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. Gus:

    Yes, I have antivirus software installed. But I’ve just done a scan and no threats have been detected.

    Are you sure it was that link scribd link what did it?

  2. [Then run your anti-virus and, more importantly, your anti spyware software to make sure you have killed the beast.]

    If possible (and it is a pain as things run slowly) restart your computer in safe mode and run the AV software. That will sometimes do a better clean.

  3. gus and big bob

    my son in law has installed soft ware that he can fix the computer from his home
    ill just let him fix it
    if i have problem and i am here its so spooky you can see his typing from his end.

    one day i was at my daughters and we heard this voice say are you still on that computer,

    i though i d drop dead with shock

    he just seems to know everything about them and he is an it trained person.

  4. [accidentally clicked it and voila


    MY SAY

    get someone to help yo]
    so does that mean that sight i was looking at may not be what it said it is,

    gosh i am glad i did nt buy anything.

  5. [Compadre, security 101, your browsers should block all popups.]


    kids computer

    only found out today they had let mcafee lapse

    now it is more secure than ft knox

    (crosses fingers)

  6. Party elder Rodney Cavalier agrees with some of us here as to the prospects for Labor fixing itself. He doesn’t hold back today, saying nothing will change in the party, and says the National Executive is implicated in that too. Amazing that 130 ALP branches have closed in the last 16 years, and most of the rest are ‘phantoms’:
    [Labor’s machine will learn nothing
    What are the prospects for meaningful ALP reform? None, actually. Within weeks it will be business as usual. Giving meaning to ALP membership involves a serious involvement in forming policy and candidate selection. Empowering the membership means disempowering union officials.
    That is not going to happen; if it did, most of the administrative committee would be out of business and most of the MLCs and senators. So, too, the members of the ALP National Executive, who must not escape blame as co-conspirators in this cataclysm. The executive endorsed candidates without any base in the party and protected the horrors perpetrated by the NSW machine. Real reform means exposing every MP to review and replacement by party members. None of this will happen. Labor’s culture of entitlement is rotten through and through.]

  7. Oh I see why I didn’t get the pop up: Chrome blocks ads and popups automatically.

    Gus: are you still using Internet Explorer?

  8. [GREENS leader Bob Brown has carpeted future Senate colleague Lee Rhiannon for her anti-Israel stance, telling her the policy was a mistake that cost the party votes in the NSW state election. ]

    Bob Brown has just demonstrated why the radical left cannot park a protest vote with the Greens.

    The only real option is an informal vote.

    I feel strongly that these side issues reveal more about our politicians that they realise. It is one of the reasons why I cannot vote for Julia Gillard despite being a lifelong Labour voter; and despite her obvious intellectual and political abilities. Her leading a fawning bi-partisan Delegation to the Racist Apartheid State of Israel was the last straw for me.

    One day this micro vote could possibly make all the difference.

    The only reason politicians avoid the issues of Israel’s dehumanizing treatment of the Palestinians is the Berserk-like, foaming-at-the-mouth retribution from Pro-Israeli Jewish activist. They need to be called out on it. It devalues our democracy, and makes us complicit in Israels crimes.

  9. [LATIKAMBOURKE | 7 minutes ago
    Mark Dreyfus ‘Australia would be the poorer if we…cut off relations w. Israel – which is ridiculously what Lee Rhiannon is calling for.’

    LATIKAMBOURKE | 9 minutes ago
    Mark Dreyfus ‘the extreme views…expressed by…Greens party representatives are at odds with what mainstream Australia would accept.’

    ABCNEWSINTERN | 10 minutes ago
    I thought @pinglo would leave us shortly for something bigger. Turns out she’s getting bigger and leaving us briefly. #ninemonthswithoutping

    LATIKAMBOURKE | 11 minutes ago
    Labor’s Mark Dreyfus ‘we are not in a Coalition…with the Greens…One of these differences is on the issue of relations with Israel.’]

  10. [are we under attack from people who think we say toooo much]

    my say, i believe the CIA, KGB, MI6, Mossad, BIN (Indonesia), GDSE, Sinhua, Stasi and the Vatican Secret service are all watching and monitoring PB on daily basis.

    i have been quiet lately.

  11. [AndrewCatsaras Andrew Catsaras
    Here’s something to ponder: Gillard (-7) net satisfaction, Abbott (-21) net satisfaction. (Newspoll) Think about that for a while guys.

  12. Look at this comment under Cavalier’s piece from Michael Hatton, who lost preselection for Blaxland, Keating’s old seat, in 2007.

    [Michael Hatton, former Member for Blaxland Posted at 9:58 AM Today
    ‘Nothing will come of nothing.’ (Will Shakespeare) NSW Labor is a hollowed-out husk blown away on 26 March. It has no centre, no core, no guiding ideology, no heart and no guts and no brains. The revolution of nihilism began with the Right taking over Young Labor. It was consolidated by Eric and Mark, who directed and controlled Young Labor’s appointment to majorities on every machinery committee, and gave licenses to Young Labor operatives to stack against sitting Right-wing Members, whose only appeal was to Committees stacked against them. Arbib perfected using the newspapers, especially the Telegraph, in conjunction with David Penberthy, to destroy sitting Federal Members. From 2003 pre-selection was By Appointment Only at State and Federal level – the National Executive becoming a mere cipher. The only person to determine the ‘merit’ of a candidate was the General Secretary of the NSW, the only person to instruct the National Executive how to vote, – in my case, he told them twenty minutes before the ballot. Bill Ludwig told me: ‘Son, I’ve listened to everything you’ve said, but we’ll do what NSW tells us to do’. The Party has been hollowed out so nothing will come of nothing.]

  13. [OUTGOING Victorian Senator Steve Fielding has launched an ambitious plan to ban the telling of lies on April 1 to help stem the ‘‘ever-growing annual tradition of playing practical jokes on less intelligent Australians.’’

    “The pranks have gotten more nasty and more tricky,’’ Senator Fielding said.

    ‘‘Today, Senator [Stephen] Conroy told me that there was a mistake in the counting at the election and I will be coming back to the Senate in July.’’

    The Family First senator, who lost his seat at last year’s election, said banning lies on April 1 would be a sensible measure to protect gullible Australians.

    ‘‘I was so happy that I released a press release, but then everyone started laughing and the horrible joke became clear. It’s unfair, and I won’t stand for it.”]

    Fielding at last showing he has a sense of humour.

  14. [This is a website where users have no problem labelling Tony Abbott a SOCIOPATH based on nothing much at all.]

    Based on observation of his behaviour and statements made over time. You’re saying she isn’t a real footy supporter because you can’t ‘believe’ that she ‘might’ have done things in her youth. 2 entirely different arguments.

    Abbott displays almost all the well known characteristics of a narcissist and sociopath. Publicly. He doesn’t even try to hide it (which is, of course, one of the characteristics 😀 )

  15. Confessions: I’m sure Fielding will argue, if anyone arcs up about it, that it was his own April Fool’s Day joke 😉

  16. Mumble (via Twitter) on the Labor Greens tiff

    Ms Gillard has many attributes but a feel for the nuances of electoral politics ain’t among ’em. (IMO)

    @latikambourke I reckon this ‘distancing’ from the Greens is clunky and clumsy and pretty obvious. And pretty cliched to boot.

    @latikambourke Although certainly that distance should be put. Just bettererer.

    @latikambourke I reckon picking the fight is fine – necessary – but not so hammily.

  17. [and no undies. You’ll spot him easily, Jen]]

    April Fool, all of youse!

    Yes I am going.

    No, I don’t have a little sequinned thingmy.

    Yes I do wear underwear, usually clean.

    No, I am not really a cockatoo.

    Look for the third-ugliest man there. That’ll be me.

  18. Would anyone be able to tell when the story about the statements by Senator elect Rhiannon became main stream media fodder.

    Would it have been yesterday ?

  19. [Confessions: I’m sure Fielding will argue, if anyone arcs up about it, that it was his own April Fool’s Day joke ]

    I think it was intended as such, DL.

  20. More on the Carbon Price story

    AUSTRALIANS would face an $863 hike in annual household costs when a price is put on carbon pollution, new Treasury modelling predicts.

    Advice to Treasurer Wayne Swan reveals a $30 a tonne carbon price would lift household costs by $16.60 a week, before any compensation is offered.

    Treasury modelling released under Freedom of Information laws also warns against using carbon tax compensation as an instrument of tax reform, as suggested by climate change adviser Ross Garnaut.

    Another document, among hundreds of pages released today, says a carbon tax would have to be frequently adjusted in the early years, dealing a blow to business certainty.

    The modelling of price impacts, presented to Mr Swan in February, includes rises for electricity, gas, fuel and food.


  21. I think there should be a PB “code” to use at rallies, and I think My Say is onto it.

    “PB” written on the corner of your poster.

    Simple and effective 🙂

  22. [Mumble (via Twitter) on the Labor Greens tiff]

    I agree with Mumble. The comment about Greens never sharing Labor’s values of everyday Australians leading purposeful, dignified lives was stupid.

    There are probably thousands of Labor voters who have shifted to the Greens in recent years. How does the PM think these voters feel when they hear those remarks?

  23. madcyril

    this is based on $30.00. Combet intimated in the past few weeks that it would be well below that figure.

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