Nielsen: 53-47 to Coalition

It seems Nielsen’s sample of 1400 respondents from its first opinion poll of the year didn’t get the memo: the poll has the Coalition’s two-party preferred lead at 53-47, which although not brilliant for the government in absolute terms is its best result from Nielsen since March last year. The same applies for the primary vote, on which Labor is at 33 per cent, while the Coalition is on 45 per cent and the Greens are on 13 per cent. This looks particularly good for Labor if you compare it with the most recent result from the same pollster, as the media so likes to do. That poll, which was published on December 11, had Labor at 29 per cent, the Coalition at 49 per cent and the Greens at 11 per cent, with two-party preferred at 57-43. Labor’s relatively strong showing has been driven by a quirky looking result from the Victorian component of the poll, which has Labor leading 55-45 – essentially the same as the 2010 election result, and better for them than at any Nielsen poll since. The Victorian component accounts for 330 respondents and has a margin of error of 5.4 per cent; the results for the other states should emerge tomorrow. The margin of error for the poll as a whole, which as always with Nielsen was conducted from Thursday to Saturday, is 2.6 per cent.

Even better for Labor so far as tomorrow’s headlines are concerned is an eight-point improvement in Julia Gillard’s net personal rating and a six-point improvement as preferred prime minister. Gillard’s approval is up five on the previous poll to 40 per cent and her disapproval is down three to 55 per cent, and she has shot to a 48-46 lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister after trailing 46-42 last time. These results are very similar to the November poll, and the shifts probably represent a correction on an aberrant result in December. That Gillard has gained six points on preferred prime minister without taking a chunk out of Abbott’s rating is curious, and calls attention to the much lower undecided rating Nielsen produces on this question (ranging from 6 per cent to 12 per cent since the election) compared with Newspoll (15 per cent to 25 per cent). Tony Abbott’s personal ratings meanwhile are essentially unchanged: approval steady on 41 per cent, and disapproval up one to 54 per cent (his equal worst results from Nielsen on both counts).

One fly in the ointment for Gillard is that Nielsen has, reasonably enough, put her head-to-head with Kevin Rudd as preferred Labor leader, with Rudd predictably holding a commanding 57 per cent to 35 per cent lead. However, even this is a much better result for Gillard than when the question was last asked at Labor’s polling nadir in October, when Rudd led 61 per cent to 30 per cent.

Numbers, it almost goes without saying, courtesy of GhostWhoVotes. UPDATE: Full tables, including state breakdowns and such, here.

UPDATE: Essential Research once again has the two-party vote at 54-46, as it has in every poll since December 12 (and not since September has it failed to produce a result of either 54-46 or 55-45). Labor however has dropped a point on the primary vote for the second week in a row, now at 33 per cent (their weakest result since October 24), with the Coalition steady on 47 per cent and the Greens up a point to 11 per cent. A question on the government’s industrial relations regime finds 24 per cent believing it favours workers, 25 per cent believing it favours employers and 34 per cent finding it balances the interests of both, which would be a very pleasing set of numbers from the government’s point of view. The poll also has 15 per cent of respondents saying Australian workers are “very productive” and 59 per cent “quite productive”. Also canvassed was trust in various public institutions, which has the Australian Defence Force on top. Curiously, the least trusted out of those included were “business and banking regulators”.

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.

4,161 comments on “Nielsen: 53-47 to Coalition”

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  1. It was Coalition policy at the last election to sell MBP.

    And to keep getting the dividends from it after they sell it.

    I’d be quite happy to see the back of the whole system of pushing people into private health insurance. If it’s that great a product, it can compete on its own. Funnily enough, that sounds like the wonderful free market the Libs are meant to be in favour of (except where climate change is involved, then it’s Government’s turn to pick winners instead of letting the market do it).

  2. The whole issue with public vs private hospital treatment is very complex. I have twice been treated for emergency life threatening illnesses at private hospitals. By “emergency life threatening” I mean I could have been dead within hours without treatment. I live 5 minutes from a very large private hospital with an excellent emergency department and facilities to carry out just about any treatment. I’m also on a fairly modest income (since retirement) but maintain private health insurance. I suspect there are many people with this sort of experience,
    Although I intellectually support a much more equitable system of funding hospital treatment, a huge number of institutional changes need to take place before I would be likely to give up the insurance. I would maintain it even if the rebate was removed, although it would cause considerable financial pain.
    On top of that, I am now being treated as an outpatient in the public system, having changed to that system to get access to treatment not readily available privately.
    Also, my private GP bulk bills and doesn’t seem to be desperately poor despite having only a modest sized practice, so I suspect the level of medicare rebates is adequate to support a well manged practice, despite the occasional blandishments of the medical establishment.
    I have found both systems uniformly excellent in terms of the care I have received. If all that sounds confusing, it’s because the provision of medical services is pretty confusing to an impartial observer!
    I see the abolition of the rebate for high income earners as the first step in a gradual rationalisation. It is simply politically impossible to do things like this too quickly. Howard crept in many of his “reforms” in small stages to minimise political opposition and labor will have to do the same.
    I actually pretty much agree with Patrick Bateman as far as the “ideal” approach, although I suspect that agreement might fade pretty quickly if we started discussing what are the appropriate rates of income tax for different income levels! However, I think any quick move to that approach would simply be political suicide for labor. The liberals discovered that advocating the wholesale abolition of medicare would be fatal to their political survival and have therefore retreated to the incremental sorts of things that Howard did. People don’t take too kindly to sudden changes to the way something as personally important to them as how healthcare is provided.

  3. [SteveCannane Steve Cannane
    #lateline has got access to extraordinary footage of animal cruelty inside an Australian abattoir. Story on tonight.]

  4. 7.5:

    CU seemed to have to ask every question three times.

    The PM was very patient but had to dispatch him to the boundary once, near the end.

  5. 3 follow up questions from 730:
    (1) Does Chris Uhlmann think he is a god interviewer?
    (2) Does his boss think he is doing a good job?
    (3) Why, after months of absence, did I fall for watching this vacuous programme again?

  6. ajm
    [The liberals discovered that advocating the wholesale abolition of medicare would be fatal to their political survival and have therefore retreated to the incremental sorts of things that Howard did.]
    Oh yeah. People should remember how Howard had to promise (even though we were unaware of core and non core then) not to dismantle Medicare before he became “electable”. The same John Howard who in 1987 declared Medicare the Hawke governments “greatest mistake”.

  7. Thank god the Labour party is finally telling journalists where to get off. In y view the PM interview with Chris Uhlmann was excellent.

    Go to hell, but please enjoy the trip.

  8. [(3) Why, after months of absence, did I fall for watching this vacuous programme again?]


    I abstained. The twitter reaction is justification enough, eg:

    [cyenne40 Tom Cummings
    +1 RT @NortonDeSilva: I know Leigh Sales has got a tiny baby but PLEASE COME BACK! #abc730]

    [GrogsGamut Greg Jericho
    hahahahhahahaha #abc730]

  9. Ulhmann savaged by his attempted gotcha interview with our PM on 7.30.

    The vomit stuff is the comparison with the grovelling interview by Uhlmann with the Godwin Grech merchant banker on the same program last evening. Uhlmanntoolman is getting close to needing a bodyguard.

  10. [SteveCannane Steve Cannane
    #lateline has got access to extraordinary footage of animal cruelty inside an Australian abattoir. Story on tonight.]
    Does this mean we will have to ban deliveries of meat to Coles and Woolies?

  11. I missed Chris Uhlmann’s interview with the PM. Did he ask the PM whether anyone from her office revealed that Joe Hildebrand would be in Alice Springs?

  12. [I see the abolition of the rebate for high income earners as the first step in a gradual rationalisation.]
    Well that’s effectively what the government is doing.

    It is taking it away completely from singles who earn over $129,000 a year and couples that earn $258,000.

    If a family on over $258,000 a year can’t budget to pay for private health insurance they should have their entire income managed by Centrelink.

  13. ru

    Yes If dog live in a major city, but so do a large proportion of the population, and that’s where mostre of the winnable seats are!

  14. fredn

    [Thank god the Labour party is finally telling journalists where to get off. In y view the PM interview with Chris Uhlmann was excellent.

    Go to hell, but please enjoy the trip.]
    I suspect that the buck up in Labor demeanor is that word has come through from Treasury that the ,knifes edge + largely out of their control, surplus promise is a goer. It will be one hell of a feather in their cap and given the recent Noalition yes no maybe over their “surplus” claims make Tones crew look like fools.

  15. [ruawake
    Posted Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Abattoirs kill animals – how more cruel can you get?]

    Clearly that has to be stopped.

  16. Quote of the decade

    [if memory serves me well]

    [Former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer dismisses claims that Australia played an integral role in the so-called black sites – secret prison facilities hidden from the Red Cross. “I think that’s likely to be complete nonsense,” Mr Downer said.

    “I don’t think the SAS would have known anything about black sites at that time and certainly we didn’t in the Australian government.

    “If memory serves me well…]

    The same Downer who before the Cole commission into the financing of Saddams suicide bombers replied over 280 times, I cannot recall, I don’t remember, I forget.

  17. Hi William and All,

    Are we doing the group subscription through this blog again this year? I am really keen to be part of this if we are.

  18. A family on $258 k would have to pay $2,580 per year in the Medicare levy surcharge if they don’t have private health insurance. Subtract that from the premiums adn that’s what PHI is really costing them.

    Since I don’t have PHI (although I’ve looked into it), I don’t know what the premiums are like.

  19. [This little black duck
    Posted Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    gusface, like Dawkins, works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. Just lie back and think of your favourite food.]
    As long as I am not expected to think of England as I lie back, bit late for that

  20. and the ABC in its news bulletin headlines with

    The opposition pressured the prime minister over the “controversial” Craig Thomson.

    Why is Thomson controversial?

    Do they refer to the forgetful Downer, the plagiariser Bishop, the depressed Robb, the attention seeking Abbott?

  21. [In my experience, treatment at teaching hospitals far exceeds that of any private hospital. If I could choose, I’d choose to be treated in the major teaching hospitals all the time.]

    victoria – I now agree with you. Have always gone to private but the 3 surgeons who did our daughter’s op a few weeks ago wouldn’t do it at the private hosp but wanted the backup resources at the big public hospital. Daughter says everyone there was brilliant and she’d never worry about going there again.

    I am stoked that the medicare rebate legislation looks like getting through the House.

  22. [Hildebrand said one of the crew stopped a woman about a metre away from him from attacking his group with a rock the size of a mango.

    The general manager of the Aurora Hotel, Ron Thynne, told the ABC one of his staff probably saved the life of a cameraman by dragging him away to the back office.

    None of the film crew was injured during the incident.]

    Just like the ‘riot’ in Canberra;

    lots of lights, camera; action!

    yet bugger all actually happened.

  23. I don’t know if anyone is watching the Nation, but there is a very annoying woman on the panel who talks over everyone else, interrupts, and runs conversations with other panelists while someone is answering a question.

    She is more annoying than co-panelist Tim Wilson!

  24. How could anyone associated with Labor clean their teeth, turn the lights off and go to bed with Uhlmann?
    I know Diogenes take it easy on me I did watch the must miss program.

  25. Hildebrand has probably never strayed far from a Yuppie Pub. He doesn’t know that potty mouthed smart arses get a very different punch line in some places.

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