Morgan: 54.5-45.5 to Labor

Morgan offers the first federal poll since the Christmas/New Year break, and while the Coalition is up, it’s unclear if this marks an improvement in its position or a correction after a rogue result last time.

Roy Morgan breaks the New Year polling drought with its regular face-to-face plus SMS polling compiled from surveys over the two previous weekends, in this case with a sample of 2622 (Morgan typically gets about 3000, so this might be seen as an insight into the challenges of polling over the holiday period). It is a better result from the Coalition than the previous poll conducted in early December, which had a rogue-ish 57.5-42.5 headline lead to Labor, compared with 53.5-46.5 at the poll in late November. This time the Labor lead is 54.5-45.5, from primary votes of 38.5% for both the Coalition (up 3.5%) and Labor (down 2.5%), 9.5% for the Greens (down two) and 2% for Palmer United (steady). When preferences are applied according to the 2013 election result rather than respondent allocation, Labor’s lead is 53-47, down from 56.5-43.5 last time and back where it was in late November.

UPDATE (Essential Research): Certainly no sign of any Coalition recovery in the debut Essential Research poll for the year, which being the first deviates from normal form in not being a rolling average combined two weeks of results. The poll has Labor leading 54-46 on two-party preferred, compared with 52-48 in the last poll of last year, from primary votes of 40% for Labor (up two), 38% for the Coalition (down two), 10% for the Greens (steady) and 2% for Palmer United (steady). Also featured are Essential’s monthly personal ratings, and here at least there is better news for Tony Abbott who reverses a slump in December to be up five points on approval to 37%, with disapproval down two to 53%. However, Bill Shorten is up four on approval to 39% and down six on disapproval to 33%, so perhaps this is festive cheer talking. Shorten remains ahead on preferred prime minister, although his lead has narrowed from 36-31 to 37-35. Further questions relate to penalty rates, and bode ill for the cause of deregulation. Eighty-one per cent support penalty rates as a basic principle with 13% opposed, 68% would oppose cutting them with 23% supportive, and only 18% believe encouraging employment would be the more likely result of doing so, compared with 63% for business making bigger profits.

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.

1,970 comments on “Morgan: 54.5-45.5 to Labor”

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  1. [Would Shorten have supported the NBN, for instance? Will he still?]

    Remains to be seen. Among other things, I am guessing it will depend on what unholy mess of contractual obligations is left to him to deal with (if he become PM, of course,) as a result of this mob’s idiocy, bastardry, and borderline corruption.

    There may well be major problems with the cost of breaking those contracts, something I have no doubt Mr Abbott et al will try to maximise.

    Personally, even if there are I think the best long term option by far would be to just pay out the contract penalties and get on with doing the job properly and quickly, before the Libs get another shot at wrecking it. And make sure the Libs wear the blame for the mess and cost.

  2. What has impressed me about Shorten his ability to shutup when that is the best strategy. Yes the Liberals would love it if the focus moved to Labor’s policy ideas instead of Liberal incompetance.

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. – Napoleon Bonaparte.

  3. cud

    I was not making comment on the policy/ideas of the right.

    Your questions are good ones tho’. As we have been speaking about Sachs, I recal him making a speech to the Occupy Wall St group where he attacked all politicians but mostly Obama for listening too much to the 1%.

    I like how neither the PM nor political parties are mentioned in the Constitution. Policy should be decided on by members of parliament with the only allegiance taken into account being their electorate (or state re senate). Our current institution of ‘democracy’ has evolved into a system of political parties (and factions) whose self interests often cause the ceding of power from the people to organised, well funded interest groups or even directly from powerful figures.

  4. Napoleon Bonaparte never had to deal with the Liberals; I am sure we would have said:

    If one mistake follows another, never interrupt your enemy while they plan their next mistake (in French of cause).

  5. [1870
    Player One

    There is no need for {Shorten Labor} to rush in just yet. ]


    Shorten Labor are doing fine, and judging the political situation and pacing themselves very well. They also made the right choice for a long term leader. (No disrespect to Albanese.)

    I think 2015 is going to see some interesting and substantial stuff from Labor, that will set up a nice compare and contrast with the Oz Tea Party Wankers Abbott government.

  6. A very damaging (to Tony Abbott ) in this leak to Sam Maiden in tomorrow’s Murdoch tabloids

    Someone in Cabinet really has it in for the Lying Friar, or should I say, the Crazy Friar

    [TONY Abbott defied Treasurer Joe Hockey and the former Health Minister Peter Dutton to impose a “crazy’’ $20 cut to GP rebates before backflipping on the policy he had demanded.

    In a highly damaging leak from the powerful expenditure review committee, senior ministers have confirmed they were told Mr Hockey and Mr Dutton opposed the move during a “heated’’ exchange with the Prime Minister.

    The warnings included concerns that rolling out new changes to GP consults in the lead up to the Queensland and NSW state election was “crazy’’.

    Mr Hockey argued that the Prime Minister should simply stay the course on the $7 GP co-payment. The Prime Minister was advised to put the changes to the Senate – despite the likelihood they would be voted down – to deliver the government a clean start to the year. The $3.5 billion blow to the budget could also be blamed on Labor.]

  7. cud chewer@1893

    Simon and others,

    What I’d really like is a better understanding of the whole right/left thing and what it really means in terms of ideas and policies.

    I would like to understand better why the former Labor government in NSW was so poorly advised in matters of public transport and in particular train transport, and why the present Labor opposition still takes poor advice. Who do they take their advice from? And how is it possible to break into that circle?

    The right/left thing in the ALP is something of an impenetrable mystery.

    Labors most revered leaders since I have voted were all from the right! Whitlam, Hawke and Keating. I omit Rudd and Gillard to avoid controversy. But many of the left have been much admired too, like Tom Uren, Jim Cairns, Lindsay Tanner.

    A certain amount of posturing goes on by the ALP ‘left’ to appeal to the generally more progressive membership, but when responsibilities of government intrude, I don’t think there ends up being much difference.

    I would now describe my position as ‘post-factional’ with my origins in the Vic Right but a lot of sympathy for left positions along the way. I now stand back and have friends from all factions.

  8. Another damning quote from Maiden’s article

    [As the backbench continues to question the Prime Minister’s political judgment and the “command and control’’ approach of his office, MPs insist that the original advice of the Treasurer and the Health Minister was overruled.

    However, stung by a grassroots backlash to the policy by his own Liberal MPs, a campaign by GPs and the prospect that the measure was doomed in the Senate, Mr Abbott formed the view that it must be dumped while “taking soundings’’ as he drank beers at the cricket on Thursday.

    Let’s get pissed and ask whoever wanders by what they think of our Medicare cuts.

  9. The ERC comprises Abbott, Hockey, Cormann, Truss, Morrison and now Frydenberg.

    If it’s leaking in a way that damages Tone, I’d be fingering Morrison. Hockey seems to me to lack the balls for such an outright move.

  10. Fran

    Whitlam was very much a member of the right. His key left opponent was Jim Cairns.

    The burning issues at the time from memory were:

    East Timor/Indonesia – the Left wanted Whitlam to oppose the invasion by Indonesia
    Vietnam – (Whitlam was relatively slow to join the left in opposition)
    Uranium mining – not sure Whitlam had a known opinion but the right were for mining the left opposed – on environmental and PACIFIST grounds
    Relations with the US generally and attitudes to Russia and China

    I am sure there were many other issues but I cannot recall just now.

  11. [As the backbench continues to question the Prime Minister’s political judgment and the “command and control’’ approach of his office]

    Hmm. Doesn’t sound like the festive season has grown the backbench love for Dear Leader’s CoS.

    But in other news, Mark Simkin apparently commences his new role on Monday. Let’s see if he can wield a positive influence.

  12. Confessions @ 1912

    This is the interesting bit:

    [ senior ministers have confirmed they were told Mr Hockey and Mr Dutton opposed the move during a “heated’’ exchange with the Prime Minister.]

    So someone in the ERC told other Ministers and one or more have told Samantha Maiden. Who to trust? Who to trust?

  13. Sprocket

    With articles like that I cannot see Abbott surviving more than a month or so. In fact this sort of leaking is far worse than the G/R wars, but the press has not yet decided to make a meal of it.

    I think Shorten needs to start working on a strategy to deal with PM Bishop. It is just a matter of a few weeks I feel. They will be looking for a face saviour – ill health, marital breakdown, bike injury etc. Anything to avoid being seen as Gillard Ground Hog day

    Mind you I think if your name is Juli** you will NOT be chosen as a deputy ever.

  14. Rudd was relatively unaligned. Its why George Megalogenis confidently predicted his downfall the minute his popularity with the Australian public waned.

  15. Simon


    While Rudd was nominally a member of the right it was a fairly loose connection. Rudd did not have the backing of the major right unions – and not many of the left unions.

    By an large the relatively non union, branch focused NSW left supported Rudd, with the large unions left and right opposed.

  16. Ms Katich and I are about to have an anniversary. No great milestone, but an excuse to post a favourite quote;
    [Free love? As if love is anything but free! Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. And if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. Thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king. Yes, love is free; it can dwell in no other atmosphere. In freedom it gives itself unreservedly, abundantly, completely. All the laws on the statutes, all the courts in the universe, cannot tear it from the soil, once love has taken root.]
    Emma Goldman

  17. Re Just Me @1901:

    [“…as a result of this mob’s idiocy, bastardry, and borderline corruption.”]

    I reckon that were all the secret links, cladestine meetings, dodgy deals, cash flows, back-scratching and secret agreements among players in the LNP-IPA-Murdoch coaltion and their big bankrollers/backers were to come to light, we’d find it was way over the border. When Labor returns, we’ll need a few Royal Commissions and preferably a Federal ICAC.

  18. Confessions

    Have you any reason to believe it was Morrison?? It could have been Hockey himself or Cormann. Surely Morrison is a very recent addition to the team???

  19. DTT @ 1918

    There is one difference between Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop that is highly relevant.

    When Rudd was deposed, Julia Gillard was the only serious possibility to take over. Nobody else would even have been considered. But Julie Bishop has at least two powerful competitors – Joe Hockey and Scott Morrison. Whichever of these three take over, you can bet your bottom dollar that the other two will not fall neatly in line. And that’s not even taking into account the huge factional differences that lie just below the surface of the Coalition.

  20. OK is there anyone on PB who really gets the LNP? (Real question not a rhetorical one)

    My questions are:
    How much of the budget was Abbott and how much Hockey?? I really do not know. Has anyone read much on the topic? Originally I assumed that Hockey did the budget and lazy Abbott just said yeah right but I want my PPL scheme. Now I wonder if it was Abbott calling the shots and Hockey wearing the flack. Does anyone know??

  21. [1924

    …we’d find it was way over the border.]

    Very possibly.

    I was trying to protect our esteemed host and his employer from any legal issues. 😉

  22. Hockey does not have the ticker for these kinds of whiteanting games.

    I mean, the man breaks into a visible sweat when facing a press conference for heavens sake.

  23. TPOF

    I think Swan saw himself as PM which is one reason Gillard acted in haste and reneged on the first deal with Rudd – Because she was told that if she did not jump Swan would be made PM. Swan was the baby of the AWU although Shorten was in the wings.

  24. Re Gloryconsequence @1927: well if Asbestos Women gets there she should be shown the same respect that she and her colleagues showed Julia Gillard. A vicious attack dog, a mediocre intellect who only looks good because she is surrounded by spivs and imbeciles, her only talent would be having outlasted three leaders. Her unfitness for high office would soon shine through and her time at the top would be brief.

  25. Steve

    The problem is that Bishop even if inadequate will still be 10 times better than the mad monk (your average kelpie dog would be 5 times better). It will make it a bit harder for Labor, actually to have a PM who is a) sane, and b) able to at least read her briefs and c) able to front a press conference with out either going into a nodding frenzy, walking out or threatening to abuse foreign leaders.

  26. It is a very very long time since I have posted here, but as my name suggests I do read the posts.

    Maybe poll bludgers will be interested to know that, in the church liturgical calendar, today is the feast of St Anthony, Abbott!

  27. [if Asbestos Women gets there she should be shown the same respect that she and her colleagues showed Julia Gillard.]

    Absolutely. But JBishop, if she becomes PM won’t have a vengeful former PM in Abbott doing a Rudd to her leadership, and will have most if not all the media in her corner because the media is likely to have an almost overnight epiphany in realising the disgraceful way they treated Gillard, and refusing to do the same to Australia’s 2nd woman PM.

  28. DTT @ 1932

    All I’ll say is that I do not agree and stick by my original assessment. Swan showed no dissension at any time after Julia Gillard got the lead, which is not indicative of someone who thought he was a serious competitor. My only point is that Bishop has at least two contenders who not only think they are Prime Ministerial material, but who think they are better stuff than the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

    As for what allegedly happened on the night in question, I have no interest in engaging in the RG wars. I have strong views, but nothing I can say will not have already been said – and all the responses that can be made have already been made. History is useful in giving us something to help forecast the future, but in terms of dragging over old grievances it only causes grief.

  29. confessions @ 1935

    That all depends on how they handle Abbott and how Abbott responds. I’ve posited before that Abbott’s history shows he has a particular difficulty if he has been bested by a woman – starting with the Barbara Ramjan incident at university.

    There is also the small matter of his ego. Hell, I’m not Tony Abbott but I would have trouble coping with being seen off within two years of leading my party to a famous election victory after having served 4 years as LOTO. Abbott is not the kind of guy to say thanks for the opportunity; now I’ll just fade quietly.

  30. frednk @1903:

    That is certainly true – sitting back and letting Abbott et al weave the rope by which the electorate shall hang them is certainly a good strategy…up to a point.

    I just hope that Shorten and his team have a set of policies ready to go to recapture the news cycle when the Coalition stop making mistakes, however temporarily. They will eventually – whether it’s under Abbott or his replacement is an open question, but even this lot will at least pause their gaudy self-immolation for awhile. And the ALP would be well-advised to be ready to act when that happens.

  31. 1937

    The question is whether, if Abbott got wind of a leadership change, he would run off to the GG for a DD or House only election to stay leader for a little longer.

  32. Speaking of Whitlam, Graham Freudenberg quotes Cavalier:

    [‘The NSW Right backed Whitlam. They made him their favourite son though, in truth, Whitlam was not one of them.’]

    Later in the same article, Freudenberg speaks of the ‘alliance’ between NSW RW numbers man, John Ducker, and Whitlam.

  33. TPOF:

    Abbott does not have a history of whiteanting his party’s leaders in all the years he’s been in parliament. Granted the Liberals have never had a woman leader, and there’s always a first time for everything. But I still think that if he’s removed prior to the next elecion, he’ll do a Bailliueu and sit quietly on the back bench until that election, and then retire.

  34. Bemused @1908:

    It was something of a surprise to me to find out that Whitlam never identified with the Left, given the way he governed. But he wasn’t part of the Right either, although they did back him more than the Left.

    With the way that the definitions of “Right” and “Left” have changed since 1975, one thing I can be sure of: He’d have been appalled at the Gillard Government’s stripping of uni funding (in 2013) to fix a non-existent fiscal crisis. About as appalled as he’d have been by Rudd’s serial disloyalty to anyone but himself.

    Fess @1935:

    The fact that JBish is a Liberal will, naturally, have no impact at all on their different treatment of her as compared to the last deliberately-barren, single career woman to get to the top job by knifing the democratically-elected PM.

    Of course it won’t…none at all! They’ll just spend the time until the next election polishing JBish’s turds because…well, because she’s different. She’s a quality woman, she is, not one of the ALP riffraff who deserve every slander under the rainbow.

    The mainstream media outlets in this country make me sick. Who do they think they’re fooling?

  35. Nicholas,

    I offered to Bill Mitchell at one point to help him write a book about economics, but written from an engineering perspective. In other words boundary conditions, algorithms and so on. He never quite took me up on that, but I think it would be worth doing. Having said that I still need to understand it better. It sounds good. But I’m not convinced it captures everything there is to the real world. where “value” is actually located. And so on.

  36. Matt

    You are seeing Whitlam form today’s perspective. He was very much seen as on the right, so much so that left wing young labor heckled him at public meetings. Imagine doing that today – they would be put in stocks. Back in 1975, the left of the ALP would broadly have been slightly to the left of today’s Greens.

  37. [

    I just hope that Shorten and his team have a set of policies ready to go to recapture the news cycle when the Coalition stop making mistakes, however temporarily.


    And the ALP would be well-advised to be ready to act when that happens.

    What makes you think they aren’t ready?

    You think because they have not been regularly broadcasting the details of their plans and policy preparation that they have been sitting on their collective arse for the last 15 months, just riding blindly on the coattails of serial Abbott fuckuppery?

    They are biding their time, as they should at this point in the electoral cycle, and under these political circumstances.

    Obviously they can’t do so forever, but that hardly means it has been a poor choice of strategy thus far. Quite the contrary, I think they have played it pretty well, in particular they have set themselves up very nicely for compare and contrasts in coming policy debates, which will help neutralise any benefit the Libs might get from leadership change.

    Play the long game.

  38. If Mr Abbott were given the boot by his party, presumably Ms Credlin would be out of a job too, which would then make Mr Loughnane’s situation pretty much untenable.

    The real thing protecting Mr Abbott,regardless of how much worse he gets, is the ongoing three way balance of power between his potential successors. None of them will want to bring on a spill until victory in the party room looks certain. But his strategy of playing his Ministers off against each other gains him time, but guarantees that his government will look ever more chaotic.

  39. Just Me,

    One thing that continually disappoints me about Labor is not the policy development. Its the failure to continually engage in the battle of ideas and quite often it allows the conservatives to just “get away with it”.

    How so? The common perception is that the Liberals are “better with money”. Despite the evidence to the contrary, its an idea that’s sunk in, even with some Labor voters. Then there’s the lack of understanding that universally Labor has introduced all the things that have built this nation. Major infrastructure projects. The telephone network, the electricity grid and so on. Major policy changes such as Medicare and superannuation. Major reforms such as no-fault divorce. And I could go on and on. And then there’s the Liberals who consistently wreck. Yet you often hear “Oh there’s no difference/they’re as bad as each other”. Why?

    Then there’s the lack of understand of why Labor got it right on broadband. That fibre is the only truly viable, long term solution. And that the Liberals are borrowing tens of billions on a temporary network and rather than saving money they’re actually adding to the cost of the fibre network that in a few years time will replace fraudband. Why is this not being shouted from the rooftops already?

    Its one thing for Shorten to play a good political game. He is. But why isn’t Labor the organisation actually out on the streets telling people what a major disaster fraudband is? Why isn’t the organisation working on correcting decades old bad ideas? Why for that matter aren’t they working on changing the basic ideas behind the constant debt and deficit narrative away from “Yes we’ll fix that too” to actually getting at least a few people to understand that in fact a government is not the same as a household.

    Labor as an organisation went to the last two elections campaigning their hearts out, but after spending years letting the Liberals win the war of ideas. Yes, ok, Murdoch was a very big part of this. But Labor can do better. It can connect better. I can fundraise better. It can engage more cost effective advertising better. And more than that it can actually go and find people out there who actually have good ideas and talk to them.

  40. confessions @ 1843

    You may well be right. The next year will be uncharted territory for the Liberal Party and anything is possible.

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