ReachTEL: 54-46 to Labor

An automated phone poll by ReachTEL finds Labor maintaining a strong lead, but a small-sample Morgan phone poll shows worrying signs for Bill Shorten.

The Seven Network brings us a ReachTEL automated phone poll of federal voting intention, which was conducted on Thursday from a sample of 2532, showing Labor’s two-party lead unchanged at 54-46, from primary votes of 39.8% for the Coalition, 39.3% for Labor, 11.9% for the Greens and 2.2% for Palmer United. Further questions find strong support for increasing the tax rate on superannuation contributions for high-income earners, at 57.2% with 22.1% opposed, but an even balance of 30.7% support and 31.8% opposition for removing negative gearing on future property purchases. The poll also records 56.1% support for imposing the GST on purchases from overseas companies with 22.3% opposed. Leadership approval questions find a shift for Tony Abbott from “very poor” to “satisfactory”, with Bill Shorten’s numbers broadly unchanged. Hat tip to Leroy Lynch.

There’s considerably less good news for Bill Shorten in a Morgan phone poll on party leadership, which shows Tony Abbott leading him 44-39 as preferred prime minister – the first poll to show Abbott in the lead since November. Tony Abbott’s personal ratings are little changed since the last such poll conducted in mid-January, before the Prince Philip knighthood and leadership spill vote, with his approval steady on 37% and disapproval up one to 53%. Bill Shorten, however, is respectively down three to 34% and up eight to 48%.

With respect to preferred Labor and Liberal leaders, Morgan finds Shorten losing his lead over Tanya Plibersek, who now has 23% support (up five) to Shorten’s 21% (down four), with Anthony Albanese up three to 13% and Wayne Swan steady on 10%. Tony Abbott has lost still more ground in comparison with Malcolm Turnbull (up two points as preferred Liberal leader to 38%) and Julie Bishop (up one to 27%), with his own rating down two to 12%. Scott Morrison is up three to 5%, putting him level with Joe Hockey, who has fallen heavily from favour since the government came to power.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The weekly Essential Research result has Labor gaining a point on two-party preferred, putting their lead at 53-47. The Coalition and the Greens are both down a point on the primary vote, to 40% and 10%, while Labor is steady on 39% and Palmer United is up one to 2%. Other findings:

• The poll shows 40% support for changes to the Senate electoral system to make it harder for micro-parties to get elected, with 33% opposed. Forty-two per cent said minor parties in the Senate were good for democracy, while 35% favoured the alternative proposition that they made government too unstable.

• Fifty-two per cent say they are not confident the government is on track to return the budget to surplus, with 36% confident; 31% believe doing so is very important, 40% somewhat important, and 14% not important.

• Seventy-seven per cent approve of government measures to withhold benefits from parents who do not get their children vaccinated.

• Seventy per cent say the gap between rich and poor in Australia is getting bigger, only 5% say smaller, and 17% say it is about the same.

UPDATE 2: Greens supporters on Twitter are taking umbrage at the wording of the following Essential Research question:

The Coalition, Labor and the Greens all support changes that would make it harder for small parties to be elected to Senate. Would you approve or disapprove of such changes?

And I agree to the extent that I don’t think they should be providing partisan respondents with cues as to what their party’s position is.

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.

1,475 comments on “ReachTEL: 54-46 to Labor”

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  1. [1359

    Neoclassical economists have let us down grievously.

    I think that sentence is more accurate without the’Neoclassical’ at the front, as is it implies other economists haven’t let us down grievously.]


    I think it could easily be that we have let down the economists.

    Seriously, this is a facile depiction. Economists vary as much in their thinking as anyone else, including lawyers.

  2. sceptic

    Thanks for the correction. I’d looked for the article but had not found it.

    Bill put his boot but GWB iss even worse than I thought he was.

  3. [I can assure you none of my criticisms of Widodo are racist. They do not depend in any way on his nationality, ethnicity or religion. They go to his personal cowardice and weakness.]

    Oh, c’mon. Why should you have to defend yourself against a charge of racism? That’s ridiculous. It’s like every possible breach of political correctness needs to be disproven before you even start these days.

  4. [1402

    Actually that was wrong link, but there has been plenty of cases where AFP failed in it’s duty.

    Or even its duty.]

    The NM article suggests that the AFP actually carried out the orders given to it by Minister Ellison. This is a far more alarming proposition than the surmise that the AFP had gone rogue.

  5. [8 kgs of that stuff would certainly do a vast amount of human damage.]

    Indeed. And stopping that particular 8kg would delay the damage for a few months, probably making it much worse when it occurred.

    The best years of policing intercepts, IIRC, about 10% of the drug trade. Prohibition does little to supply and barely scratches demand. What it does do is make the whole business much more dangerous.

  6. Martin B,

    I don’t doubt that at all. I’m just making the point that heroin abuse is extremely damaging to individuals and their families. There’s no glossing it over – it’s carnage.

  7. [Taking every chance to correct other peoples spelling on a rag-tag blog is not attractive.]

    Actually it’s punctuation and if I’d taken ‘every’ chance I’d be boring everyone senseless. More than usual that is.

    And taking a chance to correct other peoples’ correction of other’s mistakes is not any more attractive either…

  8. [McIntyre isn’t funny. I think an employer should be able to discipline an employee who identifies themselves as being such when using social media but I think that sacking him was way over the top.]

    I agree. And FWIW I also found that story about the woman posting on Facebook funny. Practically everyone these days is Google-able so it stands to reason that if you apply for a job or put yourself out there in some way, people are going to Google you.

  9. [If you have the time to correct others, than you have the time to have a discussion.]

    Had too many discussions recently. All discussioned out.

  10. Martin @ 1410

    [What it does do is make the whole business much more dangerous.]

    And much more profitable for those who can manage the risks (preferably by transferring them to mules).

  11. [1419

    If you have the time to correct others, than you have the time to have a discussion.

    Had too many discussions recently. All discussioned out.]

    That could be a case of concussion…from banging your head against “posts”…

  12. [Maybe it’s because nobody has been executed under federal law during Obama’s presidency.]

    Can Obama not pardon state convicts?

    I honestly didn’t know that.

  13. Today’s Mumble on the Indonesian govt executions:
    [It is right that our government makes strong representations for our nationals facing death at the hands of governments in other countries. But there is a line beyond which it starts to appear that we believe that Australians, and only Australians, should be exempted from the law of a foreign land.

    It is also proper that we line up with countries who oppose the deliberate, calculated taking of life by the state, anywhere. But the suggestion that we should specifically convince countries “in our region” to mend their ways borders on the delusional. We simply don’t possess that clout in the region, and instead these sentiments play into stereotypes that we see ourselves as the great white civiliser.

    And, again, we can’t influence our “friends” in America?]

    Yeah, the issue is messy, but arguably doesn’t benefit from the kind of bully boy megaphone diplomacy we saw from our govt over boats. That was an own goal of the Abbott govt’s own making.

  14. [I’m just making the point that heroin abuse is extremely damaging to individuals and their families. There’s no glossing it over – it’s carnage.]

    Even more reason why our government should do as much work as possible to research what methods work in reducing the carnage. Prohibition doesn’t. There have been a significant number of Australian police who have gone on record to say so. Portugal has taken a different route through decriminalisation and my understanding is that deaths and destruction (infections and the like) from addiction are down substantially.

    Because drug dealing is still criminal the rates of addiction have not reduced – because it is still a highly profitable business to get people hooked and paying for drugs for those who are not squeamish about breaking the law. If you took the profit motive out of drug pushing nobody would do it.

  15. The Labour Party was born in Scotland.

    Polls are marking its death in Scotland.

    Latest Ipsos Mori Poll has the Labour Party at 20% not much more than the Tories on 17%.

    [Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election (Ipsos-Mori, 22nd-27th April) :

    SNP 54% (+2)
    Labour 20% (-4)
    Conservatives 17% (+5)
    Liberal Democrats 5% (+1)
    Greens 2% (-2)
    UKIP 1%].

  16. [1428

    The Labour Party was born in Scotland.]

    Was it?

    [In 1892, Fred Jowett (a member of the Independent Labour Party) became the first socialist to be elected to Bradford City Council. A few months later, Jowett founded a branch of the Independent Labour Party in that city.

    As a member of Bradford City Council, Jowett was responsible for the passage of several important reforms that were eventually adopted by other local authorities. In 1904, for instance, Bradford became the first local authority in Britain to provide free school meals, while a successful campaign led to the clearing of a slum area and its replacement with new houses.

    Jowett was also a supporter of reforming the 1834 Poor Law, and attempted to improve the quality of the food given to the children in the Bradford Workhouse after being elected as a Poor Law Guardian.

    In 1898, West Ham borough became the first ever Labour council]

    Then again, Socialism and Scottish Nationalism arose together at about the same time:

    [Despite his early support of the Liberal Party, Keir Hardie became disillusioned by William Ewart Gladstone’s economic policies and began to feel that the Liberals neither would nor could ever adequately represent the working classes. Hardie concluded that the Liberal Party merely wanted the votes of the workers but that it would never in return offer the radical reform he believed to be crucial — and decided to run for Parliament.

    In April 1888, Hardie stood as an independent labour candidate in Mid Lanark. He finished last but he was not deterred and believed he would enjoy more success in the future. At a public meeting in Glasgow on 25 August 1888 the Scottish Labour Party (not the same party as the modern Scottish Labour Party) was formed, with Hardie becoming the party’s first secretary. The party’s president was Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham, the first socialist MP, and later founder of the National Party of Scotland, forerunner to the Scottish National Party.

    Hardie was invited to stand in West Ham South in 1892, a working class seat in Essex (now Greater London). The Liberals decided not to field a candidate, but at the same time not to offer Hardie any assistance. Competing against the Conservative Party candidate, Hardie won by 5,268 votes to 4,036. On taking his seat on 3 August 1892 Hardie refused to wear the “parliamentary uniform” of black frock coat, black silk top hat and starched wing collar that other working class MPs wore.

    Instead, Hardie wore a plain tweed suit, a red tie and a deerstalker. Although the deerstalker hat was the correct and matching apparel for his suit, he was nevertheless lambasted in the press, and was accused of wearing a flat cap, headgear associated with the common working man – “cloth cap in Parliament”. In Parliament he advocated a graduated income tax, free schooling, pensions, the abolition of the House of Lords and the women’s right to vote.]

  17. 1422

    The United States of America operates a federal system. Each state and the US federal government have separate sovereignty. Just like in Australia, before the death penalty was abolished, the Governor-General (in Council) had no ability to commute death sentences for state offences and still has no authority to pardon anybody for state offences.

  18. briefly

    [..At a public meeting in Glasgow on 25 August 1888 the Scottish Labour Party (not the same party as the modern Scottish Labour Party) was formed, with Hardie becoming the party’s first secretary. …]

    There is no organisation called the Scottish Labour Party. The UK Labour Party uses the term “Scottish Labour Party” as an advertising term but it’s HQ is in London.

  19. What I hope is a balanced view on the death penalty and crime & justice in general.

    People who oppose the use of the death penalty in all cases to me fail to give adequate weight to the ‘opportunity cost’ of imprisoning a criminal indefinitely & the ‘severe harm’ that is done to others and the community by repeated and malicious acts of rape, torture, physical harm and murder.

    Where there is incontestable proof that a person has committed any of these crimes without ameliorating circumstances and shows little chance of reform I would find the death penalty appropriate.

    I see opposition to this stance usually takes 3 forms:

    1. Even with ‘incontestable proof’ there is always the chance innocents will be killed
    My answer: I agree BUT the opportunity cost of imprisoning for life is also the death of innocents in that it is extraordinarily expensive to host a prisoner for life and this diverts money away from other life affirming measures such as health care, social welfare, education, research etc. By spending excessively on imprisonment we fail to spend on measures to preserve life.

    2. everyone has the right to a second chance
    My answer: this implies it is acceptable to risk the death or harm to others from the person being mistakenly released without truly reforming (which we see too often). (this can also apply to the above) life is not fair, good people die every day from accidents and deliberate harm, nature does not always provide second chances so I see no reason why we as a community have to do so.

    3. killing people is barbaric and/or immoral
    My answer: so is war, eating animals, rape, murder etc The best test of morality I believe is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
    If I ever turn into a rapist and murderer I would expect, even desire the community to put me out of my misery by taking my life – after all, what a sad lonely and miserable person must I be to act out in such a way. Giving a person guilty of heinous crimes the ability to reoffend to me shows a greater lack of morality and in fact irresponsibility.

    To be clear though I would not support the death penalty (or even life imprisonment) for peoples whose crimes are theft, drug abuse/trafficking, fraud etc as these bring lesser levels of damage to individuals than violent and sexual crimes. Yes drug trafficking harms others (and I believe should be punished) but individual harm arising from drug trafficking is a shared responsibility (with the drug taker) where murder & rape etc are solely the responsibility of the perpetrator. I also don’t believe that a person who commits fraud or sells drugs is necessarily an evil person but I do absolutely believe a serial killer or serial rapist is. With fraud or drugs it is possible to distance oneself from the harm ones actions bring (it will be covered by insurance, it is up to the user etc) with direct physical attack it is not.

  20. McIntyre.

    He should have been asked to add a “these are personal views only” disclaimer.
    SBS should have issued a statement affirming their commitment to nationalistic blatherpap.
    Turnbull shiuld have been told “we’re dealing with it”
    Murdoch should have been told to get stuffed.

    And if it was still an issue he vould have been pug on desk duties for a month.

  21. Jake @ 1429

    [Just to be really clear – I’m not advocating prohibition.]

    Didn’t think you were. I was not really responding to your comment, but rather using it as a jumping off point for mine.

    The main reason why even well-meaning legislators around the world do not countenance legalisation of drug use (with monopoly supply by the government) is that they find it too distasteful to enable such a vile thing as drug addiction. But a longer term view is that people would not begin to be addicted if someone, somewhere did not provide the initial supply of drugs to get the addict hooked. And the vast majority of those doing the hooking are doing it in order to create a long term customer.

    We all know that is exactly how the tobacco industry works. That why the tobacco industry fought so ferociously against plain packaging – which attacks its number one means of recruiting new addicts – style and peer pressure. It’s a bit hard to adopt a cool brand when all the packs look the same. The illicit drug pushers just use variations of that marketing strategy.

  22. Well surprise, surprise, the Govt is actually proposing to honour one election promise and do something good for small business.
    [Billson is bringing fairness back to business

    The Minister for Small Business, Bruce Billson, has filed the first draft of the legislation that will extend the unfair contract protection that currently covers consumers into the world of small enterprises (those employing fewer than 20 people).

    What currently happens is that if small enterprises (including one-person consultancies) do business with a government or large enterprise, they are handed a standard contract to sign. The instruction goes out: ‘Take it or leave it — there will be no negotiation’.

    The lawyers for government departments and large corporations have devised a series of fiendish clauses in these standard contracts that will suddenly have no legal force if the legislation goes through.

    Some of the more popular clauses that will be void are:

    ● The ability of the government department or large enterprise to simply unilaterally cancel or change the contract with the small operator. The small operator does not have a similar right, so it is completely at the mercy of the government department or large corporation.
    ● Applying penalties against the small enterprise for breach or termination of the contract. The small enterprise has these penalties dictated to them on the usual ‘sign up or else’ basis. The small enterprise cannot apply similar penalties to the large company or government department.
    ● The ability of the large company or government department to simply vary the price being paid (or delay payment) without giving the other party the right to terminate the contract. (Amazingly this is a ‘nasty’ the lawyers love because the small enterprise has to continue supplying the goods or services on the new terms.)
    ● The ability to change the contract and the goods and services to be provided and, in the case of goods, take possession of them at the will of the supplier.
    ● Make it very costly and difficult to take the government department to court by making the contracts subject to the rules of evidence.]
    To read the full article, google the bold heading.

  23. [1435

    It’s interesting that socialist and nationalist movements arose together in Scotland. It’s really no surprise to me that as the Victorian economy and its matching labour force first experienced dissolution and later re-construction that Labour affiliations have been displaced by Nationalist ones.

    In many ways, the Nationalist voice presents a re-statement of socialist themes. It will be very interesting to see how Nationalist and Socialist politics and economics get along together.

  24. [The Piping Shrike @Piping_Shrike · 1h 1 hour ago
    Australia pontificating on capital punishment to Asian neighbours will just prompt the obvious response, “What about your closest ally?”]

  25. [1435

    I should add that I’m highly mistrustful of Nationalist politics. They are all too frequently the arena for chicanery, bigotry, violence and other enmities.

  26. briefly

    [In many ways, the Nationalist voice presents a re-statement of socialist themes. It will be very interesting to see how Nationalist and Socialist politics and economics get along together.]


    The SNP is hardly very left wing. It just seems that way given the current nature of the state of politics in all/most western countries.

    A high proportion of the recent surge in SNP membership comes from former Labour members. This is likely to force it further left.

    Nicola Sturgeon is considered more left wing than Alex Salmond.

    The Labour Party is so desperate it is openly calling on Tory voters to support them on the 7th to stop the SNP!!! (How to win friends…)

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