Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor

The latest result from Essential Research finds the Coalition back to what at the time was a surprisingly poor result a fortnight ago.

The latest result of the Essential Research fortnightly rolling average is back at 54-46, after moving a point to the Coalition last week. On the primary vote, Labor is up one to 41%, the Coalition is down one to 39%, and the Greens are down one to 9%. The result combines two polling periods from the past two weekends extending from Friday to Monday, and so does not meaningfully account for the three-days-and-counting that the Prime Minister has spent as a national laughing stock.

Other questions ask respondents to rate the government’s handling of various issue areas, and since this question was last asked at the peak of a recovery period for the government in September, the movements are adverse. There has been a 10% correction in the government’s biggest strength of that time, relations with foreign countries, the net rating down from plus 15% to plus 5%, but managing the economy is also down solidly from minus 6% to minus 14%. Other movement is in the order of zero to 5%.

A separate question also finds the government copping a surprisingly mediocre rating on handling of asylum seekers, with good down three since July to 38% and poor up one to 36%. However, a further question finds 26% rating it too tough, 23% too soft and 35% opting for “taking the right approach”, which seems to be the best result that can be hoped for. Forty-four per cent expressed support for sending asylum seekers to Cambodia with 32% opposed.

Not sure if we’re going to get the Morgan face-to-face poll we would ordinarily have seen on Monday, but I can reveal that Ipsos will be in the field this weekend for the Fairfax papers.

UPDATE (Morgan): Morgan has published a poll that’s not quite cut from its normal cloth. The method is the usual face-to-face plus SMS, the field work period is normally Saturday and Sunday, and the results published the combined work of two weeks’ polling. But this time the field work period was Friday to Tuesday, and not inclusive of any polling from the weekend of January 17-18. In other words, a substantial part of the survey period comes after the Prince Philip disaster. The portents for the government are not good: compared with the poll that covered the first two weekends of the year, Labor gains a point on the primary vote directly at the Coalition’s expense, leaving them at 37.5% and 39.5% respectively. After a hitherto soft set of polling results so far this year, the Greens shoot up from 9.5% to 12%. Labor now holds formidable two-party leads of 56.5-43.5 on respondent-allocated preferences, up from 54.5-45.5, and 55.5-44.5 on previous election preferences, up from 53-47 to 55.5-44.5. The sample of 2057, while still large, is about two-thirds the usual.

ReachTEL, which is not normally prone to hyperbole, is talking up results federally and from Ashgrove which the Seven Network will reveal shortly.

UPDATE 2 (ReachTEL): The ReachTEL poll, conducted last night to take advantage of the Prince Philip imbroglio, is bad-but-not-apocalyptic for the Coalition in terms of voting intention, with Labor’s lead up from 53-47 to 54-46. The primary votes are 40.1% for Labor, 39.7% for the Coalition and 11.3% for the Greens.

However, the headline grabbers relate to Tony Abbott’s personal ratings. The poll finds him a distant third for preferred Liberal leader, on 18% to Malcolm Turnbull’s 44% and Julie Bishop’s 30%. The five-point scale personal ratings find Tony Abbott moving 9.5% in the wrong direction on both indicators, with very good plus good at 21.6% and bad plus very bad at 61.6%.

Bill Shorten is respectively up from 21.3% and 27.1% and up from 37.7% to 38.3%, and while that’s a net improvement, it’s interesting to note he does less well on the five-point scale than approve-uncommitted-disapproval. The poll also found 71% of respondents were opposed to the Prince Philip knighthood, with 12% in support.

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.

944 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor”

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  1. Hmm – OK it looks like options A and B are both out – you can see why I have severe schadenfreudia can’t you?

    So what should the Libs do?

    Option A
    Sack Tony.
    Replace him with someone, anyone, whoever.
    A ‘fresh beginning”, ‘improve the communication”, “we’re listening” and all that.


    Option B
    Don’t sack Tony.
    Whether or not Peta has gone, they can tough it out, “when the going gets tough….”, all pull together, unity! “light at the end of the tunnel”


  2. @ fredex, 902

    The consequences of Option A would be that the Liberals would be laughed out of office at the next election.

    The consequences of Option B would be that the Liberals would be laughed out of office at the next election.

  3. I meant to add in my post 894 some of the letters were whinging about Labor and the Senate not allowing Abbott to do what he was elected to do.

    This made me think that actually the Senate is helping Abbott keep his promises, No Changes to Medicare; no changes to education etc.etc.etc.

  4. I’d say the Liberals I know are split roughly 50/50 between despair at Abbott messing this up so fast, and annoyance at the big mean nasty Senate for making that nice Mr. Abbott look bad by not passing all his “wonderful” policies.

    Oddly, their opinions seem to entirely coincide with whether they liked him before the election or not. Huh.

  5. wp 905 – that is the argument every cross-bench Senator should use!

    Difficult Senates have been around since Federation, so if you want to be PM you had better get used to the idea. It was interesting to hear Pyne saying they “didn’t want” to have a Double Dissolution trigger. even though you don’t have to use it! I suppose if you don’t have one you can’t be called a wimp for not using it.

  6. @ fredex, 904

    Whatever do you mean? I just actually pay attention to what people are saying. It’s over for Abbott and this Liberal Government. They’re a condemned prisoner on Death Row, awaiting the execution that will be the next election.

    I believe there’s an appropriate metaphor about a dog belonging to a pastoralist.

  7. imacca 887 – I wonder what would be the shortest sentence in “readable” English that one could write that contained the words “Rudd”, “Gillard”, “Greens”, “Syriza”, and “Psephos” for good measure.

    Could generate a lot of traffic for William’s site.

    Any takers?

  8. @ Rocket Rocket, 910

    How about this:

    “After all the whingeing he did during the Rudd/Gillard years, especially about the Greens, do you think the victory of Syriza has gotten Psephos a bit mad?”

  9. Strangely enough Psephos did a summary of the 2007 election which contained the conclusion that the election was won on class grounds. From memory he showed that voting swings to Labor were strongest in working class booths.
    I found his saying that strange coming from such a right wing stalwart of the ALP.

    On a different note I’ve just been outside to see what had the dogs upset – an echidna, big one at that.

  10. [The first “Oakes leak” was Rudd’s account of the “knifing”.
    The 2nd was something nasty Gillard was supposed to have said in private about maternity and pensioner payments…
    Grattan wondered who the leaker could be and if it was true, but concluded that neither mattered because the damage was done.]

    So no description of the damage done and causation of the indeterminate damage by a Journo.
    Brilliant stuff.

    Why did anyone car about the removal of a PM – oh wait. Where is the evidence any gave a toss about the other comments.

    I hate to help a lost cause but wasn’t there a leak about Gillard not bothering to show at important national security meetings. If I was putting your case that would be my trump and I’d expect it would be damaging but I have no evidence it actually was.

  11. fredex 916 –

    On a different note I’ve just been outside to see what had the dogs upset – an echidna, big one at that.

    Someone recently told me that camping on holidays their dog encountered its first echidna and was terrified!

  12. last thought – if I were Annastacia and got asked about the GST thing I would say this.

    “Well yes of course the rate is 10%. But I understand that some of Campbell Newman’s federal colleagues want to not just extend the GST to things like fresh food, but also to raise the rate. We would oppose any attempts to do either of these.”

    Turn it back on the LNP/Coalition.

  13. [Just wondered if, as sometimes happens in these sort of places, there had been high drama or something that led to his departure.]

    He kept insisting that Afghanistan was a success rather than Vietnam mark 2.

    People called him out on it.

  14. Rocket
    The old dog [she prefers the word ‘senior’] has met echidnas before, has learned her lesson and observes them from a distance.
    The young dog is gung ho for anything.
    Both dogs were inside so they warning us of the potential for imminent extreme danger approaching – that’s what they are paid for.
    But when I shone the torch on the echidna barking subsided.

    Sort of like Aussies and ‘terrorists’.

  15. Rocket Rocket

    How’s this? Changed the name but got the rest.

    Gillard’s beautiful handling of the Greens and independents, so infuriated Rudd by showing his inadequacies, in the same way that Syriza’s success will infuriate Borewar.


    [The Aussie weakened to the lowest in more than five years with swaps traders seeing 66 percent odds the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut borrowing costs on Feb. 3, setting aside the report on Wednesday that showed underlying quarterly inflation accelerated. The currency fell 1.3 percent to 77.90 U.S. cents and reached 77.74, the lowest since July 2009.]

  17. [ arrnea – excellent – lucky it is after midnight and only a few are here! ]

    It will draw them from the very graves better than the funnies in the Necrotelecomnicon so be careful! 🙂

  18. I had dinner with my Greek mates this evening. They were unanimous on two points. First, it was wonderful that the Greek royal family had been noticed at all by Tony Abbott and they thought he had done Greeks everywhere a service by reminding us all of their glorious past; and second, they could not stop laughing about the election of Syriza, which they see as a trick the Greeks have tried to play on themselves. They all agreed: “No good can come of this.”

  19. [ They all agreed: “No good can come of this.” ]

    Unless you have invested in Australian Bonds. Yield for 10 yrs under 2.5% today. Amazing.

  20. What’s all this talk about the Libs’ plan A, B, C, … X.

    The Lib’s only ever have two plans.

    Plan A


    Plan B; see plan A.

  21. [ Plan B; see plan A. ]

    Their problem now is that Plan A was for everyone to be so relieved that the adults are now in charge that the economy would magically crank up its pace as confidence in the Liberals took effect, the increased tax revenue would make all potential economic problems evaporate, any political issues would be submerged by the extra revenue being thrown around, and they would become the beloved saviors of the small folk across the land………… 🙂

    Err……not actually and its starting to dawn on Lib backbenchers that their leadership may have been just a tad delusional to date and they dont really know what to do and this was never in the script…… 🙁

    They are fwarked. 🙂

  22. teh_drewski @931:

    The Economist should rename itself The Chicago School Newsletter – truth in advertising, and all that.

    Although I find it interesting that after six full years of hand-wringing about Teh Ebil Deficits (and incidentally saying that the only way to “fix” them is to cut social spending – never corporate welfare!), they’re finally coming round and admitting what everyone else has known all along: public-sector austerity in a time of poor private-sector demand is the worst possible policy. You know, what Keynesian textbook economics was saying all along.

    And if The Economist is so concerned about Greece’s competitiveness, then perhaps it should advocate for Ms. Merkel to accept an inflation rate in Germany that’s higher than 1% p.a., whilst she is simultaneously demanding that the periphery go through a needlessly painful deflationary/recessionary cycle.

    Greece is, after all, reasonably competitive – the reason Germany gobbled up all the export markets was the fact that it undervalued the Deutschemark when it joined the Eurozone, making its exports artificially cheaper. Forcing a Grexit rather than pushing Germany into price adjustment is just kicking the can down the road for everyone else.

    What happens when Italian punters, similarly frustrated by endless austerity, also reject the traditional political parties in favour of an anti-austerity crowd? Do they get booted too? What about Portugal? Spain? Unlike Greece, all of those countries were running balanced budgets before this began, and in fact paying down debt (at various speeds). Their governments were doing the right thing, and they’re still getting caned!

    Germany’s “solution” to this crisis – let’s make everyone run current account surpluses, because that’s totally possible! – is so much bunkum.

  23. As for the Coalition, I’m more hesitant to say that they’re farqed. With virtually the entire commercial media defaulting to being their cheerleaders, cosmetic changes (i.e., dumping Abbott, probably in favour of JBish) may be enough to get the good headlines flowing again.

  24. [ cosmetic changes (i.e., dumping Abbott, probably in favour of JBish) may be enough to get the good headlines flowing again. ]

    And then they will spoil it by releasing a policy, or a budget, or a regulation. They cant help themselves. 🙂

  25. Imacca, don’t ever assume your opponents are stupid. They may be stupid – I’d lay money on most of today’s Coalition parliamentarians being stupid – but don’t assume it, and don’t make plans on the basis that they will be.

    They had the wits to get into power – admittedly with the playing field tilted heavily in their favour by the media, but that’s what I’m afraid of repeating.

  26. The trouble with The Economist is that people who reflexively hate The Economist don’t ever dare read The Economist.

    Nasty truth getting in the way of ideology.

  27. Teh_drewski, I’ve been reading The Economist (on and off) for nearly a decade now. I think I’ve had enough experience with it to form a general opinion, although I concede that it’s no more a hivemind than any other media outlet, and less than some (editorial anonymity is, I suspect, a significant factor in that).

    Unfortunately (William Bowe), I don’t subscribe to it. Money’s scarce enough; I’m not going to waste any subscribing to a media outlet which consistently promotes policies that irritate me at the best of times. Which means that the article you linked is inaccessible to me.

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