Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

Another stable result on voting intention from Essential Research, which also finds trust in the ABC taking a slight knock since the start of last year.

Essential Research is once again unchanged on voting intention, with Labor’s two-party preferred lead at 52-48. On the primary vote, Labor is up a point to 39%, and the Coalition, Greens and Palmer United are steady at 40%, 10% and 3% respectively. Further questions relate to the G20, include repeats of questions asked before the event as to whether it was an “expensive talkfest” (down from 62% to 55%) or would achieve real outcomes (up from 16% to 26%), and whether the free trade agreement with China was a good thing (up from 44% to 51%) or a bad thing (up from 18% to 20%). Whatever gloss there might have been didn’t seem to rub off on Tony Abbott much, who was rated as having performed poorly by 31% and well by 37%. Forty-two per cent said Australia was taking the wrong approach on climate change versus 28% for the right approach.

As it does from time to time, Essential also asked how much trust respondents had in various sources of media, and as usual public broadcasters came out well ahead of their commercial rivals, with commercial talk radio and internet blogs ranking last. The only movements outside the margin of error related to the ABC – 69% saying they had some or a lot of trust in its television news and current affairs, down 4% since January 2013, and 62% expressing trust in its radio news and current affairs, down 8%. I would be interested to see breakdowns by party support here, as I suspect this reflects the signals that Coalition partisans are picking up from their parties’ leadership. Funding cuts to the ABC register 52% disapproval and 25% approval.

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.

827 comments on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor”

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  1. DN
    In the end, I think the public esp in rural areas who are most affected, won’t really care whether there was fat or other services to cut; they will just be upset at the outcome and will blame the government. For people who don’t watch or listen to the ABC, the fat argument will probably help limit damage to Abbott but I think yet again he has made a bad political mistake by sucking up to the IPA/Bolts of this world.


    It would make no difference. I know of plenty of MPs whose family get special treatment from both sides. People always grovel to MPs associates thinking it will help them in the long term. Ideally Abbott should have declared the scholarship but I gather Labor MPs didn’t think he needed to.

  2. Dio @ 1781 (previous thread)
    Perhaps so, but there are more than just funding cuts to question. There are the attacks post-cut on the ABC from this government, fairfax and news.

    In some ways it is more important that these be challenged than the cuts.

    The bad press from the cuts and broken government promises will mostly flow naturally by itself, countering the perceptions of the ABC being pushed by its opponents won’t.

  3. [William, what does a bludgertrack without essential look like?]

    Since the bias adjustment to Essential is adjusted over time to track changes in its deviation from the other pollsters, the answer to this question is not very much.

  4. Malcolm disagrees with Tony.

    [The prime minister repeated the “efficiency dividend” argument during the closed-door party meeting of Liberal and National MPs on Wednesday.

    But asked whether the cuts were in fact an efficiency dividend, Turnbull said: “It is not an efficiency dividend, no. An efficiency dividend is an annual compounding reduction in an appropriation to a department or agency which has to come out of running costs … it is a compounding haircut. We did not do that at the ABC. What we did was develop an informed view [through the Lewis review of ABC and SBS funding] about what they could save from efficiencies without reducing the envelope of funding available to programming, what they could save from back office functions and transmission contracts.”]

  5. I have just witnessed the worst episode of behavior from a Speaker in my life. THE IDIOT HAS TO GO. It has got beyond a joke.

    After her comments through QT about unruley behaviour she allowed Briggs to continue yelling at the Member or McMahon for over two minutes while he had the floor.

    When Albo rose to the POO after the Member had finished she told him to sit down and he had no POO. She said that she knew what he was going to say and ruled it out of order before he even opened his mouth.

    The Witch has got to go.

  6. Dio@6: If we were to have total disclosure of all freebies provided to Federal politicians and their families over recent decades, there would be red faces all round, with a somewhat greater concentration on the Labor and National sides (many of the Libs are privately wealthy enough to feel that it’s a bit infra dig to accept these things).

    Which is why Labor has been completely and persistently silent about the Frances Abbott matter (which was, in any event, a bit borderline as it is conceivable that Abbott wasn’t aware that the scholarship was more or less unique).

  7. Re the cricket and Phil Hughes.

    From a friend – got this ….. They sent in a Medical Helicopter and play has officially stopped for the day.

  8. Was told on twitter and here also about Phil Hughes, terrible I live in his home area and know some of his relations. Even given an autograph from him (via the relations) for my cricket loving grandsons Very very worrying

  9. Labor MPs probably did not make the argument that Tony Abbott should have disclosed the secret scholarship because they have their own secrets of a similar nature. This kind of behaviour is an inside group thing. Inside group favours and feelings of entitlement are not limited to one party; they are not limited to one sector. The ubiquity of the behaviour does not make it any less wrong.

    I think it’s reasonable to point out that the secret scholarship was a $60,000 saving for the Abbott household’s finances. Frances Abbott did not have the income to pay the fees herself. The Whitehouse Institute of Design is a private college; it does not let its students defer all of their fees and pay them on an interest-free income-contingent basis. They have to pay upfront and the fees are hefty. Had the scholarship not been given, and Frances Abbott had wanted to attend that college, it is her parents who would have paid. Her parents saved $60,000 because of that scholarship.

  10. Nicholas,

    Typical sanctimonious drivel from you. No evidence. But, you don’t need evidence when all you want to do is smear. You are pathetic!

  11. DN

    It’s definitely turned into a debate about the role of the ABC and every major media organization wants it to be smaller to increase their market share. It’s pretty obvious to us but the public might fall for at least done of it.

  12. Labor should stay away from it simply because any argument will quickly get bogged down in questions over whether they’re attacking Abbott’s family. They will find it impossible to disentangle it from perceptions of personal attacks.

  13. Jimmy,

    All signs are that it is being fought as 88 local elections. Overall, not that not much seems to be changing as to voter intentions. So it’s looking like a Labor victory. (46-50 seats)

  14. Tony Abbott and Bronwyn Bishop were a disgrace today in Question Time today.

    Bishop should give the game away and Abbott is appalling.

    The same old same old responses by Abbott are just drivel.

  15. Nicholas,

    Your lies are lies regardless of my disposition. If you have facts then don’t be afraid to use them. But, if all you’ve got is smear, I’ll call you on it every time.

  16. Interesting factoid from ER

    The age group that disapproved most strongly about the COALition’s cuts to the ABC was the 45-64 group with 60% disapproval.

    I would suspect that is crossing well into the main demographic that normally supports the COALition.

  17. fredex @ 26

    You may be right there I only watch the ABC and SBS as I cannot stand the adds and the stupidity on some of the other channels.

  18. It occurs to me that Labor’s strategy of attempting to get under Abbott’s skin is not a bad one. It will encourage him to make more mistakes like turning his back on Shorten as he made the censure speech.

  19. Nicholas is correct: all sorts of free goods and services – especially things like tickets to sporting and cultural events – are regularly offered to politicians of all persuasions, at all levels of government. Some accept them and some refuse them.

    Maybe it’s a fairly trivial example, but here is a case study from my neck of the woods.

  20. The Coalition are real good at telling us what they reckon Labor did wrong,

    Not so good at telling us what they (the Coalition) are doing right

  21. Still saying there is a $550 per year saving by repealing the Carbon Price.

    Yet to find any household that had a $11,000 a year power bill

  22. [all sorts of free goods and services – especially things like tickets to sporting and cultural events – are regularly offered to politicians of all persuasions]

    Petty cash compared to a 60K education allowance. Defending the indefensible.

  23. Re: #26
    For example
    At the election Newspoll Quarterly notes COALition support in the 50+ age group at 52% but that has fallen this year down to 45% which is is most supportive age group when compared to 18-34 at 29% and 35-49 between 34-37%.
    The COALition has annoyed its most faithful followers.

  24. Greensborough, you seriously don’t believe that inside group favours and conflicts of interest are common in politics, in the public service, and in the corporate sector? You must have been living under a rock all this time!

    Tony Abbott would not be alone in his feelings of entitlement. There would be Labor MPs implicated in these kinds of favours as well. They see it as normal. They see nothing wrong with it. They are insiders. It Tony Abbott’s conduct were outside the norm, Labor would have insisted publicly and loudly that such a scholarship should have been disclosed. That would not have been attacking Abbott’s family. It would have been upholding the very purpose of the parliamentarians’ pecuniary register. The fact that Labor did not make this argument strongly suggests that they DON’T see this behaviour as beyond the pale. They see it as normal. They do it themselves.

    Consider Barry O’Farrell not remembering that very expensive wine he received. An person with an ordinary job would remember such a gift. I believe O’Farrell when he says he forgot it because it would make no sense to give such an emphatic and specific denial had he remembered. What is so revealing is that he forgot something which would be such a big deal for most people. Receiving that expensive gift was a commonplace thing for him. It was unremarkable. It was easy for him to forget.

    That is inside group entitlement for you.

  25. meher,

    The slime ball known as Nicholas specifically related the situation to Labor not pursuing the Abbott daughter scholarship in Parliament and the media.

    You have alluded to all politicians taking advantage of freebies. Not quite the same comparison, comrade.

  26. TH@36: I’m not trying to defend anything. If you want to get right into this sort of thing, have a look at some of the private sector jobs that former Ministers, Liberal and Labor, have accepted immediately after leaving politics and the levels of remuneration involved.

    It’s a story featuring a very long list of characters. Which is why you won’t see any major party taking an interest in it any time soon.

  27. Nicholas and GG

    A complaint to the Federal police should fix it. No need for Labor to attack until due process happens.

    If that fails it may well show why a Federal ICAC is needed. However the point with any allegation is due process always.

  28. Think about it, Labor would have to make the argument that she didn’t earn it herself. Why should Abbott have to disclose something his daughter earned through her own work?

  29. nicholas

    [here would be Labor MPs implicated in these kinds of favours as well.]

    And Greens. I ‘ve seen one in particular get a few ‘free’ drinks.

  30. [O’Farrell resigned because he mislead the ICAC inquiry.]

    Only after the evidence was presented to him. Until then he was happy to lie about the matter. No one forgets that they were given a bottle of grange. You might forget details of the occasion or the date on which it was received but you don’t forget that you received it. Signing for the courier was what nailed him.

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