BludgerTrack: 50.9-49.1 to Labor

Four new polls collectively cause a shift in the Coalition’s favour in the weekly poll aggregate, and take some shine off the Greens’ recent improvement.

BludgerTrack makes a fairly solid move to the Coalition this week on the back of relatively strong results for them in Newspoll and ReachTEL, to the extent that they are now ahead of Labor on the national seat projection, without going so far as to make it to a majority. Labor retains the lead on two-party preferred, but the model grants the Coalition a natural advantage in seat allocation because the decisive marginal seats will be defended by its first-term members. The change returns the two-party vote to where it was three weeks ago, before a 1.2% spike to Labor the following week. However, Labor has gone two seats backwards on the seat projection since then, because of changes in the way the votes are distributed between the states. The Coalition primary vote gain comes off the total for the Greens, which had experienced a spike over the previous fortnight, while Labor’s is essentially unchanged. Three new sets of state-level data were available to the model out of the four polls which published this week, which have caused Labor to drop two seats in Queensland and Tasmania, and one in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

Some will be asking how Labor’s two-party vote comes to be at 50.9% when no published result has put it below 51%, for which much of the explanation lies in Newspoll’s rounded two-party numbers this week. As Kevin Bonham observes, the 51-49 result had poll watchers scratching their heads, as a crude application of 2013 preference flows to the published primary votes (Labor 34%, Coalition 41% and Greens 11% and 14% others) puts the Coalition slightly above 50-50. I don’t doubt that Newspoll has done its rounding properly – the result could be explained by primary vote rounding, minor party vote shares and the poll’s internal distribution of state results – but there can be little doubt that Labor was rounded upwards. Then there was Thursday’s 51-49 result from ReachTEL, a large sample poll with a good track record that the model takes seriously, but which is corrected for a slight Labor bias. The model grants Essential and Morgan together about as much weight as a single Newspoll or ReachTEL, and they had much the same results as each other after the fairly considerable Labor bias adjustment for Morgan. So the aggregate this week can roughly be seen as combining a 50-50, a 51-49 and a 52-48.

Newspoll provided a new set of results for the leadership ratings, which have unfortunately come to be dominated by the pollster since Nielsen dropped out of the game. As such, this week’s moves reflect Tony Abbott’s stronger performance in Newspoll, suggesting a second shift in his favour to supplement the one which occurred after MH17. He also widens his lead as preferred prime minister, although Bill Shorten’s net approval rating remains stable and fairly respectable, and solidly higher than Abbott’s.

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.

1,100 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.9-49.1 to Labor”

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  1. The bounce to Abbott the war hero is clearly there, but it’s not exactly huge.

    History has frequently shown how the gratitude a populace might feel towards a particular leader for how they have handled a crisis does not have much effect on the choices they make in the voting booth. Churchill’s defeat at the end of WWII was the textbook case and Anna Bligh’s crushing loss is another good example.

    Howard’s win in 2001 is not a counter-example: the swing back to him had started well before Tampa and 9/11.

    Of course, the intense climate of fear that Howard helped to create was of enormous assistance to him. The Libs are trying to repeat the dose now, but I’m not sure about the timing. The next election can’t realistically be called until later this year. And up to now, Labor have done well to keep in lockstep with the Libs on the Islamic threat/Putin/etc. So, if Abbott (as I am sure he will be desperate to do) goes to a very early election a la Hawke in 1984, he won’t have anyone to fight with other than the Greens (who don’t matter all much).

    But it did seem that the Lib wedge was getting a tiny bit of traction yesterday with Dreyfus. It’s imperative that, no matter how absurdly, even comically authoritarian the measures proposed by the Libs might be, Labor needs to STFU about them. Let the civil libertarians, Greens and others take up the fight against them. If Labor gets sucked in, they will be torn apart.

    IMO anyway.

  2. A fiasco in SA parliament with the proposed car park levy voted down.

    Liberal MPs boasted about the public transport improvements it was supposed to fund, while still voting it down! The claim it was too great a cost impost is nonsense. The levy would be paid by the car park owners, not motorists, and the owners have already jacked up their prices. CBD car parking is a very profitable industry.

  3. The Ebola epidemic in west Africa is getting worse. A large part of the problem is the lack of health services, and trust of government, in these strife torn countries. The BBC highlights the number of medical staff:
    [Liberia with a 4.2m population: 51 doctors; 978 nurses and midwives; 269 pharmacists
    Sierra Leone with a 6m population: 136 doctors; 1,017 nurses and midwives; 114 pharmacists]

    I wonder for what fraction of the resources used to fight the IS this problem could be fixed?

  4. Labor should not be surprised at the polls, with Shorten farewelling the troops, rather than questioning their deployment. You cannot expect support if you do not offer an alternative. This also explains the swing to the Greens, who have at least questioned the rush to war.

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Are we seeing signs that a vicious circle has been created?
    This opinion piece examines this very issue.
    Baird is keeping this report into road use pricing well under wraps until after the election.
    Brandis thumps the terror tub.
    Katharine Murphy reviews Julia Gillard’s book.
    Greg Jericho gives the big banks a serve,
    The three worst things the Liberals did yesterday.
    Peter Slipper’s ex-wife lets fly at Abbott.
    Mr and Mrs Pyne’s European adventure. Will Labor follow this one through?,6932

  6. Section 2 . . .

    Is NSW playing with fire at a bad time here?
    The political donations arms race post ICAC.
    Surely these increases in prices are creating a housing bubble. The RBA seems ready to act.
    Didn’t Abbott say we would not go into Syria? Here’s what Mesma’s saying.
    Right on cue after this week’s UN climate change summit Mr Mogadon goes in to bat for brown coal.
    Even the financial planning industry itself reckons Cormann’s FoFA actions are a crock of poop and an attempt at political distraction.
    Kevin Donnelly – What it means to be an Australian.
    Elizabeth Farrelly – Tenets of democracy get lost in a sea of hate.

  7. Section 3 . . .

    Mark Latham on our march back into Iraq.
    Comment piece – Political activism is not yet on life support.
    In support of the retention of the ABC’s “Lateline” .
    Scott Ludlam says the Senate is being bullied into passing new anti-terror laws.
    A little bit of magic from David Pope.

    More from Ron Tandberg on Howard’s “embarrassment”.

    David Rowe gives us Obama’s wingman.

  8. And from the land of the free a bit of lunacy which would be supported Bernardis of this country.

    [Pat Robertson: Biblical violence isn’t the same as violence in the Quran

    Fundamentalist host says genocide is OK — if it’s in the Bible

    Pat Robertson wants you to know that genocidal acts in the Bible aren’t like violence in the Quran — the former, you see, were sanctioned by God, whereas the latter was commanded “by Allah.” ]

  9. Thanks BK. AG Brandis’ comment that this security threat is greater than the cold war really is absurd, even by his own low standards. The cold war?? There were Soviet submarines observed in the Tasman Sea. The Indonesian crisis on our doorstep in the 1960s saw over half a million Indonesians die in the violence after the military takeover. He is quite shameless at whipping up the hysteria.

    We all face a greater risk from lightening strike or shark attack than from terrorism in Australia. If you visit the beach or golf course, be alert!

  10. Good Morning

    “@PaulBongiorno: Could it be that after 26 years in the new Parlt House, a govt has found a way to keep journalists at bay. Nominate them a terror risk.”

  11. Socrates

    Brandis really is George Brandis QC DH FW . A greater risk than gigatons of nuclear missiles and bombs falling around the globe the Cold War threatened the world with ? What a feckwit of the first order. .

  12. The problem y’all have is what plays well in grayndler, Melbourne etc doesn’t play well in Western Sydney.

    One budget deal and you can see this becoming 52/53 to the libs very easily. I don’t think there has been one poll where labor has had a 40 primary. If you were honest you’d have to say Labor has wasted the first year in opposition.

    Where’s the renewal? How many logs are being removed ? Where are the policies?

  13. Poroti

    Agree on Brandis. What motivates him? He rages like a man frustrated by some terrible secret he cannot let out.

    As for your link on Pat Robinson, what can I say? I think what he really meant was that he thinks genocides are OK as long as it is christians doing the killing, but then he realised that the old testament Israelites were jews not christians. He is the western equivalent of the IS “caliph”.

  14. [Are we seeing signs that a vicious circle has been created?]

    Certainly looks that way to me. Unfortunately we don’t have a PM capable of toning down his rhetoric and imploring for calm.

  15. Here’s some words for the ALP this week: “we need to be very careful in winding back our rights and freedoms, lest it look like a retreat from the values we are defending”.

    And for the Greens “climate change is the ‘existential threat'”

  16. I see Rudd is now broadening the scope of his commentary, and also burning whatever bridges his scorched earth approach left behind

    [@MrKRudd: Here in NY. I’ve seen Mr Abbott’s remarks to UN Security Council on current terrorist threat. He spoke well on Australia’s behalf. KRudd]

  17. Went to see The Last Confession – a play about Vatican intrigue – with the excellent David Suchet last night, and rubbed shoulders with the opening night crowd in Sydney of largely lapsed Catholics.

    Along with Phillip Adams and Margaret Throsby, I spotted a thick-set, square-headed, hair combed back man with his arm draped permanently over a woman’s shoulder (which looked out of place in the theatre crowd). He looked like a ‘Business Bully’ type who you would want to avoid.

    It took a while to work out who he was – Chris Mitchell, editor of the Government Gazette and key RupertRooter.

  18. leftye


    [“But we also believe in safeguarding fundamental democratic freedoms.

    “We must ensure that in legislating to protect our national security, the Parliament is careful not damage the very qualities and liberties that we are seeking to defend from terrorist threat.”]

    Read more:

  19. [Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told the United Nations that Australia would be “utterly unflinching’’ towards anything that threatened the country’s future as a free, fair and multi-cultural society.]
    Philip Coorey in Fin Review.


  20. [Simon Cullen ‏@Simon_Cullen 7m
    Greens Senator @RichardDiNatale says MPs have been told to keep the blinds in their Parliament offices closed because of sniper attack risk.]

  21. zoomster

    This is the sort of thing which is annoying Labor supporters, I think. It’s the ASIO powers.

    [Wendy Bacon ‏@Wendy_Bacon 1h
    We’ll support Foreign fighters bill says @SenatorWong.She also supports bill giving power to ASIO to interfere with limitless computers]

  22. “@ABCNews24: Victoria Police: It’s a little unclear whether there was people at the police station with the deceased #EndeavourHills”

  23. [sprocket_
    Posted Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I see Rudd is now broadening the scope of his commentary, and also burning whatever bridges his scorched earth approach left behind

    @MrKRudd: Here in NY. I’ve seen Mr Abbott’s remarks to UN Security Council on current terrorist threat. He spoke well on Australia’s behalf. KRudd ]

    Looking for a job and relevance ?

  24. I don’t like to agree with Rudd however being a fair and unbiased person I have to agree Abbott did well at the UN. Much better than I thought he was capable of.

    Note – a part of the above comment could have been written with tongue firmly held in cheek 🙂

  25. lizzie

    I don’t necessarily take twitter reports of MPs statements as 100% accurate.

    Wong was interviewed this morning on AM, where I assume the report comes from. I’ll wait for the transcript, but the last official statement from her said Labor was ‘considering’ these matters — which is exactly what Labor should be doing, but doesn’t necessarily mean ‘supporting’.

  26. Wong said on Fran Kelly’s program that Labor would support the legislation after it has gone through the proper procedures and with likely amendments. I expect there will be some changes before both bills get passed but basically Labor has give bi-partisan support to the bills.

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