Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

The Australian has managed to keep its Newspoll result under wraps until publication, possibly because the highly unexpected result was being quintuple-checked to ensure nothing had gone amiss. The surprise is a big rebound for Labor after a string of poor shows, their primary vote up from an all-time low of 30 per cent to an almost respectable 36 per cent, and the 54-46 deficit recorded in the wake of the carbon tax announcement reversed to a 51-49 surplus (one wonders what metaphor Laurie Oakes might be able to employ this week). Labor has taken a chunk out of both the Coalition, down five points to 40 per cent, and the Greens, down three to 12 per cent (it seems the two-point post-carbon tax rise they recorded a fortnight ago was peculiar to that poll).

Newspoll seems to have hit upon a particularly bad sample for Tony Abbott, whose approval is down six to 33 per cent and disapproval up three to 54 per cent. However, this has not transferred into a huge improvement for Julia Gillard, who after a shocking result last week is up a point on approval to 40 per cent and down four on disapproval to 47 per cent. On preferred prime minister however she is almost back to where she was a month ago: over the past three polls it has progressed from 53-31 to 45-36 to 50-31.

While the figures are hard to believe at face value, this isn’t the first evidence to suggest that Labor has actually recovered slightly since the polls fell in behind 54-46 after the carbon tax announcement. The Morgan phone poll published on Friday, albeit that it came from a small sample, had the Coalition lead at just 51-49, and we have since seen the rolling fortnightly Essential Research track a point in Labor’s direction.

This post began life with a headline announcing the 53-47 to Coalition result in Essential Research, which I ran with as it appeared we wouldn’t be getting a Newspoll. It read thus:

Essential 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. Tony Abbott has been thrown a curve ball with a question on where the Coalition stood on climate change: 33 per cent believed it opposed any action, 36 per cent believed it supported action and 29 per cent didn’t know. Opinion on the effectiveness of the carbon tax is 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.

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.

4,659 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor”

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  1. [No Newspoll over the weekend?

    Why would that be?]

    Probably because its good news for the ALP – eg 50/50 TPP, a result so good for the ALP that the editing staff at the OZ are just discounting it as a write-off

  2. [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.

  3. So William ..or if Poss is about …does this mean no Newspoll till next week (when perhaps a rogue in favour of the govt washes out 😀 ?)

  4. So 29% Don’t Know where the coalition stand on Climate Change. But where was the box for “They stand where-ever the polls tell them to stand today”?

  5. If a pollie comments on the delay of a poll it is pounds to peanuts that

    1. it has inside info, and
    2. that the the delay suits a political agenda.

  6. If a poll had been conducted could you keep it secret? Surely even if the full figures never came out it would still emerge one had been done wouldn’t it?

  7. Whoever it was that suggested that Sarkozy was entering into the Libya adventure with undue enthusiasm because he thought it might help his polling was probably not far from the mark.

    The far right seem to be surging in viva la France at the moment.

    [The far-right National Front (FN) has gained ground in French local elections, with preliminary results suggesting the UMP party of President Nicolas Sarkozy has fared badly.

    The opposition Socialists have a strong lead after the first round of the cantonal elections, on 25%.

    But the FN surged to about 15% in Sunday’s vote, just behind the centre-right UMP, which has about 17% so far.

    It is a test of opinion ahead of next year’s presidential election.

    French TF1 television said turnout hit a record low, with 55.6% of the electorate choosing not to vote.

    The FN is thought to have qualified for run-off votes in nearly 400 cantons – France’s smallest administrative units – next weekend. In most of those areas the FN will be in a duel with the Socialists.

    Earlier this month, two opinion polls predicted that in next year’s presidential election, Mr Sarkozy could be knocked into third place by the FN leader, Marine Le Pen. ]

  8. On Q and A tonight there was an informal vote taken on the question of whether anyone believed that Tony Abbot thought climate change was real. Only 1 person put their hand up.

    Maybe, despite not loving labor, gillard, or another tax, maybe people are starting to see through the Abbott charade on this one?

  9. Nothing surprising here or bad for Labor. A gradual improvement for the government, carbon tax getting more acceptable (question on “do you expect electricity to rise anyway?” is telling), and of course, nuclear power takes a dive. Combined with the conspicuous absence of Newspoll, a fairly good day for the govt.

  10. While I am indulging in childish fantasies ….wouldn’t it be an orgasmic experience to be a fly on Abbott’s office wall if after all his time and effort on this hate/lies campaign had been for naught!!!!!!


  11. More from Mark Textor:


    markatextorMark Textor


    @sspencer_63 @ghostwhovotes they’ll publish tomorrow I’m sure.

    1 minute ago


    markatextorMark Textor


    @sspencer_63 @ghostwhovotes only out of sequence if they don’t publish tomorrow morning.

    11 minutes agoFavoriteReply

    markatextorMark Textor


    @HillbillySkill hi. If initial top line is beyond expected movement/s you check poll sample dist, quotas, DP, weighting etc and, yes, spin.

    25 minutes agoFavoriteReply]

  12. @VP well, yes. My point is that it must be fairly easy for those in the know to find out if a poll has been conducted but not published, as opposed to none being done at all.

  13. I watched Media Watch earlier and Holmes said ACMA claimed they had received no complaints about the bias on ‘Ratbag Radio’ and only act on complaints.

    I am sure I have seen mention on here previously of bludgers complaining. Or did we just discuss it?

    If anyone has the energy to do it, may I suggest listening to the start of each shock jocks program and recording it? In my limited experience, these clowns usually rave on about their talking points (always biased) at the start and then invite calls. It would be a good thing to put in a well produced single complaint that showed how there was systemic bias through all or at least most programs and on a range of issues consistent only in bagging the govt or boosting the opposition.

    This might be too much work for one person unless truly dedicated and not much else in their life.

    If a team effort could be organised we could even co-ordinate monitoring with some organised calls attempting to take a contrary point of view and recording the whole thing.

    There are programs that can be run on a PC that will record the program from their website and also if the call is made via Skype, that is also easily recorded.

    When a comprehensive complaint was prepared and lodged with ACMA, a copy cold be sent to Media Watch for follow up.

    Anyone up for it? I am willing to play some role.

  14. [@PuffyTMD panda
    Who believes Abbott believes in CC? The one person who put their hand up was asking to go to the toilet. #qanda]

  15. Doyley

    As I said before of course all countries detain asylum seekers to some extent while they determine their status. We do that with air arrivals with suspect papers. The point is the discrimination against boat arrivals, and the draconian conditions and denial of basic rights and support afforded them compared with unauthorised arrivals by air. In other words the punishment of boat refugees only because they arrive by boat and generate ignorant xenophobia on talkback and so the issue must satisfy the ‘Lindsay test’.

    As to criticism by other countries, I don’t know if other countries have criticised us openly. They tend not to. What nations represent displaced refugees? Sri Lanka; Afghanistan? I know human rights organisations have criticised the government. Breaching human rights standards is a serious issue. Here’s an article re-published by the Deccan Herald (original from the NYT), for example, which should make all of us ashamed:

    Australia’s own Guantanamo Bay
    By Norimitsu Onishi, The New York Times

  16. jen,
    [While I am indulging in childish fantasies]
    I am so looking forward to your works. Does “prick teaser” mean anything to you?

  17. Abbott seemed rather subdued today in parliament – maybe he’s saving up the histrionics for Wednesday’s Anti Carbon Tax Rally?

    On that note, good night all, off to bed! 🙂

  18. Story from the BBC in Tripoli:

    [The incident was witnessed by my relative’s friend at a bank in the Souk al-Jumaa district.

    An old woman, in her late 70s at least, I’m told, entered the bank to collect her 500 Libyan dollars ($410; £253) in state aid announced a couple of weeks ago.

    There were two long queues – one for men and one for women. She stood in the men’s queue.

    The men urged her to move to the women’s section. “Why?” she challenged.

    A man told her: “Ya haja [a term of respect for an elderly woman] this line is for men, women is the other one”.

    She loudly replied: “No. All the men are in Benghazi.”]

  19. This wouldn’t be the first time Newspoll had taken a week off, though it’s not common. So unless Textor knows something, I don’t know why he’s so sure. Martin O’Shannessy once said they checked a set of results “a third, a fourth and a fifth in fact” to make sure Labor really was – shock horror! – only 52-48 ahead. But even then the poll was still a Tuesday release. Newspoll also has a NSW election to deal with on Saturday, and long after a federal poll this week would have been forgotten, people will be pointing back to how close they come to calling an actual election result.

  20. Another, not so happy, story from te BBC in Tripoli. Sounds as if gaddafi is borrowing some tactics from the bad old days of the Argentinian Junta – aslo from :

    [My friend was ultimately lucky – he got out – while others continue to just disappear after detention with no information available to their families.

    My relative tells me of one of her friends. Her husband has been missing for two weeks now, he is 62 years old and was picked up from their home by men in plain clothes.

    We hear stories of this nature almost on a daily basis.]

  21. One thing in Libya I’m surprised by is the prominence of the part being taken by the US. They weren’t supposed to be at the vanguard were they? I hope they slink into the background as it goes on, and leave it to the Europeans. It’s best if this looks from the outside, especially in the Arab world like the UN peace-keeping, citizen-protecting job that it is, rather than yet another unilateral US military adventure.

  22. jv,

    For AS that arrive by boat with no papers or very little in id what would you suggest ?

    If they were to be processed on shore where ? Would you release them into the community without security checks taking into account the time it must take to check this info ?

    Do other “final destination countries ‘ do anything different in assessing AS who arrive in similar circumstances to Australian arrivals. I am excluding those who arrive by plane and those who overstay visas.

  23. 33

    Well at least now with the NFZ they can`t try the throw them out of the helicopter out at sea tactic that the most recent Argentinean junta employed.

  24. Doyley

    Looks like you need some information. Amnesty International isn’t a bad place to start. Here are their recommendations on CI and the discrimination against boat arrivals for a start:

    The government should end mandatory, offshore and remote detention. Once initial identity, health and security checks have taken place, asylum seekers should be housed appropriately in the community while their applications are assessed.

    All asylum seekers who come to Australia should be treated equally and processed in the same manner, regardless of whether they arrive by boat or plane. The government should abandon its plans to create yet another layer of unfair and inequitable processing for asylum seekers who arrive by boat, as it is seeking to do with the new Protection Obligation Determinations (POD) system, due to commence in March.

  25. Listening to the Carbon Tax debate is a bit of DaJaVu for this debate is similar to the debate we had over the GST during 1998.

    I think this debate will continue along those lines and will have the same result with the Government winning the arguement for when i look at Tone, i suspect all he has managed to do is excite the base.

    I think Jules needs to stick to the message and needs to ensure that issues that are real like cost of living pressures are handled in a positive way.

  26. My Say, earlier tonight you mentioned that you would like to visit your uncles war grave in France. Unfortunately I can’t take you with me, but my daughter and I will be visiting several CWG cemeteries in France, Belgium and Germany in early june and taking photos of some relatives headstones. Would you like us to take some photos for you? It would be no trouble and I would be happy to help out in a small way. If you would like us to do so, ask William for my contact details and we can make the arrangements re locations, names etc.

  27. 47

    It would almost certainly need doing again unless the brain and ears were not in the half that was asleep.

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