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. Got home little while ago, just logged in.

    Well, well, my, my, what a bit of negative reporting can do!

    What if we had a fair, unbiased media?

    Gee, the Coalition would have to actually present a decent leader and policies, wouldn’t they?

  2. @guytaur/703

    This is what happens with Detention Centers, limit information, high costs to run ad to the poor conditions, and large numbers of refugees.

    You got a time bomb.

  3. [What if we had a fair, unbiased media?]

    You lot wouldn’t recognise it and would keep screeching that it was biased in favour of the right. Fran Barlow could be the editor and you still wouldn’t stop.

  4. Nice to be back at PB but what’s this “Turkey” bludger raving on about?

    I guess with “Thanksgiving” on Thursday he’s simply fattening himself up ready for getting the “chop”!

    At least his antiquated inane ramblings will be no more.

    Bye bye R Turkey!

  5. Haven’t had a computer for a week – went haywire- so can anyone tell me how to enlarge my tabs at the top of the page in Google Chrome and how to delete something called “connect” which I don’t want it annoys the hell out of me.

  6. Howard tried very hard to keep everything about the goings on in detention centers secret. It ended badly for him. Even the GG got pretty vigorous over reporting the abuses and investigating what was going on.
    It will end badly for Abbott and Morrison. Especially as the same bunch of pricks are running the facilities.

  7. [ Resurgent Turkeys
    Posted Monday, November 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    If I told you what I think the Indonesians come across as I’d probably be arrested. ]

    I’m sure many tories hold similar views as you regarding RI.

    Yet you were quick to squawk when the penny dropped than many on PB regard you as lower than shark’s dung.

    OK when for you to dish it out though.

  8. Here is another little byproduct of Abbott’s leadeership in terms of hanging around with islamic burka-bashers and incorporating islamophobes in the Liberal Part Room. His leadership is in totally the wrong direction and it is damaging Australian citizens.

    And if you think that Indonesians don’t know about this sort of stuff happening in Australia, forget about it.

    If Abbott wants to build a healthy long-term relationship with Indonesia he should start by:

    (1) sacking Bernardi and Sex Appeal from the Party.
    (2) avoiding doing interviews with the likes of Jones and Hadley.
    (3) reversing the decision to repeal the race-hate law.

  9. The article says the guidelines were developed during the previous government. It didn’t say BY the previous government and I bet they weren’t.

  10. 717

    I am referring to the Coalition`s policy to remove the section(s) of the Racial Discrimination Act that Bolt was taken to court under.

  11. I actually bought a newspaper today, for the first time for months. The combination of Mitchell Johnson and the Nielsen poll was too good to pass up. (No it wasn’t a Morgoth newspaper.)

  12. Even though the Fiberals won the election, conservatives are becoming even more unhinged. Complaining about so-called “media bias”, complaining about “Lefties” who dare critize/question Abbott. You would have thought that they would have been happy enough, just to have won.
    It is as if they need to use those distractions as it is becoming increasingly impossible to defend the Abbott Government on merit.
    No other government has turned so much into fudge, so quickly.

  13. Qanda

    Tonight’s Panel
    Susilo Yudhoyono – Indonesian President
    Tony Abbott – Australian Prime Minister
    Fonda Lapod – Cartoonist for Rakyat Merdeka
    Mark Textor – Liberal strategist and Twitterati
    Henry Kissinger – Former US Secretary of State

    Ask a Question

  14. In my past career, I always found that if you wanted to suppress information, the best thing to do was to release absolutely everything you had, preferably in hardcopy only. Somehow, by the time the readers had found anything interesting, it was no longer topical. From that perspective, the approach of giving the press nothing is just madness, it only encourages them to engage in what I had thought was the lost art of looking for scoops (remember that concept, “scoops”?) What is happening now is utterly predictable. I suspect that LTGEN Campbell may come to regret his recent stirring defence of the need for operational secrecy, when his Minister realises that he is going to have to relax it.

  15. Psephos

    – regarding newspapers – The Australian sales have dropped by more than half in my newsagency since the election. The remaining buyers seem to be South Africans residing in Hervey Bay! The deserters say they have switched to the SMH for a more balanced service.

    The SDTele still sells well – but mainly to punters – it reputedly has the best daily racing coverage!

    Not much joy for Abbott’s sugar daddy any more.

  16. R Turkeys

    Perhaps if you could relax a little and stop trying to put all the posters on PB into tight little boxes, you’d find the conversation more interesting.

  17. RT

    [Fran Barlow could be the editor and you still wouldn’t stop.]

    It would be an interesting experiment. I’m not a believer in the usefulness of the concept of bias(other than perhaps, in lawn bowls). All claims about the world come from a perspective, whether the claimant regards himself/herself as “objective” or not.

    What’s needed is not a search for “unbiased” media but intellectually rigorous and comprehensive media. If we had that, people could please themselves about the “bias” because everyone would be in a rather better position to evaluate what they were being offered.

    In a fantasy world where I were Editor in Chief, all my efforts would be focused on securing media that shed light in places where too little of legitimate public interest was in the plain view of those with a need to be aware of it.

  18. WOW These storms that just hit, being hit by one at the moment very small and centralised with red for rain , which is right. Only good thing is the windows on the south side of the house is getting a good clean.:grin:

  19. Yesiree Bob

    You have touched upon something which puzzles me too.

    The conservatives won the election but they carry on as though they are still in opposition.

    They are gloating the triumphalist on the one hand, but can’t seem to cope with the fact that winning election does not shut an opposition up nor make the problems go away or confirm everything they do is “right”.

    The whole Morrison approach to the boats says it all.

    They just can’t cope with the inspection of the electorate on what they do and get very snarky when called upon to explain what they do.

    Who can figure the bizarre workings of the Tory mind?

  20. I just looked at Bolt’s blog to see if his head had exploded yet (it hasn’t) and he is approvingly quoting and linking POLLBLUDGER saying we should be sceptical about the Nielsen.

    😥 👿

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