Nielsen: 52-48 to Labor

Nielsen’s first poll since the election delivers a rude shock for the Abbott government, showing Labor with an election-winning lead and Bill Shorten travelling 20 points better on net approval than Tony Abbott.

The Abbott government’s mediocre post-election polling record takes a considerable turn for the worse today with the publication of the first Fairfax/Nielsen poll since the election, which is the Coalition’s worst result from Nielsen since the 2010 election campaign, or from any poll at all since the months immediately following. The poll has Labor with a two-party lead of 52-48, from primary votes of 41% for the Coalition, 37% for Labor, 11% for the Greens, 5% for “independents” (an unorthodox inclusion) and 6% for others. Bill Shorten scores remarkably strongly on his debut personal ratings, with approval at 51% and disapproval at 30%, while Tony Abbott manages a tepid 47% approval and 46% disapproval. However, Abbott holds a 49-41 lead as preferred prime minister.

Full tables including state breakdowns are available courtesy of GhostWhoVotes, and they offer at least some ammunition for those of a mind to be skeptical about the result. With due consideration to the fact that an element of wonkiness can be expected from small state-level samples, there are approximate two-party preferred swings to Labor of 2% in New South Wales, 4% in Victoria and 1.5% in South Australia, all of which are easy enough to believe. However, in both Queensland and Western Australia the swings are 11%, the former result coming less than two weeks after an 800-sample poll by Galaxy showed no swing at all. It’s tempting to infer that Nielsen struck Labor-heavy samples in these states, and that had it been otherwise the result would have been more like 50-50.

A more technical observation to be made about the result is that the two-party preferred figures are based on respondent-allocated preferences, whereas Nielsen’s topline numbers are usually based on preference flows from the previous election. This no doubt is because the Australian Electoral Commission still hasn’t published Coalition-versus-Labor two-party results from the 11 seats where other candidates made the final count (I’m told they are likely to do so later this week). However, I have one model for allocating preferences based on the information available from the election, which gets Labor’s two-party vote to 51.7%, and Kevin Bonham has two, which get it to 51.2% and 51.4%.

The Nielsen poll also probed into the hot topics of asylum seekers and abolition of the carbon and mining taxes. Only 42% expressed approval for the government’s handling of asylum seekers versus 50% disapproval – though as Psephos notes in comments, this fails to disentangle those who support their objectives from those who don’t (a ReachTEL poll conducted on Thursday night asked whether the policies were working, and found only 28% thought they were compared with 49% who thought they weren’t). The results on the mining tax were evenly balanced, with 46% saying Labor should support its repeal in parliament versus 47% opposed. The carbon tax at least remains a winner for the government, with 57% saying Labor should vote for its abolition and 38% saying it should oppose it.

In other news, Christian Kerr of The Australian reports on Newspoll analysis of the effect on polling of households without landlines. This was determined through online polling between March and August of nearly 10,000 respondents who were also asked about the state of their household telecommunications. In households without landlines, Coalition support was found to be 1.4% lower, Labor 0.2% lower, the Greens 1.3% higher and “others” 0.2% higher. However, Newspoll’s online polling itself seemed to be skewed to Labor, who came in 4.7% higher than in Newspoll’s landline polling over the same period. This was mostly at the expense of others, which was 4.7% lower, while the Coalition was 0.6% higher and the Greens 1.0% lower. By way of comparison, the online polling of Essential Research over the same period compared with Newspoll’s phone polling as follows: Labor 2.1% higher, the Coalition 3.2% higher, Greens 2.8% lower and others 2.5% lower.

UPDATE: Channel Seven reports that long-awaited ReachTEL result has the Coalition leading 51-49, but unfortunately no further detail is provided. Results earlier released by Seven from the poll include the aforementioned finding that only 28% believe the government’s new policies to stop boat arrivals were working versus 49% who don’t; that 56% say the government should announce boat arrivals when they happenl that 53% think the Prime Minister should deliver the explanation for spying activities demanded by Indonesia, while 34% say he shouldn’t; and that 38% support Australia’s bugging activities with 39% opposed. The poll is an automated phone poll conducted on Thursday evening, presumably from a sample of about 3000.

UPDATE 2: And now Generic Leftist relates on Twitter that Peter Lewis of Essential Research relates on The Drum that tomorrow’s Essential poll will have Labor up a point on the primary vote to 36%, but with two-party preferred steady at 53-47 to the Coalition.

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.

1,048 comments on “Nielsen: 52-48 to Labor”

  1. [“I think if we had seen something like this occur a couple of years into his Prime Ministership he would have had the surety, confidence, phallic swing and machismo to treat the Indonesians with the dismissive disdain their little tantrum deserves.”]

    This has simply got to be parody and satire.
    Has to be.

    Nobody could be seriously that … [fill in the dots yourself].

  2. Another way of putting it
    -To choke under pressure
    -Being unable to bounce back from failure
    -Being unable to take responsibility for ones one mistakes

  3. victoria@531

    This is frickin nauseauting rubbish

    Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart has an unusual Christmas suggestion for parents – buy your children the works of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, and they will be inspired to become megabucks-earning entrepeneurs. Rinehart has often cited Rand in particular as an influence. Can you tell the difference between her pronouncements and those of the author of the Tea Party’s favourite book, Atlas Shrugged?


    http://www.theguardian.com/business/quiz/2013/nov/25/ayn-rand-gina-rinehart?CMP=twt_gu

    She left out the other ingredient for success.

    Choose your parents wisely so you inherit a multi-billion dollar mining enterprise.

  4. RTard

    [Everyone knows that it is alphas who win at life, not betas. Being submissive never gets you anywhere. The only time you should submit is in the face of overwhelmingly superior force and when you have no other choice.

    If this whole Indonesia thing ends with Abbott giving some sort of apology and presenting himself as if to be sodomised then I will be very upset.

    Gosh I’m only feeling like half a man right now. Every little article you bludgers post from the Indonesian media gets my blood pressure up. Someone needs to put them in their place.]

    the insights into your loser little mind in this and recent posts are astounding. are you 14? If not you’re immature and have limited life experience, or you’d realise you either have a good life or a bad life but you don’t ‘win’ and if you think in terms of ‘winning’ life you’re a sad loser having a bad life. what’s winning in your book – having stuff or having a balanced life where you get to be with people you love. your version of alphas are despised pricks in most circles.

    your fear of being humilated or sodomised, or having your homo-erotic hero tony suffer the same, is sad and opens large cans of worms, as does your need for tony to have a swing phallus.

    half a man? alpha? beta? you sound like one of Huxley’s epsilons who got a triple dose of alcohol in your bottle and isn’t getting enough soma.

  5. Ah, this was a nice surprise to wake up to. Between yesterday’s Doctor Who special, today’s Walking Dead (come on, finish downloading before I have to start work, you bastard…) and this delicious poll, its been quite the satisfying couple of days.

    Of course, its just one poll, and could easily be a rogue, but it certainly hasn’t been an auspicious start for Abbott so far.

    I can’t wait for the first rumblings of Liberal leadershit to begin.

  6. Bludgers I will tell you all the difference between Indonesia and Australia. If there was an illegal people-smuggling racket operating within Australia which was sending Australian boats crewed by Australians to dump illegal immigrants who Indonesia didn’t want into Indonesian territory, and Indonesia asked Australia to stop this occuring, we would.

    I do not understand why Australian leftists consistently excuse Indonesia’s behaviour and keep on insisting that somehow we are the bad neighbour who treats them badly. I think you are all just blinded by your silly leftist anti-colonial, anti-western, middle-class trotskyite outlooks.

  7. Venise Alstergren@590


    Having made a complete bollocks of everything that has come the LNP government’s way, our much loved leader, Tony Abbott, will exercise his well known pit-bull fighting spirit by refusing to listen to anyone but himself.

    Only a landmine will dislodge him and his mediocre cabinet.

    abbott will no doubt build the landmine himself and then in swagger step right on it.

    He is going to make a huge contribution to his own downfall – its just a matter of what form it takes.

    But the sooner the better – for all concerned.

  8. Mexicanbeemer

    “No that isn’t what i was referring too, being submissive is being unable to speak your mind or lacking the intellectual or emotional control in moments of crisis or when under challenge.”

    Maybe, but I think you may need to check a dictionary.

    I also don’t think that is what RT was meaning

    “sub·mis·sive [suhb-mis-iv]
    adjective
    1. inclined or ready to submit; unresistingly or humbly obedient: submissive servants.
    2. marked by or indicating submission: a submissive reply.”


    sub·mit [suhb-mit] , sub·mit·ted, sub·mit·ting.
    verb (used with object)
    1. to give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).
    2. to subject to some kind of treatment or influence.
    3. to present for the approval, consideration, or decision of another or others: to submit a plan; to submit an application.
    4. to state or urge with deference; suggest or propose (usually followed by a clause): I submit that full proof should be required.
    verb (used without object)
    5. to yield oneself to the power or authority of another: to submit to a conqueror.
    6. to allow oneself to be subjected to some kind of treatment: to submit to chemotherapy.
    7. to defer to another’s judgment, opinion, decision, etc.: I submit to your superior judgment.”

    So the definition is sooo broad as to be pretty useless for defining someone’s character. As everyone will be submissive at some point. Unless they live outside of society.

    What you need is a better word for what you mean.

  9. Astrobleme

    True just as the Alpha word is often misused particularly by silly boys who want to appear tough when they are being more jerk like than what i would call Alpha.

  10. RT:

    [If there was an illegal people-smuggling racket operating within Australia which was sending Australian boats crewed by Australians to dump illegal immigrants who Indonesia didn’t want into Indonesian territory, and Indonesia asked Australia to stop this occuring, we would.]

    Really? How? We couldn’t even stop Schapelle smuggling drugs into Bali.

  11. RT

    “Bludgers I will tell you all the difference between Indonesia and Australia. If there was an illegal people-smuggling racket operating within Australia which was sending Australian boats crewed by Australians to dump illegal immigrants who Indonesia didn’t want into Indonesian territory, and Indonesia asked Australia to stop this occuring, we would.

    I do not understand why Australian leftists consistently excuse Indonesia’s behaviour and keep on insisting that somehow we are the bad neighbour who treats them badly. I think you are all just blinded by your silly leftist anti-colonial, anti-western, middle-class trotskyite outlooks.”

    It’s so close to being a believable Liberal viewpoint, but at the same time so idiotic. It is the best Poe I have seen in ages.

  12. Bludgers I am not a troll as such and I do mean what I say (although occasionally I get carried away), but obviously when I use a phrase like “phallic swing” or declare myself only feeling like half a man I am being a little mischievous and you shouldn’t get yourselves all worked up about it.

  13. Mexicanbeemer

    I think ‘Alpha’ is a useless term.

    Better is to simply judge people by what they do.
    And there have been so many people in history who may not be ‘Alpha’ but have changed the way the World works.

    Einstein, Ghandi, Jesus etc

  14. Resurgent Turkeys@606


    I do not understand why Australian leftists consistently excuse Indonesia’s behaviour and keep on insisting that somehow we are the bad neighbour who treats them badly. I think you are all just blinded by your silly leftist anti-colonial, anti-western, middle-class trotskyite outlooks.

    RIO and ANZ and other Australian’s in business in RI won’t agree with you when it all impacts their bottom line.

    Or cattlemen in Northern Australia for that matter.

  15. If i had to say who was the last true Alpha male PM i would have to say Keating.

    Howard had his moments of strong leadership, Rudd’s response to the GFC was outstanding and Gillard was very much an Alpha Women.

  16. RT

    “Bludgers I am not a troll as such and I do mean what I say (although occasionally I get carried away), but obviously when I use a phrase like “phallic swing” or declare myself only feeling like half a man I am being a little mischievous and you shouldn’t get yourselves all worked up about it.”

    YES! Because a ‘Poe’ isn’t actually a Troll! It’s more like a joke sock-puppet.

  17. Player One@550

    As usual, it was confessions that got the ball rolling this morning.


    As usual, you are wrong again. It was leon@225.

    But by all means don’t let mere facts get in the way of your monomania.

    Depends when you start your day I suppose.

    Confessions chimed in unprompted @280 8:20am this morning whereas Leon was at 1:05am which most would regard as night-time and in WA (like confessions) of course it was only 10:05pm Sunday.

  18. ST/RT are dead right, of course.

    It is time to stop faffing around and it is time to launch Operation Alpha Liberals.

    Mesma should get over and stare them into submission.
    Abbott should get over and punch a few holes in some walls.
    Abbott should get over and do some crazy nodding sequences.
    Joyce should get over there and spread some foaming spittle.
    Morrison should get over there and shake and shout.
    Pyne should get over there, hold his breath, and turn purple.
    Truss should get over there and have a prolonged kip.
    Hockey should get over there and do his best pseudo-Costello.

    The Indonesians won’t know what hit them.

  19. [YES! Because a ‘Poe’ isn’t actually a Troll! It’s more like a joke sock-puppet.]

    Well I think the regulars make this board too unfriendly to people who aren’t leftists or ALP supporters, so for a genuinely right-wing person to post here they do need to have some sort of sense of humour about doing it. Or to just be an idiot like Sean I suppose.

    That’s not the same as being a sock-puppet or a troll though.

  20. I am surprised at how remarkably bad Abbott’s performance has been. So often I have heard him start off reasonably and then he put’s his foot in it with a qualifying statement.
    eg (and this is a paraphrase) ‘It’s sad that an asylum seeker mother sees her sick infant for only a few hours a day, BUT there wouldn’t be a problem if the evil Labor Govt had stopped the boats’. And he doesn’t apologise which he could so easily do. Peter Beattie got away with an awful lot because he kept apologising.
    I’m a Labor supporter so I’m quite pleased to see Abbott continually stuff up, (though embarrassed as an Australian to have our PM come across as a blundering idiot). I just don’t understand why they are getting so many things so badly wrong. They’ve won an election in which they made very few promises, so government should be a walk in the park.

  21. [Really? How? We couldn’t even stop Schapelle smuggling drugs into Bali.]

    You can’t fit several thousand foreigners inside a boogie board bag.

  22. The problem with the Tories is they are submissive. They love their domanatrix.

    It’s why they miss Gillard a woman who knows how to dominate the political discourse.

  23. [ Resurgent Turkeys

    Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalin

    Well I think the regulars make this board too unfriendly to people who aren’t leftists or ALP supporters ]

    —————————————————-

    HINT : Go over to Andrew Bolts blog – I am sure you will be amongst ‘friends’ and other swinging d*ck alpha males all beating their chests and chanting appropriate war slogans for you to get your rocks off …..

  24. Oh dear poor RT is feeling unloved on PB one answer go over to Menzies House sure you will fit in well there, probably meet the LNP robot Sean there plus a few of the others that are infesting PB at the moment :devil:

  25. [
    They’ve won an election in which they made very few promises, so government should be a walk in the park.
    ]
    Trouble is they got in on three word slogens

    Buy the boats; nope.
    Stop the debt; increased.

    Etc.

    Black and white, nothing subtle

  26. Cannot see how Abbott can ever redeem himself with the Indonesian people.
    Especially after being Lampooned as a Peeping Tom and Wanking Pervert ,all in one cartoon.

  27. [ Resurgent Turkeys
    Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Well I think the regulars make this board too unfriendly to people who aren’t leftists or ALP supporters, so for a genuinely right-wing person ]

    The only thing genuine about you is that you talk and act like a turkey.

    The tories still haven’t worked out that turnbull as leader would keep them in power for years and is their most electorally powerful weapon against Labor.

    But keep abbott, please and keep digging that hole he and the tories are in.

    What a turkey.

  28. [When your mob are to the right of David Cameron calling those left of you unfriendly left wing types does not help your cause.]

    guytaur I have told you before to stick to copy and pasting inane tweets and giving updates about what you are seeing on the TV screen in your basement and to leave the analysis and commentary to people who are smarter than you.

  29. I’m not sure the Turkey gentleman is for real. It could just as easily be satire. Somethings he said today make me think he is just having a laugh.

  30. [574
    Resurgent Turkeys
    Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm | PERMALINK
    Everyone knows that it is alphas who win at life, not betas. Being submissive never gets you anywhere. The only time you should submit is in the face of overwhelmingly superior force and when you have no other choice.]

    I suppose it depends on what you mean by “winning”.

  31. Another set of reasons why those polled are bailing out on the Abbott Government is the gross series of betrayals of Abbott’s oft-repeated mantra of:

    [No surprises
    No excuses
    No lies
    Higher standards in government
    You can trust me]

    Surprise No 1 Turn back the boats has been ditched by Abbott.
    Surprise No 2 Buy back the boats has been ditched by Abbott.
    Surprise No 3 Joyce publicly supports Indonesian purchase of Australian farmland after having ranted and raved for six years about the perils of foreign purchases of Australian farmland.
    Surprise No 4 MacFarlane provides financial support to the Holden factory.
    Surprise No 5 Hockey seeks to reduce debt by seeking to avoid counting infrastructure debt as ‘debt’ in the national accounts.
    Surprise No 6 When all those Coalition figures said, ‘Tow back the boats’ they were lying
    Surprise No 7 When Abbott implied that he would spend the first week of his prime ministership in an Indigenous community and allowed Indigenous people to cheer him for implying this, but did not actually end up doing so.
    Surprise No 8 Successful applicants for RDA funding have to re-apply for their grants.
    Surprise No 9 Hockey wants to lift Australia’s debt ceiling.
    Surprise No 10 Abbott promised higher standards but has delivered low, rorting standards.
    Surprise No 11 Before the election Abbott pretends to be very supportive of Indigenous people. At the 11th hour before the election he announced swinging cuts to Indigenous organisations including Aboriginal Legal Aid. After the election he axes $600,000 from the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy. He also insists that the principle of his accepting the many thousands of dollars of travel allowance he accumulated doing ‘voluntary’ work at impoverished Cape York Indigenous communities are within the guidelines.
    Surprise No 12 After promising not to negotiate with the Greens, the Liberals have indicated that they are prepared to negotiate with the Greens over the PPL.
    Surprise No 13 After promising greater scrutiny of overseas investments the Liberals have indicated that they are prepared to accept the same scrutiny in order to achieve a FTA with the Chinese.
    Surprise No 14 Abbott promised 2 million new jobs. Where are they?

    Surprise No 15 After criticising Labor for hitting the ground reviewing, the Liberals are hitting the ground reviewing.
    Surprise No 16 After promising to keep the Speaker out of Party room meetings, the Manager for Government business, Pyne, will allow Bronwyn Bishop to attend Party room meetings.
    Surprise No 17 The future of DisabilityCare Australia for thousands of people has been thrown into doubt with the Abbott Government walking away from Federal Labor’s plans for the full roll out of the scheme.
    Surprise No 18 Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has pulled back from the Coalition’s previous firm commitment to sending a patrol ship south to monitor the whaling conflict this summer.
    Surprise No 19 After rabbiting on about debt for four years, Abbott and Hockey have already borrowed $13.9 billion.
    Surprise No 20 Abbott and Brandis are referred to the AFP within a month of taking office. Not a surprise is that what goes round, comes round. So much for Abbott’s promised higher standards.
    Surprise No 21 Abbott proposes an Australian Arlington in Canberra without mentioning it with anyone and without consulting anyone.
    Surprise No 22 After commending the release of the Red and Blue Books while in Opposition, the Abbott Government refuses to publish the Red and the Blue Books.

    Surprise No 23 After having fed the chooks on a daily basis with Putinesque stunts for four years, Abbott is nowhere to be seen.
    Surprise No 24 The Abbott Government secretly reduced the disaster relief aid provided to bushfire victims – just in time to screw a whole lot of bushfire victims. Those bushfire victims who paid tax to enable Abbott to sit on his arse as a ‘volunteer’ in a fire truck will no doubt be doubly impressed.

    Surprise No 25. Morrison thinks that Australian taxpayers should ask the PNG Government about what happened to Australian citizens, Australian tax dollars and an Australian warship on Manus Island this week.

    Surprise No 26. Abbott promised more transparency and accountability but the Government has changed Standing Orders to restrict transparency and accountability.

    Surprise No 27 Despite Pyne’s written commitment for opposition to get the Deputy Speaker position, the Coalition has used its numbers for the Nationalss to get the position.

    Surprise No 28. Despite stating that no public servants would be sacked, they are being sacked.

    Surprise No 29. Abbott calls torture, rape and murder by the Sri Lankan Government ‘difficulties’.

    Surprise No 30. It only took the Abbott Government two months to wreck our relationship with Indonesia.

    Surprise No 31. Pyne backtracks on Gonski funding commitments.

  32. RT 634
    Getting nasty now?
    Guytaur is one of our best sources of sensible links and comments.
    Suggest you take yourself off to either Menzies House or Bolt’s column

  33. Turkey

    Go look at some of the talk the slavers of USA used to use. Putting them in their place is a big feature of that.

    Your use may not have been racist, but does speak of treating someone as second class and not equal human beings.

    Putting in their place is the standard that ends up with wars starting when talking about nation states. So brings about the question Turkey.

    Do you want a war with Indonesia with the inevitable deaths and probable defeat of Australia? If not stop using phrases like putting them in their place.

  34. Resurgent Turkeys@552

    I think the reason why Tony Abbott has responded so timidly to Indonesia over their indulgent display is because he is a new Prime Minister and has not yet found his foreign affairs feet. Hence he is overly-reliant on the conventional wisdom and the proddings of the Australian Foreign Affairs establishment.

    I think if we had seen something like this occur a couple of years into his Prime Ministership he would have had the surety, confidence, phallic swing and machismo to treat the Indonesians with the dismissive disdain their little tantrum deserves.

    If the Indonesians are chucking a “tantrum”, how would you describe the dismissive, condescending attitude of our Bogan in Chief ?

  35. sohar@635


    I’m not sure the Turkey gentleman is for real. It could just as easily be satire. Somethings he said today make me think he is just having a laugh.

    Being a smug tory arse more like.

  36. Guytaur

    It appears to me that Abbott is really on the nose with just about everyone I know including
    some Libs.

    Labor could do well in WA as result it could also probably get an increased number of anti Abbott Libs.

  37. Guytaur

    It appears to me that Abbott is really on the nose with just about everyone I know including
    some Libs.

    Labor could do well in WA as result it could also probably get an increased number of anti Abbott Libs.

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