Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

This week’s Essential Research records a somewhat less allergic reaction to the budget than the other pollsters, and shows little change on voting intention.

Essential Research displays its trademark stability this week by failing to record the big shift evident from the other pollsters, with two-party preferred steady at 52-48 and Labor up only one point on the primary vote to 40%, with the Coalition steady on 40%, the Greens down one to 8% and Palmer United steady on 5%. The results on the budget are also somewhat less spectacular than those seen elsewhere, with 30% approval and 52% disapproval, and 40% deeming it good for the economy overall against 32% for bad – quite a bit different from the 39% and 48% registered by Newspoll. The budget was deemed bad for working people by 59% and good by 14%; bad for those on low incomes by 66% and good by 11%; bad for families by 62% and good by 11%; bad for older Australians by 66% and good by 10%; bad for younger Australians by 55% and good by 16%; but good for people who well off by 45% and bad by 16%.

Response was also sought in relation to particular budget measures, of which the least popular was the raise in the pension age (61% opposition, 17% support), followed by deregulation of university fees (58% opposition, 17% support). Opinion was evenly balanced on making Newstart recipients wait six months (41% opposition, 39% support), while there was a net positive response to making graduates pay HELP loans more quickly (53% support, 23% opposition). Cuts to foreign aid had 64% supportive and 13% opposed, while those to the ABC had 27% supportive and 41% opposed. Fifty-six per cent believed there was a “budget emergency” against 32% who did not, but only 24% believed the budget addressed it, against 56% who did not.

The other relative latecomer to the budget poll party was yesterday’s fortnightly Morgan face-to-face plus SMS result, which was more in line with other polls in having 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 was 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 was 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.

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.

1,395 comments on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor”

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  1. The risk with the Court over-turning the Chaplaincy program, is that it has nothing to do with the subject matter, it’s to do with the ability of the Commonwealth to provide funding directly without being filtered through the states first.

    It does actually put quite a few direct-funding programs at risk… for the record, I hate the Chaplaincy Program … but the Court overturning it could have unintended consequences.

  2. 1238

    If the High Court took a wide enough view of section 116 to rule out funding of school chaplains, then the power of ministers of (authorised) religions to marry people, without being civil celebrants, would also be under threat. That would be good.

  3. Jxxx –

    it’s to do with the ability of the Commonwealth to provide funding directly without being filtered through the states first.

    It does actually put quite a few direct-funding programs at risk

    Indeed. But we keep being told about how the States are grown ups and the Feds promised to end the Canberra ‘command and control’ red tape. Just ask Pyne. I’m sure he’ll be fine with just allocating $250 million to the States with no strings attached – it was his approach to Gonski funding to WA, Queensland and the NT after all.

    In the scheme of things that much money, compared with the $80 billion in health and education cuts, is a bit meaningless.

  4. 1251

    It’s a risk worth taking. Taxpayer money should not be used to promote religious missions. It can bring nothing but trouble in the end, as those who drafted the Constitution wisely foresaw.

  5. TTFaB –

    If the High Court took a wide enough view of section 116 to rule out funding of school chaplains, then

    The High Court have already ruled on this and s116 is no impediment. Apparently.

  6. @1256 – I completely agree… I’m just noting that the case isn’t being decided on those grounds and that there could be consequences, that’s all.

  7. China issues warning:

    “SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to warn some Asian nations on Wednesday about strengthening military alliances to counter China, saying this would not benefit regional security.”

    NBN Co may or may not be lying to the Senate Committee:

    “While NBN Co is more than happy to describe this data as being accurate and meaningful to the Minister and Retail Service Providers, when asked to actually provide them to the Senate, NBN Co claims that they simply provide “inaccurate information”.”

    “It appears that either: they have failed to inform neither the Ministers nor Retail Service Providers that in fact the data provided to them may be highly inaccurate or they have in fact lied to the Senate. This would not have been the first time when NBN Co had failed to provide meaningful data to the Senate, even though it would have been as simple as copying and pasting.”

    Yes, Adults running the Government.

  8. [It does actually put quite a few direct-funding programs at risk]

    Yeah like direct Cwlth funding of religious activity. Personally I’m not cool with that. Schools want religious folk floating about corrupting children, then they should fundraise in order to pay for them. No reason why taxpayers should bear that burden.

  9. confessions@1265

    It does actually put quite a few direct-funding programs at risk

    Yeah like direct Cwlth funding of religious activity. Personally I’m not cool with that. Schools want religious folk floating about corrupting children, then they should fundraise in order to pay for them. No reason why taxpayers should bear that burden.

    Perhaps we could sell access to schools and schoolkids? I believe there are a few religious organizations that would be prepared to pay quite handsomely.

  10. Dee

    It is a $1 trillion dollar deal . The argey bargey over the deal has been going on for a decade. The sticking point has been the price. Ironically sanctions on Russia by the US have pushed along the deal. The Russians being now more willing to take a lower price.

    The numbers of how much gas there is in Siberia are mind boggling. Numbers matched by the numbers around, if it ever happens, Crow Eaters Olympic Dam project. It is potentially a multi trillion dollar mine.

  11. Here I was thinking that Bowen’s NPC speech and Abbott’s radio admission that a levy equals a tax deseved in-depth reporting, but the ABC’s “Fair and Balanced” journos know what really matters is a few minutes of students and police scuffling during many hours of peaceful protests.

    Strangely, couldn’t see anything in ABC ‘s clips of these “nasty” incidents which reaches the nastiness level of that recent Biff-up in Bondi between super-rich pillars of the community. Heck, the Bondi Brawlers only copped punishments akin to motor vehicle speeding fines, and these protesters appear less of a menace to society.

    All the same, it’s very sad for the thousands of well-behaved marchers that their efforts were given scant media coverage due to a handful of arrests and that the Murdoch/ABC Copycat News will beat their old favourite “Feral, privileged ungrateful brats!!!” drum all the way to election day.

  12. @1265… again… and again… I don’t like the CP AT ALL. But the programs I’m thinking about are things like roads funding – black spots, roads to recovery etc.

    I’m not … just so we’re very very clear… supportive in any way shape or form of the CP or the agenda of its participants…. Jebus people. I’m just highlighting what the possible consequences beyond the CP… THAT’S ALL.

  13. I enjoyed this article by John Hewson

    [Scare campaigns ultimately lose their effectiveness, especially if they are replayed like a scratched record. The new Abbott Government is now under real pressure for substantive policy responses, virtually across the whole spectrum of economic, social and environmental, policy issues.

    The fact is, some issues like climate change require urgent action now, and that will need to be sustained through the life of several consecutive governments. The electoral challenge is intergenerational.]

  14. Poroti


    Looks like nobody is certain on the value of the deal.

    Some are calling $400 billion, some a trillion. None the less this is huge.

    [Earlier today, Russia and China, or better Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping reached a tentative deal what some are calling a trillion dollar gas and oil deal in Shanghai with only the asking price left to be negotiated and finalized.]

  15. J341983 –

    But the programs I’m thinking about are things like roads funding – black spots, roads to recovery etc.

    There is a separate, similar constitutional question over those programs anyway, and it was the reason why the previous government put in motion the referendum question on allowing the Federal government to directly fund local government without going through the States. That was sunk by lack of bipartisanship (surprise) from Abbott, along with Rudd pointlessly bringing last year’s election forward by 1 week.

    I’m sure it was discussed by the 2013 ALP election brains trust and they probably decided that having the local government constitutional question coincide with the election might be a distraction or something lame like that – when fundamentally that woeful ALP campaign could have used a good solid distraction – but the past is the past.

    The worst that might happen is that the Federal government has to provide more funding via the States, with or without negotiated strings. It’s not a big deal, it will just be a bit of a shift of power back from the Feds to the States.

    Ultimately if there are constitutional questions over these funding mechanisms then we just need to deal with the implications of that. Hiding our heads in the sand isn’t the way to deal with it.

  16. Dee

    Numbers that large have a big boggle factor.

    One day Crow Eaters will lord it over the Sandgropers and their low rent iron ore. Apart from the gold , copper and uranium the Olympic Dam ore body has a trillion or two in rare earths. Well once they work out how to extract them economically.

  17. Russia has gas. They can sell that gas to Europe or to China or farther afield.

    Apart from transport efficiencies or bulk pricing deals it probably doesn’t make a huge deal of difference to the global trade price for LNG or whatever. If the Russians sell most of their gas to China then the Europeans will be buying more of their gas from elsewhere … we might end up selling less LNG to China and more to Europe.

    There is geopolitical stuff as well, but nothing that directly affects us yet. Unless Russia or China really are thinking of starting a major regional conflict

  18. Whew! We can all rest easy the usual right-wing panel on “The Drum” has torn to shreds the unconscionable story regarding a design school scholarship for PM’s daughter awarded by a major Lib Party donator.

    Most of all, it is “creepy” for the media to make this cowardly attack on the family of a politician, and anyway Ms. Abbott is such a talented designer she undoubtedly deserved the scholarship.

    Also, the timing of this story “reveals an agenda” on the part of the editors (which evidently is totally unethical if it’s not done by a Murdoch empire outlet).

    Many Bludgers will be shocked that “Drum” host did not intervene when 90% of time for this topic segment was soaked up by two panelists venting their anger at this media outrage.

  19. 1276

    Rudd`s (and subsequently Abbott`s) actions also raise the question of whether or not it is constitutional not to hold a referendum if the required bill has passed both houses.

    The constitution says “The proposed law for the alteration thereof must be passed by an absolute majority of each House of the Parliament, and not less than two nor more than six months after its passage through both Houses the proposed law shall be submitted in each State and Territory to the electors qualified to vote for the election of members of the House of Representatives.”

    That indicates that the Constitution was breached by the referendum not being held by about the 14/1/14

  20. Re that Big Deal
    Re that huge Gas deal .the new Indian Govt is said to be negotiating for a Russianm gas pipeline across Afghanistan after the US departs ,to supply India and Pakistan with Gas ,,,of which the Russians have an abundance

    seems like the US scanctions on Russia are of little account

    BTW the Russians have completed an emergency pipeline across the Black Sea to supply the Crimea with Russian water,making Ukrainian water once supplied there … no longer required the fairly warm arid Crimea in the coming summer

  21. Dee….

    Hewson continues…

    [Most unfortunately, given the devastated state of political debate in Australia, other pressures and opportunities will probably have to drive a more substantive response by our governments – pressures from global leadership (like the US or China), international agreement(s) on emissions reductions, and/or technological advancements.

    In these circumstances, there is a unique, but urgent, opportunity for leadership, to break out of the short-term game of politics.

    But it will only happen by being prepared to address key issues with substantive and sustainable policy responses. And, where necessary, being prepared to debate, educate and engage the community as to the necessity and desirability of these policies.]

    He seems to have given up on Abbott already. What we know is the current blue team don’t do debate. They do deception. Obliquely, Hewson is saying the same sort of thing.

    Instead of talking “around” the issues, he should say what he really actually thinks. Few bear him ill-will and many will listen to what he puts forward.

  22. Jackol

    Not sure what the percentage is but huge amounts of our lng projects’ production go to Japan. For instance all Darwin’s 3.3 million ton per annum production goes to Tokyo Gas and Tokyo Electric.

  23. 1284

    A pipeline through Afghanistan to India does not sound plausible because it would have to go via Pakistan (o possibly Iran and then via the sea). I would have though that Pakistan is the last place India would want pipeline through. China would seem a safer bet than Pakistan for a pipeline (they have been at war less recently).

    I am sure the Ukraine gas pipeline tensions, over the last few years, have drawn India`s attention to the ability of pipelines to be blocked for political reasons, if they were not already aware.

  24. 1282

    Nonetheless, the story is that Abbott’s family got a $60k freebie. The more fuss they make, the more it will be remembered….

  25. [1294
    Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 10:49 pm | PERMALINK
    I wonder when William will post the next thrilling episode of Bludgertrack….]

    In honor of Baghdad Bob…. It’s currently 60/40 Libs in the polls.

  26. Verizon rolling out Fibre-optic in one the biggest cities in USA (finally), New York:

    “The nearly 90 million feet of fiber, spanning all five boroughs at a cost of $3 billion-plus so far, “is the largest, most ambitious fiber-optic deployment in any U.S. city,” according to Kevin Service, Verizon’s president for the carrier’s Northeast area. “We have invested more than $3 billion in the city alone, making it one of the most ‘fiberized’ cities on the planet.””

  27. Bored.

    Somebody wake Tony up – it’s been some hours since he did or said something stupid.

    S’pose I’ll have to wait for the next new episode tomorrow.

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