Galaxy: 54-46 to Coalition

A poll of federal voting intention from Galaxy comes in at the lower end of Labor’s recent form, and offers some rather murky findings on the AWU affair.

GhostWhoVotes reports Galaxy has plugged a hole in the Newspoll and Nielsen schedules with a federal poll conducted from 1015 respondents on Wednesday and Thursday (UPDATE: Make that Thursday and Friday – The Management). The result is at the low end of Labor’s recent form, with the Coalition leading 48% to 34% on the primary vote and 54-46 on two-party preferred, compared with 47% to 35% and 53-47 in the Galaxy poll of a month ago. The Greens vote is steady on 11%.

Galaxy also grapples with the AWU matter, with what to my mind are problematic results. Poll questions are most effective when gauging basic affective responses, namely positive or negative feelings towards a person or thing, and mutually exclusive choices, such as preferences out of political parties or election candidates. On this score, the best question to emerge so far has been Morgan’s effort on approval or disapproval of the Prime Minister’s handling of the controversy. Difficulties emerge where the range of potential opinions is open-ended, as too much depends on the choices offered by the pollster.

A case in point is Galaxy’s question on whether Gillard had “lied” (31%), been “open and honest” (21%) or, as a middle course, been “economical with the truth” (31%). Particularly where complex or half-understood issues are involved, choices like this are known to activate the strategy of “satisficing” (“choosing the easiest response because it requires less thinking”, according one of the pithier definitions available). This results in a bias towards intermediate responses, in this case the “economical with the truth” option.

I have similar doubts about Galaxy’s question as to whether respondents believed Gillard “should provide a full account of her involvement through a statement in parliament”, an over-elaborate proposition that feels tailored towards eliciting a positive response. Sixty per cent of respondents duly gave it one, although it is clear the thought would have occurred to few of them before being put to them by the interviewer. Only 26% offered that such a statement was unnecessary, with 14% undecided.

Then there is the finding that 26% of respondents said the issue had made them less likely to vote Labor. Like any such question, this would have attracted many positive responses from those whose pre-existing chance of voting Labor was zero. However, the question at least allows us to compare the results to those of similarly framed questions in the past. In July, a Galaxy poll found that 33% were less likely to vote Labor because of the budget. In January, 39% of respondents to a Westpoll survey said power price hikes had made them less likely to vote for the Barnett government. In July of last year, The Australian reported polling by UMR Research (commissioned, it must be noted, by Clubs Australia) had 23% of voters less likely to vote Labor due to mandatory pre-commitment for poker machines. And a month after Kevin Rudd was deposed as Prime Minister in June 2010, Nielsen found the proportion saying they were less likely to vote Labor as a result was similar to today’s finding: 25%.

UPDATE: GhostWhoVotes reports News Limited has published a further result from the Galaxy poll, a four-way preferred prime minister question which has Kevin Rudd on 27%, Malcolm Turnbull on 23%, Julia Gillard on 18% and Tony Abbott on 17%.

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.

1,659 comments on “Galaxy: 54-46 to Coalition”

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  1. Psephos @# 1579

    I agree that would work. However it would mean refusing entry to a genuine refugee as well. Breaching our treaty with the UN.

    As I’ve said here at least 50 times, there is nothing in the 1951 Refugee Convention which obliges any signatory to admit any person to its territory.

    This is really a shallow argument though it is correct. The problem is that it is the default arrangement when nothing else can be done which appears to be the case except in the case of the Malaysian proposal.

    Australia may not be required to admit anyone to the country but what else can be done if no one else will take them.

  2. Jackol said –

    [ Tony Abbott’s solutions may be completely bogus, but if the PR is such that asylum seekers believe he will turn them away or lock them up or whatever, then he may well get the PR landscape that discourages boat arrivals simply by assuming the PMship. ]

    I’ve thought for sometime that it goes further. ie to actually encourage the boat people and to the people smugglers to take the trip asap before the election because of the way he will crack down on them.

    Abbott’s aim and that of morrison is of course to keep applying maximum pressure on the government on this issue. The more arrivals between now and the election the better for abbott.

    abbott knows those waiting in Indonesia to take the sea trip monitor what is being said about boat people here in Australia and the more noise he makes, the more encouragement there is to make the trip sooner rather than later.

  3. guytaur,
    This as you agree that as soon as processed if proved genuine acceptance is being flown to Australia.

    If you are saying that only those that come by boat get to be processed in Indonesia, and then only those who then qualify as genuine refugees are allowed to come back to Australia, well I say that is entirely discriminatory, and would just encourage a revolving door that come by boat, go back to be processed, then come back to Australia will be the People Smugglers new line.

  4. Boer – I’ll count myself an honest Green then. We will never form government alone (but green-labor ‘coalitions’ will be more common), and we will remind the Labor party and small L libs what progressive and visionary government could be. From time to time hold a balance of power position to get progressive policies through. If our only achievement was the current carbon pricing system we will still have done more for setting the Australian economy than either of the current major parties have done recently. Sustainable economic policies will some from the Greens and labor left. If we help labor wrest its soul from the NSW Right and CFMEU then we will do this country a great service. My bet is the labor right will do preference deals to take out the greens even if it means loss of government because they’d rather see the libs in power than the greens holding balance of power. Some of them must also fear Gillard winning an election and what it’d do to their political ambitions for the top job. Remember steve fielding? image what Rudd could have done had it not been for the labor preference deals against the greens that got fielding up.

  5. [lizzie
    Posted Monday, December 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    fredex @ 1430 Agreed. Must read.
    But anyone know if this is true????

    The current Opposition Leader grabbed an inaccurate story on Thursday morning from what used to be a respected newspaper, and now faces libel action as a result of relying on it too heavily.]

    An AGE article by Mark Baker had the facts wrong. The article claimed that the PM had written that the AWU was not a union, in fact she had written the association to be registered was not an union. Abbott claimed criminality, the article was corrected by the time Abbott got up to speak. It was interesting that his effort the next day was put up and taken down.

  6. Caucus should pick the best replacement and best hope to win the next election if Gillard was no longer available.

    The federal caucus has a terrible record and so probably wouldn’t pick Rudd (which would be totally stupid) even if they did pick Rudd Howse and others would bring him down like the did last time with the same waterfall of lies and hyperbole most here fell for last time.

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