Nielsen: 56-44 to Labor; Newspoll: 55-45

The hostile reaction to the government’s first budget comes into sharper focus with two bruising new opinion poll results, both of which show Bill Shorten opening up a big lead as preferred prime minister.

UPDATE (Morgan): The fortnightly Morgan face-to-face plus SMS result sings from the same song sheet, with Labor up 1.5% to 38.5%, the Coalition down 2.5% to 35%, the Greens steady on 12%, and Palmer up a point to 6.5%. Whereas Morgan polls usually combine two weekends of polling, this one is entirely from Saturday and Saturday, so all the responses are post-budget and the sample is somewhat smaller than usual. On two-party preferred, Labor’s lead is up from 53.5-46.5 to 56.5-43.5 on 2013 election preferences, and 55-45 to 57.5-42.5 on respondent-allocated preferences.

After a relatively mild result from yesterday’s Galaxy poll, in which the government may have benefited slightly from an earlier polling period (Wednesday to Friday, the budget having been brought down on Tuesday night), two big name pollsters deliver horror results for the Coalition:

• Newspoll, conducted from Friday to Sunday, has Labor’s two-party lead out from 53-47 to 55-45, from primary votes of 38% for Labor (up four), 36% for the Coalition (down two), 11% for the Greens (down three) and 15% for others (up one). Worse still for the Coalition are the leadership ratings, which have Tony Abbott down five on approval to 30% and up four on disapproval to 60%, while Bill Shorten leaps seven points on approval to 42% and drops two on disapproval to 39%. Shorten has opened up a big lead of 44-34 as preferred prime minister, after Abbott led 40-38 a fortnight ago. The Australian’s report here.

• Even worse for the Coalition is the monthly Nielsen result in the Fairfax papers. Conducted from Thursday to Saturday, it shows Labor’s lead out to 56-44 from 52-48 a month ago. The primary votes are 40% for Labor (up six), 35% for the Coalition (down five), 14% for the Greens (down three from am implausible result last time, but still very strong) and 6% for Palmer United (up two). Tony Abbott sinks nine points on approval to 34% and adds twelve on disapproval to 62%, whereas Bill Shorten is up four to 47% and down two to 39%, and shoots to a 51-40 lead as preferred prime minister after trailing 45-44 last time.

The leadership ratings in particular invite comparison with Julia Gillard’s low points. While Abbott still has a way to go before matching the worst of Gillard’s ratings in Newspoll, his present net approval rating of 28% in Nielsen was exceeded by Gillard on only two occasions, in September and October of 2011, and equalled in July 2011. Gillard’s final result before she lost the leadership in June 2013 was 36% approval and 61% disapproval. Abbott himself scored fractionally worse figures as Opposition Leader in December 2012, of 34% approval and 63% disapproval.

Both pollsters also have results gauging reaction to the budget, with Nielsen finding 63% considering it unfair against 33% for fair. The deficit levy finds support, with 50% in favour and 37% against, but there’s a surprisingly narrow majority of 49% to 46% in favour of abolishing the carbon tax. The poll finds predictably strong opposition to the notion of increasing the GST, with 30% for and 66% against.

Newspoll’s results on budget reaction are particularly illuminating, as it has been asking the same three questions after every budget since 1988. Forty-eight per cent rate this budget as bad for the economy versus 39% for good, with 4% opting for neither; 69% say it will leave them worse off, compared with just 5% for better off and 20% for neither; and 39% believed that Labor would have done a better job, with 46% saying they wouldn’t have.

The latter result can be put into context with the following chart, showing the positive result minus the negative result for the equivalent question going back to 1988, with Labor budgets in red and Coalition budgets in blue. This shows that the only budget to record a net result in favour of yes was in 1993, when the Keating government followed its surprise election win by breaking its L-A-W tax cuts promise. As such, the slight net negative result for this budget is an historically weak one for the government – particularly when taking into account an apparent tendency for governments to perform strongly on this measure when newly elected, and decline thereafter. This takes a good deal of gloss off the consolation the Coalition might have taken in the result being better than the last three for the previous government.

The next chart plots the result for each budget on “impact on own financial position” along the x-axis and impact on the economy along the y, with the current result indicated in red. This shows a clear association between the two results, demonstrating that people generally decide whether a budget is good or bad, and deem it equally so for both themselves and the economy. To the limited extent that variability exists, there does appear to be at least some constituency for the view that the pain inflicted in the current budget will be good for the economy – whereas the trendline indicates that the minus 64% rating on own financial position could be expected to associate with 24.5% on the economy, the latter figure in fact comes in at a relatively presentable minus 9%. Nonetheless, the outstanding fact to emerge from the chart is that the budget inhabits a zone of extreme unpopularity with only 1993 to keep it company. The budget the government might have been hoping to emulate, Peter Costello’s cost-cutting debut of 1996, had a plus 37% rating on the economy despite a minus 21% rating on personal financial situation.

Finally, a table showing the net result for all three measures at each budget, with averages by party at the bottom. This shows that despite the current results, Coalition budgets tend to be better received than Labor ones, with the gap being wider on impact on the economy. Partly this is down to historical circumstance – Labor was marked down for the recession-era budgets of the early 1990s, while the Howard government made political hay out of the revenue boom in its later years in office (though obviously not to the extent of saving them from the electoral cycle in 2007). However, it also reflects the tendency for the Coalition to outperform Labor in “best party to manage the economy” polling, a point illustrated by the averages for “would the opposition have delivered a better budget”. For more context on the individual budgets, here’s a very helpful resource from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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.

1,941 comments on “Nielsen: 56-44 to Labor; Newspoll: 55-45”

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  1. Furthermore as I understand it, once a beneficiary receives a pay-out from a Trust they are taxed.

    If a person receives income then naturally they ought to be taxed unless they are a charity such as the lost dogs home

  2. Jimmyhaz,
    It’s a constant struggle – you should see the drafts I have sitting on my desktop 😉


    [brevity is my act, LU… :)]

    Oh, well played sir!

  3. David Feeney @Feeney4Batman
    @latingle says the Abbott Gvt may have to rethink whole #Budget2014 and the strategy that underpins it… #auspol

    Budget quake puts PM on shaky ground
    Every so often in politics there is a moment when you can almost hear the tectonic plates shift.

  4. Centre, your insistence that some forms of taxation are off limits makes it look like you have drunk the neoliberal cool-aid. Sure, somethings are stupid, but nothing is verboten.

  5. LU

    [Yes. How do you assess who qualifies,]

    Based on an assessment of disadvantage (which could be points-based and would be multi-factorial — income, assets, educational disadvantage, postcode …

    [what are the costs associated with including some people who don’t qualify? ]

    Likely to be trivial. A food coop with somewhat concessional food/groceries isn’t likely to attract much traffic outside a short drive from where people live, and in any event, better off people tend to price their time more highly.

    Conceivably, in suburbs where there were significant potential numbers of free riders, a more robust attitude to adverse selection would need to be adopted, but if we were using stored value cards and PINs I don’t see this as a particularly large problem.

  6. Poms pay inheritance tax on assets over AUD$ 590,000 (325,000 Pounds).

    Can you imagine the howling if that was brought in here?

    { The tax is payable at 40 per cent on the amount over this threshold or 36 per cent if the estate qualifies for a reduced rate. A surviving spouse or civil partner who has their permanent home in the UK is exempt. }

    David Cameron has said the Conservatives would like to cut inheritance tax, suggesting the party may go into the next election reviving its abandoned pledge to raise the threshold to £1m.

    He made the comments when asked about his 2007 pledge to raise the threshold at which the tax is payable, from £325,000 up to £1m, which the coalition has not done.

    He said the Conservatives would have to address the issue in their manifesto for the election next year.

  7. J341983, Essential is a bit like the Titanic of polls – slow to turn around. I suspect it will show a 1 point move to Labor next week.

  8. Business Mag pedicts an Australian recession and a business collapse_soon____________________________________
    “The Daily Reckoning ” a fairly conservative business/stock market journal…predicts a massive slow=down in China which will effect the whole Australian market and later this year and next year see our first recession in more than 20 years…really bad lck for Abbott and Hockey also sees a major fall in gas profits as it seems that this weeks BIG China-Russian deal for Gas/oil/trade will see the Chinese get a 30% disciount on Russian gas…a Trillion dollars worth in all…a vast bonanza for the Russians

    Australian gas producers may have to cope with this price fall in their overseas markets see below

  9. [1894

    …..some people may be left with a big X because they are rewarded for their hard work, innovation and business risks – and want them taxed again…on their X.]

    Then again, there are negative consequences for the economy arising from pronounced inequality in the distribution of income and wealth. The total economy would actually be bigger – would create more “welfare” – if there were a more equal distribution of these factors.

    We can see for ourselves. In the last few years – when real per capita disposable incomes have been growing very slowly if at all – income and assets have nevertheless continued to accumulate in the highest-earning fractions of the population.

    Side by side with this skewed income accumulation we have observed several years of slackening labour demand and ebbing fiscal revenues. Since access to work is one of the single best ways to boost incomes (and the means to begin wealth accumulation) for the least-well paid, we MUST increase labour demand. The simplest, surest and most direct way of doing this is to transfer income from the wealthiest to the less wealthy. Household spending will expand, taking labour demand with it, expanding output and increasing the aggregate wealth in the economy.

    If you think I’m bull-shitting, consider an extreme example in which one person owned everything and, beyond the barest subsistence, the rest of the population had no residual income and accumulated no wealth. This would the least equal distribution of income and wealth possible. How would we set out to increase labour demand and economic output in such an economy? We could force the one wealthy individual to spend all their income. That is, we could conscript their spending power. Or, in what amounts to the same sort of thing, we could increase the incomes of all those who had no surplus disposable incomes – the incomes of the vast majority. The most certain way of increasing their incomes would be to just give them the money, which could be obtained by taxing the one entity that owned all the wealth.

    We would do (at least) four things at once. We would improve the equality of income allocation. We would expand labour demand. We would increase the size of the economy – that is, we would generate greater aggregate “welfare” – and add to the wealth accumulation chances of all those who were active in the economy, including the wealthiest.

    It is also certain that in a market economy, if the tax were correctly calibrated, the wealth of the entity who paid the tax would also expand to more than cover the amount of the tax collected. That is – this is not a zero sum game.

    If we want to restore dynamism to the domestic economy in Australia we have to set out to improve the equality of income and wealth allocation. This means:

    – reforming -ve gearing, which disfavours those with no property and increases the cost of housing
    – taxing wealth and/or land held by the highest decile or quintile of income and wealth holders
    – rejecting any new regressive taxes
    – reducing the taxes paid by those in the lower income quintiles
    – improving the allocation of social incomes

  10. Some facts on home ownership from the ABS. Latest I can find.

    [In the 2009–10 Survey of Income and Housing, it was found that an estimated 33% of households owned their homes outright (i.e. without a mortgage) and 36% were owners with a mortgage. A further 24% were renting from a private landlord and 4% were renting from a state or territory housing authority.]

    You think any Govt is going to tax the family home? You’re mad. (or a renter). 😛

  11. I don’t think Essential has hardly moved for any party in terms of swing.

    The most telling is the percentage of people who don’t like the budget, which just confirms the Newspoll/Nielsen questions.

  12. [1907
    Fran Barlow

    A food coop with somewhat concessional food/groceries isn’t likely to attract much traffic outside a short drive from where people live….]

    The collectivisation of food production and distribution has been tried once or twice…never been a huge winner with the peasant or the shopper…

  13. So, Centre, back to my question: Where does the surplus that creates most wealth come from?

    Some economic surpluses are extracted from exclusive access to the bounties of nature, such as rights to mineral extraction and ownership of productive agricultural land.

    Other surpluses are skimmed from the labour of your fellow human beings, using political, bargaining, market or coercive power.

    On the other hand, sometimes labour is organised enough to push back against capital’s power and or that of governments in order to increase their surplus, as with the AMA and the pharmacists, and a few industries employing skilled labour.

    But quite often, institutional arrangements make it easy for some organisations to extract surpluses from society in general. This happens regularly in the finance industry and in the provision of utilities like water, electricity and toll roads. That is one reason why these industries are (ostensibly) heavily regulated or government owned.

    And sometimes, wealth does accrue as the windfalls from new inventions or significant innovations. And sometimes it is simply passed down from generation to generation.

    But my point is that there are a host of factors, ranging from the arbitrary to the down-right exploitative, that lead to wealth accumulating unequally across society. Only one of these factors is hard work, and I would argue that it is actually a small part. That is one of the reasons why I advocate wealth taxes such as the land tax.

    And before you set fire to another strawman, I think company tax should be lowered, and the income tax-free and every marginal rate thresholds should be raised.

  14. Melb Rally Tomorrow Wed at 11.00 in front of Public Library in Swanston Street then march to Fed Sq

    This rally organised by unions and pensioner groups is about the budget and it’s harsh cuts to pensions
    ..please put this item on the social media…if you have the Know How thanks !!!

  15. Another famous tweet back in 2013:

    Retweeted by Stephen Koukoulas
    Joe Hockey ‏@JoeHockey 30 Jan 2013

    Julia Gillard has now said Australians don’t pay enough tax. New taxes coming. Her own words.

  16. Another back from 2012:

    Retweeted by Stephen Koukoulas
    Joe Hockey ‏@JoeHockey 28 Sep 2012

    Federal Government gross debt has surpassed a quarter of a trillion dollars. When will Wasteful Wayne stop spending?

  17. The UK Tories have shown what their slogan “We’re All in This Together” means.

    [Rich double their wealth in five years

    As people have seen their wages fall in real terms, The Sunday Times Rich List 2014, published today, reveals that the 1,000 richest men and women have surged to new heights with their wealth rising by 15.4% on last year’s total of £449bn.

    It means the wealth of the top 1,000 has doubled since the crash, rising from £258bn in 2009. Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list since 1989, said: “I’ve never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain’s 1,000 richest people over the past year.”]

  18. I shop at a food cooperative in the Barossa Valley. Roughly weekly.
    It provides full services and products, is as cheap or cheaper than the alternatives in the region, is very popular and provides a payback to members, such as myself annually.

  19. briefly

    [The collectivisation of food production and distribution has been tried once or twice…]

    As soon as I propose that as a model, your objection will become germane.

    I’m essentially proposing buyers coops, with some state funding, possibly run by some arm of local government.

    The whole red-baiting thing ill-becomes you.

  20. poroti @1924

    Austerity doing what it does best.

    LU @1919

    I want to frame this post and put it above my bed.

    While you’re breathing fire, what are your thoughts on company taxation? How do we best handle it for the maximum benefit to society?

  21. From the discussion with GP (aka Generic Person) last night about who would be effected by the “GP Tax”, this article from the Guardian proves Hockey is a continued Liar:

    “But according to the Australian Medical Association, Gunnis is very probably right.”

    “The budget does exempt doctors’ visits listed as “chronic disease management items” from the co-payment, but these are likely to be only a very small proportion of the visits to the doctor by someone with chronic health problems like Gunnis.”

  22. [Fran….The whole red-baiting thing ill-becomes you.]

    I know. I have upbraided myself and will try to be nicer in future.. 🙂

  23. In unreported news from State Conference, the rules surrounding the women’s quota have been significantly strengthened, with their application more clearly spelt out and the penalties for their breach harshened.


  24. [1926
    Libertarian Unionist

    Good stuff, briefly

    this is not a zero sum game

    I want to hear Bill Shorten say that!]

    This is all very compelling, LU. I think there is a lot to think of and a lot to express…and now is the time.

  25. On Qanda last night an unemployed man with multiple disabilities and illnesses asked about the medical co-payments.

    Hockey told him he’d be exempt, under the chronic illness criteria.

    However I just heard a medico-economist interviewed on News Radio, and he said that Hockey was misleading.

    The chronic illness co-payments are only waived, he said, for doctor appointments to write a Chronic Illness Management Plan, and for any appointments / treatments specified in the plan.

    So someone with chronic arthritis may get exemptions based on his Arthritis Management Plan, but if he gets the flu, or has prostate appointments/tests, or gets gout, or needs nose bleeds cauterised, stiff shit ….. he pays like the rest.

    As I said last night and this morning, I don’t agree that Hockey “did well” last night.

    Lying is not “doing well”. What a mob of pricks they are.

  26. Does Essential oversample voters who happen to be frozen in carbonite? Why are these respondents so unresponsive to economic and political developments?

  27. Psephos

    [At a doorstop interview at Canberra company Pure Solar on March 14, 2012 Mr Abbott said the Coalition would deliver tax cuts in government. “What you’ll get under us are tax cuts without new taxes,” he said]

    Without new taxes means no new taxes.

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