Newspoll and Essential Research: 56-44 to Coalition

GhostWhoVotes reports Newspoll has come in at 56-44 to the Coalition, down from 57-43 last time, which exactly matches Essential Research’s progress over the last week. In Newspoll’s case, the picture on the primary vote is very much the same as a fortnight ago, with Labor, the Coalition and the Greens all up a point at the expense of “others”, to 29%, 48% and 12%. Personal ratings offer multiple stings in the tail for Julia Gillard. Where last time she was up three points on approval and down four on disapproval, those results have exactly reversed, putting her back at 28% approval and 62% disapproval. Tony Abbott has seized the lead as preferred prime minister, gaining four to 41% with Gillard down one to 39%, and his approval rating is up three to 35% with disapproval down four to 54%. GhostWhoVotes also relates that Gillard’s “trustworthiness” rating is down from 61% to 44% since the 2010 election, with Abbott’s down from 58% to 54%. Presumably this portends a battery of attitudinal results concerning the two leaders.

Essential Research had the primary votes at 48% for the Coalition (down two), 31% for Labor (steady) and 11% for the Greens (steady). Also featured were its monthly personal ratings, which had Julia Gillard’s approval steady at 32% and her disapproval down three to 58%, Tony Abbott’s respectively up two to 38% and down two to 50%, and Gillard’s lead as preferred prime minister shifting from 40-37 to 38-36. Support for the National Broadband Network was up a point since February to a new high of 57% with opposition down three to 22%, and 46% saying they will either definitely or probably sign up for it. There was also a question on appropriate areas for federal and state responsibility, with the states only coming out heavily on top for public transport and “investing in regional areas”.

I now offer a Senate-tacular review of recent happenings relating to the upper chamber, where it’s all happening at the moment:

• There has been talk lately about the potential make-up of the Senate if the Coalition wins next year’s election in a landslide, which might upset long-held assumptions about the political calculus under an Abbott government. Half-Senate elections usually result in each state’s six seats splitting three left and three right, and the territories’ two seats invariably go one Labor and one Coalition. However, four and two results have not been unknown, usually involving Labor winning three and the Coalition two with the last seat going to the Greens or the Democrats. The only four-right, two-left results were when John Howard gained control of the Senate at the 2004 election, in Queensland (four Coalition and two Labor) and Victoria (three Coalition, two Labor, one Family First). There is also the occasional unclassifiable like Nick Xenophon, who is up for re-election in South Australia next year and presumably likely to win, and perhaps even Julian Assange, of whose aspirations we have heard nothing further.

The difficulty for the Coalition is that a four-left, two-right result in Tasmania at the 2010 election (three Labor, two Liberal and one Greens) will carry over to the next parliament. However, on the basis of Newspoll’s recent state breakdowns it is easy to envision this being counterbalanced by a four-right, two-left result in Queensland, either through a repeat of 2004 or, perhaps, a Katter’s Australian Party Senator joining three from the LNP. This would leave the left with 38 and the right with 37 (including the thus-far low-profile Victorian Senator John Madigan of the DLP, a carryover from 2010), plus Xenophon – still leaving the left with a blocking majority, even when Xenophon voted with the right. However, the Queensland election wipeout and a further dive in Labor’s federal poll ratings encourages contemplation of further four-right, two-left results in New South Wales and Western Australia. Assuming no cross-ideological preference deals such as that which produced Family First’s win in Victoria in 2004, a rough benchmark here is that the combined Labor and Greens vote would need to fall to about 40%. This compares with Labor-plus-Greens results in 2010 of 42.2% in Queensland, 43.7% in Western Australia and 47.2% in New South Wales. Any two such results would be enough to get the carbon tax repealed, given the likely support of Xenophon, and all three would leave a Coalition government similarly placed to its state counterpart in New South Wales, where Labor and the Greens can be overruled with the support of the Shooters Party and the Christian Democratic Party.

• Bob Brown’s announcement he will exit parliament at the end of June creates a plum parliamentary vacancy for the robust Tasmanian Greens. Speculation first fell upon the party’s current leader in state parliament, Nick McKim, who if interested could have followed the path from state leadership to the Senate previously trodden by Bob Brown and Christine Milne. He immediately ruled himself out though, which has left Bernard Keane of Crikey, Sid Maher of The Australian and Gemma Daley of the Financial Review identifying Peter Whish-Wilson as the front-runner. Maher’s report describes Whish-Wilson as a “wine-growing, surf-riding economist”, while Daley offers that he “worked in equity capital markets for Merrill Lynch in New York and Melbourne and for Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney”, before moving to Tasmania in 2004 and making a name for himself as the operator of Three Wishes Winery and a Gunns pulp mill opponent. Daley reports former state leader Peg Putt is “understood to have ruled herself out”, as has former Greenpeace International chief executive Paul Gilding. An ABC report also mentions Hobart deputy lord mayor Helen Burnet as a possible starter, while Sid Maher offers “Wilderness Society campaigner Geoff Law and Geoff Couser, candidate in the federal seat of Denison”.

• A fiercely contested battle over the order of the Victorian Liberal Senate ticket has ended with Scott Ryan taking second place at the expense of Helen Kroger, who is demoted to third, with Mitch Fifield as expected secure in first. Fifield won on the first round with 251 votes to 92 for Ryan and 71 for Kroger, before Ryan achieved a surprisingly strong 276 to 139 victory over Kroger on the second round. VexNews offers a revealing account from a no doubt interested party who says Ryan took advantage of new preselection rules introduced under the “Kemp reforms” to empower the party membership. These provide for one third of the vote to be determined by the members, but the system allocates six delegates to each federal division – rather an odd way of going about it, given that Liberal members appear to number only in the dozens across northern and western Melbourne. Ryan, it is said, has assiduously cultivated support in these “rotten boroughs” to turn the tables on the Kroger camp, which has its power base at higher levels of the party organisation.

Nick Butterly of The West Australian reports some WA Liberals are “frustrated at the calibre of candidates coming forward” to fill its looming federal parliamentary vacancies: retiring Judi Moylan and Mal Washer in Pearce and Moore, and now, sadly, Senator Judith Adams, who succumbed to cancer on March 31. A further addition to the list is Senator Alan Eggleston, who has announced he will not seek re-election next year. The current form guide is evaluated as follows:

Among the most promising candidates being considered for either a Senate or Lower House spot are State Liberal Party treasurer Dean Smith and aerobatic pilot Drew Searle. Wanneroo councillor Ian Goodenough is so far the only declared candidate for Dr Washer’s seat, while Hyden farmer Jane Mouritz and former Liberal staffer Alex Butterworth are also being touted in some corners as options for Senate spots. One Liberal said yesterday they would push for retiring WA Mines Minister Norman Moore to sit in the Senate.

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.

3,913 comments on “Newspoll and Essential Research: 56-44 to Coalition”

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  1. The Finnigans tweet appeared on Quanda tonight:
    [Nicola really rocks #qanda]

    [The tweets they show are pathetic.]

  2. This was such an astute observation from the last thread, it should be repeated.

    Newspoll has done a few recent polls in which TPP has gone in the opposite direction to preferred PM

  3. Nothing to get excited about. All margin of error territory. Just glad more positive one for progressives this time. Maybe this is the start of the cruise liner turning.

  4. Looks like Gillard is getting the donkey vote but Abbott trumps her with the monkey vote.

    At what point do Labor start to worry?

  5. I think the people realise Abbott is far enough right to stand up to the Greens after Milne declared War this week. What went unconnected again was the green promis to win government in there own right and the death of Labor. That scares me and it should scare Labor, but alas half of Labor would not know Labor from Green anymore so a coalition is acceptable and the end of Labor.

  6. [So JG falls behind in PPM (again).]

    Priority to use when considering various polling figures:

    1. Two party preferred
    2. Primary vote
    3. Approval rating
    4. Preferred person I’d like to have beer with or person I hate the least.

  7. [1. Two party preferred]

    Labor behind

    [2. Primary vote]

    Labor miles behind

    [3. Approval rating]

    Labor behind

    [4. Preferred person I’d like to have beer with or person I hate the least]

    Labor behind

  8. drake #5005 on prior thread, beg to differ about Brandis SC as a sharp legal brain. I knew lots of bumptious prats like him at law school and believe me he has very little to offer. He is in no way fit for the first division as a lawyer or parliamentarian. Shows up very poorly against Senator Marise Payne for example. Not only as matter of political stance , I mean basic legal competence.

  9. [At what point do Labor start to worry]

    Two months after the budget surplus is delivered in 2013, if that?

    C’mon stop playing games, DavidWH, Bluegreen, Mod Lib, you guys are so desperate for a Labor leadership change aren’t you?

    The worm will turn, and you three know it!

  10. bg:

    We’ve done nothing BUT talk about Labor leadership for eons now.

    All it does is placate the handwringers and those lacking the wherewithall for a fight.

  11. [gordongraham Prime Minister Julia Gillard will tomorrow announce the accelerated withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan
    5 minutes ago]

  12. How empires really work
    Crain Paul Roberts a noted US economist and former Asst Treasurer looks at the US Empire and contrasts it with others in the past

    Whereas the old empires..Spain in the Americas and Britain in India for example ……worked by extracting or stealing wealth from their imperial territories(including Australia too)..,the US empire has occupied places like Afghanistan with no sign of any wealth to take away.

    So how does it work ???

    He says the the US war machine is there to create a demand for armaments which are paid for by the 99% of US taxpayers..while the 55.000 millionaires in the US gain from their investment in the vast armament industry and a favouable tax system

    Roberts says that the various lobbies..the Gun Lobby,The Zionists,and the security industry also profit from this racket…but ordinary US citizens are increasingly impoverished as they are the ones paying for the huge amounts of money flowing to these groups…the 1%

  13. bg

    so i gather you want your govt to react to fortnightly polls?

    so what mandatory term would that be? fortnightly terms? why stop at replacing leader, why not changing govt based on them?

    the fact is that no govt should ever be making its decisions based on fortnightly polling.

  14. It’s so amazing just how much the Liberal supporters here concern themselves so much with the Labor leadership?

    I would have thought you blokes had more confidence in the polls 17 months before the election?

  15. Four Corners tonight really did a great job on the Afganistan war and the waste of money and young Australian lives there
    Get out Julia…do something popular for a change !
    it might change you poor ratings

  16. [We’ve done nothing BUT talk about Labor leadership for eons now. ]

    To be fair to bluegreen. When looking at the Coalition there isn’t much leadership material to talk about 😉

  17. bluegreen if the overall strategy is to stop Abbott at all costs then perhaps they should have returned to Rudd. As it is they can hardly go that way after most of their senior ministers publicly destroyed his reputation. That means they are stuck with Gillard and all the pointers are that a majority of voters don’t trust the PM or a government she leads.

    It’s been 15 months since Labor has been even in the polls so what is going to happen to change that in the next 15 months?

    Abbott by default is looking more likely the closer 2013 gets.

  18. Jesus that shits me.

    Tony Delroy has Dennis Shanahan on to provide “guidance” about current Australian politics.

    Dennis tells us so matter-of-factly, calmly and in such “measured” tones, that a Surplus will be damaging to the economy, that it will be in name only, and anyway, in a “$3 trillion” economy, a couple of billion here or there is not really worth the Budget paper it’s printed on.

    It’ll be a fudge, a conjurer’s trick and not important in the overall Big Picture. Swan will be judged harshly. Any cuts he makes will be thought by the Australian people to be cruel and unusual, targeting them personally for shallow political ends etc. etc. etc.

    Why in the f**k does Delroy BOTHER having such a partisan shill, with that little nasaly, squirmy, smarmy voice on telling ANYONE what’s what?

    It’s a bloody disgrace.

  19. and BG, all that “Labor behind” stuff wont provoke me into any more posts on how despite criticism of her shape and dress the PM is actually pretty power foxy … except this post (damn, vanishes in puff of smoke)

  20. Something I haven’t seen commented on is this morning’s Breakfast report about long term 10 year funding for indigenous organisations.

    This breaks the cycle of short term funding leading to staffing issues, disjointed programs and uncertainty of existing services. It also means the federal govt is at last removing the discriminatory barriers between funding for say public hospitals, and funding for indigenous primary health care centres.

    A great step forward, and long overdue.

  21. Centre Gillard v Abbott in 2013 is the expected but worse case situation. I live in hope one side or the other will blink and force the other side to flow suit. However the closer we get to 2013 the less likely that will happen.

  22. [guytaur
    Posted Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    This is why trends are so important. The trend now is Labor has stopped falling on 2PP terms.]

    The pollytics trend is at 55.

    Since then Essential and Newspoll have both come out worse than that, so the trend line for the Coalition TPP can only be getting higher.

  23. [Since then Essential and Newspoll have both come out worse than that, so the trend line for the Coalition TPP can only be getting higher.]
    Which doesn’t mean it will necessarily be that way in 6 months time.

  24. I know which Party I’d rather be siding with; one with policies, an agenda and getting the job done OR one with NOTHING – but a soft lead in the polls orchestrated by a propaganda campaign in the MSM?

    I remember John Howard was polling no better at the same stage of the cycle against Mark Ltham, GEE there were no calls for Howie to be challenged back then I seem to recall?

    Do you recall Bluegreen, what about you Mod Lib, or even you DavidWH?

  25. True, Gary. It could be much much worse in 6 months time.

    No doubt we will both be around to discuss it then, so for now good night.

  26. BG @17
    [Can we talk about Labor leadership now?]
    Happy to talk about it. Dump Gillard. There – are we all done?
    When you see how well Nicola Roxon performed on Q & A and how she comes across in general, one can visualise what a decent, trusted, untainted Labor leader could do for Labor, however the Gillard groupies on this site are all Titanic fans and want to go down with the ship; ahh we’ll be out ‘o trouble soon, jus’ gotta stay the course.

  27. [GEE there were no calls for Howie to be challenged back then I seem to recall?

    Do you recall Bluegreen, what about you Mod Lib, or even you DavidWH?]

    And he definitely should have been!

    I would have much preferred for someone to have taken over Howard then or in the years afterwards, but leaders get to the stage of believing their own press that “its in my party’s best interests for me to stay”.

    No doubt Gillard has convinced herself the same thing.

  28. That analysis pointing out that an Abbott-lead government may well get power in the Senate and be able to repeal the ets is a concern. By the way Candope canned the climate change mitigation schemes in Qld before the ink was dry on his warrant is a fair warning. I hope anyone who has any wish to see the ets protected had better take note.

  29. [zoidlord
    Posted Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink
    @Mod Lib/39

    What planet you are on?

    Morgan 57.5-42.5 Last week vs
    Newspoll/Essential 56-44 this week]


    What planet am I on? You want to compare across polls, and across polling methodologies (Morgan was face to face and Essential is different to the usual phone polls) and then look at the trend?

    Say what?

    I am talking about the pollytics trend graph that averages all the polls, and pointing out that since the last edition, the polls (yes, even the Morgan) have all come out on the worse side of that trend estimate- in other words it is likely the next edition will show an ongoing drift from the ALP if nothing changes.

    Lets assume there is no change and things stay as they are: the next parliament would be 50 ALP to 100 Coalition.

  30. Mod Lib,
    Go count your toes or something else a little more useful than wishful thinking that Julia Gillard will go away. She is PM, and she will lead the Labor Party to the next election. I told you that months ago. It is your own leader you should be working to change. Rupert’s darling is a sociopath and a danger to this country. The worst Julia Gillard can do to Australia is negotiate the passage of a legislative agenda which will benefit this country to the end of the 21st century.

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