Morgan face-to-face: 54-46 to Coalition

The latest Morgan face-to-face poll, which combines the results of the last two weekends’ surveys, is Labor’s weakest so far this year: their primary vote is down two points on the poll of March 3-4 to 37 per cent, with the Coalition up two to 45.5 per cent and the Greens up half a point to 10.5 per cent. The Coalition has strengthened two points on both two-party preferred measures, now leading 54-46 on respondent-allocated preferences and 52-48 on preferences as they divided at the 2010 election.

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.

2,425 comments on “Morgan face-to-face: 54-46 to Coalition”

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  1. BB: The PM (or Premier in a bicameral Parliament ) is, or quickly becomes a member of the lower rather than upper house only because of the convention that government depends on confidence of the lower house . The whole thing is held together with string and bits of glue really.

  2. The chain of logic appears to go like this:

    (i) Labor was in government everywhere -(ii) now Labor is being thrashed all over the place – (iii) therefore something is wrong with Labor – (iv) Labor must change – (v) This change must take the form of (a) breaking the factions and this will be achieved by (b) changing the way candidates are preselected, by opening up preselections to the wider community.

    Even quite respected commentators are running with this line of reasoning, and presenting it as if it’s all self evident.

    Now, I’ve addressed (i) — (iii) above; there are perfectly good reasons, external to Labor, which can equally explain the parlous state Labor finds itself in. (And if we’d hit the GFC with wall to wall Liberal governments, wouldn’t exactly the same kind of scenarios be playing out?)

    (iv) is predicated on (i) – (iii) being based on sound grounds. (And, as I’ve also said above, no organisation is perfect, all organisations can and should be changed, on an ongoing basis – so let’s take that as read).

    But even if we accept the chain of reasoning presented above – and every single step of it is built on assumptions which can and should be challenged – then why are (v) and (vi) the obvious solutions?

    Do we have any precedents to support them? Do we have examples from overseas where parties in similar situations have taken these steps and then reaped electoral success?

    Or is it a case of a few people with particular ideological barrels to push taking advantage of a situation to push these along?

    Anyway, let’s look at the perceived problem – the power of the factions – and the proposed solution.

    Now, I’m going to take it as read that ‘the power of the factions’ is BAD, because everyone tells me so, and of course, everyone is always right.

    So, how is changing preselections the solution?

    At present, in Victoria, candidates are preselected for the HoR seats in a two step process. Firstly, there is a local vote, where branch members vote for their preferred candidate.

    If that preferred candidate wins an overwhelming majority of the vote, there is no Step 2.

    If they aren’t, then Step 2 is a Head office vote. That’s added to the original count, and whoever wins is the preselected candidate.

    In the vast majority of cases – well over 90% – there is no Step 2. And in most of the cases that go to Step 2, the local vote is upheld on principle.

    (There are a very very small percentage of cases where Step 2 is all that happens. That’s why you hear of them – because they’re extraordinary, not because they’re what usually happens).

    So where do the naughty factions come in?

    Well, they must come in at the local vote level (and indeed, that’s what branch stacking’s all about).

    At the present moment – and indeed, for the last few years – Victoria has had the most stringent anti stacking rules ever in its entire history. These rules are so strict that we lose members – it can take years to go through the process of signing up if you want to join a branch which is considered ‘suspect’, and in some cases whole branches have been wiped out – its branch members thrown out of the party – because of suspicions of stacking. Babies are invariably thrown out with bathwater.

    Yet, apparently, this hasn’t solved the problem.

    So what will?

    The latest solution offered is US style primaries.

    The argument is that it will water down the power of the factions and allow real people to decide who should be preselected.

    Bollocks and bollocks.

    If branches are still suspected of stacking, despite incredibly stringent rules to prevent this, then stacking primaries is going to be a doosey. (If you don’t think so, then explain to me how you can structure such a process so that I, as a prospective candidate, can’t just go out and round up busloads of ‘supporters’ to rock up and vote for me).

    But I also ask why we think US primaries are at all desirable, whether to break down the factions or to give ordinary people a say.

    Is that what we’re seeing in the US at the moment?

    So, yes please, let’s talk about what Labor can do to reform (apparently everyone thinks the Liberal party structure’s just fine, so we don’t need to discuss that). But let’s examine some of the assumptions being made about the problems and solutions whilst we do so.

    A side note:

    One thing Queensland does is reaffirm that we’re still a two party system and that voters really aren’t bothered by that.

    If we were really suffering the crisis of confidence with the major parties which commentators tell us we are, then in the state elections in SA, Victoria, NSW and Queensland we should have seen alternative candidates – Greens and independents – elected en masse.

    We aren’t. We’re seeing a massive shift from one party to another, sure, but we’re not seeing anything that suggests that people need or want any alternatives.

  3. Zoomster,
    I don’t think I have any sensible suggestions about reform to offer, and am horrified by the result in Q’l’d, but do agree with you about primaries. The only thing I can think of is the party needs to be using the new media more effectively to counter the stories being promulgated in the MSM and to put Labor’s story out and about.
    I guess Abbott’s latest idea for tax payers to fund nannies has been thoroughly vetted and costed by the Libs.. No? As if.

  4. [Thanks, Leroy – fame at last!!]

    Zoom, Sun Tzu said: when’s in defeat, dont panic, keep cool head and clear mind.

    Them fuggin, nervous nellies

  5. Just to throw it out there, some possible (non primaries) reform might include…

    – Members electing Parliamentary leaders
    – Changing/reducing Union weight of votes at conference
    – reforming branch membership in favour of online or associate memberships

    However, the whole process is really only going to be something that can be done from opposition. NSW & QLD branches seem to have all the time to try out reforms at a State level and see how they work out. At a national level, no one in the government can afford to indulge in navel gazing or destructive public arguments about party reform, especially not while in a minority government with an upcoming election to win, as Mungo so accurately pointed out a while ago.

  6. I don’t think the people up here in Qld want reform of the Labor party or the inner workings of the Labor party. Certainly I’ve seen nothing in the media about the “factions” or anything of that nature in the press, personally I think the care factor is close to zero.

    I seriously think that the reason Labor got the thrashing they did is directly linked to the fact that they canned the fuel subsidy (however much that made sense from an economic perspective or the fact that it was only a case of subsidizing fuel companies more than anything else) and the fact that they sold state assets and in other ways didn’t show any sympathy for how hard people think they’re doing (note: it’s all emotional perception, the fact that any Australian is better off the 95% of the rest of the world is beside the point)

    They did these things directly after the last election without a single mention of their intentions, it came across as incredibly deceptive and arrogant. The whole Qld Health pay debacle didn’t help in any way either. I know it wasn’t the governments fault but the average person see’s no difference between the public service and the Gov’t of the day.

    Just like with every major swing in history the LNP didn’t win because of the fact that they re-organised or because they got rid of the dead wood or because they did anything (other than stay relatively quite and not explode) Labor lost badly, the LNP didn’t win.

    Don’t expect Can’tDo to get a much better reaction if they tries to pull the “black hole” card, which seems to be a popular Liberal excuse to welch on their promises. So no matter what Labor now does in opposition it can’t win government back, it’s up to how long before the LNP stuffs up and unfortunately I think the minimum expectation is 6 years but probably 9 unless something extraordinary happens. 🙁

  7. At the end of the day (end of 2013) Labor’s salvation will be the 10% ‘Others’.
    ‘Others’ are currently confusedly ‘parked’ mainly due to toxic majority biased MSM brainwashing.
    However, Others are a modicum more intelligent, (even though they exhibit a naivety) than 50% of mainstream Australia or most current Queenslanders.

    When it comes to the Federal election booth ‘crunch’ and this demographic has to finally make a decision they will realize they couldn’t vote Tony Abbott and will put Australia first.

  8. I think the really interesting dynamic will be newman and abbott

    I suspect can do has fed ambitions

    when abbott loses in 2013

    can do ill be in the rivers seat

    you read it here first

  9. [I seriously think that the reason Labor got the thrashing they did is directly linked to the fact that they canned the fuel subsidy (however much that made sense from an economic perspective or the fact that it was only a case of subsidizing fuel companies more than anything else) and the fact that they sold state assets and in other ways didn’t show any sympathy for how hard people think they’re doing (note: it’s all emotional perception, the fact that any Australian is better off the 95% of the rest of the world is beside the point)]

    Acknowledge the ALP losing govt on that basis but to be thrashed within an inch of life seems to be slight overkill. I mean it wasn’t as if the state was mired in debt and corruption. the extent of the result just beggars belief. the tourism industry and the impact of the dollar must be hitting hom big time.

  10. Abbott has got his hand on it (or perhaps a pair of tweezers given the meme that the large the ego the smaller the swang) if he thinks there was much in the way of federal reasons for what happened. Not once did I read, see or hear about any federal issues over the past 6 weeks in relation to the state election.

  11. [ can do ill be in the rivers seat

    you read it here first ]

    More Sunday evening Liberal leadership spill? And this far out we read it.

  12. Labor lost in QLD because of age of government, utilities policies and impact on cost of living, asset sales, fuel levy, Bligh supported carbon tax and health. They lost so badly because of smear campaign which fell apart.

  13. If NewsPoll called anyone in QLD this weekend they would have been told to bugger off. We are over-polled and then some.

  14. I was polled today. By some market research company acting on behalf of Telstra in response to a recent broadband failure issue I had.

    Suffice to say, I had me some fun. The researcher’s final question in her series was ‘do you consent to me sharing your responses with Telstra management for quality improvement?’.

    To which I simply replied ‘yes’.

  15. Well. Some sort of damn signal. Do not bag Telstra! Might cost, but gee for me to send this message has involved downtime, three logins, saving my intended post in the meantime…which I still not posted.

    And I am writing the next post because maybe the signal may say yes, and you and William may like to know.

    So should this message make it, I will attempt to send the next.

    Even if they are messages in a bottle.

  16. And a blooming cyclamen and a phalaenopsis, sage rosemary and thyme, a fantastic Peugout car, dual drive, all leather seats, an air conditioned glove box for chocolates and drinks, new abode, 15 new friends in the park….

    My neighbor is a Thai, fantastic individual, married to a really amazing guy, wow the Tsunami stuff, involved in recovery of body parts etc…..shock, Horreur, as if it was not bad enough!

    The wife, name is Tai, is  professional masseuse.  I shouted my sister in law, in need, a massage today. Birthday present.
     Her partner and I spent some time analyzing the wifi problem.  He is a tecchie and has Telstra mobile.  Perfect signal for him. Moi, lousy as hell.

    Anyway, whilst the massage took place, we examined spectrums, consumed smoked salmon, the neighbours made themselves at home, some other people came by to introduce themselves and invite me for drinks tonight etc

    Heaven on a stick!!

  17. Seems like most others I was too shattered by the trouncing in Queensland to post or even to browse.

    I think DavidWH has summed it up well. The one consolation, as Joe6pack also confirms, is that essentially it is a state issue.

    Unfortunately the outcome is such that federal issues will not get much play until all the post-mortems die down.

  18. Jon Faine ABC 774 shockjock is wetting himself this morning over the QLD state election disaster pontificating on the reasons and impacts on Julia Gilliard etc.
    Ruddstoration is even to the fore and encouraged by callers. He is now talking to Barnaby about Rudd!
    Faine has already cracked the Tarago and the Qld Labor party joke TWICE!

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