Newspoll: 50-50

Newspoll has maintained its jumpy record of late, the latest result reverting back to 50-50 after blowing out to 54-46 to the Coalition in the last poll three weeks ago. The two 50-50 results Newspoll has recorded have been the best results Labor has received in phone polls since early last year.

James J reports Newspoll is back to 50-50 after inflating to 54-46 to the Coalition in the last poll three weeks ago. The primary votes are 36% for Labor (up three), 41% for the Coalition (down four) and 10% for the Greens (steady). Gillard’s lead as prime minister is up slightly, from 43-33 to 45-34, but her personal ratings are rather less good than in Nielsen: approval 35% (down one) and disapproval 51% (up one). Tony Abbott has again gone backwards, his approval down three to 30% and disapproval up three to 58%. The poll was conducted from Thursday to Saturday from a sample of 1176 with a margin of error of about 3%.

UPDATE: Essential Research puts a dampener on things for Labor by finding the Coalition up a point on two-party preferred to now lead 54-46. The primary votes are 48% for the Coalition (up one), 36% for Labor (steady) and 9% for the Greens (9%). Also featured: 45% expect the UN Security Council seat to be of benefit to Australia against 36% of little or no benefit; 28% support the export of uranium to India against 40% opposed; 39% support nuclear power for electricity generation (up four since the wake of Fukushima) against 41% opposed (down 12); 35% rate the economy in good shape against 29% poor; 37% approve of spending cuts to keep the budget in surplus against 43% disapproval.

UPDATE 2: GhostWhoVotes reports Newspoll also brings us a finding that only 26% expect the government to succeed in bringing the budget into surplus, against 59% who think it will not succeed (38-47 against among Labor voters, 14-78 amongst Coalition). On the question of how high a priority it should be, 35% said high, 35% said low and 21% said “not a priority”. Thirty-nine per cent agreed that Tony Abbott has been sexist towards Julia Gillard against 45% who disagreed. This breaks down, not too surprisingly, to 35-48 among men against 43-41 among women, and 66-21 among Labor supporters against 13-76 among Coalition supporters. Less expected is the concentration of support for the proposition among the 35-49 age cohort: 44-39 compared with 33-45 with younger and 40-49 with older voters. Those who agreed were further asked about the appropriateness of Gillard’s response, the upshot of which is that 2% of the overall sample felt she underreacted to Abbott’s sexism, 30% thought she got the reaction to Abbott’s sexism about right, 6% thought she overreacted to Abbott’s sexism, 45% thought there was no sexism to react to, and 16% were undecided, indifferent or ignorant of the matter.

Federal preselection news:

• The South Australian ALP has made a poorly received decision to maintain the order at the top of its Senate ticket from 2007, with parliamentary secretary and Right powerbroker Don Farrell having seniority over Finance Minister Penny Wong, a member of the minority Left faction. Farrell won the ballot by 112 votes to 83 for Wong. Anthony Albanese, a powerbroker in the NSW Left, described the result as a “joke” and an “act of self-indulgence”, offering that Wong was “obviously our most talented senator from South Australia”. Third on the ticket is Simon Pisoni, an official for the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union and the brother of a state Liberal MP, David Pisoni.

• Andrew Crook at Crikey reports that Labor will hold a preselection for Dobell in February or March next year. Craig Thomson is suspended from the party, and is thus likely to be ineligible to nominate. Mentioned as possible contenders are David Mehan, described by Crook as the “popular local LUCRF super fund manager”, who was the party’s unsuccessful candidate in 2004 and challenged Thomson for preselection in 2010, and David Harris, Point Clare Public School principal and former state member for Wyong who lost his seat at last year’s election. Emma McBride, daughter of former The Entrance MP Grant McBride, was previously mentioned, but is now said to be “out of the race”.

Mat Nott of the Fraser Coast Chronicle reports the candidates for Liberal National Party preselection to succeed retiring Paul Neville in the Bundaberg-based seat of Hinkler are believed to include Maryborough school principal Len Fehlhaber, Hervey Bay accountant Geoff Redpath, parole and probation officer Greg McMahon, Australian Safety and Training Alliance managing director Keith Pitt, and two political staffers – Chris McLoughlin, who works for state Bundaberg MP Jack Dempsey, and Cathy Heidrich, a former newspaper proprietor who works for Paul Neville and is “widely expected to receive at least his unofficial backing”. Michael McKenna of The Australian also mentioned former Isis mayor Bill Trevor.

• Queensland’s Liberal National Party will hold a preselection on November 24 to choose its Senate ticket, with incumbent Ian McDonald set to retain top spot and two vacancies created by the retirements of Ron Boswell and Sue Boyce. Most prominent among the 16 mooted nominees is James McGrath, the party’s campaign director for the state election this year who unsuccessfully ran against Mal Brough for the Fisher preselection after appearing to have the numbers sewn up in neighbouring Fairfax. Also mentioned are LNP vice-president Gary Spence, Toowoomba doctor and university lecturer David Van Gend, Senator Barnaby Joyce’s chief of staff Matthew Canavan, former Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Goodwin, barrister Amanda Stoker and animal nutritionist Theresa Craig.

• A legal action that was delaying federal Liberal preselections in New South Wales has been resolved, with the state executive reluctantly agreeing to a allow a motion for rank-and-file preselections and a less interventionist state executive to be brought before the state council. The challenge in the Supreme Court arose from the David Clarke right faction, which was angered that factional rivals on the state executive, which is controlled by an alliance of moderates and the rival Alex Hawke right, had imposed candidates in the marginal Labor central coast seats of Dobell and Robertson. However, Sean Nicholls of the Sydney Morning Herald reports that “any change would require the support of 60 per cent of state council members, which many doubt it would receive”. Among the seats affected by the preselection delay was the crucial western Sydney seat of Greenway.

• Former GetUp! director Simon Sheikh has announced he will seek preselection to run as the Greens Senate candidate for the Australian Capital Territory. The Greens have been hopeful of winning the second ACT Senate seat from Liberal incumbent Gary Humphries at the past few elections, but have consistently fallen short.

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.

5,266 comments on “Newspoll: 50-50”

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  1. Be interesting to see which way Newsnight will jump:
    [Channel Four’s Michael Crick claims he has spoken to the man, who denies he is a paedophile and will sue if Newsnight shows investigation]

    That was an update 15 minutes ago.

  2. Up early this morning, as I will be out and about.

    [Those crazy, radical hippies at Bloomberg Businessweek have gone and done it. With the blunt, no-nonsense cover that likely already appeared on your Facebook feed or Twitter stream or Tumblr dashboard, Businessweek dared state with certainty what so many media outlets have nervously danced around in their coverage of Superstorm Sandy: It’s Global Warming, Stupid.
    Desmogblog (]

  3. [Chris Murphy There’s a big story doing the rounds about txt messages from Chris Pyne’s phone (not re Ashby) Good or bad? How would I know! #auspol]

  4. KB:

    [There are microbes on Mars that have more idea than {Chris Kenny}]

    A touc hyperbolic perhaps, but Chris Kenny certainly isn’t someone you’d turn to for anything but the LNP meme. He’s a cracked record with a mind to match.

  5. [ Geoff Kitney
    Gillard has good reason to go early
    PUBLISHED: 5 hours 48 MINUTES AGO | UPDATE: 3 hours 45 MINUTES AGO
    Share Links: email

    This, of course, is the sort of musing that outsiders hate about Canberra politics.]

    At least Geoff has realised his readers are not interested in the sort of rubbish the Canberra press gallary writes.

    How many rounds of ruddsteration did we have to read?

  6. George Mega sums up the flaws in Abbott’s rhetoric

    [Tony Abbott, meanwhile, continues to present as a plain speaker without a plausible agenda.

    There was just a touch of the Kevin Rudds in his luncheon address yesterday – reviews and big round numbers. He announced a productivity priorities working group and promised to remove $1 billion in business red tape.

    The Opposition Leader wants to abolish taxes on carbon emissions and mining profits which have minimal impact on the real economy at a time when the revenue side of the budget is bleeding. It has been belted by the global financial crisis and will come under a second wave of attack as the population ages.

    Abbott pretends that a restoration of Coalition government will return tax collections to their pre-GFC state. But this can’t be done without extending the reach of under-performing taxes such as the GST.

    The consensus among experts at the conference is that without tax reform to broaden the GST and increase the rate, the productivity reform debate cannot even get to first base.]

  7. Surely this isn’t the replacement for ruddsteration.

    I’ve commented before on how it seems the OM are thrashing around trying out ideas for their next “continuous free meal” – generating a story and then continually reprising it based pretty much solely on other OM reports on the same subject.

    After now wedging my tinfoil hat down harder on my head I have a new theory – the “ALP calling an early election” brigade in the OM are actually trying to manufacture a “lie” by Julia Gillard, or at least a politically tricky move, by repeatedly suggesting that the government is looking to jump early.

    It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. Even when it never comes to pass they will have been able to run a whole series of opinion pieces (based on shadows and hallucinations) making a fictional case that Julia Gillard is cynically looking at every moment for an opportunity to call an election, implicitly being “tricky” and going against her promises to the independents and public statements.

    Julia Gillard is probably fully intending to go full term for all the many reasons outlined here – constitutional issues with the Senate, public disapproval of early elections, the “trust” issue in publicly going back on her word, the basic desire to remain in government for a longer period rather than a shorter period, etc. The OM, however, can make her out to be “pre-lying” by making the case that she’s being unfaithful to us in her head by thinking about an early election all the time. She will be doing this thinking, of course, by virtue of the fact that the opinion writers all say she must be thinking of it despite all the sensible analysis to the contrary.

    I might be wrong. Julia Gillard may be stupid enough to jump early if the polls drift her way for a millisecond or two in the next couple of months, but I really doubt it. If she does call an early election the ALP will wear a nasty defeat and rightly so.

  8. Laurie Oakes today, with some internal polling leaks

    [Tony Abbott is also adjusting his approach. Suddenly shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey is everywhere, even at Abbott’s side during media events, to bolster the coalition’s economic credibility.

    Part of the reason is probably explained by some poll findings that came into my hands yesterday—-an extract from a report prepared within the last week by UMR Research, the company that does polling for Labor.

    People in the survey were asked: “Do you have confidence in Tony Abbott’s ability to handle Australia’s economy?” In a result that will worry the Liberals if it is reflected in their own polling, 55% said “No”, 32% said “Yes” and 13% were unsure.

    According to the UMR document, when those in the 55% were then asked why they did not have confidence in Abbott as an economic manager, replies included: “He is out of touch with regular Australians.”

    “He hasn’t revealed, or doesn’t have, any discernible economic policies.”

    “He has no understanding of economics.”

    “He is untrustworthy.”

    “He’s just another politician – they’re all the same.”]

  9. [sprocket_
    Posted Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Laurie Oakes today, with some internal polling leaks

    Tony Abbott is also adjusting his approach. Suddenly shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey is everywhere, even at Abbott’s side during media events, to bolster the coalition’s economic credibility.]

    Stop that! Sorry! I know shouldn’t laugh, I know if we can’t stop laughing when the press puts up these options we are stuck with Abbott. I know, I know, for the good of the country we should pretend it makes sense.

  10. Good Morning

    No wonder we have sensed desperation in Coalition ranks. They have lost the much touted better economic managers tag.
    Are the Greens going to become regarded as better economic managers than the Coalition?
    frednk ROFL is right. X 10

  11. @MayneReport: Katy Gallagher is a competent and impressive female political leader. Greens made the right call on minority government in ACT.

  12. [Gillard has good reason to go early]


    Who are these no-hopers?

    Gillard has a much better reasons to go the full distance?

    1. She honours a promise to the Indies which gave her the nod to go for the 3 years.

    2. She is not seen to be opportunistic and influenced by polls.

    3. The VOTERS want their political leaders to serve the FULL term.

    Any more stupidity from the MSM?

  13. Fran


    Um, you were the one who put yourself in charge.

    In practice, no. It was you who did that. You decided that you’d accept my counterfactual.]

    No worries. You appointed yourself. Then you said that I accepted your appointment. Then you argued that I was being disingenuous for accepting your appointment. There is nothing worse than a boss who cannot make up her mind what she wants or where she is at.

    You are sacked.

    Henceforth, I will be approaching the policy discussion based on my judgement about what it is you are saying and my judgement of the consequences.

    [If I accept that, I am allowed to discuss the issues on your terms.]

    Sorry, not good enough for a reinstatement. You are still sacked.

    [More precisely, if you propose my terms you have to contemplate a scenario in which my terms could plausibly be realised. I have neither the desire nor the power to be an absolute ruler in the current context.]

    You are still sacked.

    [But if I don’t, I am ‘disingenuous’. Cute. I am sure you have some fallacy term to cover it: damned if I do and damned if I don’t?

    Not really.]

    You are still sacked.

    [You do like your strawman arguments, but to your credit, you prefer your strawman framed with a decorative decontextualised counterfactual since this allows you to make your strawmen especially eccentric.]

    You propose a counterfactual and it is good. I respond to yor counterfactual and my arguments are ‘strawman’. Comrade’s justice. It is how the filled the gulags with good people. BTW, are you still in doubt about the mass extinction event, or was that a strawman argument as well?

    Hmm… ‘eccentric’ is a new term of personal abuse for me. I will add it to the list of personal abuse terms used by various Greens against me.

    Bosses who respond to discussions with personal abuse should stay sacked.

    [My 870,000 figure was the top of my parameter and based on a relationship between two values — the numbers of displaced and proportional GDP and that in the context of a multi-jurisdictional plan to effect resettlement — some of it supported resettlement in the LDCs. Such a plan changes the context so you can’t simply extrapolate in linear fashion.]

    So what number are do you propose?

    The last time we were on this topic you were saying around 100,000 a year for Australia. That comes to 400,000 over forward estimates. Whatever number you land on, you need to take accountability for the costings and the funding as well as the other consequences. Otherwise, your number, whatever it is, has no policy credibility.

    Policy without these fundamnentals is daydreaming, sky fairy, magic pudding stuff.

    [Your mistake was similar to your Olympic Dam silliness. You fantasise about a Green government coming to power,]

    My discussions are based on the supposition that Greens are serious about their policy document. If they are kidding, or counterfactual, or whatever, the Greens should say so. If they have integrity and are serious about the policies, they have to accept accountability for them, whether they are implemented or not. They have to cost and fund them. In policy discussions they have to be open about the policy consequenes.

    In the absence of a set of policies that are coherent, integrated, costed and funded, all we can assume is that the Greens just want to play in the sandpit.

    In relation to Olympic Dam ‘silliness’ it is Greens policy to shut it down. It is a silly position and it deserves to be brought to attention of population of South Australia.

    [” perhaps in the early 2020s and governing alone rather than in coalition, and assume a whole bunch of things that you can’t — such as the Olympic Dam mine still operating, the value of uranium ore, the non-availability of other jobs in the then workforce and so forth.]

    I assume only two things: (1) that Olympic Dam is operating now and (2) it is the current policy of the Greens to shut it down. The citizens of South Australia deserve to know this.

    We have just had a meeting of the Greens in Canberra. Some of the Greens members wanted to join with the Liberals and some wanted to join with the Labor. (We have a looming light rail albatross around our financial necks as a consequence of the Greens BOP. We have a Territory debt, declining revenues, and now can look forward to borrowing to pay for the construction and continuing to borrow to pay for operating costs. Labor’s lust for power is married to Greens magic puddinomics. We are stuffed).

    So the South Australians deserve to know that if the Greens achieve BOP in the next state election, Olympic Mine is slated for closure. This is real world stuff; not strawman; not counterfactual. This stuff hurts when the rubber hits the road.

    OTOH, you could just tell the South that it is ‘silliness’ for them to worry their little heads about what the Greens will do when they have the Greens power to do something.

    [If you are going to contemplate counterfactuals as more than just clubs against those you’d prefer disappeared into oblivion, you need to be a little less generous to your own rather febrile preferences and accept a substantial degree of uncertainty bearing upon the circumstances.]

    Hmmm… anothery: ‘febrile’.

    You can dream up all the counter factuals you like. If you come up with a view that 100,000 a year or 870,000 or whatever other number you want to choose, I will continue to point out the consequences. To the best of my ability, they will not be counter factual. They will be grounded in what I believe to be the facts, as best I can.

  14. Good Morning Bludgerinis! 🙂
    All this ‘Early Election’ talk is just piffle and pizzle from the TOM brigade(Tired Old Media-I just have a picture in my mind’s eye of all these grizzled old tom cat journalists 🙂 ).

    Just look at it REALISTICALLY for a moment. Absent the fine-sounding and flowery words that the pros spew out for our edification.

    Consider the seat of Dobell. A seat that the Labor Party need to win off the back of the perturbations that the mess around Craig Thomson has created for them, in an electoral sense.

    For a start, the FEC hasn’t even opened nominations for a candidate to replace Craig yet. As William noted above in his notes:

    Labor will hold a preselection for Dobell in February or March next year.

    Now, ask yourself, absent the self-serving meta narrative from the media, how exactly would Labor be able to run the pre-selection then almost immediately call an election to be held before the ‘Horror Deficit Budget Actually Instead of A Surplus’?

    It doesn’t pass the Sensible Shoes Test.

    The ALP would be laughed out of town if they tried to do that.

    Just think about it calmly. A new candidate needs to establish their credentials with the community/electorate. Gain their trust, then hope like hell that they get enough votes to win.

    Not to mention all the standard election housekeeping jobs, of photos for posters, pamphlets and corflutes, finding and setting up a campaign office, meetings to decide the campaign structure and agenda, and an important little thing called FUNDRAISING! Otherwise the campaign can’t afford all the other stuff.

    So really, unless the Labor Party have advance knowledge of the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ himself occurring in Wyong, so that they can pre-select him to run for Labor in March, then call their Early Election for before the ‘Shock! Horror! $1 Billion Deficit(maybe)’ ‘becomes known’ in the May Budget, which the talentless clowns in the MSM are now getting their fevered brows in a knot over, then, all I can conclude is:

    1. It’s NOT going to happen.

    2. It IS a media beat-up.

    And, as Dobell isn’t the only Federal Seat without a candidate, and there is only one JC to go around to win a seat for the ALP on celebrity value alone, then you would be best advised to laugh the hacks out of the room because Labor still have a lot of work to do before they can SERIOUSLY consider an election.

  15. Boerwar,
    Fran still hasn’t credibly explained why she thinks it’s OK to put all these new asylum seekers in high-rise gulag ghettoes in our inner cities. 🙂

  16. The tactic now from Liberal Party MSM stooges is to con Labor into going for an early election.

    I have given three STRONG reasons why that is unacceptable but the MSM are starting to get desperate before Labor cements a lead in the polls.

    When that happens, Abbott is finished!

  17. Guytaur

    Gillard stands to gain more respect and admiration from voters if she leads in the polls yet still serves a full term.

    Integrity over opportunism 😉

  18. The prize for Frackwit of the Year goes to Mar’n Ferguson. Mar’n has rewarded Rob Oakeshott’s support for the Gillard government by threatening him with legal action. Let’s add a gold star and bar with black ribbon for sueing Fairfax as well, just when Labor is finally getting a bit of support from the OM. Nice work Mar’n.

    Oakeshott has endured two years of constant abuse, death threats and negativity beyond belief because he helped Labor form government. Those of you who do not live in Lyne have no idea how bad things have been for him. After all that Labor has rewarded him with legal action. I suppose we can’t actually repeat what Oakeshott – and the SMH – said, we don’t want Mar’n slapping a defamation case on William too.

  19. Another ‘Early Election’ meme piece from Simon Benson:

    Apparently, in 2013 Labor have put a greater than normal amount of time between the March and May Budget Sittings into the Parliamentary Calender. Ergo = Early Election! Sigh.

    I just wonder, however, if Mr Benson has considered the practical interpretation of such a move? That is, that with the final pre-selections having just been made for the ALP, the party may want the PM and other federal MPs to spread out around the nation to support the new candidates and settle them in before the Budget? And do their pre-Budget work as well?

    I know it’s a boring interpretation cf ‘Early Election!’, but oftentimes they turn out to be the correct ones.

    However, I might add, I did like Benson’s comparison of Tony Abbott to Peter Debnam. 🙂

  20. @latikambourke: Resources Minister suing one of the key Independents supporting the Minority Govt over mining tax criticisms:

    “@ShoebridgeMLC: @latikambourke He is not suing he has sent a cease and desist letter – not attractive but not yet litigation”

  21. leone@5242

    The prize for Frackwit of the Year goes to Mar’n Ferguson. Mar’n has rewarded Rob Oakeshott’s support for the Gillard government by threatening him with legal action. Let’s add a gold star and bar with black ribbon for sueing Fairfax as well, just when Labor is finally getting a bit of support from the OM. Nice work Mar’n.

    Oakeshott has endured two years of constant abuse, death threats and negativity beyond belief because he helped Labor form government. Those of you who do not live in Lyne have no idea how bad things have been for him. After all that Labor has rewarded him with legal action. I suppose we can’t actually repeat what Oakeshott – and the SMH – said, we don’t want Mar’n slapping a defamation case on William too.

    The PM should give Mar’n a thorough dressing down and apologise to RO on behalf of the Govt for Mar’n’s bad behaviour.

  22. The PM should give Mar’n a thorough dressing down and apologise to RO on behalf of the Govt for Mar’n’s bad behaviour.

    I agree. This is stupidity of the highest order. So RO might have said some things that Mar’n didn’t like. Get over it for the sake of the ALP and the country.

    As a general rule politicians shouldn’t threaten legal action over comments on policy and the formulation thereof. It looks petty and anti-free-speech/anti-policy-debate.

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