vast number of people these conversations aren’t in any sense “private” really, and it might not actually be a bad thing if at least the occasional Aussie knows what has been written about them!

    Perhaps Australian diplomats and ministers might need to be a little circumspect about what they say, or at least ask their foreign colleagues not to take notes in many situations, now that they know that around 1% of the entire US population has access rights to their every word!

  25. So, given the smoothing in ER polls, the actual result for this week was 53-47 to Team Pants-On-Fire. Lets hope Team Gillard remembers to focus on governing, and things the Indies want, like a carbon tax.

    Gillard is fortunate that Christmas is coming, and journos are headed on holidays. Wikileaks will blow over for Oz by the time they come back. (Differnet story in the USA with the bank data next). I bit less authoritarian NSW-Right tactics and more adherence to legal principles and Labor’s stocks coudl again improve. With inflation under control and employment rising, the economy can only improve in the short term.

  26. Ron,

    Also it is not a private conversation if you are at a social function as a result of your position as a government representative.

  27. Socrates,

    The unemployment stats in the US and UK will be interesting reading. They will be the true indicator as to the state of the nation economically. I don’t think it will make for happy reading.

  28. [Space Kidette
    Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Also it is not a private conversation if you are at a social function as a result of your position as a government representative.

    So using your logic, I can regale here in full detail my conversation with the State Member for West Swan at her Xmas Party.

    Heard of the term “Off The Record”.

  29. Space Kidette

    Sure the US is still screwed economically. But we are not, and the US is only our fifth biggest trading partner anyway. By comparison, it is more important for us what happens in South Korea, let alone China. We will be fine if policy stays sensible.

    As I said when Rudd was PM, the best thing Gillard can do is listen to Henry and Stephens. Rudd was no economist, but he listened to them, and he was fine in that area. Gillard is fortunate to have some of the best brains in the business working for her. She should use them.

  30. Having said Labor can survive if it stops, catches breath, thinks (ignores Arbib!) and focuses on positive policy, I remain strongly in favour of Wikileaks in its current stoush with various governments. Assange may be no saint, but he is entiteld to proper legal process. Anyone who says otherwise is the sort of authoritarian type that sane people don’t elect to power.

  31. Dee
    Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink
    Can you please elaborate? “

    a 3.5 months tail of Labor losing 4% primary vote since th 21/8 election says is becomin fixed , and 4 % primary loss is huge Part is to Greens still playing popularism at Laborr’s expense but which Labor does not 10o% back , and over 2% is to Liberals/Lib pref leaning othrs and this is a criticol area of worrys

    later category is electon losing rite there alone , it is middle Australia talking for 3.5 mths , theese is part of millions of ordinary aussies who dont share many of Pber’s politcal elite’s Agenda , and is saying so

    In terms 1/ of labor’s very public ‘alliances photograf’ and now seeming folowing Greens own agendas’s ‘allianse with Greens that is very toxic to these poeples who ar unrepresent of middle australiens th millions th bogans sayeth th elitist bogins th minority of oz , and 2/ a Labor Party that seems total indecisive , part is polisy lets not trick ourselves and part of that part is on what Labor says/’sells’ on those polisys (unrelated to th MSN distoritons , as that’s sep issue & was so pre election anyway) so on lack of clarity one casts net to on CC , A-S , Afganistan , MMRE , MRB as it affects futre food prices and Econ purring sweet presently (for jobs) (tho lack sell clearly th NBN but thats sep issue) , but prob is polisy fine tunes needed then sell them big picture polisys into practicol reel life small picures with claritys , & also as said doing very distancing from Greens who toxic to bread & butter & jobs & living costs middle australiens tho would not know it with a lot of politcal elites who post here

    polls of a lot of labors primary vote loss is in B & W , to th lib leaning

  32. [Well the indies might get jittery if they see they’ve backed the wrong horse]

    The Indies are not the MSM. The Indies are not stupid. The Indies want a government which has at least some idea of where it wants to be heading.

    And most of all the Indies want a government that can budget its policies and does not stand for nothing but slogans.

    Leave the b/s to the newspapers!

  33. Socrates,

    My concern is not about Australia per se, I agree with you in that the collective brains trust we have at our disposal. Their advice is second to none.

    My concern is the social unrest that is about to beset both regions. My heart goes out to the families who will do it tough.

  34. SK –

    The unemployment stats in the US and UK will be interesting reading.

    The Spanish unemployment figure that stands out is the 18 – 25 yo bracket where
    40 % are unemployed. By the time the Euro block in general & Spain specifically recovers many in this group will be unemployable – already they are being referred to as a *lost generation* who live with their parents & get 300 Euros a month on which to survive. But not much of a future.

  35. Dave,

    Really, it is that high? While the data side of me get’s the economics of the situation, my heart really feels for their situation. What a waste.

  36. Has this been posted ? This is very bad news for JA . The US Justice system is not a good place to seek justice if you are an ‘ American hating terrorist’

    [Julian Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens, discussed the fate of the jailed WikiLeaks founder with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera TV, maintaining that U.S. authorities are trying to get custody of his client.

    “We have heard from the Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empaneled grand jury in Alexandria…just over the river from Washington DC, next to the Pentagon,” Stephens said. “They are currently investigating this, and indeed the Swedes we understand have said that if he comes to Sweden, they will defer their interest in him to the Americans. Now that shows some level of collusion and embarrassment, so it does seem to me what we have here is nothing more than holding charges…so ultimately they can get their mitts on him.”

    Last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “We have a very serious criminal investigation that’s underway, and we’re looking at all of the things that we can do to try to stem the flow of this information.”]

  37. Good to see the inquiry into banking reforms starting today. We can finally proceed to put to rest all the myths and misconceptions into banking.

    Fist into bat was Reserve Bank boss Glen Stevens. What a class act he is! The Bludgers who are interested and want to get themselves informed should hear what he had to say.

    The stock market liked it. 😉

  38. I’d expect the Coalition’s lead to be a bit larger considering all the stuff with Wikileaks, banking reforms, Murray Darling basin, climate change inaction etc etc etc.

    Abbott is doing the right thing by staying out of the media and saying that they need alternative policies if they want to be the government (a lot easier to say than do).

    Paul Keating said on Charlie Rose last week that Gillard is finding her feet at the moment and it’s a lot easier to find your feet in a leadership role when the economy is good than when it isn’t. I’d expect we’re going to see this sort of result for the next 3-6 months and then Gillard will find some true form. All she needs to do at this point is survive and she’ll be fine.

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