Nielsen: 54-46 to Coalition

The first Nielsen poll for the year suggests Labor’s morale recovery last week will be short-lived: according to GhostWhoVotes, it has the Coalition opening up a 54-46 lead on two-party preferred. Labor’s primary vote is 32 per cent (exactly where Newspoll had it), with the Coalition on 46 per cent (two points higher) and the Greens on 12 per cent (two points lower). Again in common with Newspoll, it finds a majority of respondents nonetheless supporting a flood levy, of which 52 per cent approve and 44 per cent disapprove. Tony Abbott’s ratings are little changed: approval down one point to 46 per cent, disapproval up one to 49 per cent. Julia Gillard is down two points on approval to 52 per cent and up four on disapproval to 43 per cent, and her lead as preferred prime minister has narrowed from 53-40 to 51-41. If Nielsen’s usual procedure was followed, the poll would have been conducted between Thursday and Saturday from a sample of 1400.

UPDATE: Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald reports the New South Wales segment of the poll has Labor trailing on the primary vote 31 per cent to 48 per cent: this would be from a sample of about 450, with a margin of error of about 4.5 per cent. Nielsen pollster John Stirton suggests federal Labor might be suffering in NSW from the imminence of a train wreck state election, although the swings on these numbers are in line with the rest of the country. Coorey provides more evidence for the swing’s uniformity when he says Labor is doing poorly in the states that bedevilled it at the election: New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. The poll also finds opinion continuing to divide evenly over a price on carbon, which 46 per cent support and 44 per cent oppose. Sixty-five per cent say they approve of Julia Gillard’s handling of recent natural disasters, for all the good it has done her.

UPDATE 2: Crikey reports better news for Labor from Essential Research, with Labor gaining a point on two-party preferred to 50-50. Since Essential Research combines two separate weekly polling periods, this is a more significant move than it would be from another pollster. Labor’s primary vote is up two points to 40 per cent, its best result since late October, while the Coalition is down two to 44 per cent. On each measure this is Labor’s best showing since the poll published on November 1.

Furthermore, the poll offers evidence of Tony Abbott taking a solid personal hit following the events of last week: his disapproval is up nine points since a month ago to 46 per cent and his approval is down four to 38 per cent. Julia Gillard has also gone backwards, down two on approval to 48 per cent and up five on disapproval to 41 per cent. While this is her worst disapproval rating yet from Essential, the approval is her second best since July: last month seemed an anomalously good result for her, and “don’t know” has reached a new low of 11 per cent. Gillard has also slightly widened her lead as preferred prime minister from 47-32 48-31. Crikey also reports the opening of a substantial gender gap, which has long been assumed but not always strongly backed by the data: Gillard’s preferred prime minister lead is a thumping 52-26 among women, but only 45-36 among men. Gillard’s net approval is almost even among men but plus 15 among women, while Abbott while is minus 12 among women and only slightly negative among men.

More worringly for Labor, the poll finds a substantial shift against the National Broadband Network since opinion was last gauged in September. Support is down eight points to 48 per cent, with opposition up from 18 per cent to 31 per cent. There is also very strong support for a permanent disaster relief fund: 63 per cent against only 29 per cent opposed.

UPDATE 3: Full Essential Research report here.

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.

6,529 comments on “Nielsen: 54-46 to Coalition”

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  1. I snuck in 2833 on the last thread, which was:
    [Well, obviously, Labor will get hammered in October 2013, or not. Still, a little now would be nice.

    Tomorrow’s headlines will show who’s who.]

  2. 54 – 46 in Feb 2011. Big Whoop!

    Any good work done by the government will translate into poll results when it matters. (in the election year).

  3. That poll is terrible for Labor.

    Fewer than one in three Australians will give Labor a first preference. 68 Australians in every hundred will put their first preference somewhere else.

    OTOH, 44 Australians out of every hundred are willing to put Abbott in as Prime Minister.

  4. Don’t forget Bludgers, Valentine’s Day tomorrow 😈

    Could I send you some budgie smugglers victoria :kiss:

    *night guys/gals*

  5. victoria

    kezza2 (tucker)

    thanks both.

    It is on Sky so will watch at a more leisurely pace.

    You may wonder why I am posting on what is trivia, under the circumstances, but I find it so irritating that one spends heaps of time researching and posting really relevant stuff, and to have no response whatever.

    For example, I posted not once but twice my response to Abbott meltdown. I posted overnight last night, had about three hours sleep, posted on my choked and disgusted reaction as I watched a little stomach churning Insiders, then cleared off.

    I spent the rest of the day moving stuff, with today the help of my dear ones, as I have been doing for some weeks, leaving my dear little now sold place by the beach. Not cos I wanted to, but the neighbour is an Abbott. Psychopath. My dear ones had said, don’t let her drive you out. But she has.

    This is not about me.

    But really.

  6. [When was this poll taken does anyone know the dates? Does it include Abbotts frozen minutes?]
    I don’t think we should expect there to be any significant change because of Abbott’s behaviour in the Riley interview. I do think, however, that that interview will polarise genders a little more with women feeling more disquieted about him and men empathising with the desire to snot Riley between the eyes. It will take time to play out though.

  7. [44 Australians out of every hundred are willing to put Abbott in as Prime Minister.]
    Add one as soon as I have my emigration papers in order. Afghanistan seems nice.

  8. In my last comment for a while (busy times ahead again):

    Not a good poll for Labor, and there is ages until an election so it’s not all over.

    BUT – we should be hoping that Abbott does remain leader for the election. Because, on recent figures, if he is ousted and any of the main candidates replace him, it would be dire for the Government. These polls are showing that they want to vote Labor out but don’t like Abbott. Sitting precariously.

  9. Boerwar,

    [Abbott closing the gap with Gillard significantly on approval/disapproval figures: bad for Gillard; good for Abbott. ]

    Not too good for Robb, Turnbull or Hockey, though! 😉

  10. crikey whitey,

    No offence but in bludging you get what you get. It is not like writing to an agony column. Lots of peeps read here but do not comment.

  11. maybe the NSW voters lump state and federal ALP together? it also shows that despite his myriad failings, Abbott is an effective LOTO – so it is good to see him self immolating

  12. There’s something dodgy about this piece of polling that only time can sort out. It is just not the way polls behave in these circumstances something is amiss.

  13. I think that it takes a week or two for opinions to change. I don’t think happensgate was an epiphany to many voters. However I think it will be another negative weight on the scales which will weigh against Abbott when it sinks into many peoples’ perception.

    And from a statistical point of view, this poll could be an outlier.

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