Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

Essential Research records a tick in the Coalition’s favour on voting intention, and finds an even balance of opinion on car industry support, drawing on superannuation to buy a home and United Nations criticism of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.

It’s been a very quiet week for federal polling, leaving the regular weekly Essential Research result as the only game in town. The fortnightly rolling average on voting intention ticks a point in the Coalition’s favour, with Labor’s lead narrowing from 53-47 to 52-48. However, the only change on the primary vote is a one point drop for Labor to 39%, with the Coalition, Greens and Palmer United steady on 40%, 9% and 2%.

Further questions relate to the Intergenerational Report, of which 45% of respondents professed no awareness. When prodded about one of its findings, 41% offered that more older people in the workforce would be good for Australia (notably higher among older cohorts of respondents) versus 31% for bad; and in relation to one of its non-findings, 46% agreed climate change should be a priority versus 33% for not a priority. Strikingly, quite large majorities said they expected children, young adults, families, the middle-aged and retirees to become worse off over the next 40 years.

Opinion on the government’s reinstatement of funding for the car industry was evenly divided, with 38% approving and 39% disapproving, which slightly surprises me in that industry protection usually gets the thumbs up in opinion polls, rightly or wrongly. Joe Hockey’s short-lived notion that people should be allowed to access their superannuation to buy a home went down better with respondents than with some of his colleagues, with 41% supportive and 46% opposed. The poll also suggests Tony Abbott was not on exceedingly dangerous ground with his response to United Nations criticism of Australia in relation to asylum seekers, which was found to be of concern to 44% of respondents and not of concern to 48%.

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.

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

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  1. Confessions

    [Yep. The electorate has become rather jaded with the Abbott]

    Given the extreme idiocy of most of the LNP Ministers, the dysfunction of the Government and the clown that is Abbott PM, don’t you think that at the mid-term doldrums, that the ALP is only 52-48 in front a big worry for their chances?

  2. Tony Abbott (soundbite on ABC24) said the 2015 will be much less ‘exhilarating’ than the last one. Well, we sure don’t need more exhilaration.


    [The Greek government has demanded bail-out talks be carried out at an EU summit later this week, frustrating its creditors in already strained bail-out negotiations.

    According to reports, Athens refused to update European finance ministers about its plans to implement vital reforms at a scheduled teleconference yesterday.

    One European official was quoted as saying the country’s brinkmanship was “something of the last straw”.

    The International Monetary Fund, one of Greece’s main three creditors, was reported to have called Greece “the most unhelpful client” the Fund has dealt with in their 70-year history during the ill-tempered teleconference.

    Athens is due to make a €350m repayment to the Fund on Friday.]

  4. [Athens is due to make a €350m repayment to the Fund on Friday.]

    It seems to me more likely TrueBlueTraitor would say something smart or really support a strong independent Australia than it is Greece will do that!

  5. [Given the extreme idiocy of most of the LNP Ministers, the dysfunction of the Government and the clown that is Abbott PM, don’t you think that at the mid-term doldrums, that the ALP is only 52-48 in front a big worry for their chances?]

    That was only one poll and an Essential poll at that. Bludgertrack is a much more reliable tracker of the state of play and it is showing better than that.

    In any case the Liberals are looking down the barrel of some pretty big budgetary problems coming their way over the next few months and its obvious they don’t have any solutions. So Labor should be able to build on the platform it has already established.

  6. WWP

    The British Parliament is the mother of all parliaments. IF they can have a system that works for Independent Speaker so can we.

  7. Watching Mad as Hell at the moment. Very good episode.

    Just WTF will they do when Abbott has gotten the flick?? The cries of NOOOOOOooooooooooooo from the countries cartoonists and comedians will be sad to hear. 🙂

  8. imacca

    [NOOOOOOooooooooooooo from the countries cartoonists and comedians will be sad to hear. :)]

    I have always thought that Australia generally has always had very brilliant political cartoonists.

    I admire their skills and insight much more than the journalists who “occupy” most of the space.

  9. guytaur

    [Apparently the company developing the EW link in Melbourne wrote the contract itself on the invitation of the Napthine government]

    Imagine if it had been an ALP government signing over billions on the basis of such a shonky deal.

    The incoming LNP govenment would have three Royal Commisions, an emergency special meeting of parliament, setting up a star chamber and endless media hand wringing and wankings.

    I hope the Victorian Government does more than issue a press release.

    Though like many breeds of dogs, the ALP seems to have had the “mongrel” totally bred out of them.

  10. Swamprat

    I will give the ALP this. It spends its polticall capital on setting up royal commission into child abuse and not for political purposes.

    For that I do respect them.

    I do get where you are coming from and agree Labor could show some more mongrel at times.

  11. BK @692:

    [This guy’s giving us some great cartoons lately!

    Sadly, we don’t “get it”. At least, not nearly enough Australians get it, judging by the way the polls are turning back toward the Coalition.

    That a bunch like this can get above 45% is an indictment of Australia’s political climate.

  12. This is getting more smelly by the day

    [The moral position looks clearer however following the revelation that the East West Connect consortium helped draft the side-letter that buttressed its contract to construct the tollway. It becomes clearer still if it is confirmed that the the first big drawdown of funding for the project could actually have occurred after the State election.]

  13. With respect to the ALP, it has not got anywhere near to the moral bankruptcy that is the UK Labour Party.

    [Almost 11 million UK adults are either unemployed or “economically inactive”, which is a catch-all term for the sick, the disabled, or other people not in work for one reason or another. That’s close to a quarter of the entire electorate, or well over a third of the number who actually voted at the last general election.]

    This is the recent statement of Rachel Reeves the Labour shadow minister for welfare:

    [“We are not the party for people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not the party to represent those who are out of work.”]

    Another UK Lab MP said:

    [“We were set up as the party to represent the values of working people, working being the key word. We weren’t set up as some sort of charity to help the poorest in society – the long-term unemployed, the benefit dependent, the drug addicted, the homeless.”]

    I hope the ALP will never agree with these sentiments…… but the NSW ALP right seems as Blairite as the UKLP.

  14. guytaur

    [I will give the ALP this. It spends its polticall capital on setting up royal commission into child abuse and not for political purposes.]

    That is true.

    The RC into child abuse by Gillard was an important and great step.

    I respect her for that.

  15. Victoria, guytaur

    I have been saying here for a year that EW link smelt. Labor should investigate it hard. Several avenues:
    – did public servants administering the project meet their statutory obligations? If not why not? Did someone pressure them not to? If so, who?
    – if drawdown occurred after election, given new government policy, who authorised the drawdown? Either the government was still in caretaker mode or a new government should have authorised it.

    Also the Victorian DOI would have dozens of people with experience drafting such contracts. Why were none used? Who decided to let the consortium draft it?? Heads should roll over this. Even if pressured by Napthine, any public servant facilitating this sort of deal is not acting in the public interest. Their position would be untennable, and possibly unlawful. PS Acts in each state carry quite onerous duties of care for public servants on approving public spending. Treasury regs would also be relevant.

  16. guytaur

    I know a RC into abuse within families would be a step too far.

    That would really be too much of a challenge to the basis of capitalist society and the and the rights of patriachal brutality.

    Blair should be undergoing trial at the Hague for war crimes

  18. Further to 724, it is worth remembering the Linking Melbourne Authority and some other interesting stories on their executives.

    Napthine has a lot to answer for in creating a separate authority for EW Link to sidestep all the normal processes in VicRoads and DOI. But they cannot sidestep the law so easily.

  19. Victoria @721
    This is getting more smelly by the day

    The Vic’s should hold a Royal Commission into the contract preparation & signing.
    It’s impossible for the Fedral Government not to have been part of the contract drafting as they are primary source of funding.

    This would include Tony & his infrastructure department.

    There is bound to be legal advice from the Fedral Government lawyers, maybe a Senate Expendiyure Committee can try & follow that lead.


    Wow. 🙁

    If the Treasury guys comments are true this is a massive and very direct disowning of the IGR by the public service.

    Given Abbott and Hockeys reported comments on it an dAbbott waving it around in the HoR today, this would pretty much set the tone for QT and one or two doorstop interviews tomorrow i’d think.

  21. 734

    I don`t know hoe involved the Commonwealth is in contract drafting for state projects but I suspect it is a bit less than you think.

    Can a state royal commission investigate the Commonwealth? It may well not be able to.

  22. today in cafe two otherwise young and typically not politically engaged women were sharing latest anti abbott joke or moment – i am told this goes on in most schoolrooms, workplaces and clubs in country – has there ever been a PM held in such universal derision … the polling obviously means people put party above PM … but shorten is not quite the lead from the front person oppositions leader usually are (Rudd and rest before him leaving TA aside) – prayers for the DD in June

  23. 738

    The DD may well be at the end of April or in May, if it called by Abbott to head off a post NSW Coalition defeat leadership change and or get revenge for such a change, but June would be a bit late for that.

    No government that thinks it will be re-elected would hold a DD in June because that would mean a 2 year Senate term. That pretty much rules out an Abbott replacement honeymoon DD in June.

  24. It’s on… Tony will now bang on about Sovereign risk re EW Link, it will be a fun debate when they bring up that contracts / side letters drawn up expressly to maximise gain to the consortium at the expense of tax payers …

    “In a further escalation, Labor’s leader in the upper house, Gavin Jennings, on Wednesday confirmed department officials had been instructed to draw up legislation to limit the amount of compensation the state will have to fork out to the consortium should the talks fail.”

  25. The Coalition is going to a DD with promises of cuts to health, education, pensions, the ABC and SBS? I’d like to see that.

  26. post coalition defeat? what evidence is there for that? for an important enough election this must be the quietest for ages

    i am so tired of lacklustre ex union people filling leadership role in parliament for which they really are not entitled. … perhaps they lack to common touch or communicative something.

    perhaps foley is not lacklustre but ….

  27. roger

    they go having saved us from greek scenario – already budget crisis fixed – they go as saviours of australian economy of course – they are silly enough to do anything, but dont expect serious policy from the python party

  28. Its interesting to note that post the 2010 election that the Department of Transport did lose a number of its senior staff, many of whom where highly professional and experienced.


    [On March 18, 2015,the Tianjin iron ore price crashed $3.1 or 5% to $54.50 a tonne. …..Chinese steel mills, already struggling with chronic overcapacity and slower demand growth as the world’s No. 2 economy loses momentum, are faced with rising environmental compliance costs as Beijing aims to improve air quality. “Investors are worried that the new environmental checks targeting air pollution would deal a hefty blow to iron ore,” said Li Wenjing, an analyst at Industrial Futures in Shanghai]

    How long til iron ore volumes also start to fall?

  30. The Daily ToiletPaper it his morning…

    [THE Abbott government has threatened to try to turf renegade Senate crossbenchers out of Parliament, privately warning them that it will go to a double dissolution election as early as July if they continue to block legislation.

    The Daily Telegraph has confirmed that Education Minister Chris Pyne has told at least two of the eight independent senators that the government was deliberately creating the trigger for a double dissolution election within three months over the stalled ­university reform Bills.


    One crossbench Senator told The Daily Telegraph that Mr Pyne had made it clear to them in a private meeting that the government’s plans were to establish a DD trigger — available to a government when the Senate votes twice to block the same Bill.

    “Yes, that is certainly what was said,” a crossbencher said.

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