BludgerTrack: 51.3-48.7 to Labor

This week’s Nielsen result prompts a startling shift to the Greens in the weekly poll aggregate, which in turn drives a solid move to Labor on two-party preferred.

Nielsen has this week thrown a spanner into the BludgerTrack works, producing a dramatic shift on the basis of a result that’s yet to be corroborated by anybody else. The big mover is of course the Greens, who have shot up five points to the giddy heights of 15.4%, a result I wouldn’t attach much credit to until it’s backed by more than one data point. Only a small share of the gain comes at the expense of Labor, who have accordingly made a strong gain on two-party preferred and are in majority government territory on the seat projection. A further point of interest with respect to the Nielsen poll is that the two-party preferred response on respondent-allocated preferences, which is not published by Fairfax, is at 54.5-45.5 considerably stronger for Labor than the headline result from previous election preferences. This may reflect a swelling in Greens support from the ranks of disaffected Labor identifiers, and a consequent increase in the Greens preference flow to Labor in comparison with the 2013 election result – which may in turn suggest the headline two-party result from the poll flattered the Coalition a little.

The other aspect of the latest BludgerTrack result which may raise an eyebrow is the strength of the Labor swing in Queensland, which also blew out excessively in January before moderating considerably thereafter. The Queensland breakdown from this week’s Nielsen played its part, showing Labor ahead 53-47 for a swing of around 10%. However, in this case the Nielsen is not out on a limb, providing the model with one of five Queensland data points from the past four weeks which all show Labor in the lead, with two-party results ranging from 51.1% to 56.5% (keeping in mind that sample sizes are in some cases below 200). The scattered state results provided by Morgan are not included in the model, but its poll release last week reported that Labor held a lead in Queensland of 51-49.

Nielsen also provides new data points for leadership ratings, and in keeping with the general weakness of the poll for the Coalition, their addition to the model puts Bill Shorten’s net approval rating back in front of Tony Abbott’s, and returns the narrowing trajectory to the preferred prime minister trendlines.

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.

1,593 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.3-48.7 to Labor”

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  1. My theory about the Greens surge. Younger voters are now so hostile to Abbott’s regime that they are increasingly impatient with Labor for not adopting the kind of inflammatory anti-Abbott language that is all over social media – the place most of these people now get their news. They want a more radical opposition, and that’s what the Greens in general and Ludlam in particular are offering.

    But Shorten must resist the temptation to try to outbid the Greens for these voters. Elections are not decided by angry young leftist voters. They’re decided by low and middle income families in the suburbs and the regional towns, with no particularly strong political views – and also I suspect no taste for the kind of extravagant and abusive anti-Abbott rhetoric which we see here and all over social media. To win the next election, Shorten must win these voters back, and that requires eschewing rhetorical excess and playing the long game. If that means losing all of the youth vote to the Greens, that’s a price worth paying.

  2. 2

    In WA the recent strength of the Greens is attributable to various things including in particular

    the popularity of Ludlam,
    aversion to the Barnett Government
    disaffection with the Abbott Government
    the loss of affiliation with Labor

    These sentiments are pronounced among voters aged from about 35 and under.

    The abysmal candidate selection and campaign put together by Labor for the Senate re-election and self-destructive post-election communications have also harmed Labor support.

    WA Labor is vulnerable to losing Perth and Fremantle to the Greens at the next election while PUP preferences will allow the LNP to hold all its seats and possibly collect Brand as well.

    There is no particular sense in which the Greens are seen as radical these days by voters in the Perth Metro area.

  3. Is Peter Hartcher Chris Hartcher’s cousin? I’m sure I read it somewhere once.

    Perhaps I’m wrong, as surely this is something that the SMH would have wanted to inform its readers about at the end of Peter’s article? (Or are cousins considered too distant relatives to affect a journalist’s objectivity?)

  4. Psephos, Lea rhiannon made the point that libs are shifting to labor and labor voters are shifting to greens. So libs are not jumping over labor and parking with the greens. Seems right yo me

  5. Anyway, I agree with the thrust if Hartcher’s article. Unaccountable freewheeling bodies like ICAC are a big worry. But the Libs set up ICAC and O’Farrell embraced it. Mouthing off at it anonymously in articles in the SMH is about as pointless as Labor’s incessant whinging about Sir John Kerr for umpteen years. I would have thought the public will have little sympathy.

    It’s a damn shame to see a pretty talented political leader come crashing down over such a trifle. But these things happen. The NSW Libs seem to be moving on, as they must do.

  6. How the bottle leaked: did someone target Barry O’Farrell?

    The barrister leading the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry has raised questions about whether the information leading to Premier Barry O’Farrell’s resignation was strategically leaked to the media to bring him down.

    Read more:

    Read more:

  7. Re the Greens: it’s not just the young demographic who have turned to them, but also a large (and possibly growing) proportion of educated, affluent voters of all ages: the group that started to come to Labor from the Libs under Whitlam and stayed through Hawke and Keating and on to Gillard and Rudd.

    Psephos is correct that Labor should not chase after voters of a far left mindset. But the loss of the “Whitlamite” class and its offspring is a major worry as it threatens Labor’s continuing relevance as the main party of the left.

  8. Hi Mari …..

    Sorry to but in but I did not want to go to school today

    Mum bursts in “Badcat, time to get up and go to school”

    “But its too cold to get up”

    “But you have to go – why are you hesitating?”

    “I don’t like that school, the kids hate me and all the teachers hate me too”

    “OK, but you still have to go, you are the Principal”

    so I was late leaving and just adding a few to try help

  9. [mari
    Posted Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    now you be a good little boy and off to school with you NOW

    Thank mate as usual you have done well BK will be proud

    I saw you were on Brisbane Times ( instead of SMH) – so thought you might be battling on your tablet today away from home etc ???? …. promise not to but in on you otherwise

    Have a lovely day, Mari 🙂

  10. The most amazing thing about the Barry O’Farrell thing is not that someone may have set him up, or that ICAC did it’s job, it is that we have a prime minister that thinks not declaring gifts as required by law and resigning when caught out is honourable.

  11. badcat
    On Brisbane Times as have stopped subscriptions on SMH as going overseas in 3 weeks time Brisbane Times I can access

    You are always welcome my fellow apprentice and thank you

  12. [The Eric Idle award for looking on the bright side of life must go to the prime minister who, having now lost a premier as well as a minister owing to Icac’s investigations, chose to interpret the event as evidence Barry O’Farrell was acting with honour and integrity never before seen in Australian public life.]

    What utter rubbish from Abbott.

    The Libs are shocked because one of their number has acted with unexpected integrity. Abbott would never do that. He has prevaricated and lied over and over. So he attacks a journalist.

    Libs are now frightened that they may be exposed for the shonky lot they are. So they send Gerard out to rant hysterically against ICAC. A shocking exhibition from a panicky little man.

  13. the true reason for BoF downfall is his exposure to the shady influence peddling industry infested with ex-Liberal parliamentarians and staffers.

    like the mafia, Murdoch and the KGB, this seething mass keeps tabs on all and sundry, a gift here, a night on the town (with photos) there. Every so often it all falls apart, and the players start knifing each other.

    In this case, Barry boned Peter Hartcher’s cousin, so Hartcher (who is in on the joke) leaks a little titbit about the Grange to a friendly Murdoch journo. Did Barry get the the message?

    It appears not.

  14. Psephos
    [My theory about the Greens surge. Younger voters are now .. Elections … are decided by low and middle income families in the suburbs and the regional towns,… ]

    Unfortunately your theory does not seem to be related to observed numbers from our recent pseph sources.

    For example Newspoll quarterly whilst giving you support for your claim that its the young mainly powering the Greens surge [Newspoll has the Greens vote in the 18-34 age group rising from 13% to 18%] also has those groups you state as being so important as swinging to the Greens.
    For example the Greens vote in ‘non-capital’ cities has risen by 2%.
    Similarly the Greens vote has risen in both the 35-49 age group – a rise of more than 3%, and even a small rise in the 50+ group.

    Switching to Nielsen [and ignoring the moe] the numbers give the Greens a positive swing in all age groups and in both capital [17%] and non-capital cities [16%] are scoring well.
    And Nielsen shows the Greens at 15% in the 40-54 age range and above their overall 2013 election in the 55+ group alone.

    In short, allowing for the moe problem, the poll numbers from Newspoll and Nielsen show a surge for the Greens that is not just confined to the young lefties but also includes those groups you consider so important.

  15. Morning all. Peter Hartcher is nuts if he blames ICAC for doing its job. Sure there are bigger fish to fry. But that does not mean all the other fish are thrown back. There is no bag limit on catching corrupt pollies. Besides, making a false statement officially usually carries a penalty of itself.

  16. The real issue about O’Farrell is

    Why the hell did he lie to ICAC? I am racking my brains for an explanation. I can only think of some:

    1. The man is unbelievably overconfident with very poor judgment

    2. The man is ridiculously naïve and quite sure his “friends” would protect him

    3. Someone else took the wine and forged the letter – it is NOT important enough for MI6 or Mossad to bother

    4. The only charitable explanation is that he actually did get the wine but had little idea of its value. He may quite reasonably have thought it cost $100 – $500 (the idiocy of paying more than $25 for ANY wine) is beyond me. He wrote the thankyou note along with many others fairly blandly (like after a wedding or party) possibly not recalling who sent him what. However it seems unlikely that when at ICAC he would not have recalled writing the note. He could have said something like I recall a bottle of grange and sending someone a note. Not sure who. I had NO idea it was worth $3000. I gave it to cousin Jim when we went to dinner there. or I opened it and thought it “sh*t”. Most went down the sink. Or my teenage son and friends got stuck into it etc. Or it smashed and the dog licked it up. The actual TRUTH is a good place to start.

  17. Badcat you raise a good point. With BOF saying a $3000 bottle of wine is enough to resign over, it sets a healthy precedent by which to judge other pollies. Sinodinos does look in trouble.

  18. [Seems there’s a push on within the NSW LNP to persuade BOF not to stand down.]

    Unbelievable. What hubris the Libs have. Sad fact is the media would more than likely support such a move.

  19. I was right about loyal republican Barry O’Farrell’s motives. He has banished the royals off the front pages! Good on you, Barry.

  20. [Seems there’s a push on within the NSW LNP to persuade BOF not to stand down.]
    I wonder what Peter Slipper would say about that?

    Have a good day all.

  21. Mod Lib You were missed terribly yesterday.

    On a frenetic day by PB standards, barely a page went by without some plaintive, mournful plea for a comment by Mod Lib ….

  22. Fredex

    Yes I agree

    What the Labor union dominated hierarchy fail to realize is that MOST people see themselves as middle class now, with white collar jobs and “prospects.” Most of the swingers in the middle are university educated. This group will head towards the Greens not labor because the Greens are educated middle class.

    I have mentioned this before in the context of the Rudd vote, but I think it is a little like the school class room.

    The “cool” kids and the jocks and the party set may NEVER socialize with the class Nerds and A students and may even bully them from time to time. However when it comes to choosing the class captain, or getting help with some serious issue, they will turn to the Nerds/A students. They will choose the kid who is going to be a Brain surgeon or IT genius NOT the jock who will make a first rate plumber or very popular girl destined to be a movie star.

    Have a look at the Greens. They are Doctors, Vets etc. They seem brainy and critically (I think class matters a lot) they are UPPER middle class. Even the Nimby basket weaver types are middle class and daddy was probably a Dr.

    This is why Gillard’s accent mattered and why Rudd the super nerd was popular. By squeezing out its “bourgeoisie” as Labor has done through it relegation of branch members to junk status, have lost the middle class aspirational and educated class.

    The issue is can they get them back?

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