Newspoll quarterly breakdowns; Seat of the week: O’Connor

Newspoll’s latest quarterly breakdowns cover a period of steady Labor recovery that accelerated toward the end, and suggest the shift was very largely made in Queensland.

Courtesy of The Australian comes the quarterly Newspoll breakdowns for July-September, providing big-sample results state-by-state and my gender and metropolitan/non-metropolitan. This suggests Labor’s recent Newspoll recovery has been driven entirely by Queensland, where the Coalition’s lead shrunk to 58-42 from 65-35 in April-June. Elsewhere, the position is stable at 56-44 in New South Wales, Labor is up a point in both Victoria and South Australia to respectively lead 52-48 and trail 52-48, and they have actually gone backwards in Western Australia to 58-42, from what was probably an overly generous 55-45 last time. In aggregate, the result shows the Coalition’s lead down to 54-46 from 56-44 in the previous quarter, with little change in the leaders’ personal ratings, the survey period having mostly preceded the recent improvement in Julia Gillard’s ratings and decline in Tony Abbott’s. The results show the standing of each essentially stable across all demographics.

UPDATE (8/10/12): Cathy Alexander at Crikey reports Essential Research has Labor gaining a further point on the primary vote to 37%, with the Coalition steady at 47%. Essential has shown Labor gaining five points on the primary vote over six weeks, to reach a level not seen since March last year. The Coalition’s two-party preferred lead is unchanged at 53-47. Essential has smartly chosen this week to repeat an exercise from a year ago concerning trust in media personalities, finding Alan Jones among the most famous but least trusted (22% trust against 67% do not trust). The others best recognised were Laurie Oakes and George Negus, with the former slightly edging out the latter on trust (72% compared with 69%). Only 17% registered support for funding cuts to the ABC, with around a third each wanting funding maintained or increased. Opinion on government regulation of the media was fairly evenly spread between wanting more, less and the same.

UPDATE (6/10/12): The table below compares quarterly state-level figures for both Newspoll and Nielsen for both the July-September and April-June quarters. In the case of Newspoll, sample sizes range from 700 for South Australia to 1700 for NSW, while Nielsen’s range from about 1300 for NSW to fewer than 400 for Western Australia and South Australia/Northern Territory. The two pollsters agree in showing Labor recovering by six or seven points in Queensland, which is corroborated by Galaxy – their polls conducted in Queensland roughly in the middle of the two polling periods had the Coalition lead shrinking from 64-36 to 57-43. Both Newspoll and Nielsen have produced steady results of around 50-50 in Victoria, but a disparity emerges in the case of NSW, where Labor shot from 40% to 46% in Nielsen while remaining steady on 44% in Newspoll. Caution should be taken in comparing the smaller states given Nielsen’s small samples.

		Newspoll	Nielsen		Newspoll	Nielsen
		Jul-Sep		Jul-Sep		Apr-Jun		Apr-Jun
Total		   46		  46 		   44		   42
NSW		   44		  46   		   44		   40
Victoria	            52		  49		   51		   50
Queensland	   42		  40		   35		   34
SA/NT		   48		  50		   47		   47
WA		   42	  	  42		   45		   39

UPDATE 2 (7/10/12): Not forgetting …

Seat of the week: O’Connor

Covering rural and remote areas in the south of Western Australia, O’Connor delivered the WA Nationals a House of Representatives seat at the last election for the first time since 1974, with their candidate Tony Crook unseating Liberal veteran Wilson Tuckey. Crook’s win followed a redistribution which fundamentally rearranged the state’s remote areas, abolishing the vast seat of Kalgoorlie and dividing its territory between O’Connor and the new seat of Durack. This saw O’Connor absorb a vast swathe of the state’s south-east, including Esperance and the Goldfields. Whereas the whole of the state’s “Wheatbelt” had previously been in O’Connor, a transfer of 38,000 voters in its northern half (including Merredin) to Durack was required to balance its gains elsewhere. O’Connor continued to encompass Albany, the southern Wheatbelt towns of Narrogin, Wagin and Katanning, and the South West region forestry towns of Bridgetown and Manjimup.

O’Connor was created at the 1980 election, its territory having previously been covered by Moore and Canning. It was gained for the Liberals in 1980 by parliamentary newcomer Wilson Tuckey, who owed his “Ironbar” nickname to an assault conviction over a 1967 incident involving a length of steel cable and an Aboriginal patron of his Carnarvon hotel. Tuckey’s win was assisted by a schism in the state National Party, which resulted in two separate organisations fielding rival candidates. Emnity with the Nationals was to emerge as a theme of Tuckey’s career, with the Nationals repeatedly placing him behind various minor candidates in their preference recommendations. The Nationals caused Tuckey little trouble electorally over the years, consistently finishing third behind Labor on occasions when they fielded a candidate. That nearly changed in 2007, but Tuckey’s primary vote remained strong enough that he would have comfortably prevailed even if the Nationals had managed to edge ahead of Labor and absorb their preferences.

Tuckey was 75 at the time of the 2010 election, and regarded in Canberra as an increasingly erratic presence. While the redistribution had in one sense done him a good turn by dividing the Nationals heartland between two electorates, this was largely negated by the Nationals’ successful 2008 state election strategy of appealing more broadly to regional areas. Among the areas where inroads were made for for the first time was the Goldfields, which Tuckey had never represented. It was in the Goldfields that Tuckey suffered the most damage, the Kalgoorlie-Boulder booths collectively going against him 63-37. However, he was also outpolled in Albany, and the split elsewhere was roughly even. Crook had no trouble overtaking the Labor candidate, with the Nationals vote up 19.7% to 28.9% and Labor down 9.2% to 17.1%. Tuckey easily led on the primary vote with 38.4%, down 10.4% on 2007, but an 80% share of Labor and Greens preferences saw Crook prevail at the final count with a margin of 3.6%.

Tuckey reacted to his defeat by saying he did “not intend to be gracious at all”, and proclaimed Crook to be a “nobody”. Crook had in fact been the chairman of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and was the state election candidate for Kalgoorlie in 2008. His status as a nobody was addressed soon enough by the circumstances of the election result, which placed him as a non-aligned member in a hung parliament, the WA Nationals having campaigned as an independent party that would not “report, answer and take direction from Warren Truss”. However, few were surprised when Crook, after a fortnight of prevarication, announced he would support a Coalition government on confidence and supply. He nonetheless sat on the cross-benches until May 2012, when he joined the Nationals party room while remaining absent from joint Coalition meetings.

The complexities of rural politics in Western Australia have come to the fore recently as a result of the federal government’s move to wind up the Wheat Export Authority, the culmination of a process of wheat exporting deregulation which began after the Cole Royal Commission into wheat sales to Iraq. The more protectionist eastern states Nationals, who had split from the Liberals to vote against deregulation of the industry in 2006, persuaded Tony Abbott to back an amendment to sustain the authority for a further two years, incurring the intense displeasure of agricultural interests in Western Australia. The state party organisation was very keen that its members should cross the floor over the issue, and it took the exercise of Julie Bishop’s authority to determine their support for Abbott’s position. As the Liberal members had feared, they were duly snookered when Crook announced that he would split from his party colleagues to vote down any such amendment.

There had been hope in the Liberal camp that Crook might be tarred at the next election by the brush of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, but this has presumably been negated by the wheat export issue. Their candidate is Katanning farmer Rick Wilson, who won an April 2011 preselection vote over Cranbrook Shire president Doug Forrest and Kalgoorlie pastoralist Ross Wood.

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.

4,367 comments on “Newspoll quarterly breakdowns; Seat of the week: O’Connor”

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  1. And then there’s this in the Courier Mail:

    [THE woman closest to Tony Abbott has revealed intimate details of their private life together, including how he was a “wreck” when she suffered a miscarriage.

    His wife of 24 years, Margie Abbott doesn’t enjoy public attention or fit the mould of a political spouse.

    But in response to claims her husband has a problem with women, she agreed to a wide-ranging interview with News Ltd about their family life with their three daughters.]

  2. Labor is ahead 56/44 in NSW? Surely that can’t be right.

    And the point is not whether Abbott has a problem with women, it’s whether women have a problem with Abbott. It’s clear that quite a lot do. On the other hand, quite a lot of women seem to have a problem with Gillard, too. But how many women are actually changing their votes because of their dislike for Abbott or Gillard is another question.

  3. It’ll be interesting to see if the people disgusted by Jones will see this for what it so blatantly is.

    IMO Jones, in a 58 minute speech and 45 minute press conference wrecked 2/3 yrs planning and execution. I suspect that more than one ‘ drawing board’ ended up catapulted through a window.

  4. [And the point is not whether Abbott has a problem with women, it’s whether women have a problem with Abbott.]

    I’m a woman, and I most certainly have a problem with Abbott.

  5. [What has Abbott’s family life got to do with how he interacts with women outside his family.]

    The fact they have nothing else to draw upon is pretty damning in itself, I think.

  6. I remember being at a conference table with several women when it was announced that Abbott had become LOTO.
    They cheered.

    They were of the opinion that he was a positive for the ALP – partly, but not entirely, because of his transparent misogyny.

  7. Sydney police will be pleased to know that Ray Hadley, Alan Jones stablemate at 2GB, has given them permission to investigate a complaint against him:

    “He was asked to leave by me. He continued to get out of hand. He was asked again and he refused to. I escorted him off my premises; he was not assaulted by anyone. I have spoken to police as recently as Saturday. I will allow them to investigate his complaint.”

    The SMH have filed the story in their Entertainment section…

  8. Scarpat@15

    Sydney police will be pleased to know that Ray Hadley, Alan Jones stablemate at 2GB, has given them permission to investigate a complaint against him:

    “He was asked to leave by me. He continued to get out of hand. He was asked again and he refused to. I escorted him off my premises; he was not assaulted by anyone. I have spoken to police as recently as Saturday. I will allow them to investigate his complaint.”

    The SMH have filed the story in their Entertainment section…

    Who in the flock does this Hadley character think he is ?
    What an arrogant thing to say, no one is above the law, and that especially goes to the two-bit shock jocks at the equally 2 – bit 2 gb, both Hadley and Mutt Jones.
    If there are allegations that Hadley is a bully-boy thug, then they should be investigated ( as should allegations about his equally bullying copper son.

    These arrogant shock jocks are really giving me the Tommy Tits and there is no better thing that can be done than to chop these two F*wits down a peg or three.

  9. About to head out to the hills for more survey work. No frost so that is a blessing.

    Ms Margie Abbott is focusing on one end of the tunnel: that Mr Abbott has a problem with women. This is a peculiar way of putting it.

    I would have thought that the problem (for Mr Abbott) is the other way round: women have a problem with Mr Abbott.

  10. [LOL @ News Ltd’s front pages today – Newspoll this weekend I take it?? :lol:]

    FWA, Fixing IR, Abbott wife defends him against claims he has a problem with women, antiSlipper cartoon, HSC, Williamson, grog bans …

    A Newspoll Weekend, you say?

    Well, I NEVAH! ‘Ood ov thunk it! :roll eyes:

  11. The latest episode with abbott’s wife being trotted out to protect him

    shows labor has been in a very good position for a while now

    ,abbott remaining leader i can not see the liberals picking ground off labor

  12. I did it again and posted too early.
    Kevin Andrews flying the usual colours.
    Ron Tandberg conflates tunnels and banks.

    And the screw continues to turn on Rupe.
    Is this the last roll of the dice for Tone? Peta must have set this one up.
    David Rowe sums up the presidential debate.

  13. Labor and supporters should not relent on the pressure , which is building and building of Abbott and the coalition and their supporters

  14. Gaaaaawd struth. Really. Where is the barf bag? Downton Abbey!
    [If they watch a sad movie together he will get “teary,” she said.

    Mr Abbott said he was embarrassed he became “sooky” in The Year My Voice broke, one of the first movies the couple saw together.

    “Just to give you an idea of how it happens in the Abbott household, I’ll be grabbing the remote control saying `Can I watch the footy, please?’ he will be saying `Oh, but I would really like to watch Downton Abbey,”‘ Mrs Abbott said.]

    I wonder if his net satisfaction will hit -40% this Newspoll survey

  15. BK

    I am pleased that Gillard called Abbott on his economic lie de jour. Australia is nothing like Greece. Likewise Campbell Newman lied when he compared Qld (27% debt) to Spain (>70% debt). These throw away lines just spread ignorance and fear. Abbott should be challenged by journos when he says them, but most journalists are ignorant of this too.

    For that matter David Murray, Former banker and Future Fund manager, was quite incorrect to say Australia faced similar risks because it was trade exposed. Every nation is trade exposed. Germany is trade exposed and nobody would call their economy weak – yet ours is stronger now. Murray is a businessman with an MBA, he is not an economist. Without advisors, he is no better informed than, say, Alan Jones. His views are clearly partisan.

  16. Good Morning

    I see Margie has come out and confirmed the great unhinging has started.
    Commentator on ABC News 24 thinks woman have a problem with Abbott because of Queensland public service cuts as woman are first to appreciate what front line services do.

    I think there is some truth to this. What is amazing is that an ABC commentator said so on the Abbott Broadcasting Network.

  17. Good Morning Good People! 🙂

    Tony Abbott is/has always been ‘The Golden Child’. Everything in that family’s life has been directed towards the ultimate outcome of getting Tony to be Prime Minister, after he decided he didn’t want to be Australia’s first Pope. 🙂

    The women of the family have always taken the role of good Christian Help Meets. Whatever Tony wants or needs, Tony gets. His father has been directing that show from Day 1, ie Tony’s birth.

    So, the women of the family are wheeled out again today, and will be again and again until the election. That is their job as women in the Tony Abbott orbit.

    Whether they like it or not. They don’t really have a choice. Sort of like Nuns who must pledge their undying love for Jesus Christ. 🙂

  18. I hoped it was only a matter of time before people who made a considered decision about their votes saw through the lies, bluster and smiles of Mitt Romney’s performance in the 1st debate – especially since only the back-flips were new, and most of the rest had been discredited, Romney increasingly panned on substance, lies This video dissects the substance of Romney’s claims and tests their validity:

    [While Mitt Romney was perhaps the more animated one last night (a shot of caffeine before going on TV will do that), on substance, the pundits are increasingly finding that the President won. If only because Romney lied, a lot.]

  19. Morning All

    While the quarterly polls are interesting in that they provide a bigger sample they are a little dated. The stronger swing to Labor came very late in the period covered.

    The fact Abbott has sent his wife out to boost his image, oops no, my bad – the fact Mrs Margie Abbott has chosen to defend her husband – indicates to me the Liberals have some pretty bad internal polling to combat.

    Apparently it’s not just her but the daughters and his sisters as well – no half measures from the Abbott’s!!! Will there be more backyard interviews with the girls in their bikinis??? – one can only hope so 🙂

    Will be interesting to see how Slipper and the HSU matters unfold today and into the near future.

    It’s way too early BUT seeing as it’s half day for me before I’m off to lunch I thought I’d better have an early start – have a great day All

  20. “@abcmarkscott: A very happy and successful night at the ABC Local Radio awards last nights. Congrats to stations of the year @702Sydney and @abcNorthwestwa”

  21. @chrismurphys: Every breath you take, every move you make I’ll be watching you. CastleHill Police, Barry O’Farrell, Scipione. Justice for all #auspol

  22. This should be the overarching narrative of the government from here on in. They should hammer it and obsess about it.

    Forget Alan Jones and Abbott with women. The anti-government forces are deliberately trying to wreck the economy.

    It’s so grossly negligent, I’m astounded they get away with it, day after day. The people should have it drummed into their heads that there are consequences of Abbott’s negativity.

    [“Markets listen to what political leaders say. This can have repercussions,” Ms Gillard said.

    She said Australia’s economy would grow about 3 per cent this year, unemployment was just over 5 per cent, inflation and interest rates were low, public finances were strong and Australia was rated triple-A by every major credit agency.

    “To compare our circumstances, as the Leader of the Opposition has done today, to Greece is grossly irresponsible and wrong,” she said. ]

    Does anyone remember the hue and cry when Keating said the economy might go all “banana republic”?

    Abbott says we’re Greece, we’re Spain, we’re doomed.

    All it gets is a casual mention as “Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says”, as a sort of counterbalance or a wake-up call to what “Treasurer Wayne Swan and Prime Minister Julia Gillard say”, as if we’ll never know the truth, y’know, he could be right.

    I wonder how long the lot of them – shock jocks, newspapers, Liberal politicians, “Business leaders” and the rest can keep on talking down the economy before they realize just what damage they are doing to themselves, their customers and the nation?

  23. ] rummel
    Posted Friday, October 5, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Margie Abbott will make a public appearance in Western Sydney today with an Abbott’s Angels-style line up, which will include their daughter Frances, his mother and two of his sisters.

    In and of itself you could not put this down to the unhinging, making the front page of the Herald/Sun brings it up a rung or two. News is unhinged.

  24. [Socrates
    Posted Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    For that matter David Murray, Former banker and Future Fund manager, was quite incorrect to say Australia faced similar risks because it was trade exposed. ]

    If we put aside the fact that Australia is doing very nicely thank-you, the big difference is Australia has it’s own currency and most of our debt is written in that currency. To aid that fact Australia has a floating dollar.

    It would be correct to say that the dollar is unlikely to stay at 1.02 US, but to say we are like Greece indicated that David Murray is either stupid (and given his performance at the future find, perhaps) or a party hack.

  25. And given how stupid David Murray’s comments are, if he came out and said it because he is a party Hack, you have to add it to the indicators that the great unhinging has started. Trashing your own reputation is a big step.

  26. Just wait for the first criticism of Ms Abbott from anyone associated with Labor. Keep families out of it they will scream. Ms Abbott is not political will be the line. The lines are already written with Pyne and Brandis SC just waiting to deliver them.

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