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. @Mod Lib/49

    You’re laughable Mod lib, that’s for sure.

    This blog has been (as is other news outlets) have been predicting doom since election.

    2 Party is up, Primary is up, Projects like supporting NBN is up.

    Do you think people going to risk Labor Federally?

  2. All the Libs here really want the ALP to dump Julia Gillard. I am so touched by their kindness, I need tissues.

  3. There is no way Labor will change its leader. A leadership ballott was contested and Julia Gillard won it by 71/31.

    That’s right Mod Lib, 31 against. Now, let me see how many you said would be against Gillard, from memory I think you said 39 did you not?

    I was right, you were wRONg, get used to it and let me give you the tip!

    The election is a long way, a long way from starting yet 😉

  4. [Do you think people going to risk Labor Federally?]

    No I don’t think people are going to risk Labor federally, just as they haven’t risked them in NSW, and didn’t risk them in Qld just recently. They are about to show what they think about risking Labor in NT and then WA but the one I am most anticipating is to see how much they are not going to risk Labor federally.

    I know, too easy, but what can I say, the previous post ridiculing me was just too much to ignore….hehe 🙂

    Good night all!

  5. Now we all have agreed JG is not going anywhere and the conservatives here have had their cup of tea and hubris biscuits can we get on with some sensible discussion?

  6. 54

    To be fair to Abbott, that was before the last election where there was a change in the composition of the Liberal party-room that likely benefited him.

    This does not however stop him being totally unsuitable to be PM.

  7. Puffy don’t worry, there is only 1 reason the likes of Mod Lib and Bluegreen want Julia replaced?

    They know the :mrgreen: needs more than an orchestrated MSM propaganda campaign for him to win.

    We’ll start to rock 12 months from now 😉


  8. Puff
    Get real – Gillard has no chance of leading Labor to the next election and you’d best hope that I’m right, because she is unelectable. If she really cares about the party she will move aside voluntarily.

  9. @Mod Lib/55

    “Only 40 percent were broadly against the plan, despite the incessantly negative campaign the Coalition has run on the issue. From my point of view, what this means is that the Coalition is going to have a hard time campaigning against the NBN during the next Federal Election campaign. A very large proportion of its base supports the project, after all. This means that it will have to convince those voters, as well as the strongly entrenched NBN supporting Labor and Greens voters, of the merits of any opposition proposal.”

    This sum’s up you’re leader.

  10. You need to look at the primary votes and not get excited about a 1pc change in the 2PP vote. The Coalition vote is back into the high 40’s and Labor is back under 30 in NewsPoll and at 31 in Essential which is close to where they bottomed out in 2011. It’s a tough position, not impossible, for Labor to claw back from and I doubt the bedding down of the carbon scheme will do it. It will take something substantial or Abbott will have to trip up big time which is the more likely result.

    Basically a majority don’t like the carbon price and the way it came into being. They don’t trust the PM. And I suspect a lot of people are uncomfortable with perceived Greens influence on Labor. Finally business large and small seem to have fallen out of love with a Gillard led government. These are all big hurdles to overcome.

    Oh and the media seem to be against the PM.

    The longer Labor lingers around 30pc the tougher it is becoming to claw back.

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

    Pretty certain this is how it will be portrayed in tomorrow’s news:

    Political correspondent: “In a desperate attempt to improve her horrific personal ratings, the Prime Minister has decided to turn populist by promising to accelerate the withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan. This comes after repeatedly saying our troops would stay until their job was done. With the Taliban still showing it has the capability to attack the capital, some question if it is the right time for such a move. The opposition says this announcement is only designed to help the Prime Minister and not Afghanistan’s people, proving once again why Julia Gillard is unfit to lead the nation. While this may win her some votes from the Greens, the Australian public will see through this pathetic attempt at populism.”

  12. JG’s approval down and disapproval up. She must be actually doing something, the Australian electorate tends to get all antsy when big changes occur. The experience of a PM who actually changes things is so alien.

  13. [Basically a majority don’t like the carbon price and the way it came into being. They don’t trust the PM. And I suspect a lot of people are uncomfortable with perceived Greens influence on Labor. Finally business large and small seem to have fallen out of love with a Gillard led government. These are all big hurdles to overcome.]
    The danger for the Libs is that this attitude could dissapate once the CT has been in for 12 months and the sky hasn’t fallen in.

  14. Re Afghanistan and Gillard
    Gillard…” we will stay the course in Af’stan..”…or try this ” we will stay till the job(?) is done.” or try “we are in for the long haul”……

    Yes I agree with the move but why did she say such silly things in the past…
    No hope Julia !!!

  15. Mithrandir
    It will be something like that. It is the same sort of media manipulation that is used to demonise opponents in wars. I am surprised Julia has ratings as high as she has. Under this sort of relentless campaign she should have been destroyed politically months ago. All is not going to Roopey’s plans.

  16. [Yes I agree with the move but why did she say such silly things in the past…
    No hope Julia !!!]
    And what would you have expected her to say? Geez.

  17. deblonay
    “The course” is done, “The job” is done, we are still in for the “long haul” but not with troops on the ground.

    I suspect everyone has come to the same conclustion. There is nothing more to be done in Afghanistan with troops.

  18. Puff – enjoy the ride on the Titanic with your “Gillard is the goods” philosophy – she ain’t and never again will be. She is intensely disliked and distrusted by a huge majority. It doesn’t help that Abbott is also on the nose because it’ll be “drover’s dog” time if JG is still Labor leader at an election. Oz voters are world champs at making a point on an intensely disliked leader even if it means cutting off nose to spite face.

  19. [Gary

    Afghanistan was one bit of conviction JG had left.]
    She didn’t have a crystal ball at the time of making those statements. Any PM would have been saying the same thing.
    So damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. Unbelieveable.

  20. Rudd says we aren’t teaching enough people Asian languages. What BS!

    I live in a chinese dominated multicultural area and I can tell you every second kid here speaks Chinese as well as their parents.

    What Rudd is actually implying is that not enough Anglo kids speak Asian languages. And why should that matter, surely its about the amound of Oz citizens that speak the regional languages.

    Not that you often see in the paper “Wanted: Diplomat fluent in at least three Asian Languages”

  21. From what I make of it, we missed the opportunity to make a difference in Afghanistan when the three mousketeers decided to go to war in Iraq. So blame George, John and Tony and stop kicking Gillard in the guts even when she does something you want.

  22. I notice even our esteemed host is into a bit of extrapolation about the Senate and, pondering the “what if” the cards all fall badly for the progressives and lead to a situation where Tony could/would be able to “repeal the carbon tax”.

    I am surprised that this comes from him – especially as he – and many others – caution us here not to extrapolate across State boundaries – particularly basing arguments on outcomes of State elections to the Federal sphere.

    I also seem to remember him also cautioning us not to place too much store in the predictive value of polls this far out from an election as he has mentioned that up to 30% of the electorate make up their minds which way they are going to voted on the day of the election.

    I think he may have taken this analysis from something else I saw this week which examined the mathematical possibilities of worse case/best case scenarios of who might control the Senate with his suggested outcome, once again based on the assumption that voting patterns will stay the same in 2013 as they are now, should the predictions come to pass.

    They may, but I would not bet on it.

    In my view such analysis has the value I of working out all the permutations of possible outcomes, when your team is in the position on the ladder just outside the top 8, figuring who would have to win/lose for your team to make into into the finals or win the Grand Final.

    It is not that it is done, but I question the value of such analysis – especially when the variables are still as volatile as they have been for some time.

    Once again, Labor has 6%+ of the its vote AWOL – either temporarily residing with the conservatives, with the Greens or Others.

    This vote is there to be got back and while it would give morale a bit of a boost to see the figures higher now, time is still on Labor’s side.

    Labor will be in power tomorrow and……….with and ounce of luck, this time next year and ready to fight an election say in September 2013.

    Labor may not win even then, but they will not lose because of tonight’s Newspoll or any other poll to come – other than on the Big Day.

    If at that point the Oz electorate decide in favour of Abbott well so be.

    Labor and Gillard will have done it against the odds and Abbott will be in for a rough time as I for one will not accept any kind of “My government will be for all Australians” shite, as he has essentially trashed government for the last 18 months.

    He will be a bit like the kid who is envious of your toy, throws sand in your face, takes it from you and then wants you to come and play with him.

  23. Gary
    When you’re in power every word is scrutinised, when you’re in opposition it hardly counts particularly since the front bench of the Libs speaks with a dozen voices. This obsession with Abbott has turned him into the most quoted and seen person in Oz but he’s the teflon man so best ignored.

  24. Tricot
    [Labor and Gillard will have done it against the odds]
    will have done what .. given us a Lib government for the following 6 years?

  25. Trust is a major factor in the polls. 54pc of people trust Abbott (hard to believe I know but there it is) as compared to 44pc for Gillard who’s trust has fallen 17pc since June 2010. It’s looking likely the die is cast.

  26. At the end of this month President Karazi will formally announce that the Afghan security forces will take control of Oruzan by the middle of next year.

    Surely this announcement means that Australia has stayed the course until the job is done ie Afghan forces taking control of that area.

    What do some want ? For Australia to stay there against the will of the host country ?

  27. Tricot I think that Senate analysis was as published in today’s FR and based on an analysis by an ex-Labor senator. I think William is posting it because it’s relevant to what PB is about.

  28. Mick77
    If the electorate wants to cut off its nose to spite its face like it did in Qld, just because they have learned to hate, then like Qld they can wallow in their fate. There used to be a saying, before divorce was accessible; ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure’.

    The Eastern states now can repent at leisure and if the federal electorate wants some of the same pie, so be it. But their children and children’s children will thank Julia Gillard. Long after Tony whosit is consigned to history’s dustbin, our first female Prime Minister will be the subject of studies, and essays such as, ‘The Years That Changed a Country’.

    So is she hated, yes, because haters will hate. But some of us do a little more than react with the primitive brain.

    So Micky dear, do I look like I give a damn?

  29. No Puffy @ 89 – I’m sure you don’t give a damn but others of us do, so we’d like to see Gillard replaced with an electable leader.

  30. Mick77

    I see you have not shifted from your “Gillard must go” theme. And, I know you took some time to actually set out some scenarios as to how she might “go”, but I don’t think it will happen. Nor should it.

    Actually, I challenge you on the “unelectable” bit. She is no more unelectable now than that “Lying Rodent” Howard was on more than one occasion.

    I know you have pumped for Smith or someone “safe” but they are not the answer for Labor.

    It’s win, lose of draw until the end.

    I find I can easily argue Labor’s track record to date..

    However, my position would be blown out of the water by a leadership change as this would be to admit the policies Labor have are wrong, they made a mistake with Gillard and now want to suck up to the electorate to vote them back in.

    I would actually prefer to see Labor lose than have Abbott gloat that he has seen off two PMs – and all he has had to do is just be a negative jerk.

    Now THAT would be hard to take.

    Quite frankly, while I prefer the progressives to be in office, because you actually get to put policy in place eg the NBN, I would would also prefer Gillard to lead to the end.

    Okay, you call it the “Titanic” but what is the purpose of government if it is not to get things done?

    If it is just a popularity contest might as well just give the keys to the conservatives now, disband any kind of opposition and lets have the tyranny of the majority.

  31. [I think you’ll find that JGs Afghanistan statements were stronger than any other cabinet members]
    Whoda thunk it, da PM makes stronger statements than other cabinet members? Some one play the Anthem to the Common Man.

  32. Mick77
    Yeah sure, you want the Labor Party to have another leadership change because it will do soooo much for their electorate chances. Go back to sleeping on the Lib HQ doormat. If you lucky Abbott might wipe his shoes on you.

  33. Aw come on Mick77………are you telling me that the formation and holding together of minority government is not “against the odds”?

    What, was it during WW 2 that there was minority government last in Oz? Doesn’t matter.

    I doubt whether anybody on either side of politics could pull it off better than JG. What’s your problem?

    I suppose you would be one who would agree with Abbott today who wanted Labor to test its legitimacy and deliberately isolate the Greens?

    I say it again – against the odds.

    For Labor, ever day is potentially its last in office. That is against the odds.

  34. DavidWH

    Thanks for that.

    I have been trying to untangle William’s purpose. If it to offer what others have said about possible Senate composites then I accept that this is fair enough, though if it is the same article, the author admitted the conservative majority in the Senate would be a long bow to draw.

    Perhaps I read too much into it – especially as William is for ever scoffing at those who try to read too much into polls – especially their predictive value.

  35. Gary,

    [ BTW, Abbott was parrotting the same bloody message so he can’t talk.]

    Not quite! I thought it was more along the lines of “sh!t happens”! 😉

  36. Re 4 Corners program

    What the program did was what some others have said earlier…that the war in A’stan is lost in every way..and nothing will prevent the Taliban…unlovely as they are ..taking over the whole country within weeks of the ISAF forces withdrawal

    Those here who profess genuine sympathy for women in that situation…should be out campaigning for Gillard to do what Fraser did in 1976 re the Vietnamese boat people…,,,admit many hundreds of thousands of refugees into this country.!
    How would that go down ???????

  37. Puff

    I really wish what you said was true. Pity.

    Gillard has earned her place as the first woman PM but at this stage not too much else. OK implementing the CT which was started by others (er than forgotten man Kev r Keith was it?) but yes she DOES deserve brownie points for it, however if the horror situation arises and Abbott unravels it she could lose that legacy. NBN she just implemented so not too many points – a few. Nicola gets stars for plain packaging. The rest is a fudgy blur with little right and quite a bit wrong.
    I was disturbed by those ASIO amendments that got coverage on Q&A – is it half a step left and 5 steps right?

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