Essential Research: 55-45 to Coalition

The one survey that uses an internet rather than telephone-based methodology remains resolute in not participating in the Labor poll recovery.

NOTE: Apologies for the present technical problems. I’m afraid I can offer no insight on how long they’re likely to last.

Essential Research this week maintains its apparent determination not to participate in the Labor poll recovery, unless you count a one-point lift in the primary vote to 35%. Otherwise, the Coalition (48%), the Greens (9%) and two-party preferred (55-45) are unchanged. Labor has in fact gained three points on the primary vote over the last five weekly polls, but with the Coalition down only one and rounding perhaps also playing a part, this has only translated into a one-point gain on two-party preferred.

Other findings:

• Racism (71%) and religious intolerance (65%) are rated by most as problems in Australia, but homophobia (50%), sexism (45%) and ageism (44%) not so much. Labor might be perturbed to discover that slightly more think the Liberal Party better at dealing with such matters, although that’s clearly because the question pits it in direction competition with the Greens.

• A question on same-sex marriage finds 55% support and 36% opposition, respectively up one and up three since August.

• The poll also finds 55% considering recent protests unrepresentative of the Muslim community, against 29% who think it demonstrates a tendency to extremism.

• A question on the treatment of the public sector lately in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, which presumes rather a lot of knowledge on the part of respondents, finds a 23-38 good-bad split for Queensland, 23-34 for New South Wales and 26-25 for Victoria. Thirty-nine per cent anticipate bad treatment under a future Abbott compared compared with 30% for good treatment, while the result for the present government is 37% apiece.

UPDATE (25/9): The weekend’s Morgan face-to-face poll has Labor at parity with the Coalition on two-party preferred using the previous-election preference distribution method, something Labor last managed in late February and early March. The Coalition continues to lead 52-48 on respondent-allocated preferences, which is down from 53.5-46.5 on the result published for the two previous weeks. The primary vote has Labor up from 35% to 37.5%, the Coalition also up slightly from 40.5% to 41.5%, and the Greens down from 12% to 10%.

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.

3,772 comments on “Essential Research: 55-45 to Coalition”

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  1. I think the slowchange in Essential is due to using the same pool of people all the time. This takes out some of the randomness and also some of the willingness to admit to thinking now than what was said before. Even when anonymous there is a reluctance to admit to change of a position you have committed to previously.

  2. William, can you or someone else knowledgeable on the matter remind us what exactly are the peculiarities of the Essential poll? How does the population sampled vary from those of the Newspoll and Neilson polls?

  3. Labor primary vote is around 34-35% like the other polling
    which is in striking distance of retaining governemnt with 12 or so months to go

    Its still 55-45

    beats me

  4. Does anyone really believe these figures in Essential?

    i[Homophobia: Liberal 17%, Labor 13%, Greens 21% … Religious intolerance: Liberal 22%. Labor 16%, Greens 9%]

  5. “@702sydney: The monorail is stuck between Darling Harbour and Market City. A crane is getting passengers off, says ABC journo Elle Throwden. #news

    @jpinczewski: @702sydney @FireRescueNSW Monorail! Monorail! Monorail! Mono…d’oh!

  6. i was for a time one of essentials’ on line surveyees. for some reason they stopped surveying me – do they change their sample every so often? I agree with guytaur – I think people regularly polled on the issue may get defensive of their previously taken positions and be less likely to change their vote.

  7. Victoria i think that person who was claiming to be an essential pollster last week in another blog i forgot the site 🙁 , was right when that person claimed the essentials have 60% of lnp supporters – 25% Labor supporters ratio

  8. I think the real position lies somewhere between Newspoll and Essential but we need at least two more Newspolls to know where in that range it lies. Wherever the current position lies we can say Labor is again competitive and the trend is to Labor at present.

  9. Just come home from the dentist with my temporary cap on, 2 weeks time permanent one. See Essential, only comment wish they would get some “new Blood” to ask. THe other I received an invitation from Malcolm Turnbull to participate in the Broadband survey, I replies “saying can’t wait to get the NBN connected, so not wasting time filling out an uncosted survey from the Coalition’

  10. As I said last week Essential seem to be slow to pick a change in the wind. They had a too high Labor vote for too long before the election and they have the reverse now. They have fewer “swingers/undecideds” and maybe the act of signing up to the voting internet pool makes swingers think too much and go for the prevailing wind.

  11. Brian Mc, Essential Research has a pool of 100,000 volunteers to draw on who agree to participate in its online surveys when randomly nominated to do so. Within that subset, they seek to target a sample which is representative of the overall population in terms of age, gender and location. The question there to be posed to Essential is: is that pool of volunteers representative of the population of large, or does it attract a particular kind of person who might have different tendencies with respect to voting behaviour? And the question there to be posed to everyone else is: ditto for owners of landline phones.

    Victoria, I think the point you’re missing is that those of the left plump overwhelmingly for the Greens rather than Labor on these matters. If it was boiled down to two-party preferred, Labor would have the big lead over the Liberals that you were expecting.

  12. Conroy’s response to Turnbulls survey.

    [Coalition launches survey, public wants policy

    Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today said that if the Coalition were serious about providing fast broadband to all Australians, they would release a policy, not launch a survey.

    “Australians know that the ageing copper network is struggling to deliver their broadband needs now, and cannot deliver their broadband needs for the future,” Senator Conroy said.

    “That’s why Labor is building the National Broadband Network, which will provide fast, affordable and reliable broadband to all Australians.

    “Mr Turnbull continues to mislead Australians claiming they will pay more for the NBN.

    “Entry level NBN broadband plans are equal to or cheaper than existing plans. NBN Co has committed to the ACCC and in its Corporate Plan that prices will decline in real and nominal terms.

    “Mr Turnbull also misleads the Australian public about the speeds he can deliver. 75% of customers could not get the download speed of 80 Mbps that he advertises.

    “Mr Turnbull can’t deliver what he has promised, and won’t deliver what we need.

    “Mr Turnbull should release the fully costed broadband policy he told the AFR on 21 August 2012 was ready to go.”]

    Turnbull has taken to calling his plan an NBN, I tought he saw supposes to destroy it?

  13. Leigh Sales tonight – half the questions will be about Tony. She’s looking for a cheap headline. And she might just get one.

  14. William wouldn’t a random sub-set of a population, such as Essential uses, have a larger MOE than a random sample of the whole population?

  15. Essential do a very useful role by asking very well worded questions that allow for deeper analysis. They will just lose the beauty contest of who picked closest to the final election result- which newspoll have done well. If they want bragging rights they need to adjust their methodology.

  16. william bowe 18

    William, if that figure of 100,000 is true, the Essential poll might well be unreliable as an input into a “poll of polls”. But it would still be useful, no matter what the composition of the 100,000.

    You probably have to just look at the trend in the Essential poll only. Any drift towards labor should be reflected in that, even if the raw figures disagree with those from the other polls.

  17. Tony Abbott said why bother talking to the Africans. Someone should tell him that Nelson Mandela is Black & an Africa Native Son

  18. David, if the subset was perfectly representative of the overall population, the answer is no. Even if it were otherwise, I don’t think margin of error would be the appropriate way of defining the problem. The MoE measures sampling error, whereas the issue here is coverage bias. This is certainly an issue with implications for the poll’s accuracy, but it’s not what the MoE measures.

  19. @2FBS: @TurnbullMalcolm forget about costing your Broadband package. It is more important you guys cost a CT scan on Abbott. Something ain’t right.

  20. Another example from the Kouk

    [If a household with a $100k income had the debt problem of the govt, it wld have a $10k mortgage & interest payments of $340 a month #auspol]

  21. I am loving the Kouk

    [@chriskkenny @themaskedcrus Yes; Low tax. Also in last 5 years, employment up 800,000, wages 21%, pensions up 60%, inflation at 13 year low]

  22. Oops, hadn’t realised that there was a new thread, so reposting:

    Danny Lewis @ 1425,

    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but the minute I start talking about head lice my head starts itching.

    It’s particularly obvious when at a pharmacy and a customer comes in asking for nit treatment. Everyone in the shop starts to squirm.

    OH went to school in the 1940s and 1950s, back in the days of short-back-and-sides and Brylcreem for the boys. He avers that he and his brothers never had nits – which I suppose is not unreasonable, given that the eggs would sort of slide off the hair … On the other hand, he also asserts that he and his siblings were never wormed, and that I take leave to doubt.

    Btw, the birthday weekend was a HUGE success. Stepdaughters and step-SIL are now on their way to Tasmania, and I am exhausted. But a great time was had by all 🙂

  23. Potential sampling bias rather than sampling error? Basically Essential is just another guide which is useful for looking for trends.

  24. chris murphy‏@chrismurphys

    Lawyers stunned by absolutely indefensible defamation of MsRamjan by Michael Kroger in The Australian. Deliberate.Agenda? #auspol

  25. OK, so Essential ALP Primary Vote is about the same as other polls, around and about 35%. So how does Essential end up with a 2PP of 55-45? Is it something to do with The Greens that people are alluding to? I’m confused. 😉

  26. There is little doubt that Abbott has shown he is pretty masterful at massaging the press. If anyone has wondered why he hasn’t had more of a hard time from the media just take a look at the following:

    Kellie Connolly ‏@kellieconnolly
    Why Abbott needs a shock – Mel Gibson style … my opinion piece in today’s Daily Telegraph

    Kellie Connolly ‏@kellieconnolly
    Lovely personal phone message from Tony Abbott – very gracious about my opinion piece in the Tele.


    Kellie Connolly ‏@kellieconnolly
    @Buffygirly he said the piece was thoughtful and he took it on board. If u heard the message you’d vote for him

    The above can be found in Kellie Connolly’s twitstream at

  27. [The Kouk @AndrewRobbMP Did you know that the Fraser Govt with Howard as Treasurer, left net debt at $112 billion in todays dollars to the Hawke Govt?]

  28. ustainable future
    Posted Monday, September 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    i was for a time one of essentials’ on line surveyees. for some reason they stopped surveying me – do they change their sample every so often? I agree with guytaur – I think people regularly polled on the issue may get defensive of their previously taken positions and be less likely to change their vo[]

    i was to sustainable for a while i seemed to get the email every fortnight, and as i have never been polled by phone ever only a face to face re morgan in my entire adult life i thought it odd

    but i soon became bored with it as i got sick of answering questions about products in between politics.

    the company that send the emails say somthing about points but i never investigated that and did not know what they where talking about.
    seems like you could score points did you ever get an email like that not from ess. but the company doing the sending our of the email

  29. C@Tmomma the big difference with Essential is that it still has the Coalition vote at 48% which is out of step with the other polling. Conversely they tended to have Labor higher when other polling had Labor in the 20’s. Essential doesn’t seem to be as volatile as other polling.

  30. Newspoll (winner of the most beauty contests) has the most pronounced trend improvement for Labor (accepting the 50:50 result might have overreached)but Keane’s article today “Abbott’s unpopular, but less so with the voters Labor needs” quotes essential and neilsen as their guiding wisdom- piss poor effort. Like essential I think too many of our journos are slow wind readers – just look at Hockey and Turnbull bobbing up everywhere

  31. [chris murphy‏@chrismurphys

    Lawyers stunned by absolutely indefensible defamation of MsRamjan by Michael Kroger in The Australian. Deliberate.Agenda? #auspol]

    Perhaps this will just give this more air.

  32. Since early July, Essential has had Labor go from 31% primary and 43%-44% two-party preferred, to 35% primary and 45%-46% (these latest primary numbers suggest they’re near the cusp, and may have been unlucky not to do better).

  33. Had a chat with mum this morning. She brought up punchgate. She was of the view that Abbott could have just admitted he was young, aggressive and a sore loser. Would be better than his lame defence now. She also said that people believe he did this because his conduct now is no different. She said that one only has to watch him when he does a SSSO, to see how vulgar an individual he is.

  34. Labors PV in Essential has risen 3 points in the last four weeks. 32 – 35 %

    Coalition down 1 %

    The trend to labor is there, just the high primary for the coalition differs Essential from others.

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