Morgan phone poll: 51-49 to Coalition

For the second week in a row Morgan has published results from a phone poll of around 520 respondents, from which the only conclusion that can be safely drawn is that if you conduct small-sample polls you get erratic results. Whereas last week’s survey gave the Coalition a thumping 56-44 lead – about 2 per cent above the overall trend – this week it has it at 51-49, which is about 3 per cent below it. As always, I’m using the two-party figure which apportions minor party and independent preferences according to the results of the previous election, rather than how respondents allocated them. Labor’s primary vote this time is 35.5 per cent rather than 31.5 per cent, the Coalition is on 42.5 per cent rather than 47.5 per cent, and the Greens are 12 per cent rather than 10 per cent.

Whereas last week’s poll had opposition to the carbon tax at 57-33, this time it’s 54-38 – which is still quite a lot worse for the government than the 48-35 and 49-38 results from Essential Research over consecutive weeks. Last week Morgan found 72 per cent believing the Prime Minister had broken an election promise with only 19 per cent believing otherwise – this week the figures are 68 per cent and 23 per cent. Support for Tony Abbott’s promise to rescind the legislation is essentially unchanged, with 44 per cent (steady) in favour and 46 per cent (up one) against.

Morgan has also published phone poll figures on nuclear energy, and even though this one too is from Wednesday and Thursday evenings, for some reason the sample is 635 rather than 523. Fifty-nine per cent support the export of uranium for peaceful purposes with 34 per cent opposed, though it seems for many “peaceful purposes” doesn’t include nuclear power: with that qualification, only 44 per cent were supportive with 50 per cent opposed. Sixty-one per cent say they are opposed to the development of nuclear power plants in Australia with only 34 per cent supportive: figures provided from a poll in September 1979 are provided, showing 52 per cent support and 35 per cent opposition. Forty-nine per cent don’t believe other countries should build nuclear power plants either, against 37 per cent who believe they should.

UPDATE (Monday): Essential Research has the Coalition lead down from 54-46 to 53-47, with Labor’s primary vote up a point to 36 per cent and the Coalition down one to 46 per cent. Essential have also thrown Tony Abbott a curve ball by asking respondents where they believe he stood on climate change: 33 per cent believed the Coalition opposed any action, 36 per cent believed it didn’t and 29 per cent didn’t know. Opinion on the effectiveness of the carbon tax is perfectly evenly divided: 43 per cent believe it will make big polluters reduce emissions, 42 per cent believe it will not; 41 per cent believe it will increase investment in renewable energy, 38 per cent believe it will not. While 79 per cent believe a carbon tax will increase the price of electricity, 78 per cent expect it will increase anyway (though presumably not by as much).

The poll also records a slump in support for nuclear power, to 35 per cent from 43 per cent late last year, with opposition up from 37 per cent to 53 per cent – and strong opposition up from 16 per cent to 32 per cent. The level of support for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan is now up to 56 per cent from 47 per cent in October, a steady 30 per cent support the commitment at the current level, and only 5 per cent (down from 10 per cent) believe it should be increased.

GROUP SUBSCRIPTIONS UPDATE: We have now cleared 50 takers for our Crikey group subscriptions offer, so anyone else who wants to take part can now rest assured they can land themselves a year’s subscription (or an additional year on top of the one you’ve already paid for if you’re a subscriber already) for the outstanding price of $65. If you want in, drop a line to Jade Butler at

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.

3,249 comments on “Morgan phone poll: 51-49 to Coalition”

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  1. vp

    Not really, IMHO. Ms Milne is almost entirely predictable.

    I did enjoy tonight’s bit of doubletalk, though: wtte (in summary), the Greens support ‘Peace through War.’ Because of the context, I won’t say that it is up there with ‘Arbeit macht frei’… but you get the drift.

  2. i think i feel that the libs are loosing this one to just like the levy and the NBN

    night Paul J just write to the controlling body

  3. Take my hat off to Lachie Harris. I was expecting not much but he made some good comments and the last about opinion pieces was terrific.

    Shows he is a true Labor bloke to have helped out JG in the last 2 weeks of the campaign after all that happened with Kev. A good heart to also praise her tonight as well as Kev as FM.

  4. Gusface

    Are you saying Indonesia has agreed to have a UN-run refugee processing centre on its soil even though it isn’t a signatory?

  5. [Paul_J

    Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Wonder if there holding back the Newspoll until wednesday.

    Thanks Frank

    Or they’re not wanting any noise for the NSW Election Eve poll on Saturday.

  6. Q&A Ratings:
    Lachlan Harris 10/10 – Top bloke, and he gets extra marks because he worked for Rudd. 😀
    Jason Clare 8/10 – Very slick, impressive grasp of the issues.
    Christine Milne – 7/10 – a little too self-righteous for me, but overall I agree with her general philosophy
    Christopher Pyne – 2/10 – Made a few good comments, but once again, tried to be a smart arse.
    Miranda Devine – 0/10 – enough said! 😀

  7. Well, I just tried to say, ‘Good night all’ but the dragon running the algorithms reckoned that it was a duplicate posting.

  8. [Take my hat off to Lachie Harris. I was expecting not much but he made some good comments and the last about opinion pieces was terrific.]

    Bh i dont know anything about him . who is he

    down here on the island we dont know much lol

  9. Boerwar @3190,

    My understanding is reps from Timor L’este were in Australia earlier this year having some indepth talks with the government.

    I have no idea what evolved out of these talks but my guess is some pretty big economic incentives would have been on the table.

    Once again only time will tell.

  10. O now i remmeber when Mr Rudd left didnt people say he left wtte, and other things about him see he proved the light alwasy shines on the hill when needed

  11. So do you all give Lachlan Harris credit for saving Gillard’s election campaign, when it looked like it was going off the rails? 😉
    That tells me that Julia & Kevin had buried the hatchet long before the MSM thought.

  12. [Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
    No Newspoll?

    Must be good for the Government.]

    is it in the third draw

  13. [Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
    No Newspoll?

    Must be good for the Government.]

    is it in the third draw

  14. [Managing a concentration camp for 6,000 people (on current figures) might not appeal to people who have only recently come out from under tyranny.]

    There is this country a bit south of there I know of. Heaps of space. Big enough population to handle it without it making even a blip on the demographics – hey you could fit the numbers into a country town football ground and still leave most of the stands unoccupied! Rich as Croesus when it comes to paying for it cf global comparisons.

    Oh, sorry, Tony, or was that the polling computer, says “No”.

  15. [Mr Harris spent a fair bit of the time not actually answering questions. The answers I did find interesting were, wtte:]

    He might not have answered the questions (all of them) but he did give clear views of the political shite surrounding these questions was good, for mine.

  16. The Libya Expert interviewed by Ali on LL is not impressed at all with what the West (read UK & France) has chosen to start a war at ibya.

    Notice Robert Gates today is furiously trying to untangled USA from this campaign by saying it will be handled to another authority, but to whom.

    Well, the Germans seem to the clever one by staying well away.

  17. mysay – Lachlan Harris was Kev’s press secretary for 4 years. Young and enthusiastic but sometimes rubbed the senior juniors up the wrong way – in their opinion!

  18. [I have no idea what evolved out of these talks but my guess is some pretty big economic incentives would have been on the table.

    Once again only time will tell.]

    one suggestion i wrote to my mp about last year when this started was that they train young timor people to build the center, have apprentice ships from australia, and also training in catering and all the other skills needed, this would give the country work and train is young people, it would be some thing we could give back to the timorese
    al this training of course done at our expense ,,,, why not.
    there would also have to be better health facilites so then the people of timor could be included in this and also more teachers , i feel the children of refugees should be in school immediatly.
    then it would be a great thing for us to do for all concerned

  19. Doyley
    To answer your first question, it undermines our authority in the region and around the world when we are in breach of our human rights Treaty obligations for cheap political reasons. It looks dreadful, and don’t imagine for a minute that our less-developed neighbours don’t know of it.

  20. [Posted Monday, March 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
    my say,

    Kevin Rudd will be remembered as someone who has served Australia well]

    i loved last weeks question, wtte kevin rudd off again everywhere. wtte.
    and Julia said, well thats what FM, do. priceless.

    going this time

  21. Concetta on QandA next week.

    Bloody wonderful.

    And on that note, an an expectant delay with NewsPoll I will bid you all goodnight.

  22. [Shows he is a true Labor bloke to have helped out JG in the last 2 weeks of the campaign after all that happened with Kev. A good heart to also praise her tonight as well as Kev as FM.]

    Also — if he’d been the leaker, she wouldn’t have asked him.

  23. [6000 people is a lot to have together, i dont think i fancy that,

    may be a couple of areas.]

    Indeed. Sounds almost as big and frightening as the Collingwood Cheersquad! (shudder!!!)

    Well, on reflection….;-)

  24. jv,

    my own personal view is I support the direction in which the government is now moving on this issue especially with regard to women and children in detention.

    Two questions.

    Do you know of any “Final destination ” countries that do not detain AS for health and security checks ?

    Do you know of any countries that have come out and condemned Australia on this issue?

  25. my say

    We don’t have to have 4000 ‘excised territory’ islands. That is absurd. We can bring the refugees on shore for processing and release them into the community in the meantime with the structured assistance of community organisations. That is what we are mature enough to do, as we have shown before Keating and Howard. Alan Jones and his ilk be damned.

  26. Tom Hawkins,

    I have no idea about those who buy and sell polls but it is a case of the polls will come out eventually, with or without gaps. No one, it seems, has tried to get an explanation for irregular timings.

  27. [It does seem odd for Newpoll to be kept under wraps despite parliament sitting this week.]

    IF Garnaut’s tax cut message cut through … the Newspoll people might have gotten a bit of a shock.

    Japan and Libya might have made people want to go to the ‘safety’ of the incumbent govt?

    Weeeeelllll …… perhaps not but I can wish can’t I? Would certainly put the fear of Dog into the coalition, wouldn’t it? Be worth taping QT just to see the ‘atmosphere’ on the conservative’s benches.

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