Newspoll quarterly breakdown: February-March

The Australian has published its quarterly geographic and demographic breakdowns of its federal polling data, compiling the results of the four polls it has published this year (it took January off). The national figures are therefore no surprise to us, as they are merely an average of this year’s polling: Labor on 34 per cent of the primary vote compared with 38.0 per cent at the election, the Coalition on 42 per cent compared with 43.6 per cent and the Greens on 13 per cent compared with 11.8 per cent (remembering that phone pollsters seemed to have acquired a tendency to overrate the Greens and underrate Labor). The Coalition holds a two-party lead of 51-49, compared with 50.1-49.9 to Labor at the election.

The real interest in the figures is in the various breakdowns offered, particularly by state. The most distinctive result on voting intention is the solid recovery for Labor in Western Australia, from a dismal base of 43.6 per cent at the federal election to 45 per cent in October-December 2010 to 48 per cent this time. A Labor hike in Queensland from 44.9 per cent at the election to 48 per cent late last year looked rather too much at the time, and sure enough the latest poll has it moderating to 46 per cent. Labor’s decline overall has been driven by NSW/ACT, from 49.5 per cent two-party at the election to 48 per cent in both quarters, and Victoria, from 55.3 per cent at the election to 55 per cent to 53 per cent. In South Australia, where Labor has nothing in the way of tight marginals, they have gone from 53.2 per cent at the election to 51 per cent and 52 per cent.

If such swings were uniform, the Coalition would gain Greenway, Robertson, Lindsay and possibly Banks in New South Wales, plus Corangamite and La Trobe (but not quite Deakin) in Victoria. Labor would gain Hasluck, Canning and Swan in Western Australia, and Brisbane in Queensland. Other things being equal, and leaving Banks with Labor, there would be a net shift of one seat in the Coalition’s direction: from 73 Coalition and 72 Labor to 74 and 71. This of course makes the notably unsafe assumption that all sitting cross-benchers would be re-elected. Furthermore, the capitals and non-capitals breakdowns suggest it would be worse for Labor than that. In the metropolitan areas which are home to most of the marginal seats, the two-party vote is at 50-50 compared with 52.5-47.5 in Labor’s favour at the election. In the non-capitals Labor has gained ground, now trailing 52-48 rather than 53.4-46.6.

On personal ratings, the most interesting finding is that both leaders have soured among the 50-plus age group. The results for Tony Abbott defy some of the stereotypes about his support base: his 52 per cent disapproval among the 50-plus is the highest of any age group, and a once substantially higher approval rating among this cohort has fallen right back to the field. He has also lost ground among 35-49s, as has the Coalition on the primary vote. Gillard is down four points on approval and up five on disapproval among the 50-plus, a situation which is reversed among the 18-34s, now clearly her best cohort.

New South Wales and Queensland are about equal as Julia Gillard’s worst state, owing to a post-election recovery in Queensland. Victoria and South Australia are roughly equal as her best (although her disapproval is up in South Australia), with Western Australia surprisingly close behind. Tony Abbott’s ratings have been consistently mediocre in New South Wales and Victoria and consistently neutral in Queensland, but he has weakened considerably in South Australia and Western Australia: from net neutral to minus 14 and minus 12. Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister is only six points in Queensland, elsewhere ranging from 15 points in New South Wales to 23 points in Victoria. Gender splits lean in the expected directions, though not as heavily as you would think. An exception is disapproval of Gillard, with women notably more reluctant to give her the thumbs down.

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.

3,128 comments on “Newspoll quarterly breakdown: February-March”

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  1. [David, you are a remarkably unintelligent person. You plainly haven’t understood a single thing I’ve said.]

    William your opinion of me means nothing, plus I will not resort to rude responses such as yours

  2. Victoria,

    Thanks for the link to the greens press release.

    To my uneducated eye it seems pretty tame.

    Plenty of “Greens will move.. ” and ” Government should consider.. ”

    Good to see I reckon. A little bit of sunlight between the government and greens is good for both.

    Just a bit of marking out territory before negotiations in my humble opinion.

  3. My 7.30 post on Ulhmann’s behaviour:

    Chris Ulhmann’s interview with Tony Abbott was an absolute disgrace. Ulhmann’s responsibility and obligation is to ask politicains, Labor or Liberal, searching questions. He failed miserably on this occassion and at other times when dealings with Liberals. His aggresive stand is clear for all to notice when he is dealing with the PM. You should never sell your integrity as a journalist because you have a political flavour.

  4. Thanks for the Brown info folks — just caught a snatch from SKY and wondered what he was on about. I knew he wanted a stiffer mining tax (sorry guys — carbon tax is so ingrained in my head I just automatically put the word ‘carbon’ before it) but the muscle flexing looked stronger on SKY.

    Also: I missed last nights Q&A — should I bother?

  5. Spot on from one of the commenters on the 7.30 blog:

    [The swirling of blue and red behind your presenters is disturbing; enough to bring on an epileptic attack. I’d prefer to relax and concentrate on the debate de jour at 7.30pm. I feel as if I’m looking at the inside of my eyeballs after a long day when I watch.]

    Beautiful image: “looking at the inside of my eyeballs.”

  6. I’m with Bob Brown.

    Business couldn’t get off the arses to support the tax when the crap was hitting the fan, why should they get anything out of it now.

    Pearls before swine.

    I reckon funding universal dental care would be a big vote winner too.

  7. Hi all,

    Long time reader here, not much of a poster.

    What is the latest on the upcoming revolting rally? I dont hear much where i am in the press and on TV.

    How is the Get Up Rally looking?

  8. BigBob

    I agree in principle. But what about the tax breaks for small business. Small business is doing it tough. I believe tax breaks would be a vote winner too.

  9. jenauthor

    I missed q&a last night as well. I read some tweets about it. It appears that the liberal Senator Connie somthing or another was obnoxious, and Tanya Pilbersek was unimpressed. I may give it a go later on iview.

  10. Swan sticking to their agenda re mining tax revenue to be used for Company tax cuts, asset write offs for small business, superannuation increase and infrastructure spending.

  11. At last some smart politics from Bob of the Greens. Lets hope labor is smart enough and strong enough to deal with it sensibly. IMHO looking strong against business is a look it needs badly.

    Can Bob bring the indies along? Is a dental scheme something Windsor and Oakeyshots electorates would value? Obviously Katter’s mob lost most of their teeth long ago.

  12. [Can Bob bring the indies along? Is a dental scheme something Windsor and Oakeyshots electorates would value? Obviously Katter’s mob lost most of their teeth long ago.]

    While Katter is a bit of a loose cannon, I liked his fire in parlt yesterday — of course the media has ignored the ‘hypocrisy’ attacks from the Indies against the coals. But it was heartwarming to see that the Indoes are no longer being so polite with these people.

  13. jenauthor

    for me the Indies firing shots at the coalition was an absolute highlight. Of course, I have not seen it being replayed anywhere on Sky. Should I be surprised?

  14. adam,

    In a previous interview Ulhmann let Abbott claim NZ had no recession because of the GFC. Abbott handed Ulhmann a great “gotchya” and he completely missed it.

  15. It seems to me that the Others primary vote has risen around 5% since the last election. In NSW it’s risen about the same rate in spite of the state election.

    Granted, it looks like they’re gaining that off the ALP, but it doesn’t look like the LNP are gaining off the Independents in the poll. Of course all that’s highly speculative as we don’t know what’s going on in individual seats.

    Still …

  16. Heffernan is really itching to get stuck into Coles. McLeod can’t even get through his opening statement without being interrupted.

  17. and of course, Others would include parties like Family First, Christian Democrats, One Nation, Socialist Alliance etc so we can’t take that as definitive support for the Independents

  18. I know this is not the NSW thread, but I am watching BOF presser. What the heck!
    BOF and the journos are very aggressive with each other. Is this NSW style generally?

  19. [I know this is not the NSW thread, but I am watching BOF presser. What the heck!
    BOF and the journos are very aggressive with each other. Is this NSW style generally?]
    I saw that. They were aggressive and disbelieving.
    Two good things about BOF though. He doesn’t like Hanson or duck shooting.
    I think he’s finding it hard to get out of campaigning mode though. Hell Bazz you’ve got a record majority and won’t face the people for 4 years. Give up the campaigning and get on with governing.

  20. Yes please we want Paul.

    As for our host’s view i would expected more to get what he was saying and more to politely disagree. But perhaps we have very few philosophy students – I know I am not!

  21. Does anybody know who the Senator with grey hair and striped red tie is? (Senate Estimates Committee). He seems to be quite good.

  22. [BOF and the journos are very aggressive with each other. Is this NSW style generally?]

    BOF hasn’t pandered to them. Right from the word go he’s run his own game. Journos probably feel slighted.

  23. [BOF won’t get an easy run with the MSM in NSW unlike Abbott and Barnett in the west.]
    And I think he knows the public won’t put up with any spin, scandal or broken promises. The Libs came in saying essentially that they are pure. If they stray at all they will be given little leeway.

  24. I saw BOF on channel 9 this morning saying that NSW Labor will not have a surplus but instead will have a four and a half billion black hole. Therefore the NSW ex labor Govt was extremely competent.

    I also noticed that he did not make any comment about the eleven and a half billion black hole in the Fed LNP election promises.
    If four and a half billion black hole is extremely incompetent what is an eleven and a half billion black hole Bazza?


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