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. vp. taa. so much. I am a hardened veteran on Pollbludger.

    It is the waste of space I object to.

    For example, much as Scorpio and I get on, what was all that crap with Boerwar?

    Stuff like that simply usurps pertinent comment.

  2. [For example, much as Scorpio and I get on, what was all that crap with Boerwar?]
    Just one of the frequent pissing competitions here. Unless there is something interesting involved, just move on and find something of interest.

  3. [So, how does one reconcile the difference in approval of the flood levy when comparing Newspoll/Nielsen with Essential?]
    Timing? Framing of question?

  4. An interesting question would be: do voters change their votes because of published polls? If that were the case there would be a case for making polls illegal.

  5. See. Boerwar. You are doing it.

    Scorpio knows what he is on about. He too is Pollbludger Vet.

    So leave it. Not because we (necessarily) know better.

  6. [I think it was BB who suggested Labor playing nice over Shitgate was a mistake. Perhaps he was right.]
    Yep. It hasn’t had any exposure on the weekend media, has it!

  7. Mithrandir @54,

    I suppose the same question can be asked about PV of 38 with Essential compared with Nielsen/Newspoll at 32.

    Interesting tomorrow with Essential. It gives a trend over two weekends so if there is any fall in labor PV we can assume that support is falling. Why ? I have no idea.

    All we can do is keep on keeping on.

  8. It would be good to see the break up of the states to get a picture of where the poorer polling is. Obviously there would be a bigger margin of error.
    I know In Qld the CM was bashing Julia over funding of council infrastructure such as water treatment plants etc. As Well Can do was on TV repeating the same stuff.

  9. crikey whitey,

    Swap screen names with me for a while and you will probably get more attention on the board than you would really wish for! 😉

    Sometimes it is good to fly under the radar a bit here.

  10. [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.]

    Are there any recent polls that have gender breakdowns? The last I remember was Morgan ages ago (showed women boosted Gillard 1-2%on TPP)

  11. Hey guys – many, many times we have been told by the experts – one poll is nothing. What does your gut tell you? Mine says – without equivocation- the die is cast. JG is going to be our PM for a long time to come and TA a fading curiosity “How did that nutjob ever get to be LOTO?” *laughter* “No idea” .

    The best thing about this poll is that TA gets to stay for a nanosecond longer and Robb and Rupert have to think HARDER about how to make the BIG NEW LEADER change.

    I am bailing now but I am happy about today. Go Julia!

  12. Annie,

    I think that is a issue the government has to deal with before it gets out of hand.

    If not any positive action mmme for the government will be lost.

  13. crikey # 30

    [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.]

    I think you make a very valid point and I understand why you would be upset about that.

    Over the years and it has been since early 2007 that I have been posting I have noticed the same thing.

    Sometimes this place can seem like a closed shop and it is not good at embracing new comers. People get so caught up in making a point in an arguement with other posters that the newcomer is ignored. That is something we all need to address.

    I hear that you have apparently had a difficult day with moving and all but please don’t give up on this site you clearly enjoy discussing what goes on here.

    The rest of us should all remember our manners. Common courteousy cost nothing to make someone feel welcome.

    Given the poll results tonight we are all going to have a few more things to worry about and we will need your contributions.

    Crikey trivia is OK as well! None of us here are Einsteins.

  14. [vp
    Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
    An interesting question would be: do voters change their votes because of published polls? If that were the case there would be a case for making polls illegal.]

    …evidence or anecdote? I certainly think when polls show a clear win for one party it narrows on election day (perhaps a poll effect but this is difficult to prove).

  15. [Just out of curiosity, what was the Coalition polling 5 months after the 1998 election?]

    On Newspoll, at that point both major parties had gained about three points from the collapse of One Nation. So no realy change on on 2PP.

  16. That’s not to say this can’t be turned around. There is still 2 and a half years to go. I sincerely hope though that this is still reaction to the mindset that had been bogging Labor down to a few weeks ago.

    With some successes and a bit more optimism and assertiveness from the ALP, the numbers can improve again.

    However, don’t bank on the “when they see the alternative, they’ll come back” strategy. With numbers like these, it’s clear Australia will take Abbott and the Coalition if need be.

  17. perhpas there is no polling qld, and the nsw people think you mean state gov.

    how can this happend when the opp. are so bad fighting amoung themselves and we are governing it doesnt make any sence at all, frankly i dont beleive it

  18. [So no realy change on on 2PP.]
    Was that a bit of blue sky amidst the gloom? I know we are all bludgers but, really, get things into perspective and keep your blood pressures level.

  19. [Well you can kiss any chance of Tony Abbott being removed as leader goodbye.

    If next week’s newspoll holds up with similar figures, it is clear: Australia are warming up to Abbott’s alternative.]

    I am afraid this may well be right. This is a very bad poll for ALP if taken right after the worst week for Coalition and best for ALP for months (perhaps ever for this govt?). It appears its not the base Tony is securing but the middle (who can work out how??), whereas it is the base that Julia is losing.

    If the ALP primary vote is in the low 30s that wont be tolerated by the “powers” for too long! Julia will be in trouble by the end of the year if this doesn’t improve!

  20. I am actually pleased to not only see some dire polling but to also see Abbott becoming more palatable. It really ensures that Labor will focus on improving its own standing, rather than just trying to scare the country against the alternative.

  21. nelson will get top billing so dont watch or listen.
    poor julia how does she cope, with all this, why bother,

    have to stay optermistic though but is very confusing love to know who and where these people ask.
    pollsters should be made to give a lsit of suburbs and town they call how do we know they are not all liberals areas by co incidence.
    morgan poll was the other way the others 50/ 50 really does polling make any sence considering that telstra keep loosing up to 6000 home lines per month
    in the end if this keeps happening polling will mean nothing.

  22. [If next week’s newspoll holds up with similar figures, it is clear: Australia are warming up to Abbott’s alternative.]

    WHY! I can’t understand why people would prefer a testosterone fuelled boofhead over a capable professional as their PM.

  23. [Gweneth
    Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
    ML back – surprisement! Ciao!]

    …dont go for my sake Gweneth! Can’t stay long anyway (I had a friend over, thats why havent been around- not just waiting for a good poll you know!!!!)

  24. [perhpas there is no polling qld, and the nsw people think you mean state gov.]

    I think there might be something in the latter, though obviously not the former. Nielsen usually publishes state-by-state breakdowns – the sample sizes are too small to be useful, but it will nonetheless be interesting to see how these results are constructed.

  25. Agree TSOP.

    When Abbott became Opp Leader I had a good chuckle. Then I realised – “shit… this feels a lot like when Howard took the Lib leadership in 95…”

    There is a hell of a long way to go, and we can’t predict what is going to happen, but don’t think “Nah… Australia won’t vote THAT bloke on…”

    Because it’s happened before.

  26. Sorry – I said I was going but just checked out some other sites before I shut down:

    For those that wanted to know Barnie’s comment:

    WA Premier Colin Barnett told reporters the GST element of the deal struck with Kevin Rudd last year was a “show-stopper” as far as his state was concerned.

    “Once the prime minister took the GST matter off the table that did open the door for an agreement,” he said.

    “There has been a fair degree of goodwill and give and take on all sides.”

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