Newspoll: 59-41 to Coalition

GhostWhoVotes reports Newspoll has the Coalition’s lead out from 57-43 to 59-41, with the Coalition up three to 50 per cent, Labor steady on 27 per cent and the Greens down two to 12 per cent. The worse damage from the Malaysia solution wreckage is for Julia Gillard personally, who has recorded the fifth worst net satisfaction rating in Newspoll history: 23 per cent approval and 68 per cent disapproval, surpassed only by four results for Paul Keating in the months following the 1993 budget (a pattern emerges of voters reacting unfavourably to unpromised tax initiatives). On the question of preferred Labor leader, Kevin Rudd is apparently up 21 points to 57 per cent – although I’m not sure when the earlier poll was conducted (UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes once again does my homework for me: it was conducted in mid-April). Gillard is down five to 24 per cent. Tony Abbott meanwhile is up three points on approval to 39 per cent and down three on disapproval to 52 per cent, and his lead as preferred prime minister is out from 39-38 to 43-34.

The first tranche of the Newspoll was delivered by The Australian yesterday, with two questions on asylum seekers which were predictably unfavourable to the government. Just 12 per cent were willing to rate its performance on the issue very good (2 per cent) or somewhat good (10 per cent), against 25 per cent for somewhat bad and 53 per cent for very bad. Even as the issue began to escape Labor’s control in 2009, the party was able to maintain a 37 per cent good rating in April and 31 per cent in November, with respective bad ratings of 40 per cent and 53 per cent. However, the current poll shows the Liberals failing to yield a dividend: Labor have plunged 17 points to 12 per cent since a week before the 2010 election, but the Coalition too are down five points to 38 per cent: “someone else” is up five to 13 per cent, with none/uncommitted up 25 to 37 per cent.

Meanwhile, today’s Essential Research had the Coalition going from 56-44 to 57-43 from primary votes of 30 per cent for Labor (down two), 49 per cent for the Coalition (steady) and 11 per cent for the Greens. It should be remembered that Essential Research is a two-week rolling average, meaning half the survey sample comes from before last week’s High Court ruling. The poll also finds 48 per cent favouring an election now against 40 per cent for a full term. The wording of the question, “do you think the Labor government should run its full term until 2013 when the next federal election is due”, is greatly preferable to the somewhat leading effort from last week’s Queensland Galaxy poll, “would you be in favour of or opposed to holding a fresh election to give voters an opportunity to elect a majority Labor or Coalition government”. Similar questions to Essential’s from Newspoll produced 42 per cent each way in May, and 40 per cent for and 44 per cent against in March.

Among the other questions are one gauging levels of recognition and trust in eight media commentators, which I’m pleased to say they took up on my suggestion. Strong results for Laurie Oakes, George Negus and Tony Jones bear out a well-understood tendency of this kind of inquiry to favour those in the medium of television. It might thus be thought all the more remarkable that Alan Jones is rated the least trusted of the eight: he has a near universal recognition rating of 84 per cent, and those outside New South Wales would only know him by television. Andrew Bolt scores a much more modest recognition rating of 52 per cent, but rates quite a lot higher on trust; Melbourne radio rivals Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine record mediocre results, and Michelle Grattan rather better ones. Also in Essential is a question on best leader to handle another global financial crisis, which has 40 per cent choosing one of the three Liberal options (20 per cent for Tony Abbott, 13 per cent for Malcolm Turnbull and 7 per cent for Joe Hockey) and 37 per cent the two from Labor (Kevin Rudd characteristically well in front of Julia Gillard, 24 per cent to 13 per cent). Forty-six per cent support the government’s mineral resource rent tax against 34 per cent opposed, and mining, agriculture and tourism rated the most important industries for Australia’s economic future.

Further afield, yesterday’s Launceston Examiner published results from an EMRS poll of 300 respondents in Bass, which found Liberal candidate Andrew Nikolic leading Labor incumbent Geoff Lyons 46 per cent to 31 per cent on the primary vote after distribution of the undecided. Distributing the 14 per cent Greens and 6 per cent others as per the 2010 election result, this gives Nikolic a lead of 53-47 (the Examiner has figures based on arbitrary preference splits which are slightly more favourable to the Liberals). The poll was conducted from August 22 to August 25, from the same sample that produced EMRS’s recent poll of state voting intention. Comments thread chat suggests EMRS preceded the question on voting intention with attitudinal questions on the carbon tax and detention centres, in breach of fairly well established polling convention which says such questions can influence the responses that follow. However, the suggested swing of nearly 10 per cent is fairly well in line with the national trend.

Last and probably least, the Courier-Mail informs us that a Galaxy poll shows 23 per cent of respondents saying they are “likely” to vote for Bob Katter’s Australian Party. It transpires that voters were specifically asked if they would be either “very likely” or “quite likely” to support the party after first being presented with a more normal question on voting intention, which turned up very little support for it. Beyond that, it is not clear whether this is a foretaste of another Galaxy poll of Queensland or, as I assume more likely, an extra question held back from last week’s poll.

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.

5,512 comments on “Newspoll: 59-41 to Coalition”

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  1. [Fairfax is going down so I guess the boss thinks that gossipy stories will get him a bigger circulation or online clicks. It may just lose them a few faithful readers as well.]

    Only anecdotal, but our locak Franklins supermarket was giving them away this morning in some kind of promotion.

    Of the four people in front of me only one took one. Needless to say the staff know not to ask me as they usually get a lecture on how the SMH has debased itself recently.

  2. rua

    It depends heavily on how much effort is put into writing the text, doing the layout, the production quality and how long the newsletter is. Also, what were the arrangements for paying postage.

    Plus, it does not really matter whether the company did the job at an inflated cost or a reasonable cost. The real issue is whether they got the job by giving a kickback in the form of a personal credit card to Mr Thomson in order to get the job.

    Any organisation I have ever belonged to would have said that taking a personal credit card from a company involved in supplying goods and services to the organisation is a big fat NYET.

    We already know that Mr Brandis is Don Coyote.

    The question now is whether he is also Don Quixote or Don Eficaz.

  3. there is nothing brief about a caesar when you take into account the before and after components – it can be abbreviated; if it is an emergency

  4. spur212
    Posted Friday, September 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    As far as I’m aware, the new allegation is that Thomson was given the card. It was the other guy who misused it.

    The article this morning said they both had been given a card. It went on to allege Williamson had abused it. It made no further claim about Thomson apart from saying he had not returned SMH’s calls to comment.

    They published nothing more on Thomson. I had to read the article three times to work out what they were trying to say as well as what they were trying not to say. I don’t recall the words of the headline, but as usual it didn’t reflect what the article itself said.

    I twittered the reporter to take anything she had directly to the Police and not BS in print and radio (she was also on abc 702 in Sydney).

  5. Fisher might be trying to get off on the SA equivalent of a “section 32”, as it is in NSW. She is going hard on her depression in court:

    [The defence will also call Fisher’s treating psychiatrist to give evidence.]

    The choice available to a magistrate in NSW is this (my bold). I imagine there would be mirror provisions in SA:

    [Under s 32 of the MHFPA, if a magistrate is of the opinion that a defendant is “developmentally disabled”, has a mental illness, or another mental condition for which treatment is available in a mental health facility, he or she may adjourn proceedings, grant bail, or make any other order. The magistrate may also dismiss the charge and discharge the defendant, either unconditionally, or with conditions as to their treatment and supervision.]

    Mind you, when it is found that someone committed a crime because of a mental illness, then there is every reason as to why the option not to convict should be considered by a magistrate.

  6. [Someone from the HSU must have leaked this latest stuff.]

    Apparently the magazine editor’s wife whinged to some union people about excessive debits on one of the cards.

  7. [Fisher might be trying to get off on the SA equivalent of a “section 32″, as it is in NSW. She is going hard on her depression in court:]

    Rest assured she will make a complete and miraculous recovery within days, when the Carbon Tax comes up for a Senate vote.

  8. [So the HSU spends $690,000 for a newsletter to be sent to 72,000 members 10 times a year. This includes artwork, production and postage …

    Sounds bloomin’ cheap to me]

    And me. Decades ago, when I edited newsletters (& did my own typing, ran the gestetner, stapled them, put em in envelopes etc … yep, that long ago) they cost about a dollar for paper, ink, postage etc. $600,000 for 720,000 copies? And if memories of what I read hanging around TBH last year, waiting for OH, that newsletter uses colour printing. Geez, how much ink do 720,000 copies exhaust, never mind the paper? Even bulk postage rates for 720,000 copies wouldn’t be cheap!

    What wonderful publicity! They’ll be absolutely swamped with clients.

    [Someone had blundered.
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die.]

  9. So we have Mary Jo first saying that she fully intended to pay for the purchase.

    Then because the security guard was outside the shop the guard wasn’t allowed to tell the court what happened. Novel, I would have though.

    Now she’s saying that she’s depressed, poor dear.

    What’s depressing is listening to her excuses.

  10. [Marine biologists are baffled by a change in the behaviour of whales visiting Victorian bays this year.
    The Dolphin Research Institute says a number of humpback whales remained in Western Port and Port Phillip bays throughout the migration season instead of travelling north.]

    Perhaps ‘baffled’ is the journo’s conclusion. Sounds to me as if warmer water around the south-east of Oz might have encouraged them to stay.

  11. JV,

    I don’t believe she has pleaded not guilty because of mental impairment or such. She has pleaded not guilty.

    I’d expect the considerations you raise to be important in the sentencing process not in establishing the facts of whether an offence has occurred.

  12. Bushfire Bill

    [jaundiced view

    [Here’s the breaking game changer:
    I am truly shocked. Where was the traditional political correctness gone mad ?

    Seriously, 2GB would be weighing up whether to go on that story this afternoon or on Thomson.

    They LOVE a good “Christmas is cancelled” story.]

    They are just waiting to spot a “muslim looking” person in the shopping center before they pounce.

  13. [why have the age removed the story]

    My say, not removed, just moved it. It seems it is not as earthshattering as Ms McClymont thinks.

  14. l

    [Marine biologists are baffled by a change in the behaviour of whales visiting Victorian bays this year.]

    Nah. It is quite obvious that they stayed in Port Phillip Bay and Westernport Bay for a whale of a root.

  15. [Fisher said she was diagnosed in 2009 with chronic depression and she experienced symptoms again during a news conference last year.]

    Senator Fisher should have taken sick leave when diagnosed with chronic depression. It is not a joke it is a serious illness. Who let her continue to work while so ill?

  16. [It isn’t a question of the state of her condition now, but rather what it was at the time of the offence. The evidence given seems to be tha it was worse in 2009 – “rock bottom”:]

    How convenient, JV.

    Liberals are starting to make a habit of either getting all mentally disturbed when in trouble (first Grech and now Mary Jo) or having miracle recoveries when their vote is needed (Robb).

    The usual suspects around here condemn other posters who smell a rat, without giving the slightest thought to the ones who are the real exploiters of mental illness: the Liberal MPs and their friends who wheel depression in and out like a food cart at a wine and cheese night.

  17. GG

    That’s right, the mental illness provison isn’t a basis for the plea of not guilty, but the magistrate can exercise the discretion to dismiss the charge if the evidence establishes a mental condition fitting under the provision. I reckon that’s what her team is working towards. That’s not to say they will be successful. The definition of ‘mental illness’ for the purposes of the discretion is a little rubbery, and a lot of magistrates are therefore reluctant to use it.

    It’s a long time since I called on it for one of my clients, back in the day, so I’m not right up with the way it is approached by the courts these days in NSW, let alone in SA.

  18. [The usual suspects around here condemn other posters who smell a rat, without giving the slightest thought to the ones who are the real exploiters of mental illness: the Liberal MPs and their friends who wheel depression in and out like a food cart at a wine and cheese night.]

    Quite. Some people wear depression as a badge. Depressing really.

  19. To me the serious question in relation to the court case currently chewing up scads of taxpayer money by way of the legal industry* in South Australia is this:

    [‘Given that Mr Abbott, Mr Hockey and Mr Robb have all been propounding magic pudding economics is Ms Fisher now qualified to join the Opposition Economic Team?’]

    *Lest anyone think that I have chip on my shoulder about the legal industry, am paranoid, am a bitter divorcee, or am the victim of a shonky property settlement as a result of a corrupt legal industry process, I wish to proclaim before BLUDGERDOM that what the money legal industry is raking in in relation to Ms Fisher’s court case is ALL GOOD for the taxpayer.

  20. [THE Labor MP Craig Thomson and the union leader Michael Williamson, who is on the ALP national executive, allegedly received secret commissions from a major supplier to their union.

    The two men, both senior figures in the Health Services Union at the time, were provided with American Express cards by John Gilleland, who runs a graphic design business, a Herald investigation has found.]

    Isn’t the problem here that it looks like a “pay off” to the two men involved for getting the contract?

  21. @jv/5481,

    Then she should be sacked from being a senator and leave politics, if she can do a crime and get away with it on the bases of metal condition, then she is not fit for duty in politics.

  22. l

    Seriously? Oh.

    OK. Corinella-based whale voyeurs will no longer have to travel from their homes to watch wales doing it. I blame climate change.

  23. twobob

    [Mr Williamson, through the public relations firm Hawker Britton, denied the allegations. He said the suggestion he had been provided with a credit card by the Gillelands was ”complete nonsense”.

    Mr Thomson did not not return calls.]

    Is the important bit of the story.

  24. [Then she should be sacked from being a senator and leave politics, if she can do a crime and get away with it on the bases of metal condition, then she is not fit for duty in politics.]

    Yes, apparently she was so mentally sick she was unable to tell right from wrong, but perfectly capable of participating in the national parliament of her country (and picking up a hefty pay check into the bargain).

    The world is full of paradoxes.

  25. Mytwobobsworth
    Posted Friday, September 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the problem here that it looks like a “pay off” to the two men involved for getting the contract?

    If it is a Police matter, it should be handed to the Police for their attention.

    How many other cases do the SMH discuss on radio ?

    They need to hand any evidence over, quick time.

  26. JV,

    It reeks of a Plan B.

    If they felt her ‘depression” were grounds to absolve her of guilt, surely this should have been raised prior to the trial and a settlement negotiated. Clearly, they have taken their chances on a smart lawyer being able to denigrate the chief witness and have her evidence dismissed.

    I doubt the magistrate will be overly sympathetic given she has wasted the courts time in running the case when there are allegedly extenuating circumstances that could have resolved the matter.

    My prediction is she will be found guilty, not be convicted because of first offence and good public standing. Be put on a good behaviour bond. Ordered to keep up treatment and fined.

  27. M

    IMHO there are three possible legal issues here:

    (1) That Mr Thomson received an illegal bribe.
    (2) That he did so in contravention of Union rules.
    (3) That someone in a company broke the law by providing an illegal bribe.

    I don’t know the union rules. I don’t know Australian law in relation to taking or giving a bribe. I don’t know whether Mr Thomson received anything. I don’t know whether, if he did, whether it was, legally, a bribe.

    I know nothing of course.

    But I did hear a report of a developer who had a view that a turkey and a bottle of champers at Christmas could go a long way.

  28. [Yes, apparently she was so mentally sick she was unable to tell right from wrong, but perfectly capable of participating in the national parliament of her country (and picking up a hefty pay check into the bargain).

    The world is full of paradoxes.]
    With such continuity and breadth of double standards in the Coalition I’d say anything goes.

  29. rua

    Agree Hawker Britten aren’t answering on his behalf for nothing if all is well why would you call in a “spin doctor”.

  30. Gillard changes mind = colossal back flip, government in disarray, shouldn’t have done such a vicious, nasty thing in the first place, childless woman picks on decent upstanding father and mother to be, spiralling into darkness, not only incompetent but vindictive about it too etc. etc.

    Abbott changes mind = ‘change of heart’, that’s Tony for you, what a guy!

  31. Regarding our two questionable members of parliament:

    I didn’t see anything in the SMH this morning that indicated Thompson had committed a crime. However, it casts the management of the HSU, thompson’s own willingness to operate in an environment of obvious conflcits of interest, and judgement, in an appalling light. Should he be charged? Evidently not. Should Labor have picked him? No.

    As for Fisher, things are less clear. I am not a lawyer, but I find the drip feed of references to her alleged mental illness odd. If she was genuinely mentally ill why not state it and seek dismissal of the charges? But no, first try to attack the witnesses, then try to deny liability. Has she claimed in court that she is suffering from depression? Was this depression sufficient to make her not legally accountable for her actions? Does depression make you want to slam a car door on a security guard? Does this mean she should can still sit in parliament? Are 20% of politicians also clinically depressed? Does this mean they should also not sit in parliament? Lots of “No” answers.

    Should Fisher have been charged? Yes. Should she sit in parliament? No.

    Churchill was also depressed; he got by, without a single conviction for shoplifting, despite living in a nation of shokeepers. It is possible 🙂

  32. [Marine biologists are baffled by a change in the behaviour of whales visiting Victorian bays this year.]

    On the radio this morning in W.A. it was mentioned that an unusually high number of dead whales had been washed up on our Southern shores this year.

  33. Whoops. Looks like the meeja have done a mistake in reporting what Mr Metcalfe of the Immigration Department said at the media briefing earlier in the week. Bernard Keene in Crikey has a well-sourced investigation as to what was actually said, how it was nuanced, and how it was incorrectly reported. And maybe Bob Brown went a bit strong on the basis of poor reporting.

    [What’s agreed by several sources is that Metcalfe was then asked if the social impacts to which he was referring would be like those in Europe, to which he assented. This appears to be the one mistake Metcalfe made, in making otherwise straightforward observations, although how carefully he nuanced his assent to the journalist’s question isn’t clear. There was thus no outright misrepresentation of his remarks, but no report provided any context for them that would have aided an understanding of his actual point, which had nothing to do with Europe-style riots.

    And Crikey understands that Metcalfe’s reference to 600 arrivals a month was merely historical, and not a prediction. But that distinction has been entirely lost in the ensuing coverage, which has Metcalfe predicting that that will be the number of maritime arrivals if we don’t establish a deterrence to boat trips.

    The impression, thus, is of Metcalfe adopting an Enoch Powell-style pose of predicting riots and unrest if we didn’t stop the 600 asylum seekers a month who would come in, when he said nothing of the sort.]

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