Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition

Crikey reports the latest Essential Research poll has the Coalition’s two-party lead steady at 54-46, with both the Coalition (47 per cent) and Labor (35 per cent) steady on the primary vote and the Greens down one to 10 per cent. The survey also inquires about perceptions of the parties, the findings of which are summarised thus by Bernard Keane:

Seventy two per cent of voters believe “will promise to do anything to win votes” applies to Labor, up nine points since March last year, while 66% believe “divided” applies — a massive 30-point increase since last year. “Out of touch” has increased 13 points to 61%, and “moderate” has dropped 12 points to 51%. Even otherwise uncharacteristic descriptions such as “extreme” now garner significant support, up 12 points to 38%. And whereas even last year 52% of voters thought Labor had a good team of leaders, only 34% now feel that way.

For the Liberals, however, it’s all positive: a drop in the number of voters who think they’ll promise to do anything to win votes — down from 72% to 65%; a rise in “moderate” perceptions by five points to 55%; “out of touch” down to 54%, “divided” down from 66% to 49%. There was also a big improvement on “good team of leaders”, but off rather a low base, up nine points to 40%. The Liberals lead Labor on nearly every positive indicator and trail on nearly every negative indicator. Labor still has a one-point lead on “looks after the interests of working people.”

UPDATE: Full report here. It should also be noted that Newspoll published figures on support for a republic on Monday, finding it at its lowest ebb since the 1999 referendum: 41 per cent support (down four on January 2007, and ten points off a decade ago) and 39 per cent opposition (up three on 2007). There has been a seven-point rise in the uncommitted over 10 years, from 13 per cent to 20 per cent. Personally though, I’d like to see such results when a royal wedding isn’t due within a few weeks, before I reach any conclusions about declining support for a republic over the long term.

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.

4,875 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition”

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  1. [this must be on objective criteria the worst government in a long time]

    Which objective criteria would these be? I’m not sure they exist in politics.

  2. [No, and I have not said that. Leadership is about bringing the team along with you, not riding over the top like TA. Sure, sometimes it’s hard work to convince people that a tax rise is good, but that’s what leadership is about.]
    No, leadership is about getting on with the job and getting those policies through the parliament, popular or not.

  3. I am going to suggest being competant for a while might help the ALP. For a lot of people, they just see stuff ups after stuff ups and that is just bad for the ALP brand

    Fuel watch, Grocery watch, Alcopop, border protection, Insulation, BER, Green Loan, ETS backflip, Mining tax, negotiated mining tax (we said all royalties, we meant existing ones only), budget, citizen’s assembly, Gillard’s lie, Carbon tax announcement, the NT/ACT backflip, border protection, NSW ALP, Qld ALP, SA ALP.

    It just appear to most people that the ALP just lurch from one disaster to another. This poll is showing that people are starting to lose confidence with the federal ALP, unless this is ractify within a year, I think the ALP is going down the path of the NSW/QLD ALP.

  4. I think these poll numbers a glossy for Labor with all the international events going on. Would have been alot worse otherwise

  5. biasdetector

    I ask you to define “worst”, a word with no specific meaning.
    Do you mean social outcomes? health? income? personal happiness?
    You are just trolling.

  6. Tom
    [When a senior union official (Paul Howes) takes a swipe at Labor for risking the jobs of working people you know things are out of control.]
    Howes has done a 360 degree turn on the carbon tax.
    He is running scared by the polls, thus using whatever to distance himself from the government.
    Put bluntly, he is a coward.

  7. If I was an LNP supporter I’d be pretty pleased with the poll results.
    But if an election was called tomorrow, the gap would close significantly.
    It’d still be the neck-and-neck version we always have.

    Two years out, these polls really mean nothing.
    One-trick pony should enjoy it while he can, because after July 1, in terms of implementing policy, the LNP will be a big fat nothing.
    Legislation getting passed is a big ho-hum to the msm. And that’s when the rumours of leadership tensions in the LNP will really get an airing.

  8. Gary

    [What % believe the Libs keep their promises?]

    33% (cf 20% for Labor). And that’s for Abbott who has told us not to believe what he says.

  9. [33 % versus 20%]
    LOL. Oh the Libs are really trusted by the majority aren’t they?
    That’s just a pox on all sides. I wouldn’t get too smug about that.

  10. [One-trick pony should enjoy it while he can, because after July 1, in terms of implementing policy, the LNP will be a big fat nothing.]

    I think the Opposition are fairly happy with this. They’ve put forward no substantial legislative proposals since the Parliament began, which is surely a missed opportunity for public policy. Good politics, bad outcomes.

  11. #57 Lizzie
    Worst in spenting control (Budget surplus to deficit)
    Worst in valve for money (pink batts green loans)
    Worst for honestly (no government I lead will have a carbon tax / I have more chance of being the Bulldogs full foward than the lead etc)
    Want more???

  12. Here we go again. Hand wringing and despair over the entrails of a chicken.

    What we are witnessing is actually not unique to Australia. All over the Western world the Right are using psychological warfare against any attempts to shift the odds against the powerful and ridiculously wealthy. It seems to me that in persistent polling they have discovered a new weapon to undermine the confidence of the progressive forces.

    I don’t expect the polling to get any better for another 6 months, if not longer. This budget may even make it worse. But now is exactly the time to wear these figures. I see trust funds are going to take a hit – you watch the squealing over that one. If the Government is going to undo any of the damage Howard did to our economy they are going to take some bruises. And the current MSM is never going to cut them any slack.

    We can help the Government to hold its nerve by holding ours. Or we can just rehash all the old arm chair analysis that contradicts itself at every turn. Personally, I am going to write to Julia and let her know that my support is not wavering and my local MP (Stephen Smith) to encourage them to keep taking the bustards on despite the odds.

  13. dovif

    Do you actually engage your brain before posting?

    You’ve listed border protection twice BTW.

    Do you think the Alcopop tax was a negative? Try again.
    You KNOW that the BER was a success (i.e. it met or exceeded it’s stated aim)
    What’s your problem with the budget?

    I could go on but don’t why bother when you will spout the same BS all afternoon.

  14. #59 kezza
    The polls would not close if an election was call. Gillard would have to address asylum seekers carbon tax etc… not a good look given her previous promises…

  15. lizzie

    They are what the papers are reporting, and what everyone is hearing

    For example with illegal immigration, we have had boats almost every week since the law was changed, people are burning down detention centres, new one opening every week.

    People are just saying … stuff ups

  16. Gweneth
    Well said!

    I just hope, hope that the government leak possible action on media ownership laws.
    Moi just wants to beat them with a hockey stick. Grrrrrrrr 😡

  17. Gweneth

    [ It seems to me that in persistent polling they have discovered a new weapon to undermine the confidence of the progressive forces.]

    I was just about to post something rather similar. What with newspaper polls (useless), TV station phone-ins (useless), and audience participation programs (all loaded), I think people are being over-polled and also over-manipulated.

  18. Tom Hawkins

    Yes boarder protection was meant to be 2, the first for all the boats 2-3 years ago, the last one for the burning down of centers and record numbers

    The BER was generally successful, unless you count the $5 billion budget over run

  19. [It seems to me that in persistent polling they have discovered a new weapon to undermine the confidence of the progressive forces.]

    The Howard Government consistently polled badly through several periods. It’s not a media conspiracy, it just helps drive sales and page hits.

  20. 70 biasdetector
    [The polls would not close if an election was call.]
    Mark my words, old son, if an election was called tomorrow, as always the gap would close. Why? Because a lot of things happen in a pre-election period.
    One of those would be Tony Abbott having to front up with a set of policies.
    Something that’s a bit of a drought for the LNP at the moment.
    Don’t forget $11 billion black holes have to be addressed on the other side.
    The front bench of the LNP couldn’t keep gaffe-free for that period.
    They’d be shown up for the hollow lot they are.

    Still, an election won’t be called tomorrow – or if it was I’d eat Gai Waterhouse’s hat – and that means, old son, that the asylum issue does not have to be addressed yet (and I agree it is a problem for Labor, but probably not the way you think it is) and the carbon tax would have to be sold pretty quick smart and Abbott’s $30 billion taxpayer funded tree-planting exercise would have to be explained.
    Need I go on?

  21. [Yes boarder protection was meant to be 2, the first for all the boats 2-3 years ago, the last one for the burning down of centers and record numbers]

    So now Labor is responsible for burning down detention centres. Amazing.

    [The BER was generally successful]

    Wow, such generosity. It saved our economy from tanking which by your measure is generally successful BUT…

    What about the Alcopops tax? Was that a blunder?

  22. Of course the polls are bad but at the moment a perfect storm is hitting the government especially the free hits Abbott is getting re the carbon pollution pricing. Most of the negativity is there because the details are not yet out and public.

    If perceptions can go negative in 3 months then they can also go positive.

    Where were the polls around February ? 50/50. Where are they in April ? 54/46.

    What major announcement has been made between these polls ? Carbon Pricing.

    As far as I am concerned most of the negativity regarding the government is a result of this.

    They will not get better until details are announced. Positive policy in other areas will help but the Carbon pricing I think is the clincher. All of the areas where there has been a drop in positive sentiment can be related back to this one issue.

  23. Kezza2,

    If an election was called I think the internal party knives in the coalition would come out. Phoney’s head would roll.

  24. From the other thread:


    Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink


    According to the OO, voters need to be alert, alarmed and ready to respond to Newspoll negatively for the govt!

    And we all know at least one “Bludger” who fell for that article hook, line and sinker and who berated me for even daring it was a load of Bollocks.

    Well guess what – I was proven correct.
    Has this person consumed his latest serve of Humble pie ?


  25. 81 Space Kidette
    Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    And what if, god forbid, Phoney’s endorphins decide to take another holiday!

  26. Tom Hawkins

    keep living your dreams

    no people drowned at sea under the Liberal government and no detention centres were burnt down

    LOL at saved our economy, what saved our economy: CHINA, there is a reason most of asia got throught the GFC in much better shape, and for those not in ASIA, countries likes Australia, Canada and South Africa fare well

    Reasons: Resource sector and banking regulations

    There was a 30% reduction in Alcopop beverages, and a 12% increase in spirit sales, off a much larger base.

    All I am reporting is what the people in Lindsey are saying, they are saying the ALP is failing the Lindsey test, and it is showing in the polls

  27. [43


    Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Guys, stop giving abbott so much credit
    Ju-lair did it all her self
    Lie about a carbon tax
    Lie that she lie about a carbox tax
    Lie that she ever lied about lying about a carbon tax (pretending that she was always up front about the broken promise)
    Lie about the jobs lost from the tax
    Lie that “big polluters” would pay for the tax and everyone would not
    Lie that China was more green than use!

    And straight out of 2GB.

    As Puff Said:

    [Puff, the Magic Dragon.

    Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    You are so boring.

  28. Space Kidette

    I agree, because they would win the election, so they would knife their leader? the Liberals are the the ALP, and the ALP would knife their leader 3 months before an election

    Didn’t you said that about Premier O’Farrell as well?

  29. dovif,

    Abbotts numbers (his personal numbers) are a risk to the party. His numbers suck while the party numbers are great (Go figure!). Peak Abbott has been and gone.

  30. Dovif
    [The BER was generally successful, unless you count the $5 billion budget over run]

    Do you have any actual evidence for this? (The LNP website or Murdoch publications don’t count)

    [no people drowned at sea under the Liberal government]

    Yes they did – (SIEV-X)

  31. [John Kotter author of “What Leaders Really Do” and more recently “A Sense of Urgency” provides the following definition of leadership from his book “Leading Change”.

    “Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles”

    Leadership is about bringing about change and effective change requires vision, inspiration and effective communication. A vision that is so clear and compelling that people align to make it happen.]
    A quote from John Kotter and the website
    Gweneth @67 – whilst I agree with your sentiment, that doesn’t mean you can take a “she’ll be right” approach between now and the next election. It’s that last bit in the quote above that I don’t think the ALP does well at all, and that will impact on the next election. Good leadership (as defined above) will reflect in the polls.

  32. Doyley at 80 -the problem with pinning one policy as the cause in downturn is the broad range of markers used in the latest Essential survey which suggests, rightly or wrongly, a broader malaise.

  33. [The presence of previous insulation material is also a strong risk factor, with a fire callout rate up to 7 times higher in these dwellings.]

    Wow, so that stuff from the last thread with Hunt claiming a 7x fires under the HIP was down to some pretty selective quoting from the CSIRO report?? The man is a tosser of the first order. Still i wont be surprised if something like that gets into the media under the line, The Opposition says…………

    The current state of the polls has got to have something to do with the FUD being peddled by people like Hunt on a number of issues. Yup, the poll in 2013 wont have a result like this, but it’ll be a long hard slog for the ALP to get things done, and even harder to get it communicated to the punters.

    Was interesting talking to some friends and relies over easter who are involved in mining over here. From their perspective the resource companies they work for are all planning in the expectation that the ETS / Price on Carbon will happen by 2012, regardless of the wailing and gnashing of teeth that is going on at the moment.

    They are all pretty ambivalent about the MRRT as well. They see the profits these companies are making first hand.

  34. [Leadership is about bringing about change and effective change requires vision, inspiration and effective communication. A vision that is so clear and compelling that people align to make it happen.]
    When you have a scare campaign operatiing effectively against you then real leadership is getting the policy through and showing people the fear is not there. Telling people there is no need to fear won’t cut it in this case. They need to be shown.

  35. I think we need to look through all the noise being created by the negative perceptions of the government.

    Do you think labor would have a PV of 35% unchanged for the third week in a row if this sentiment was locked in tight ? It should be around 25% if that.

    At the moment people are shirty with the government over carbon pricing. However 35% will still vote for them. 66% support the pokies legislation. The government will follow through with its policies. Lets look again once the noise and shrill has died down.

  36. Itep @ 77 Of course but that reinforces my point. If you let polls demoralise you then you are easier to undermine. Conservatives don’t think that way. They think they are right even when all logic and evidence say otherwise. When Howard kept on despite the polling they cheered him.

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