BludgerTrack: 54.2-45.8 to Labor

The BludgerTrack poll aggregate wraps up business for the year (I think) showing the Abbott government in worse shape than ever.

Unless ReachTEL has something up its sleeve in the next few days, this week’s BludgerTrack reading is the last for the year, and it finds no indication that the rapid momentum away from the Coalition is tapering off. Indeed, the current output of the model has the Coalition in a worse position than at the height of the budget backlash, when Labor’s two-party vote peaked at 53.8%. Now it’s at 54.2%, following a 0.3% shift since last week that has also delivered seats in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia on the seat projection. Palmer United is also showing no signs of bottoming out, a remorseless downward trend since the mid-year Senate changeover having sent it from 6.3% to 2.3%.

A new set of leadership ratings from Newspoll this week knocks the froth off a recent improvement for Bill Shorten, and in doing so reverts his trendline to its remarkable picture of stability throughout the year, interrupted only by some particularly strong ratings in the immediate aftermath of the budget. Tony Abbott’s net rating slips slightly further, but this is due to the momentum of the trend rather than the effect of Newspoll, which was no worse for him than last fortnight’s. Newspoll also suggests the surge to Shorten on preferred prime minister is levelling off, albeit that he retains what from Abbott’s perspective is an alarmingly big lead by the normal standards of an Opposition Leader.

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.

1,672 comments on “BludgerTrack: 54.2-45.8 to Labor”

  1. [But, to be fair, she seems to be a fair bit smarter than Abbott.]

    Sorry, but she strikes me as a Mirabella type. Too smug and thinking that everyone else is beneath her.

  2. [Ahhh, but others clearly wanted the reshuffle announced Sunday, so Arthurs ‘News’ was better gotten out of the way beforehand.]

    That’s the only explanation for leaking Sinodinos’ resignation.

  3. The more extreme guesses I’ve had are Hockey gone (ambassadorship) to be replaced by Turnbull or Morrison and Truss to retire due to ill-health (really rather irrelevant to the reshuffle, as Joyce would have to take Truss’s ministry and another Nat – Hatsukyer, I guess – take Joyce’s).

    If Turnbull went to Treasurer, Frydenberg takes his job. Or else Andrews if they don’t want to promote Cash as well as Ley.

    My guesses aren’t totally uninformed, but the rumours that come around about these things are often deliberately wrong: as might be some of those in the media this morning.

  4. [ meher baba
    Posted Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Ley is reasonable value (a former middle-ranking public servant with some awareness). ]

    Not when she is kicking the stuffing out of low paid Childcare Workers –

    [ Childcare workers asked to hand back wage rise

    …Ms Ley admitted she had no legal ability to force the childcare centres to repay the money, but said she “hoped” they would do the right thing.

    Labor had set aside $300 million in the budget to boost the wages of 30,000 childcare workers, an increase frozen when the Coalition came into government. ]

  5. dave, Steve777
    I’m a market sceptic. We have this vast machine at the core of our economic life driven alternatively by fear and greed,

    [Barry Ritholtz makes a timely observation –

    Once again, the markets prove that nobody knows nuthin’.

    As you read the many predictions for 2015, do you remember how many strategists were forecasting a collapse in crude oil prices at the start of the year? That’s right, precisely zero.

    Recall the beginning of 2014, when 72 out of 72 economists were anticipating higher rates and lower bond prices. How did that work out?

    It is really weird how market ecnomist (and the theory underpinning it) ignores leverage and the effects of monetary inflation on asset prices. Remove the ability to leverage a position and prices collapse.

    I work in power systems, where the engineers use models including real (both as in useful and real numbers) and reactive (the not useful, imaginary component) power. The standard power systems models make it very clear that if reactive power is not supplied, system voltage collapses, even though it’s not used to drive any loads. Nonetheless, under normal operating conditions, the system can be accurately analysed by just looking at real power and ignoring the reactive part.

    The parallels seem fairly strong to me: Debt and leverage play their role in economies, but provide nothing real. Moreover, are only noticed when they go missing, otherwise they can be ignored. I just don’t see any analytical tools for economic systems, in which this is made explicit. I might have to consult Steve Keen’s work again.

  6. fess@1303: Mirabella is a fair bit smarter than Abbott or Cash. I’ve met lots of very smart people whose behaviour and views don’t appeal to me. And vice versa. But I recognize intelligence when I see it.

    I actually think Mirabella would have been pretty effective in government. One should not make the mistake of underestimating people who one doesn’t like.

  7. I don’t doubt Mirabella’s intelligence, but – from my judgement on the ground, so to speak – she’s too lazy to actually achieve much.

    The only major achievements she delivered for her electorate was (i) working with Sussan Ley, she had the course of the proposed Albury by pass altered, to a route most locals had previously rejected (and Ley was the driver of that one and (ii) selling the tobacco farmers down the river.

    In both cases, her sights were clearly set on pleasing the business community, not the members of her electorate.

    Her laziness was also apparent in her approach to politics, which was to attack. She had nothing constructive to offer.

    Locally, she concentrated on state issues, where she could say an awful lot but not be criticised for not delivering.

    That the government floundered around for months without an industry policy, claiming this was because Mirabella wasn’t elected, suggests that she hadn’t developed one to speak of. (This would be consistent with previous behaviour – as a local councillor, I was astonished to find she was the chair of the Howard government’s Local Government policy committee. She met with our council once in the eight years I was there. Needless to say, the Howard government didn’t appear to have any local government policies to speak of).

    Now she’s being lazy again, apparently determined to recontest Indi, rather than the more difficult task of lobbying for a seat more suited to her outlook.

  8. Libertarian Unionist

    [Debt and leverage play their role in economies, but provide nothing real. ]

    I first bought a property in the 1980’s and recall the words of my Solicitor when I signed the contracts etc.

    He said, Congratulations – you now have a vested interest in inflation.

    Capital appreciation would accrue on the property and the ‘value’ of the debt would become cheaper. The property would be valued in the cheaper dollars resulting from inflation, but still be a buffer of value.

    The wealthy can protect themselves from inflation (the stockmarket, property etc) but Bank’s are terrified of deflation – the world’s central Banks have been doing all they can to get inflation started again.

  9. confessions
    especially asks why a reshuffle now? Perhaps it’s to do with “ending the year on a win”. Hoping for favourable coverage- more women, get rid of unpopular players etc?

  10. meher:

    Mirabella spent countless years in Indi achieving nothing apart from treating constituents with disdain and blaming her opponents for her own failures as an elected member. What did she achieve as a shadow minister? She was about as effective as Dutton on that front.

    She seemed to spend too much time treating others as if they were beneath her and believing that she was entitled to be returned as the Member for Indi. That isn’t smart, and as a result she’s no longer the Member for Indi.

  11. BSA Bob:

    Perhaps. But are people listening now? I’m inclined to think people are just sick of hearing from the govt and want them to go away. I know I do!

  12. On the Electrical Trade Union website. Includes video re Abbott’s building Code

    [The Coalition’s proposed new Building Code strikes at the heart of the Australian way of life, undermining the fair go and basic human rights.

    The Code’s impact on working hours, job security, incomes and living standards, injuries and fatalities, opportunities for apprentices and older workers will devastate family life and our communities. ]

  13. Problem is that they have too many unpopular players in this order I think:


  14. BSA bob

    And a reshuffle now gets a bit lost in the Christmas noise.

    If Tony is going to have to explain how Joe went from great Treasurer last week to Christmas Turkey next week or Johnston is being demoted from defence minister to stoker third class despite being a very good defence minster last month it will be better if not many people are paying attention.

  15. dave@1317

    The wealthy can protect themselves from inflation (the stockmarket, property etc) but Bank’s are terrified of deflation – the world’s central Banks have been doing all they can to get inflation started again.

    Dave, I know almost nothing about economics. Can you explain in simple terms why it is in the interest of banks to get inflation started again?

  16. zoomster: what you say sounds consistent with my impressions of Mirabella. She has always aimed for power and status: lashings of it. The drudgery involved in becoming an effective local member was beneath her. She thought she had an ultra-safe seat and didn’t have to bother, so she focused her energies on becoming a Cabinet Minister under Abbott and beyond that, who knows? But, as other safe seat holders have found in the past, she neglected her constituency at her peril.

    But I have met her once or twice and she seemed to me to be as sharp as a tack. As you say, she should forget about Indi (which she’ll struggle to win back) and focus on somewhere like Menzies.

    But, if she can get back in, I reckon she’s got a shot at becoming party leader (and maybe PM) one day. Sure, she’s got a rather unappealing personality and extremely right-wing. But the same could be said of Howard and Abbott.

    Anyway, please remember that you read this thought here first. Do you think Centerbet would give me odds?

  17. Some time ago PB had an informative discussion on what “productivity” really means. I think someone should get Abetz and his mates by the scruff of their red necks and explain clearly and firmly that increasing productivity is not the same as cutting wages and increasing working hours. Anybody volunteer? 😉

  18. Meher

    Mirabella will NEVER be Party Leader or if so not PM. She lacks popular appeal. Abbott does too but not quite so much. She is hard faced and electorate knows it. It is especially difficult for women who are “hard faced” (Yes it IS sexist but still true). OK and I know I should rightly be pilloried for this statement because it is a sad indictment of our society – she is ugly as sin.

  19. Lizzie

    I wouldn’t want go get that close to Eric Abetz.

    Seriously. There is almost no point with this government. There are none so blind …

    Even today Hockey can’t concede that his budget might have been just the tiniest teensy weeny bit hard on some people.

    The Tories just don’t listen and they will pay in the end.

  20. mb 1329 – I hope BK is out on the farm. If he is reading your entry he may collapse!

    Yes, she is clever – but to quote Maxwell Smart “If only she had used her genius for the powers of goodness”

    I suppose the charitable thing is to hope that the Indi result has changed her world view and if she comes back she is a better person.

  21. Don

    I think that banks want to avoid deflation because it would cause a massive number of loan defaults – the real value of people’s outstanding loans would increase over time. This rising debt burden would occur at the same as plummeting consumer spending because why spend now when you could wait a while and buy more stuff with the same number of monetary units later. If many consumers do this at the same time, there is a huge slump in demand for goods and services, which means firms are catering to a drastically smaller market, which means firms have to scale down their operations, which means firing people, which means a lot of unemployed people with diminished spending power, which means plummeting demand, firms are catering to a drastically smaller market, etc. It’s downward spiral of debt defaults and growing unemployment. The debt defaults put a lot of toxic assets on the banks’ balance sheets. The banks need their borrowers to be able to meet their replayment obligations, and this won’t happen in a deflating economy.

  22. [ don
    Posted Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink


    Dave, I know almost nothing about economics. Can you explain in simple terms why it is in the interest of banks to get inflation started again? ]

    I’m surely Briefly will do a far better job than me, but here goes –

    Bank’s do OK in times of inflation. They have pricing power to increase interest rates (within reason) to buffer inflation. Lending volumes also increase, so even better. Their shares are also sort after as a degree of a buffer against inflation.

    Deflation can increase debt burdens – reducing the spending power of firms and consumers and flow on to high unemployment – so an economic drag all around. People delay buying because they think things will get cheaper.

    Japan for instance is a textbook case of wanting to get inflation restarted having never really recovered from their 1989/90 crash – in a sustainable way anyway.

  23. dtT@1334: as Latham put it, politics is Hollywood for ugly people. There are few pollies of either sex who have been very good-looking. Among the current bunch: Jason Clare, Melissa Parke, Lisa Singh, Fiona Nash maybe. Perhaps a couple more here and there: none are

    Looks are not critical in politics. People get used to how politicians look. Mirabella hasn’t had much media exposure yet. If they had more, they’d get used to her (she might need to lose some weight).

    I don’t reckon any of the nasty stuff about Gillard’s appearance hurt her popularity one bit: it might even have helped her a bit. What destroyed JG was Rudd’s undermining, the incredibly ill-judged carbon tax comment, and Slatergate.

    If I were advising Mirabella, I would lose sleep about her looks. But I would suggest that she move heaven and earth (borrow money if need be) to reach some sort of accommodation with Colin Howard’s family (Sophie’s own Slatergate).

  24. ..and she’s demonstrating her usual laziness in her ‘pursuit’ of Indi – so far it’s consisted of turning up to a few photo ops, and some fans of hers writing letters to the editor.

    Compare and contrast with another local MP, who failed to win the seat he wanted first time around – you couldn’t go anywhere for the next three years without tripping over him, he ran a couple of high profile community campaigns, and generally kept his face in front of the public.

    Mirabella seems to be assuming that McGowan was elected by accident (as the result of an evil conspiracy between the Nats, Labor and the Greens) and that the electorate’s eyes are now opened and turning longingly in her direction.

    Whereas, of course, even McGowan’s severest critics will say to me, “Well, at least she got rid of Mirabella”.

  25. AA

    Good video in response to the bullshit advertising by the govt on higher ed. I am very curious to know how much the govt is spending on same as i am seeing this advertisement all the time

  26. NathanA

    The advertisement is basically to reassure the public that the changes are actually going to be be better for students. From that pov, it is very misleading

  27. Vic

    Just last week I was talking to the manager of mental health services in a NSW hospital and she said they were constantly swamped with psychotic patients after taking ice.

    I hasn’t realised it caused psychosis so often.

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