Essential Research: 53-47 to Coalition

Essential Research maintains its trademark consistency on voting intention, and asks the best-framed set of polling questions yet to emerge on the AWU matter.

The latest weekly Essential Research survey has two-party preferred unchanged at 53-47, with Labor up a point to 37%, the Coalition steady on 47% and the Greens down one to 9%. Also featured are a refreshingly well-framed set of questions on the AWU affair, which find:

• Thirty-one per cent claim “a lot” of awareness about the issue, 29% “some”, 25% “a little” and 12% none (you can presumably boost the latter with the 3% “don’t know”).

• On perceptions of how the matter has been handled, Julia Gillard has a slight net positive rating (39% good and 35% poor), but the opposition (20% and 49%) and the media (20% and 37%) get the thumbs down. However, respondents who thought themselves better informed tended to view Gillard less favourably, which is interesting because there was no significant tendency for Coalition supporters to be more inclined to make such a claim for themselves.

• Thirty-eight per cent say the issue has given them a more negative impression of “Julia Gillard as Prime Minister” against 11% more positive and 59% no difference.

There were also questions on “leaders’ positions on asylum seekers”, the overwhelming point of difference concerning the matter of whether the leaders had been “too soft”, on which a 14% gap in Tony Abbott’s favour in October 2011 has grown to 23%.

UPDATE (4/12/12): Morgan has published a face-to-face poll from its last two weekends of surveying, which has the Coalition up two to 40.5%, Labor down half a point to 36% and the Greens down one to 10.5%. This pans out to 52.5-47.5 to the Coalition on the respondent-allocated preferences measure, which seems to have recovered its Coalition lean this survey. Morgan’s previous election preferences figure is still forthcoming, but it should come in at around 50.5-49.5 to the Coalition, after Labor led 51-49 last time. Morgan has also published further figures on leadership from last week’s small-sample phone poll, which had Kevin Rudd leading Julia Gillard 34-22 as preferred Labor leader, and Tony Abbott trailing not only the overwhelmingly favoured Malcolm Turnbull (50%) as preferred Liberal leader, but also Joe Hockey (18% to 15%).

Preselection mail:

• The long-awaited Liberal preselection has Greenway has been postponed into the new year, which is apparently down to the determination of factional moderates to thwart the bid of 2010 candidate Jayme Diaz, an associate of the David Clarke faction of the Right who is said to have decisive levels of support among local branches. Nick Soon of the Blacktown Sun quotes a source who dismisses the chances of both Diaz and high-profile entrant Gary “Angry” Anderson, instead identifying Brett Murray, Mark Taylor and Yvonne Keane as the front-runners. Murray is “a highly sought after speaker and an expert in cultural change and developing corporate workplace culture”, Taylor “a former police prosecuting officer”, and Keane a Hills Shire councillor. However, Imre Salusinszky counts Murray as one of two candidates associated with the Alex Hawke faction of the Right (the other being Ben Jackson) who do not have the numbers. It was earlier reported that Tony Abbott has approached former rugby league player Matt Adamson, whose plans to run in Lyne were thwarted by a coalition agreement which has reserved the seat for the Nationals, but this prospect is dismissed by Salusinszky’s sources.

• The Northern Territory Country Liberal Party’s preselection for Lingiari has proved a troublesome endeavour for Tony Abbott, following his unsuccessful attempt to recruit Alison Anderson, the Labor-turned-CLP member for the remote electorate of Namatjira. Nigel Adlam of the Northern Territory News reports that Anderson was “believed” to have accepted the offer, but was rebuffed by the party’s central council’s refusal to grant her a waiver to submit a nomination after deadline. Abbott’s approach to Anderson copped a rebuke from Chief Minister Terry Mills, who accused him of having “misread” Anderson and the party. The preselection was instead won by Tina MacFarlane, owner of a Mataranka cattle station, ahead of Lawson Broad, a staffer to Terry Mills. MacFarlane’s win, reportedly by a large margin, constituted a defeat for Mills, as MacFarlane is said to be close to his potential leadership rival David Tollner. Abbott also got into trouble for saying Anderson would provide parliament with “an authentic representative of the ancient cultures of central Australia” that was not provided by the “urban Aboriginal” Ken Wyatt, his party’s member for the Perth seat of Hasluck.

Peter van Onselen of The Australian reports that a Labor powerbroker who addresses him as “mate” has told of grim polling for Labor in suburban Sydney, but better results in regional NSW marginals such as Eden-Monaro and Robertson. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald says “Liberal Party research is picking up the same patterns and senior Liberals have been told to campaign in Labor seats held by margins of up to 10 per cent in the belief that they all are vulnerable”. George Hasanakos at Poliquant considers the ifs.

• Van Onselen also relates that Labor fears a wipeout in Tasmania, “which even the PM’s office admits to”.

Queensland Qorner:

• The Liberal National Party determined its Senate ticket last weekend, which required that successors be chosen for the retiring Sue Boyce and Ron Boswell. Incumbent Ian MacDonald has been confirmed in the number one position, with state election campaign director James McGrath in number two and Matt Canavan, former chief-of-staff to Barnaby Joyce, in number three. Former Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive David Goodwin takes the theoretically winnable but highly unlikely prospect of fourth place. Amy Remeikis of Fairfax reports unsuccessful candidates out of a field of 16 included party vice-president Gary Spence, who if successful would have sat as a National.

• Bundaberg businessman Keith Pitt has won LNP preselection for Hinkler, which will be vacated by the retirement of Paul Neville. Other nominees, at least in the preliminary stages, included “Len Fehlhaber, a primary school principal, Cathy Heidrich, a media/research officer, Chris McLoughlin, an electorate officer, Greg McMahon, a probation and parole officer, and Geoff Redpath, an accountant”, according to an AAP report.

Sarah Vogler of the Sunday Mail reports John Bjelke-Petersen, son of Sir Joh and twice-unsuccessful state election candidate, “is being lined up as a federal election candidate as the likelihood of billionaire businessman Clive Palmer launching his own political party gathers momentum”. A Galaxy poll of 350 respondents, conducted at the behest of a “consortium of businesses”, reportedly showed 43% of Maranoa voters saying they would vote be “likely” to support Bjelke-Petersen against Bruce Scott, whose determination to seek another term as LNP member deprived Barnaby Joyce of a hoped-for entry to the lower house. Kevin Bonham in comments harbours his doubts.

• Kirsten Livermore, Labor’s member for Capricornia since 1998, has announced she will bow out at the next election to spend more time with her family. The ABC reports her successor will be chosen through a new preselection process in which branch members will choose from a selection of nominees deemed appropriate by head office. Paul Milton Butler of the Morning Bulletin reports that Paul Hoolihan, who lost his local seat of Keppel at the state election, fancies himself as a starter, although being 65 may prove an obstacle.

• There has been talk around the place, including from Dennis Atkins of the Courier-Mail on Insiders, that Chris Trevor will again run for Labor in the Gladstone-region seat of Flynn, which he won upon its creation in 2007 before joining the party’s Queensland casualty list in 2010.

• The Newman government’s difficulties have encouraged talk of the federal election prospects for Katter’s Australian Party. The Financial Review reports the party is hopeful local businesswoman Bronwyn Walker can win the Townsville seat of Herbert from LNP incumbent Ewen Jones, and also rates its chances in Dawson and Capricornia.

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.

4,368 comments on “Essential Research: 53-47 to Coalition”

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  1. Chris Murphy attacking ABC journos now.

    “@chrismurphys: @Simon_Cullen I notice that your last few twts. It’s ‘Chris Pyne’ but the PM is merely ‘Gillard’. Have you a bias that’s fit for ABC?”

  2. stanny

    [Hard to lose an election with that number.]

    They look like going down as a supposed good thing in spectacular fashion.

  3. [David Perth @AusElectoralCom What action did you take to ensure Aus for Honest Politics fund was legally constituted and reported? @margokingston1
    2:41pm – 3 Dec 12]

    [Margo Kingston @dperth1 @AusElectoralCom
    Great question and I know the answer none. Copy of deed given to AEC illegible!]
    2:49pm – 3 Dec 12

  4. Fran Barlow #1640 (previous thread):

    [The reality is that nearly 90% of IMAs are reckoned to have valid claims, whereas only 20% of those who come by aircraft do]

    I wouldn’t care less if 110% of them were genuine, Fran.

    They’re still advantaging themselves, self-selecting, by virtue of their being better-heeled than the others still languishing in camps.

    An even playing field is the only scrupulously fair method of sorting out the rankings of “genuineness” when it comes to refugees.

    Can you name a fairer one?

  5. bemused

    [Am I first?]

    Have you been watching ABC recycling that story on the Cherry Festival at Young?

    I once worked with a young lady who had it in her job application that she was the “Cherry Queen”.

    Go figure.

  6. The ER poll is interesting.
    Comparing this:
    [‘Julia Gillard has a slight net positive rating (39% good and 35% poor), but the opposition (20% and 49%) and the media (20% and 37%) get the thumbs down’]
    with this:
    [‘Thirty-eight per cent say the issue has given them a more negative impression of “Julia Gillard as Prime Minister…’]
    shows that, IMO, the media and the opposition are generally considered as lacking credibility but that the old adage ‘thrown mud sticks’ applies. So as a deliberate propaganda smear campaign the media/opposition has achieved some success even tho’ they have suffered damage in the process.

    We really do need a new media, how can people have informed opinions when the media constantly chucks out ‘crap’?

  7. [They’re still advantaging themselves, self-selecting, by virtue of their being better-heeled than the others still languishing in camps.]

    By which I mean there seems no apparent pressing need for them to come here by boat ahead of others waiting patiently, EXCEPT that coming here by boat gets them onto Australian soil quicker than others who don’t use boats, and 9/10ths of the way towards citizenship.

    The ones still in the camps are 1/20th of the way towards citizenship.

    It is self-selection, pure and simple. It’s the triumph of the better-heeled and organized (often with active on-shore collaboration) over people in camps who have little chance of ever mustering the readies to pay a people smuggler, much less to try it several times (as has happened in some noted instances).

    How you can’t see this as a rort is beyond me.

    The days of the romantic boat trip, fraught with peril at every turn, over thousands of kilometres of unfriendly waters, are well and trul gone.

    It’s an industry now, full of rorts, as all such things turn into, in time.

    For the genuine refugees among the boat people I do feel some sympathy, but why we should advantage them over even more desperate and disadvantaged people simply because they pay to jump the queue, is beyond me.

  8. The way the S&G affair has been handled by the leaders:

    Gillard – good 39% bad 35%

    Abbott – good 20% bad 49%

    Media – good 20% bad 37%

    A very bad statistic for Abbott!

  9. Who says builders never recycle (/r)

    The co-joined townhouse has had its toilet, bathroom and laundry ripped out and the tilers are now there.

    They retrieved the ex-bath from the skip and used it to mix ‘mud’ in.

  10. Ctar1 identation the way I do it is <blockquote> something </blockquote>
    To do multiple just put one pair inside another something like this:

    <blockquote> first indent
    <blockquote> second indent

    Looks like this

    first indent

    second indent

    Something outside

  11. Coalition primary 47% POPPYCOCK, try 44%.

    ALP 37%, Green 9% Spot On!

    Actually Greens 8.4% but we’ll round up, more enjoyable for later 😈

  12. Hmmm

    The media are talking NDIS and electricity yet PB is stuck in boat land. I guess people are comfortable talking over stuff they have decided a position on?

  13. Slav G

    Copied that to a text file on my desktop thanks. Keep doing first and counter with the same number of / and then it works.

    Got it, I hope.

  14. I don’t have CCCP so we’ll just have to remember the context.

    [Both those countries [Indonesia and Malaysia] have large populations and I think [getting them to permanently settle refugees] would be an imposition on them.]

    This is true. I am an optimist though. 🙂 The Malaysians also want an agreement that helps to reduce the burden their country currently has. All they wanted was 5-to-1!

    I also think that in general it is a good thing to have more countries agreeing to settle refugees and grant them appropriate rights. Maybe it will be done by these countries signing the Refugee Convention, maybe it will be done as a deal with Australia.

  15. mimhoff:

    [How do you do multiple indents or nested quotes? I think I need them for some of these long conversations.]

    For Nested quotes

    Like this IF Char = “{“, “”

    {blockquote}First quoted text
    {blockquote}First nested text
    {blockquote}Second nested text{/blockquote}
    Continue first nested text{/blockquote}
    First quoted text

    First quoted text

    First nested text

    Second nested text

    Continue first nested text

    First quoted text

    Normal text (I hope)


  16. I sent an email to the AEC address supplied in the last thread, asking for certain details…

    [Dear AEC,

    Can you please outline the appropriate way to make an FOI request for all documents connected to the “Australians for Honest Politics” association, set up by Tony Abbott in or about 2001-2003, and its relevance to the Electoral Act?

    Can you please suggest/advice appropriate search terms for such a request?

    {Name & Address supplied}]

  17. mimhoff

    [I also think that in general it is a good thing to have more countries agreeing to settle refugees and grant them appropriate rights.]

    I’d like to be optimistic but did the Malaysians actually offer to ‘settle’ anyone.

    It just seemed to be a ‘take them off your hands for now’ proposition.

  18. oops … replace this brace “}” with greater than char and this brace “{” with less than char. These don’t show here.

  19. Psephos @# 1579 last thread

    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.

  20. More on #Essential on #AWUgate – on PM 48% No Difference, 11% More Positive, 38% more negative. So 60% of people dont believe Abbott/Media

    Latest #Essential On #AWUgate – PM 39% good 35% poor. Abbott 20% & 49% wow. Media 20% & 37%. Ppl believe PM not Abbott/Media, fuack them

  21. The Coalition want to know where Labor will get the money to fund the NDIS?

    I want to know where the Coalition with its $70 billion black hole will get the money to fund the NDIS?

    We all know that the Coalition is only supporting the NDIS because of short term popular politics, if they win government the scheme will be canned – blamed on Labor’s debt!

  22. In general, a formatting tag opened must be closed or the formatting continues. (Exceptions, the para tag {p} and the line break tag {br} )

    So opening blockquote creates an indent. Opening a second blockquote without closing the first creates a second indent one tab stop to the right and so forth. Closing the blockquote using the forward slash decrements one tab stop (i.e. goes one stop left). Do it a second time and if the tab stop setting is greater than zero (i.e. not left aligned) then it will decrement by a further tab stop and so forth until the text returns to the left-aligned position.

  23. Fran – I copied yours also, Thanks.

    bemused is suggesting it is complicated (to explain in a posting, I think, but simple directly).

    I’ll try to see if I can get Slav G’s or your’s to work but might be back to admit I’m a dolt.

  24. guytaur @ 2 – I think Chris Murphy is making a mistake attacking Simon Cullen on twitter over such a small thing. He is one of the better ones.

    ruawake @ 21 – good point. I rarely contribute on the AS issue myself, as I don’t have any good answers on what should be done.

  25. [Good on the woman for making her points.
    Good on Gillard for allowing disabled people into her Press Conference.]

    I can’tbegin to understand the woman’sproblems. They are probably beyond any discomfort I’ve ever experienced.


    Gillard’s speech was not the time or place to make the outburst.

    She’s trying to help this woman and people like her.

    The “incident” was presented as a negative for Gillard, splashed all over the newspaper web sites, top of the page.

    The media are already screaming out for action on Disabilities, yet as soon as some action is taken they scream equally loudly, “How are you going to pay for it?”

    Outbursts like this can’t help the case for an NDIS.

    On a related matter, this morning on ABC Radio, in among the jobes and girlish giggles between Sabra Lane and Linda Mottram about how we’re in the political “Silly Season” (how quickly the “Killing Season” sheds its sinister overtones and morphs into the “Silly Season” for our media hacks!), some obsessive from the National Obesity Counctil (or wtte) was on, telling all and sundry that Julia Gillard was responsible for all the fat people in our society.

    Perhaps La Gillardine was not joking when she said she was also not to blame for the disappearance of Harold Holt, or for shooting JR.

    There were fat people well before Julia Gillard came along to encourage them eat lard sandwiches and double helpings of ice-cream with no veggies.

    Is the Whinge-At-Any-Cost-About-Anything mentality THAT pervasive?

  26. Leroy

    I think that is why Murphy attacking. Cullen. Keep the pressure up on the good ones to remind the others what they should do.

    That said I agree I think its a mistake too. Headlines are not reporters job. So hope Cullen feeds the feedback to the ABC to fix its bias.

  27. [I don’t have any good answers on what should be done.]

    I do actually.

    Bring back TPVs and pretend to turn back the boats where it’s safe to do so.

    If the boats keep coming… BANG implement the Malaysian solution to check-mate the bastards.

    The Greens should shut up, do as they’re told and ZIP… 🙂

  28. BB

    The woman would have no idea of all those things. Just an opportunity to air her issue at last.

    Media should be reporting on why that is a positive. A woman long not heard finally having a voice.

  29. Davidwh:

    [So how about a sweep on when the Aussies will be all out. I predict 55 minutes after the tea break.]

    That would be very poor batting. I suspect that they sill last until lunch tomorrow, and if they do and have at least two specialist bast available then they will probably survive until tea and might even win.

    Australia need to have at least six in hand by stumps and be about 300 to be still in the match for the win. Three guys are going to have to threaten double centuries to get close. I assumed the big score was to give Ponting one last chance to go out with a bang rather than a whimper 😉 but as he has just been dismissed for 8, it was all a waste of time.

  30. More & more polls are showing people might not “like” PM but they respect her & she is doing a good job as PM but Abbott is totally fuacked

  31. I just find politics really upsetting lately, mainly because my family is pro-Liberal and lately I can’t stand being around them.

    I have shouting matches with my grandmother over things like climate change (the mere mention of ‘Carbon’ sets her off), Israel (anything less than unquestioning admiration of the ‘Chosen People’ is not good enough for her), and many other political things, and the rest of my family ignore me when I tell them how worried I am about an Abbott government (a low-income progressive shy gay student concerned about the environment would hardly be better off under this jerk).

    Sure I could keep it all bottled up, but I’m an honest person and I honestly feel sick at the thought of having a vile bullying misogynist gay-bashing thug being rewarded for every filthy deed and lie he’s ever done by possibly becoming Prime Minister next year.

  32. “@BernardKeane: Barnaby Joyce, today, Gold Coast: “It’s very hot today so the carbon tax isn’t working very well.””

  33. [Whats the media saying?

    Good on the woman for making her points.
    Good on Gillard for allowing disabled people into her Press Conference.]

    The media seem to be implying that Gillard was facing a protest, which is not really the case. The lady is incorrect about when the assets and income tests were removed for the blind – it was nowhere near 40 years ago.

    The Federal Govt gives her $770 a fortnight, it is actually upto the States to give her the assistance required to live a “normal” life. They can’t that is why the NDIS is required.

    I think the lady was having a spray without thinking about the issues.

  34. Why is it that the Coalition always blame the carbon price for increased electricity prices?

    HELLO, people receive compensation associated with the carbon price – but there is no such compensation for gold plating.

    The mainstream media commentators and journalists are too stupid to raise such an obvious fact.

    Shame on them!

  35. fran


    Far left is never going to cut it in Australia. Centre left on a consistent basis is probably as good as it is going to get.

    Never is a long time. Doubtless, people once believed there would always be slavery, or that humans would never reach the moon so I’m going to assume hyperbole and rewrite it to mean “not in my lifetime, or the lifetime of even younger people I know well, based on what is knowable now”.

    With that in mind, you are probably correct. Of course, the Greens are not “far left” but centre-left, and I’d contend that somewhere between where we are and where the ALP is now, there is a position that the ALP could pitch that most Greens really would see as much the lesser harm.

    Right now, the ALP is on the centre-right, scrapping for centre-right votes with a hardcore conservative populist party. That contest tars the ALP with the hardcore conservative populist brush. Ironically, surplus fetishism — which pervades both the major parties isn’t strictly speaking populist, but a pitch at a different kind of conservative. Why the ALp wants this constituency as well is hard to say, because if you were pitching at RW populists, saying you’re the friend of the big banks isn’t the best option.

    Slavery? False analogy.

    Honest Greens admit that they will not form a Government in real time(We of the Never Never). Dishonest Greens pretend that there is a real prospect of forming a Government. Then we have the Greens who want to argue about the power of an infinity of Greens on the head of a pin: they don’t care about government because they don’t actually want it. It involves hard decisions and accountability.

    That leaves only one practical impact for the Greens: life on the political margins. The far left loves life on the margins. It is their natural political habitat. It is the place for wringing your hands at the inability of the world to ‘get it’. It is the place for barracking for lost causes. It is the place where the real world destruction you cause does not matter because you are pure and right and the others are all the same as each other because they lack integrity.

    It suits the far left for the centre left to be defeated. The lack of a centre left, after all, allows the true dialectic between the oppressed and the oppressor to see the light of day.

    For the far left, logging, grazing and shooting in national parks, along with the degazettal of national parks is mere collateral damage of the real agenda which is to redistribute a wrecked environment more equitably.

  36. It’s no great surprise that the mud thrown at Gillard over the past few weeks has resulted in some damage in the polls.

    But I cannot believe that it will have a significant lasting impact through to the next election. In the end, it doesn’t say anything about Gillard’s performance as PM. Come election time, she will appear to be the known quantity who has been PM for more than 3 years and Abbott will still look like an uncertain risk.

    It would be a very different matter if Gillard was the opposition leader: her position would be untenable.

    I think in the end the best thing that Abbott got out of the whole S&G thing was a bit of a rallying of his own troops before the Xmas break and a distraction from the increasingly poor ratings for his leadership in the polls.

    If they persist with it next year, the failure of the Libs to land a killer blow re S&G will start to become the story, rather than the scandal itself Barrie Cassidy has pretty well nailed it here IMO

  37. [Only to the extent other countries are doing the same so that it is a true level playing field.
    We need to also improve productivity through greater automation and to develop export markets so we can get better economies of scale. I would love BK to enter into this discussion as I don’t have his manufacturing knowledge.]
    A recent SA Thinker in Residence, Goran Roos, is of the opinion (like the one I have expressed here from time to time) that in Australia we have a distinct paucity of tertiary education to do with manufacturing. He says that the auto industry (including the suppliers) are the main source of manufacturing expertise and its training in this country.
    Another point is that 80% of R&D in Australia is done by manufacturing and 80% of that is by the auto industry.
    There is a large surfeit of automotive assembly capacity around the world and most counties’ governments strive to maintain and/or attract it. Tarrifs and duties are just one of the indications of protection that exists in various countries.
    Also the AUD becoming a safe haven currency and being of high value as a result of the GFC and more recent weaknesses in the Eurozone and the US as well as the mining boom makes competitiveness in the global market all that more difficult for exporting manufacturers.
    It’s going to be a difficult period in front of Australian manufacturers.
    The mining industry’s productivity is woeful and before long it will have to quickly lift its game. Just like they have pillaged the trades from manufacturers they will next pillage the scarce production engineering resources they remain within manufacturing.

  38. Excellent. Ponting out ignominiously.

    Ponting has helped wreck this series for Australia and he exits with a whimper and not a bang.


    The team will now have to try an develop another neophyte for the next Ashes series with less time than it otherwise would have.

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