Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition

Essential Research’s rolling fortnightly average continues to swing between 54-46 and 55-45, this week’s move of the pendulum being in Labor’s favour. Labor is up a point on the primary vote to 35 per cent, with the Coalition down one to 47 per cent and the Greens down one to 9 per cent. Also featured are questions on the outlook for 2012 for the economy, the parties (good for Liberal, very poor for Labor and the Greens), political leaders (poor for Tony Abbott, very poor for Julia Gillard, about neutral for Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull) and respondents personally. Most interestingly, only 26 per cent expect Julia Gillard will still lead the ALP in 12 months’ time against 55 per cent who think she won’t. The respective figures for Tony Abbott are 41 per cent and 34 per cent. Thirty-two per cent expect a federal election in the coming year, against 42 per cent who don’t.


• Newspoll reports that supplementary questions in its December 2-4 poll had 14 per cent expecting their financial position to improve over the next year (up two from last year), 57 per cent expected it to stay the same (up six) and 28 per cent thought it would get worse (down seven). Coalition voters were solidly more pessimistic than Labor supporters.

• A Liberal Party preselection vote on Saturday for Craig Thomson’s central coast NSW seat of Dobell was won by Gary Whitaker, former Hornsby Shire councillor and managing director of a local educational services company. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Diary reports this as a defeat for Chris Hartcher, state government minister, Terrigal MP and local powerbroker, as his preferred candidate had been WorkCover public servant Karen McNamara. Also reportedly in the field was Matthew Lusted, managing director of a Central Coast construction company.

Michelle Grattan of The Age reports Russell Broadbent, the Liberal member for the western Gippsland seat of McMillan, is likely to pay for his ideological moderation with a preselection challenge. However, Broadbent is thought likely to prevail, as the conservative forces being marshalled against him (“local Catholic members” apparently featuring prominently) will largely be ineligible to participate in the preselection because they have not been party members for two years. Any preselection vote is likely to take place in February and involve 300 local branch members.

• Brett Worthington of the Bendigo Advertiser reports Greg Westbrook, director of legal firm Petersen Westbrook Cameron, has nominated for Labor preselection in Bendigo, to be vacated at the next election by the retirement of Steve Gibbons. Lisa Chesters, a Kyneton-based official with United Voice (formerly the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union), is also rated a possible starter.

• There is mounting talk that Lara Giddings’ tenure as Tasmanian Premier is in jeopardy just a year after she replaced David Bartlett. Matt Smith of The Mercury has reported that David O’Byrne, who entered parliament at the March 2010 election, fancies himself as the apple isle’s answer to Kristina Keneally, and has secured backing from party room colleagues Michelle O’Byrne (his sister), Scott Bacon, Graeme Sturges, Brian Wightman, Craig Farrell and Brenton Best. This leaves only Michael Polley and Doug Parkinson in Giddings’ corner, while Bryan Green and Rebecca White remain on the fence. Bruce Montgomery, a former state political reporter for The Australian, writes in Crikey that public sector unions have been angered by Giddings’ pursuit of job cuts to balance the budget, and are hopeful of a more sympathetic hearing from O’Byrne, a former state secretary of the LHMWU. Kevin Harkins of Unions Tasmania, Chris Brown of the Health and Community Services Union and Tom Lynch of the Community and Public Sector Union are identified as critics of Giddings by The Mercury. However, O’Byrne has more recently denied any plans for a challenge.

• With former SA Treasurer Kevin Foley officially resigning from parliament, a by-election in his seat of Port Adelaide has been set for February 11. There is an expectation that Mike Rann’s resignation will follow shortly so that a by-election can be held for his seat of Ramsay on the same day.

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.

2,596 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Coalition”

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  1. 35 on the primary to ALP – if Anna Bligh can put on 5 points when the media starts to focus on a dud opposition leader, then this should translate accross to the Feds. And we have PJK’s 40+ on the primary.

  2. sprocket dont hold your breath. No signs that Abbott’s free ride is ending any time soon.
    The reshuffle reporting IMO takes the cake. Its as if Abbott is writing the stories themselves.

    I’d like to see Gillard ask Carney or Ewatt or Tingle what was so bad about the reshuffle? I didnt see it as any worse than any other reshuffle in the past. There are always winners and losers. Shorten in cabinet is great- how could you argue otherwise. Roxon got the AG that she wanted. Carr was dumped- who? who has ever heard of this man, really?

    I guess I just dont get it. Its bad because PM Gillard did it. and the MSM groupthink means they all tow the line. Disgraceful

  3. Andrew

    Curiously the msm briefly turned on Abbott. The msm must have got the meme that the coalition were not yet prepared for a leadership change, so they went back to bashing the govt. Very strange indeed. That, or the govt deliberately give the msm a reason to focus back on them to get Abbott off the hook. Perhaps the govt really do want Abbott exactly where he is atm!!!

  4. victoria, IMO the MSM only turned briefly because the polls did. Either that or they realised that Abbott wasnt going to change ie. be more positive, so they didnt want to continue on that meme

  5. Another ‘interesting’ environmental decision from Ballieu:


    1. The way the legislation binds future governments through the threat of compensation payouts (very Kennett);

    2. No mention in the article that the supposedly independent board of VicForests includes Ballieu’s brother in law, Graeme Stoney.

    Love the ‘There’s nothing sinister about this’ line. Very Freudian.

  6. [sspencer_63 Stephen Spencer
    Sarah Hanson Young’s answer to stopping boats appears to be that we offer everyone who makes it to Indonesia a free flight …]

    Is the Emirates terminal at Jakarta International next to the Jetstar Terminal? Wouldn’t want to inconvenience any of our new chums forcing them into buses or anything like that.

  7. They’re really trying to take away Russell Broadbent’s endorsement? Must be bonkers in the Liberal Party- he’s got a big personal following and could possibly hold it as an Indi with the right preference deals. Maybe this is Abbott’s version of Howard’s war against McPhee and the Victorian small ‘l’s.

    I carried this over from the previous thread
    [Gorgeous Dunny
    Posted Monday, December 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Essential results suggest government still behind but not grossly. If Nielsen was not a rogue, it was probably a reaction to the confected outrage over the Labor conference and then the ministry shuffle, neither of which was harmful to Labor.

    I’m with Andrew Elder. The government is on course with policy achievements and has positioned its ministry to take advantage of that, and to contrast it with Abbott’s lot. It should be a very different picture by mid-2012.

    Thanks for the primary figures, Mithrandir. If 35 is where it’s at, I’d expect it to be much closer to the magic 4 PJK talks about by the same timeframe. ]

  8. I don’t know about anyone else but pleased to be posting to a Blog that has 46/54 rather than 43/57 on it, sometime in 2012 it will reverse! Feeling quite good now as had a swim so very relaxed.

  9. Essential generally comes up with strange rounding results.

    The previous Essential had the primary votes for the Coalition L 44% N 3% total 48% and 2PP preferred 55%. This week it is L 45% N 3% total 47% and 2PP 54%. On primary votes the Coalition position actually improved marginally but went backwards on 2PP. Interesting rounding.

    Perhaps the National primary vote dropped from 3% to 2.5% but still shows as 3% rounded.

    Basically I think Essential has been showing for a while now that the position is steady around a 55/54% to 45/44% level and isn’t changing much.

  10. re BB on previous thread. Yes, I’ve sent around some of your posts via their permalinks on Twitter. So has Mark (not sure if he posts here or just reads the PB comments). He recently started to use a Twitter hashtag #bbill to keep track of the tweets he sends with your posts.

    Happy to draw a few of the posts to others attention. Do you still use your own Twitter account? Mine is!/Leroy_Lynch

    Cheers, Leroy

  11. [They’re really trying to take away Russell Broadbent’s endorsement? Must be bonkers in the Liberal Party]

    Yes, can’t have moderates in today’s Liberal party! It’s now the party of Abbott-Bernardi-Mirabella, not the party of Menzies.

  12. To get a 40PV the Govt needs to win back Howard’s “battlers” and needs to convert Green votes to ALP votes. That means doing something big – a nation building moment. Fast train inquiries, Murray Darling take overs etc won’t cut it in the burbs. The move to 12 per cent Super could be speeded up – and doing some kind of big formal trade deal with China would resonate with those who see us as part of Asia. The 40PV also depends on “internals”. If KR continues with his self absorption ( with Ruperts backing) the ALP will be lucky to get a 30PV next time.

  13. confessions

    Are the Liberals really going to try and get rid of Broadbent? When are the moderates going to stand up to Abbott?

  14. [On primary votes the Coalition position actually improved marginally but went backwards on 2PP.]

    No, the Liberal position improved marginally on the primary vote. Given the Libs went up, Nats were steady and Coalition went down, they presumably have the Libs hovering around 44.5 and the combined Coalition hovering around 47.5.

  15. Of course you are correct William and I did mean the Liberal position improved.

    It still doesn’t quite explain how the Libs can improve and the 2PP goes down without the Nats primary falling?

    The other interesting rounding with Essential is that last poll the overall % added up to 101% and this time it’s 99%. It’s amazing how the fractions get lost in rounding.

  16. victoria:

    The Broadbent report is by Michelle Grattan, so I suppose we should take it to mean that maybe he will face a preselection challenge, but then again, maybe he won’t!

    (in typical Grattan-style commentary)

  17. My old girl Chelsea is off to the vet Wednesday to have a couple of teeth removed. She is only 11 and in good health so things should be ok. As well as Medicare and Denticare we need Peticare. 😆

  18. Victoria a little concerned but not sufficient yet to consider migration to south of the border. In some ways given the bad press thrown at Newman and the LNP in the past few months not unexpected.

    The mood up here is still strong for change desite the unknown factors about Newman.

  19. [The mood up here is still strong for change desite the unknown factors about Newman.]
    It sounds to me like you need your own conservative dud like we have here in Victoria.


    [Hillsong’s power in determining the sound of Christmas
    Angela PriestleyMonday, 19 December 2011

    It’s difficult to ignore the role of the Hillsong Church when determining who really runs Christmas in Australia. The Church not only commands the attention of its followers at this time of year, but can also dominate the music charts and put on some of the country’s most extravagant Christmas pageants.]

    More in the article

  21. Extravagant Christmas pageants? What happened to a Xmas service or mass or something and Xmas food parcels for the poor?

  22. [It still doesn’t quite explain how the Libs can improve and the 2PP goes down without the Nats primary falling?]

    Last week might have been ALP 34, LIB 44.4, NAT 3.4, this week might have been ALP 35, LIB 44.6, NAT 2.6. I’m sure Essential Research’s rounding is no more interesting than anybody else’s.

  23. Baillieu, that man that holds true to all election promises. No to smart meters, no to Myki, no to the desal plant and no to the speed cameras (money spinners for the government). What do we still have or are getting? You guessed it, all of these.

  24. Thefinnigans TheFinnigans天地有道人无道
    oh Dear, the Dear Leader has died. I am going to miss the TV Newsreader
    29 seconds ago

  25. [Kim Jong Ill now Kim Jong Dead?]


    Copyright that. The tabloids will be falling over themselves to use that on their front pages.

  26. [The Fibs here in Vic are proving to be incompetent]

    More than that they are environmental vandals of the worst order. Victorian economy moving backwards as they slash public service jobs and destroy sustainable industry.

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