Essential Research: 56-44 to Coalition

For all the convulsions it has faced on the political front, in one respect the Gillard government has presented a model of stability in recent months: its opinion poll ratings, as measured by the weekly Essential Research report, have been set in stone since the middle of June. This week’s result shows no change at all on the previous week, with Labor on 32 per cent and the Coalition on 49 per cent of the primary vote, and the Coalition leading 56-44 on two-party preferred. The only change is a two-point gain for the Greens, who are up to 12 per cent at the expense of other parties and independents. Respondents were also asked to rate the performance of Tony Abbott as Opposition Leader, with slightly better results than he is used to from his personal approval ratings: 38 per cent agreed he was “performing the role of opposition leader well and is keeping the government accountable”, with 45 per cent taking the commonly heard view that he is “just opposing everything and is obstructing the work of the government”.

Other questions fielded by Essential Research probe the complex area of public opinion on asylum seekers, and as usual they offer little to help guide political leaders through the minefield. Whereas other surveys have indicated surprisingly high support for onshore processing, the latest survey illustrates how dependent such results are upon the options given to respondents. Only 21 per cent were found to indicate a preference for onshore processing when the available alternatives were offshore processing “in any other country” (11 per cent), offshore processing “only in a country where human rights are protected” (31 per cent) and turning the boats around (28 per cent).

Respondents were further asked to rate features of a good refugee processing system, and here too the public seems determined to make life difficult for the government: the two features rated most important were “keeping costs down” (rated very important or somewhat important by 81 per cent) and the possibly incompatible objective of “protecting human rights” (80 per cent). It might be thought a surprise that the objective of “stopping the boats” only came in third, at 74 per cent. The least pressing concern was ensuring that asylum seekers were not returned to the country from which they had fled (49 per cent).

A question on trust in various Australian institutions emphasises how much work our churches have to do to recover confidence: only 29 per cent declared a lot of trust or some trust in religious organisations, against 72 per cent for the High Court, 67 per cent for the Reserve Bank and 61 per cent for charitable organisations. Interestingly, federal parliament (55 per cent) rated higher than the ABC (46 per cent), environmental groups (45 per cent) and trade unions (39 per cent). Last but certainly not least, the AFL grand final attracted the most interest out of three looming sports events: 32 per cent declared themselves interested, against 20 per cent for the NRL grand final and 10 per cent for the Rugby World Cup.

The weekend brought another polling tidbit from Adelaide’s Advertiser, which has conducted an in-house poll of 642 respondents from the state electorate of Port Adelaide. The poll is a product of the almost universal anticipation that the seat’s current Labor member, Kevin Foley, will head for the parliamentary exit not long after he stands down from the ministry in October 20, in tandem with Premier Mike Rann. Whereas there is little expectation Labor will be troubled in the resulting by-election for Rann’s seat of Ramsay, Port Adelaide-Enfield mayor Gary Johanson is thought to be a serious prospect as an independent candidate in Port Adelaide. The poll nonetheless shows Johanson attracting only 14 per cent support at this stage, with 37 per cent backing Labor, 31 per cent Liberal and 11 per cent for the Greens. Labor has a two-party lead of 55-45, pointing to a swing to the Liberals of about 8 per cent. The poll’s margin of error is around 4 per cent.

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.

646 comments on “Essential Research: 56-44 to Coalition”

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  1. Frank, Puffy:

    The substantive work of the govt hasn’t abated yet, so it’s possible the polls will continue to slide further, ie MRRT implementation and the WA vote? And then the pokies stuff in NSW and QLD.

  2. Mod Lib @ 404

    Its OK bemused, I’ll let you have another turn so you can get it right! 😉

    Actually, your attitudes are so sensible generally that I find it hard to believe you are a Lib. Are you really sure you want to taint yourself with that label? 😆

  3. [ It certainly is bad. Can the Labor vote recover from here? Time will tell.]

    The media is working its ‘magic’ on the Australian sheeple.

    What alternative outcome could possibly be expected, given there is no Labor-friendly presence in the mainstream media?

  4. [david
    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink
    Michelle Bachmann mod lib, is a screw loose, even you know that,there is no way in the tea parties planning she was going to be the anointed one, the same as Palin isn’t. Has nothing to do with her being or not being a woman, its about stupidity and she has copious amounts of it. As does Palin. Why does it have to be spelt out? Look and see and listen, if you want to be in the discussion.]

    This is the post from Cuppa I was responding to (with the sentences before and after).

    [ It’s such a conservative country, they have trouble coming to grips with a coloured man in the White house. I doubt they’re ready for a female President either. Michelle Bachmann should be making other plans right about now, if she isn’t already. Australia is almost as conservative: we’re not ready for a female leader either. ]

    It might be you who needs things spelt out unfortunately! 😉

  5. I prefer Ms Trioli over Mr Jones mainly because Mr Jones wants to be the hero of the show.

    Hey, the chasers are calling their new show ‘The Hamster Wheel’. Is it about the Crikey Site?

  6. [Have a look at Mumble’s Newspoll trend- amazing graph since the CPRS was dumped in early 2010…

    Nothing like it in the history of Newspoll]

    I saw his article earlier and agree the decline is stark.

  7. [Cuppa

    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    It certainly is bad. Can the Labor vote recover from here? Time will tell.

    The media is working its ‘magic’ on the Australian sheeple.

    What alternative outcome could possibly be expected, given there is no Labor-friendly presence in the mainstream media?
    ]

    Exactly, and how in Liberal States the Liberal Govts are criticised with a limp lettuce leaf planted in 1945.

  8. [No, but equally being a female doesn’t preclude you from being a bad pollie.]

    But, that’s what you wrote, and I don’t care about the “female” part:

    [Why do some of you have to assume that a bad female pollie must be the victim of sexism rather than just a bad pollie?

    Polls don’t tell you anything about the quality of government. But nice attempt at passing on through.

  9. [I prefer Ms Trioli over Mr Jones mainly because Mr Jones wants to be the hero of the show.]

    BW, there will a Board Meeting of FBFInc over this

  10. [david

    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Frank I wouldn’t waste your time on the stupidity that mod lib is reknowned for, he baits and knows SFA
    ]

    And he’s got peole like Puffy & Fess in his evil spell as well – they are believing the sky is falling in meme of this Nrewspoll.

  11. [Actually, your attitudes are so sensible generally that I find it hard to believe you are a Lib. Are you really sure you want to taint yourself with that label? ]

    I generally prefer Lib to ALP governments federally….however, the balance between my voting for Lib vs. ALP federally is actually closer than you may think!

  12. Helen Coonan has just been announced as joining James Packer on the Crown Casino board. Favors being called in by another Lib and ensuring millions in her portfolio

  13. Frank,

    Anyone downplaying or denying the influence of the media on polls is either seriously deluded, or on the side benefiting from the obvious ‘interference’.

  14. Pegaus @ 402:

    [The tanty wasn’t mine. I couldn’t have been calmer at the time. More dispassionate observers who had been following events at the time would have noticed that I ignored most of the ad hominem attacks. I was more than happy to just let those comments stand on their own.]

    I admire your new found passion.

    In my view, you have previously, as alleged by Frank Calabrese et al, been a cut & paster.

    If one has a cause, one should agitate it to its full extent, not worrying too much about dissenting opinions.

  15. [Exactly, and how in Liberal States the Liberal Govts are criticised with a limp lettuce leaf planted in 1945.]
    Franker,

    You could get a very high quality lettuce back in 1945.

    There were good strawberries back then too. Nothing like the watery flavourless trash that passes as strawberries these days.

  16. BK

    [There is no good pollie among the Republican presidential front runners. Nuts – all of them.]

    It’s very concerning when Romney starts looking sensible in comparison.

  17. [Mod Lib
    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
    Michelle Bachmann should be making other plans right about now, if she isn’t already.

    Yes she should, but not because she is a woman, because she is a fruit loop.

    Why do some of you have to assume that a bad female pollie must be the victim of sexism rather than just a bad pollie?]

    George:

    This is the entire post. Nothing about polls as you can see- that was your input.

    Yes, bad polls could indicate a bad pollie (as in Gillard’s case), but I accept you are right you could have bad polling with a good pollie doing unpopular things. Accepted.

  18. Dan,

    In 1981 I had my down to the waist hair cut to a number 1 all over and a long fringe – all white blonde. I was a rude girl, wearing doc martins, tartin skirts and penguin shirts and danced my way around the pubs and clubs listening to bands!

  19. [The seats in question would be the seats in the HoR and Senate, rather than the chairs in the GG‘s reception room, if I may hazard an untrained opinion.]

    I’d agree with the gist of your untrained opinion Puff. Its getting strange out there on the intellectual frontiers (or at least far out-ness) that these people inhabit.

    Still, it is fascinating to watch. These people are a political force of sorts, particularly when the media puts them on display to get some color and movement for the news bulletins. In a very real sense i think that people like Abbott,Bernardi, Alan Jones and their ilk are really using these people (who are politically engaged and motivated) as cannon fodder.

  20. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans天地有道人无道
    Ali Moore on #lateline: The Market loves the rumour. WTF, the Market is the Rumour #aospl
    now

  21. mod lib your preferences are similar to being asked which way the wind is blowing , so you suck a finger and shove it into the upward position, which position is your usual towards the Labor party and Julia Gillard in particular. You have form brother, plenty of it.

  22. [And he’s got peole like Puffy & Fess in his evil spell as well]

    Frank:

    You can’t deny the polling at present. Do I think for one minute this would be replicated at an election? No.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, what counts is the govt’s agenda. Labor are slowly but surely accumulating wins which can be presented as part of an achievement narrative.

    The opposition OTOH?

  23. [I was a rude girl, wearing doc martins, tartin skirts and penguin shirts and danced my way around the pubs and clubs listening to bands!]

    kiddo, i demand to see your will!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. [Cuppa

    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Frank,

    Anyone downplaying or denying the influence of the media on polls is either seriously deluded, or on the side benefiting from the obvious ‘interference’.
    ]

    Precisely.

  25. [david
    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
    mod lib your preferences are similar to being asked which way the wind is blowing , so you suck a finger and shove it into the upward position, which position is your usual towards the Labor party and Julia Gillard in particular. You have form brother, plenty of it.]

    Any specifics david, brother?

    No?

  26. 474

    The Democrats should dig out their retort to Goldwater`s 1964 slogan of “In your hart, you know he is right” of “In your guts, you know he is nuts” (with an added s if it is Palin or Bachmann).

  27. [george
    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ll say it again

    Evan, I’m hoping so. Again and again and again.

    If it pans out the way you say, you can come back here with one of those giant finger gloves you buy at the baseball and yell “I told you so” at the top of your larynx.

    Or, if it doesn’t, you can quietly disappear and melt into a ball of embarrassment.

    Either way, it’s a win-win, no? ]

    Spike Milligan allegedly had stickers made for his coffin
    [“I told you I was ill!”]

  28. Don’t forget this is first time that female is in the drivers seat of a our country.

    So maybe it’s a turnoff for most people? (both sexis?).

  29. [david
    Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
    mod FFS !!! I have only been here a couple of years, say no more, you leave a trail as a snail’s slimy path across concrete]

    Any specifics?

    No?

  30. I don’t know about the hottie bit but I was definitely a curiousity as that kind of dress was definitely not common at that stage. I did however give my autograph to a few people who thought I was Annie Lennox and being cheeky I just signed it Annie Lennox!

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