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Roy Morgan has published a poll which, so far as the headline figure goes, is extremely interesting in that it a) is consistent with the Newspoll result, and b) was conducted by phone, and thus cannot be anticipated to suffer the pro-Labor bias typical of Morgan’s face-to-face polling. However, the headline figure to which I refer is from respondent-allocated preferences, which for so long have been flowing to Labor in confoundingly weak proportions in Morgan’s face-to-face polls. In this poll however they have flowed to Labor inordinately strongly. If using the measure which allocates preferences according to how they flowed at the previous election, which I and all other pollsters recommended, the Coalition has a somewhat more comfortable lead of 52.5-47.5. The primary vote results are striking in being high for both major parties: 39.5% for Labor and 47% for the Coalition, against 8% for the Greens and a very low 5.5% for others.
The poll was evidently conducted from Monday to Thursday (despite some confusion in Morgan’s heading) from a sample of 668, with a margin of error of about 3.8%. Other questions were also posed by this poll, so stay tuned for more detail.
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UPDATE: Further findings from the Morgan poll are that Julia Gillard recorded a fairly solid approval rating of 40%, with disapproval of 51%, which represents changes of 3% and 6% since Morgan last posed the question in January. Tony Abbott meanwhile is respectively down four to 32% and up four to 60%. On the question of better prime minister, Gillard has remained steady on 45% while Abbott has dropped four points to 37%. Abbott has also lost further ground to Malcolm Turnbull on the question of best leader for the Liberal Party, the former down three to 19% and the latter up five to 42%. That leaves Abbott nearly level with Joe Hockey, who is down one to 18%. Julia Gillard continues to trail Kevin Rudd as preferred Labor leader, with Gillard up three to 22% and Rudd up one to 34%.
And not forgetting …
Seat of the week: Bonner
To commemorate Labor’s improved position in the polls, Seat of the Week takes its first excursion to the Coalition side of the electoral pendulum.
The Brisbane electorate of Bonner extends south-westwards from the bayside Wynnum-Manly area to Mount Gravatt. It was created at the 2004 election, and has remarkably been left unchanged by the two redistributions conducted since. The seat is also remarkable for having changed hands with each election, starting with the Liberals’ success in overhauling a 1.9% notional margin in 2004. The defeated Labor candidate was Con Sciacca, a Keating government minister who held Bowman from 1987 to 1996 and again from 1998 to 2004. Sciacca took the safer option when the transfer of Wynnum-Manly to the new seat left Bowman with a notional Liberal margin of 3.1%, but he was unable to withstand an adverse swing of 2.4%. Labor appeared to be especially hampered by the loss of Kevin Rudd’s personal vote in those areas of the electorate which had previously been in Griffith.
The inaugural member for Bonner thus became Ross Vasta, a staffer to Senator Brett Mason, former restaurant owner, and the son of noted Brisbane barrister and Bjelke-Petersen era Supreme Court justice Angelo Vasta. Vasta’s main source of publicity in his one term in parliament was his involvement in the scandal surrounding misuse of electoral printing allowances, for which he was cleared by the Director of Public Prosecutions shortly before the 2007 election. He was always going to have his work cut out defending the Coalition’s most marginal Queensland seat at the 2007 election, and duly fell victim to a 5.2% swing which compared favourably with a statewide swing of 7.5%.
Bonner was then held for a term by Kerry Rea, previously a Brisbane councillor representing a ward that included the area around Mount Gravatt. Vasta meanwhile returned to his old job with Brett Mason and unsuccessfully contested the Wynnum-Manly ward for the Liberals at the 2008 Brisbane council election. The newly constituted Liberal National Party then gave him the chance to recover his old seat, which did not seem a likely proposition in the political climate of the time. While that had certainly changed by the time of the 2010 election, Vasta’s victory on the back of an emphatic 7.4% swing was a serious disappointment for Labor, making Bonner the “safest” of its nine notionally held Queensland seats to fall to the LNP.
Labor’s preselected candidate for the next election is Laura Fraser Hardy, an associate with Hall Payne Lawyers.