Budget polling: Nielsen, Galaxy and Morgan

Four polls: one from Nielsen, conducted on the two nights after the budget (Wednesday and Thursday) from a sample of 1200; one from Galaxy, conducted on Thursday evening and during the day yesterday from a sample of 600; a Morgan phone poll conducted on Wednesday and Thursday evening from a sample of 571; and a Morgan face-to-face poll conducted last weekend from a sample of 1004. Galaxy only canvassed opinion on the budget; Nielsen and the Morgan phone poll canvassed the budget and voting intention; the Morgan face-to-face poll, obviously, missed the budget and only looked at voting intention.

First on voting intention. Nielsen and the Morgan phone poll are in agreement on two-party preferred, which amounts to a combined sample of 1771 putting the result at 58-42 to the Coalition. On the primary vote, Nielsen has Labor up a point on the previous poll six weeks ago to 28%, the Coalition up two to 49% and the Greens down one to 12%. Even allowing for the small sample and high margin of error, the state breakdowns offer the truly extraordinary result of a Labor primary vote in Queensland of 19%, compared with a previous worst of 21% in July last year (and perhaps suggesting a honeymoon for the state government has added a bit of fuel to federal Labor’s recent poll collapse). Remarkably, the poll still has Labor ahead 54-46 in Victoria.

Morgan’s phone poll has the primary votes at 29% for Labor, 50.5% for the Coalition and 10% for the Greens. The face-to-face poll has Labor’s primary vote at 29.5%, down half a point on their previous worst-ever result in the last poll of April 21/22 (there was evidently no polling conducted on the weekend of April 28/29). The Coalition was also down two points, to 45.5%, and with the Greens steady at 12%, the slack has been taken up by “others”. At 13%, the latter figure is at levels unseen since One Nation and the Democrats were substantial concerns, although other, more reliable polls aren’t replicating this. Records have also been set on the two-party preferred figures: the 60.5-39.5 respondent-allocated result is Labor’s worst ever, but the gap between this figure and the 55.5-44.5 previous-election result is also at an all-time high, the previous highest being two polls ago in early April.

Regarding the budget:

• Nielsen and Galaxy both asked respondents if it would leave them better or worse, producing results of 27% better off and 43% worse off in Nielsen’s case, and 23% and 46% in Galaxy’s.

• Morgan has 19% rating the budget good, 43% average and 25% bad; 29.5% believing the surplus would eventuate and 60% believing it wouldn’t; and 49% considering a surplus important and 47.5% believing otherwise. The latter result is remarkably different to what Essential Research elicited a month ago when it framed the question thus: “Do you think it is more important for the Government to return the budget to surplus by 2012/13 as planned – which may mean cutting services and raising taxes – OR should they delay the return to surplus and maintain services and invest in infrastructure?” That produced respective results of 12% and 73%.

• Galaxy asked if respondents believed the Coalition would have done better, which is the one question that allows ready comparison with the three questions Newspoll has been asking after each budget since the late 1980s (Newspoll also asks about impact on personal finances, but it explicitly offers respondents an “unchanged” option which invariably proves very popular). The results were 29% yes and 43% no, which is a surprisingly positive result for the government (or, more likely, a negative one for the opposition) – better for them than Newspoll’s 2010 and 2011 results, and close to Newspoll’s long-term averages of 29.5% and 47.6%.

• Galaxy also found only 17% anticipating that carbon tax compensation would be adequate against 62% who said it would not be.

So much for the good news for Julia Gillard. Personal ratings from Nielsen show up the following:

• Kevin Rudd’s lead as preferred Labor leader has further blown out, to 62-30 in a head-to-head contest with Gillard from 58-34 when the question was last asked immediately before the leadership challenge.

• With other leadership options included, the results are 42% for Rudd, 19% for Gillard, 12% for Stephen Smith, 9% for Simon Crean, 8% for Bill Shorten and 4% for Greg Combet.

• Tony Abbott’s lead as preferred prime minister has blown out from 48-45 to 50-42, returning him to where he was in September.

• Abbott has also scored his best personal ratings since July last year, his approval up five points on the previous poll to 44% and disapproval down four to 52%.

• Gillard has at least not gone backwards on her own personal ratings, although the starting point was quite dismal enough: 35% approval (down one) and 60% disapproval (up one).

UPDATE: Essential Research is at 57-43, down from 58-42 last week, from primary votes of 50% for the Coalition (steady), 30% for Labor (up one) and 11% for the Greens (steady). Also featured are the monthly personal ratings, which are little changed on April (contra Nielsen, Tony Abbott’s net rating has actually deteriorated from minus 12 to minus 17), and responses to the budget. The most interesting of the latter questions is on the impact of the budget on you personally, working people, businesses and the economy overall, for which the respective net ratings are minus 11, plus 7, minus 33 and minus 6. All of the eight specific features of the budget canvassed produced net positive ratings, from plus 5 for reduced defence spending to plus 79 for increased spending on dental health. There was a statistical tie (34% to 33%) on the question of whether Wayne Swan or Joe Hockey was most trusted to handle the economy.

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.

4,219 comments on “Budget polling: Nielsen, Galaxy and Morgan”

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  1. e Finnigans Posted Friday, May 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    my say, this budget has been very well received by the business. the CEO of NAB was praising it this morning.

    One concern that business had was the $45B “cuts” could take the economy into recession.

    But hey presto, via Swannie’s magic tricks, they discover this budget, via #SchoolKidBonus etc, is ….actually expansionary rather contraction. Almost like the GFC Stimulus Mark 3.

    Clever man Swannie.

    Loved finns comment so much i bought with me

  2. Good point Rua. Perhaps that’s why Robb has looked a bit sick lately. Any idea on what has prompted this fracas between Costello and Kroger? Who do you believe?

    I reckon Costello got on the sauce over lunch last November with Kroger and pontificated how the leadership and the PMship should be his.

  3. Nothing like moving a thread in the middle of a conversation, so I will repost. 🙂

    Lynchpin: that is the odd part. Also, for the Libs to have this spat so publicly in the first place.

    BUT, look closely at what Kroger said. He actually PRAISED Costello to the hilt as well; reminding everyone what a great Treasurer he was. He also contradicted the much-accepted meme that Costello actually DID have the numbers to take on Howard at one point but just didn’t have the ticker to do it.

    In terms of all the “Costello is bitter” stuff, people have been saying these things about Costello for years. Kroger hasn’t disclosed anything that isn’t already out there. The journos know all this, so if they say they’re surprised to hear this about Costello they’re lying their arses off.

    Also, look at the response from Costello. Brimming with praise for Kroger about his years of service to the party. Expressing “disappointment” at his statements.

    Now, if it was a real, visceral hatred, you’d get the sort of thing that came out of Swannie’s mouth a couple of months ago. THAT is a relationship damaged beyond repair.

    To me, this seems more like … play acting almost.

    Look at the players coming out of the woodwork and listen to what they are saying. This isn’t just about Costello and Kroger; increasingly Abbott’s name is being evoked in arguments about whether or not he is economically illiterate. It is playing right into Labor’s hands and making Abbott look weak and ineffectual.

    I just think there is much more to this than meets the eye … time will tell, I suppose.

  4. My say, also the #MSMhacks have generally been very positive about this budget. Like Richo, he was absolutely praising it and almost kissed Swannie.

    And when the likes of Grattan didnt come out blazing, you know you are on a good thing.

    On the other side, Abbott’s budget reply has been widely condemned by the #MSMhacks, eg:




  5. DavidWH from the previous thread:

    [Rua any AEC matters are subject to three years so it’s unlikely that will be a problem for Thomson.]

    That didn’t stop Paul Sheahan saying the AEC had a “case to answer” for failing to exercise its non-existent power to act upon the FWA report.

  6. [Stephen Mayne @MayneReport 3h
    So, Kroger goes to Fairfax-owned 3AW, where Cossie’s son works, to sledge Cossie over a Fairfax column, yet Cossie never spoke to journalist]

  7. Good analysis Danny. Costello hates Turnbull. It could only be true that Costello has fostered ambitions to come back. Why would Hockey (who would be threatened by a Costello comeback) take Kroger on (ie if the finger pointing photo was indicative of a spat)? Makes no sense. Abbott is the loser in one sense because it takes the focus off his budget reply speech. Maybe that was the point.

  8. William there have been a number of things reported by the media regarding Thomson that shouldn’t have been reported in my opinion. I read that article by Sheahan and thought he was either bad with his research or mischevious.

  9. I doubt this would happen, but i wonder what the result be , if morgan and the other opinion polls held a poll on abbotts budget speech, and the coalition’s budget promises etc

  10. DL

    I dont trust the fibs one bit. It all seems rather odd, but it must have something to do with Kroger’s ex, Senator Helen Kroger, being challenged on her position of Senate Whip

  11. ABC is doing well out of Kroger. Maybe they are hoping people are going to forget Uhlman performance on 7:30. You know they are acting on that when they give Keating space to have a spray. This for them is good follow up and a try at saving face with Gillard supporters of what ever party. (I say part because Green voters support her too.)

  12. Has Eric Abetz popped his head up today? He was the one who was going to demote Sen Kroger for gross disloyalty.

  13. Paul Barratt‏@phbarratt

    Frankly, Mr Kroger, I think Tony Abbott is living proof that it is possible to be both a Rhodes Scholar and an economic illiterate

  14. I posted this in other thread but oh well William hasn’t closed that one yet!

    Kevin Rudd ‏ @KRuddMP
    Tony Abbott’s view of the world, as he says in his own book: “Overwhelmingly, the modern world is one that’s been made in English” KRudd

    Nice one Kevin!

  15. The Hockey stuff makes no sense.

    Kroger was doing Abbott a favour by appearing to have a go at Costello over his comments about Abbott being an economic illiterate. Kroger reiterated that Abbott was a Rhodes Scholar and that he was a smart man. Also, Costello poses a threat to Abbott – and Hockey – should he ever return to parliament.

    Not to mention the small fact that if Abbott ever got pushed under a bus, Hockey would be in the frame for the top job and, potentially, the PMship.

    So why would Hockey be so upset that Kroger was kicking Costello in the nuts?

    Unless it was for the cameras and Hockey is up to his neck in this as well …

    I love a good conspiracy theory 😆

  16. Victoria: I think the Helen Kroger stuff has been bubbling along for a while. When people use phrases like “lost the confidence” of the partyroom, it generally means there have been long-standing problems.

    However, that might be tied up in my wonderful conspiracy theory. After all, what better time to make the Costello move than when there is obviously another motivation there to which your comments CAN be ascribed.

    I’ve gotta say, the whole “I asked him to support Helen and he refused” comment is frankly a pretty pathetic reason to chuck in a 35 year friendship.

    I’m not buying it for a second, both in terms of Costello’s reason (not getting involved in current politics – he’s done it plenty of times since he “retired”) and Kroger’s OTT interest in his ex-wife’s career.

  17. [Kevin Rudd ‏ @KRuddMP
    Tony Abbott’s view of the world, as he says in his own book: “Overwhelmingly, the modern world is one that’s been made in English” KRudd]

    Good old Tony; Mother Country Tory to his bootstraps.

  18. [My read of the Electoral Act is that the fines on offer for the Thomson breaches are around $1000.]

    Too late.

  19. Yep, Finns.

    For mine as well it has GET ABBOTT written all over it.

    But like I said, time will tell whether I’m right.

    If and when it does happen, though, I demand bragging rights 😉

  20. Settle down Danny I have only learned recently that my great-great-grandfather emigrated to Australia from Kent in the 1840’s. 🙂

  21. davidwh: my grandmother was from Bristol and other rellies a generation back on both sides of the family were all from Cornwall, England, Wales and Scotland.

    I know of what I speak 😆

  22. I finally figured out how the language stuff got into Tony’s speech. He asked for policies that he had not contradicted himself on personally – this is all he could find.

  23. Any truth in the rumour that Abbott is secretly learning Bahasa so he can insult Mas Marty Nalategawa in Bahasa?

  24. Oh ABC Management have realised what Online are upto.

    [Editor’s Note

    Paul Keating’s attack on Chris Uhlmann’s interview of a fellow Labor Prime Minister demonstrates an understandable tribal loyalty. Keating sent it unsolicited to The Drum and we published it because this site has a culture of open and robust debate. But it cannot pass without comment. It is a personal and unreasonable assault on one of this country’s best political journalists and interviewers. Uhlmann’s interview with the Prime Minister canvassed the decisions made by her government to achieve a forecast budget surplus. He asked questions in the public mind – questions about savings made by breaking or shifting previous promises on business tax cuts, defence and foreign aid. He asked reasonably whether broken promises reflect on the credibility of the government and on its forecast. When the theme of credibility is infused into the very being of the current parliament, it’s a fair enough line of inquiry. Later parts of the interview were about cash bonuses, the carbon price and Julia Gillard’s judgement about Craig Thompson and Peter Slipper. These are matters that go to the heart of Julia Gillard’s prime ministership. I’ve just re-watched the interview. Chris’s tone throughout was respectful but probing, the appropriate tone for a political interviewer doing what political interviewers have always done – acting devil’s advocate for a public seeking to better understand its leaders. I’ve been around long enough to remember Prime Ministers and their acolytes levelling similar charges of impertinence against ABC political anchors, from Richard Carleton to Kerry O’Brien. Chris Uhlmann, widely respected in Canberra and amongst his colleagues as a decent, intelligent and no-nonsense journalist, continues a fine tradition.

    Bruce Belsham

    Head ABC Current Affairs]

    Crap Bruce. 😛

  25. Speaking of Paul Sheehan, today’s events remind me that five days out from the 2010 election, he included in a list of Gillard “lies” (yes, he used that word) that “a Labor ad claims Costello refused to endorse Abbott as an economic manager”, which we knew to be untrue because Costello said it was “dishonest”. Nice to learn that Michael Kroger doesn’t see it that way.

  26. Ooops too much posted

    But Pyne did say

    [Our largest concern with the draft National Curriculum relates to the three cross-curriculum perspectives, namely the imbalance of the focus on:

    Indigenous perspectives;
    sustainable patterns of living and skills; and
    Knowledge and understanding related to Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia.
    Even if the Coalition did approve of the need for having these cross-curriculum perspectives in the National context, we would immediately revise the selection of the three specific cross-curriculum perspectives chosen by ACARA. ]


  27. [Paul Keating’s attack on Chris Uhlmann’s interview of a fellow Labor Prime Minister demonstrates an understandable tribal loyalty. Keating sent it unsolicited to The Drum and we published it because this site has a culture of open and robust debate. But it cannot pass without comment.]


    No excuse for 26 interruptions in a 15mins interview, NONE

  28. @BG/45

    To get a comment from the Libs (Specially Pyne) on Education (be it Australian or other) is like commenting on Turnbull on Broadband.

    They wouldn’t know that we have fallen so low.

    They still haven’t reconised that Australia is ranked at 24 (which you might consider 25th actually) in the world speed wise (average 5mbps).

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