Nielsen: 53-47 to Labor

One of the last polls we will get from Nielsen finds the pollster returning the pack, after reporting a particularly big post-budget blowout last month.

GhostWhoVotes relates that what I believe will be Fairfax’s second final monthly Nielsen poll has Labor leading 53-47 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of 39% for the Coalition, 37% for Labor and 13% for the Greens. While being well on trend, this marks a big improvement for the Coalition on last month, which was their worst poll result of the post-budget blowout: 56-44 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of 40% for Labor, 35% for the Coalition and 14% for the Greens. Leadership ratings to follow shortly.

UPDATE: The Nielsen poll has Tony Abbott up a point on approval to 35% and down two on disapproval to 60%; Bill Shorten down five to 42% and up two to 41%; and Shorten’s lead as preferred prime minister down from 51-40 to 47-40. Questions on preferred party leaders found Malcolm Turnbull favoured to lead the Liberal Party by 40% compared with 21% for Abbott and 11% for both Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop, while Bill Shorten led the Labor pack with 25% to 19% for Anthony Albanese, 17% for Tanya Plibersek and 7% each for Tony Burke and Chris Bowen. A question from the previous poll concerning whether the budget was fair was revisited, again finding 33% agreeing that it was, with disagreement down two points to 61%. On the question of sending Australian soldiers to Iraq, 31% said they would be in favour with 66% opposed.

Other recent polling snippets:

• The Sunday News Limited papers report that a Galaxy Research poll of 1010 women aged between 18 and 44 found 60% thought the government’s proposed paid parental leave scheme was fair, with 29% thinking it not fair and 6% believing it was not enough.

The Conversation reports a JWS Research poll conducted for the Climate Institute finds a 10% increase in belief in (presumably anthropogenic) climate change since 2012 to 70%, together with a range of negative results for the government: a net rating of minus 18% for the present government’s performance on climate change compared with minus 1% for the previous government in the earlier poll, and a slight majority of 34% to 30% in favour of the carbon pricing laws, a dramatic reversal from the 28% and 52% recorded in 2012.

Roy Morgan has a phone poll of 638 respondents on the biggest problems facing Australia, which has “politics and leadership” up seven points since February to 18%, the economy up three points to 42% and “religion/immigration/human rights” down seven to 9%.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The weekly result from Essential Research records a move back to the Coalition, who are up one on the primary vote to 40% with Labor down three to 38%, while the Greens and Palmer United are steady on 9% and 5%. Labor’s two-party preferred lead has narrowed from 54-46 to 52-48. Further questions relate to Iraq, with 25% thinking the 2003 invasion the right decision versus 50% for the wrong decision, 53% nominating “to support the USA” as the Howard government’s main reason for getting involved, 39% saying they would approve of US action to support the Iraq government in its current crisis with military action with 31% opposed, and 54% saying they would disapprove of Australia sending troops with 30% approving.

The poll also finds 28% felt the Greens holding the Senate balance of power was good for Australia versus 37% for bad, with 26% and 39% responses for the looming circumstance of Palmer United and micro-parties holding the balance of power. We also get the regular arsenal of “leaders attributes” questions applied to Clive Palmer and Christine Milne, with the former turning up rather poorly, with high rating for arrogant, aggressive and erratic. Christine Milne breaks 50% on “out of touch with ordinary people”, but otherwise seems to have made less of an impression. Both rate quite highly on intelligent and hard-working, but successful politicians nearly always do.

Finally, the poll finds only 19% agreeing with Tony Abbott that no election promises were broken in the budget, with 72% disagreeing.

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.

2,075 comments on “Nielsen: 53-47 to Labor”

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  1. jules
    If your argument is that karma is simple causality then it reinforces my argument that karma as a religious tenet is superfluous. Why not just be a Causalityist instead of a Buddhist?

  2. Here is a curious little poll that Roy Morgan did.
    [ Economic & Financial Issues are still the biggest problems facing Australia (42%, up 3%) and the World (33%, down 1%) after Treasurer Joe Hockey hands down his first Federal Budget

    June 20 2014
    Finding No. 5636
    Topic: Most Important Issues Public Opinion

    In Australia, a cross-section of 638 men and women aged 14 or over were interviewed by telephone on the nights of June 3-5, 2014. Respondents were asked: “Firstly, what do you think is the most important problem facing the World today?” and “What do you think is the most important problem facing Australia today?”

    In June 2014, Australians still believe Economic & Financial issues are the most important set of problems facing Australia (42%, up 3% since February 2014) and the World (33%, down 1%) according to the latest Roy Morgan Research conducted in June.


    “The other problem mentioned by many Australians is Government/ Politics/ Leadership/ Tony Abbott (18%, up 7%). Although many Australians regard Politics/ Leadership (10%, down 1%) as a big problem, many Australians cite Prime Minister Tony Abbott (4%) as the biggest problem by himself. The last time the combined issues of Politics/ Leadership rated close to this level was a year ago in July 2013 (16%), at the time Kevin Rudd replaced Julia Gillard as Prime Minister. Perhaps surprisingly, only 7% (down 3%) of Australians regard Environmental issues as a big problem facing Australia.]

  3. Was the absence of Abbott from Australia the cause of this movement in 2PP? How about meaningless movement within the margin of error?

  4. It’s Time

    The explanation is that voters have the memory of goldfish and they’ve forgotten that the government is intent on robbing them at every available opportunity. I think in two months it’ll be back at 50/50.

  5. Community Editor of The Age. I’m not sure what he means, after all its not the different from the last Newspoll, or why he uses the Victorian politics #SpringSt as well as the usual #Auspol one. Some other factors involved?
    [Paul Austin ‏@Agecommunity
    The new Age/Nielsen Poll may change the national political conversation. Don’t miss it, exclusive in tomorrow’s @theage #auspol #springst
    9:31 PM – 22 Jun 2014]

  6. 5

    And then Abbott can call ad DD and the anti-Abbott attack ads can remind everyone of how bad their plans are.

  7. Excellent article on US neocons, a must read for anying interetsed in US matters

    [One reason neoconservatism survives is that its members don’t care how wrong they’ve been, or even about right and wrong itself. True to their Trotskyite and Straussian roots, neoconservatives have always been willing to play fast and loose with the truth in order to advance political goals. We know that they were willing to cook the books on intelligence and make outrageously false claims in order to sell the Iraq war, for example, and today they construct equally false narratives that deny their own responsibility for the current mess in Iraq and portray their war as a great success that was squandered by Obama. And the entire movement seems congenitally incapable of admitting error, or apologizing to the thousands of people whose lives they have squandered or damaged irreparably.]

  8. [Paul Austin ‏@Agecommunity
    The new Age/Nielsen Poll may change the national political conversation. Don’t miss it, exclusive in tomorrow’s @theage #auspol #springst
    9:31 PM – 22 Jun 2014]

    What is that supposed to mean? Fairfax and their gallery mates will now talk about an Abbott resurgence and a budget that is popular??

    What next? Pensioners smiling when they are eating their dog food??

  9. [Paul Austin ‏@Agecommunity
    The new Age/Nielsen Poll may change the national political conversation. Don’t miss it, exclusive in tomorrow’s @theage #auspol #springst
    9:31 PM – 22 Jun 2014]

    Jeez talk about spin. In a week’s time everyone will be talking Newspoll. In a year’s time everyone will be talking whatever the polls show at that point, and a year after that they’ll be obsessing over whatever the polling shows at that timepoint.

  10. Former federal Liberal Party leader John Hewson has hit out at Joe Hockey for criticising wind farms, saying the Treasurer should drive past a coal-fired power station and have “a bit of a smell”.
    “He may not personally like the look of them but it’s bigger than him, this issue, it’s bigger than any generation of politicians today,” Dr Hewson said on Sunday.

    Read more:

  11. I’m starting to wonder if those who have been arguing that Labor should just pass the whole budget untouched are right. Perhaps that’s what it will take to shock this country into getting rid of the nasty bunch of misfits who are currently running it.

    All in all a very disappointing poll for those who value fairness.

    [YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 38, LD 8, UKIP 14]
    On Ed Milliband
    [I wrote about it at length here and while the figures have changed, the essential situation hasn’t, in summary:

    People’s perceptions of party leaders ARE an important factor, the key driver analysis of British Election Study data at recent elections demonstrates it, some respondents will consciously say it is that a primary concern, many others it will be a factor in the mix. It would be almost perverse if the main public face of a party and its policies and principles was not a factor.
    But it is by no means the ONLY factor. Perceptions of party competence on the issues people consider important are of critical importance, so are party identities. By extension (since they drive those factors) government performance and wider perceptions of the parties and their values are also extremely important. Hence it is perfectly possible for a party with a duff leader to win if it is outweighed by other factors like competence and party identity. Thatcher won in 1979 despite trailing badly to Jim Callaghan, presumably because other factors outweighed the minus of her leadership.
    Labour have been in the lead in the polls for a couple of years, despite the public being well aware of Ed Miliband and having a negative view of him. That does NOT mean that he is not a drag on Labour’s support (we don’t how whether Labour’s lead would be larger under a different leader), but it does mean that his negative ratings are already “priced into the market”.
    The questions is whether the importance of the opposition leader grows in the immediate run up to an election. There is the potential for people’s opinions to be driven mainly by unhappiness and disapproval of the government mid-term, but to view it increasingly as a choice between two alternative governments and Prime Ministers as the election actually approaches (thus contributing to the familiar pattern of “mid term blues”). That brings the potential for the “Miliband issue” to matter more as we get closer and closer to the election… but it is impossible to reliably test.
    In short – are Miliband’s ratings bad? Yes. Is it damaging Labour? Probably. Is it preventing Labour being ahead in the polls? No – even if it is a factor, others are outweighing it. Will it increase in importance come the actual election? We can’t tell. ]

  13. [What do you base this claim on?]

    It’s my evaluation of the positioning of religion in human affairs, and I would have thought a rather uncontroversial one. It’s a rare religion indeed that stops at merely describing the construction of the world around us; the point of knowing the nature of things is invariably to use that knowledge to influence that way in which you live life.

    [That just doesn’t make any sense at all unless the religion in question says something like ‘believe in X and you will never fail in any way ever again.’ ]

    I wasn’t suggesting that criticism along the lines of “this one individual is a moral failure, therefore the entire religion is clearly bunk” – clearly not fair. On the other hand pointing to a widespread pattern of failures by individuals does tend to fairly bring into question whether the religion is succeeding in guiding the lives of its adherents in a positive way.

    [And if you are not a believer in a religion why would you be judging it at all?]

    I consider myself an interested stakeholder where any system of philosophy or religion is guiding the ethics and morals of those sharing a planet with me.

  14. So many questions, some answers..

    [We know Rupert Murdoch was a Phillip Morris board member for many years. We know several big tobacco executives have been on News Corp’s board. And we know many News Corp ‘journalists’ lie and distort routinely.

    But why would academics join this offensive campaign and risk their reputations becoming smoking ruins?],6599

  15. [I’m starting to wonder if those who have been arguing that Labor should just pass the whole budget untouched are right. Perhaps that’s what it will take to shock this country into getting rid of the nasty bunch of misfits who are currently running it.

    People, particularly pensioners, voted massively for this government and therefore its budget.
    Let them have it.

    They made their bed, they can go lie in it.

  16. [What is wrong with 53-47……its OK isn’t it?]

    I don’t think 53-47 would be enough to go into an election campaign against a first-term Government with. Sophomore surge effects for that swag of new Government members in seats near the middle of the pendulum mean that you’d want to be at least 51-49 on election day, and you have to expect a Government to claw back at least 3% over a campaign (including that small-but-significant fraction of voters that appear to have a stick-with-the-incumbent instinct).

  17. Darn – this poll is the same as the last Newspoll. Its on trend, and its still bad for the govt.

    As to this passing the whole budget business. No, that would just backfire on the ALP (or any opposition) if their own base hates it. More likely to have the result of increasing hatred of politicians all round, once it became obvious the ALP was doing it purely as a tactical move only, or draw accusations of secretly being in favour of a nasty agenda. And would obviously be covered negatively, I mean look at this article from today’s paper, look at the headline, the whole tone of Mark Bishop is incredibly cynical. There is a name for this kind of foolish thinking, its called Accelerationism, usually practiced by wannabee armchair revolutionaries. No wonder Mark Bishop got the preselection ticket drop. He’s not worth preserving, never has been.

  18. Except, caf, we’re not looking at an election this weekend, in three weeks’ time, or within the year.

    We’re looking at an election in at least two years’ time.

    In those two years – just for starters – the job losses from the closure of the auto industry will be real, not projected and many people who presently think the budget (although bad) won’t really affect them personally may find they’ve been mistaken.

    As I keep saying – no one would have predicted that Labor would be polling so strongly at this stage in the cycle. To be b*tching that it’s not polling more strongly seems a bit strange in that context.

  19. [Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 9:59 pm | PERMALINK
    What is wrong with 53-47……its OK isn’t it?

    Yes, it’s ok. Certainly better than the other way around. But what disappoints me is the apparent lack of conviction among those who said at the time that they regarded the budget as so unfair that they would switch their vote to Labor. Yet here we are barely five weeks later and three percent of them are apparently already prepared to switch back to the government.

    Perhaps a really good dose of unrestrained Liberalism is what they need to focus their minds.

  20. I suspect all that hullaballoo about the budget was a little overdone.

    I suspect this government will remain mildly unpopular for a while, but wouldn’t be surprised if it became respected by 2016.

  21. Mad Lib@24

    I suspect all that hullaballoo about the budget was a little overdone.

    I suspect this government will remain mildly unpopular for a while, but wouldn’t be surprised if it became respected by 2016.

    There is nothing about this government that merits any respect.

  22. The Abbott Government lied its way into office. It hid its true agenda before the election because they knew the voters would never cop it. They made no attempt to win hearts and minds, to persuade voters to their vision (unlike John Hewson for example). It ‘forgot’ to tell the voters it regarded spending on pensions, Medicare, health and education as wasteful. It is consigning young people to crushing debt. It dog-whistled (actually trumpeted) to racists. I will never respect Abbott or his Government.

  23. [Everything
    Posted Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm | PERMALINK
    I suspect all that hullaballoo about the budget was a little overdone.

    I suspect this government will remain mildly unpopular for a while, but wouldn’t be surprised if it became respected by 2016.]

    Nice of you to acknowledge that it is a government without respect and I will be very surprised if it doesn’t remain that way.

  24. Bemused,

    There is nothing about this government that merits any respect.


    Don’t bother responding. I won’t be back here for a few months.

  25. From Leroy Lynch
    [Darn – this poll is the same as the last Newspoll. Its on trend, and its still bad for the govt.]

    To put that into context.

    The last 5 Newspoll 2PPs for the ALP before Rudd’s win in 2007 were:

    This Nielsen suggests an election win for the ALP.

    I suspect that we will see polls in the 52-55 range until Tony leaves the stage before the next election.

  26. If the economy turns to dooda, and the boats start coming again, and the ALP come up with a constructive coherent plan, it could be 60-40 territory. If not, where we are now seems about right.

  27. Interesting chart comparing productivity (up significantly) and worker compensation (flat) in the US over the last 10 years….

    Productivity alone is not enough for wages to go up!

  28. Out and about I’m hearing one thing very clearly. Labor people are extremely vitriolic about the Budget. They’ve come out with a strong voice where they had previously kept a much quieter profile when the Labor Government was being continuously denigrated.

    This doesn’t necessarily provide evidence of a protest by those not strongly Labor. They seem to be saying what the Libs are saying – “clean up the mess”, “get the deficit under control” etc. They don’t feel “hurt” yet.

    Hence not a large swing to Labor in the opinion polls.

    Worse still, Abbott, Credlin & Murdoch know the general trend in the run up to an election. They can use their immense media power combined with out-spending Labor $20 to every $1 on TV advertising to “swing” about 5% back to Abbott in the last 6 weeks.

    This outcome has occurred very frequently in the past, even reducing the winning margins of very popular Labor leaders on the night. It can happen again and the above-mentioned “leaders” (and many other LieNP big-timers) know it.

    The next election will not be easy for Labor without a sustained continuous campaign over the next two years. Should Abbott win again the “duck” season will really blast off!

  29. Confessions

    No my niece is running in youth cross country championships in August and none of her extended family know anything about Albany.

  30. I wouldn’t be disappointed with any poll that has Labor well in front after what we’ve had to put up with the last few years.

  31. Good point fredex@30

    I think the big concern being expressed on this site is that given how harsh and unfair the budget is, a drift back to the Libs is frightening.

    On the other hand, Labour being ahead on TPP since Dec 2013 is VERY positive, and a trend like this for 6 months means that things are probably not too dire for the left.

  32. As I’ve said before, it’s not as if the government was cruising along happily in the polls and then the pre Budget, Budget and post Budget schenanigans brought it down.

    Under those circumstances – and with a ‘normal’ harsh Budget, rather than the present ill conceived, badly targetted, poorly sold and destructive one — the argument might be that the government can bounce back after the Budget fades from people’s memories (when’s that going to happen, btw? Normally everyone’s stopped talking Budget by now – the State ones have already vanished from people’s minds — but it looks like we’ll be discussing this one well into July/August..).

    If you were drawing one of Bryan Palmer’s (sic) nifty trend line thingys, and had started this before the pre Budget leaks started, it would probably still show a 53-47 result…in other words, had the Budget not existed, it’s highly likely the polls would be exactly where they are now anyway.

  33. Re numbers quoted by LL @15: I bet the Conservatives regret having campaigned against proportional representation. And even more, that the Liberal Democrats regret their deal with the Devil.

  34. laocoon @32

    Worker’s wages peaked in the US in 1968. I suspect that we may be on the cusp of something similar with the latest data pertaining to our real wages.

  35. S777

    [And even more, that the Liberal Democrats regret their deal with the Devil.]

    They’ll go close to being wiped.

  36. absolutetwaddle @ 1

    I answered here and here.

    The bottom line is that the bare essentials of Buddhism are a useful and effective life philosophy (at least for some people) and elements of it on their own also work well to help people deal with suffering/grief.

    If there is a whole lot of stuff that goes with being a Causalityist that does the same thing as well or better then be one or the other.

    Science may be great at measuring the physical world and then making accurate, meaningful statements about it, but it doesn’t necessarily provide the stuff you need to deal with things on a personal level. Pain, grief, unexpected success or failure, loss or gain etc etc.

  37. Just worth a mention. No way do you pass the budget untouched.

    Its only the blocking that will bring to the LNP the long term damage Labor suffered in the Whitlam era. Pass it untouched all you get is News saying how weak Labor is in standing up for its ideals.

    As for this poll I am happy with a steady number of Labor in front. To me it suggests opinions are that much closer to being set in concrete. There are signs people have stopped listening to Abbott

  38. [I suspect all that hullaballoo about the budget was a little overdone.

    I suspect this government will remain mildly unpopular for a while, but wouldn’t be surprised if it became respected by 2016.]

    They are a pack of incompetent morons. Seriously. No ones gonna respect them ever again.

  39. Jules

    Yes. Just look at the damage Brandis has done to the point there is serious talk of trade sanctions from ME countries.

    Backed by the personal pain of paying more at the bowser and doctor if you are lucky enough not to get a cut.

    Incompetence backed up by pain for you or someone you know.

  40. Re Guytaur @45: The confidential report, produced by industry leader Imakethisshitup, confirmed readership has skyrocketed despite sales of the national newspaper sinking to record lows and bird owners complaining of a shortage of suitable newsprint for the bottom of their cages.

    Imaketisshitup – don’t they do stuff for the Australian’s tabloid stablemates as well, like write ‘exclusives’ about people on welfare training as terrorists in Syria?

  41. Looks like BBC is getting similar treatment to the ABC:

    “Iain Duncan Smith has labelled the BBC a “bigger opponent” than the Labour Party in a fresh attack on the Corporation’s coverage of the Government’s reform of the benefits system.”

    “The attack on the BBC’s ‘relentless negative coverage’ came from the Work and Pensions Secretary came after a BBC bulletin on Friday which reported criticism of the Government’s latest changes to the benefits system.”

    No wonder the idea to attack the ABC, came from UK (AGAIN).

  42. Yeah guytaur – trade sanctions from some really important trading partners…

    Its been one FFS after another with this government.

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