Galaxy: 52-48 to Labor

The second post-budget poll supports the impression of the first in suggesting that nothing much has changed.

Galaxy has produced its first federal poll for the News Limited tabloids since the Liberal leadership spill vote in February, and what I guess will be one of its last given it will have the gig of conducting Newspoll for The Australian come the new financial year. The headline two-party figure is 52-48, which in a sense is down from 57-43 last time, but that doesn’t mean all that much given our distance from the starting point. The primary votes are 41% for the Coalition, 39% for Labor, 11% for the Greens and 2% for Palmer United. Questions concerning the budget, along with other details, will presumably be forthcoming. Hat tip to GhostWhoVotes.

UPDATE: The Daily Telegraph reports that the poll finds 24% saying the budget made them more likely to vote Coalition versus 29% for less likely, although 43% agree it will stimulate small business compared with 29% disagreed. We are also told that Joe Hockey rated higher than Chris Bowen as preferred Treasurer, though not by how much. The poll encompassed a sample of 1683, and I’m assuming was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday night.

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.

978 comments on “Galaxy: 52-48 to Labor”

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  1. PhoenixGreen

    If ‘we the people’ aren’t interested in who is governing us, it might be because basically we’re all quite happy with the way the country chugs along and don’t feel the need to worry too much about it.

    People seem to have difficulty grasping that maybe, in a democratic system, what we end up with is actually what people want (or thought they did!) rather than the result of carelessness.

    I can’t see any reason to cavail at the idea that the majority of people willingly elected an Abbott government, because they wanted Labor policies delivered in an economically responsible way. They were assured by the Liberals that that’s what they would get, and these assurances were backed up by the media. In those circumstances, the assumption was a reasonable one to make.

    People don’t care about politics generally because they’re actually reasonably happy with the way they’re represented. Of course it’s not a perfect system, and of course what the people want and what is delivered won’t correlate perfectly.

    But that doesn’t mean that it’s all inherently wrong.

  2. [one presumably in loyalty to her factional overlords.]

    Which makes her continued support for that position, post politics, rather mysterious.

  3. Millennial

    [You, sir, must be a millionaire!]
    Sir Mad Cyril be so “millionaire” he has a ZX Spectrum AND a Commodore 128 .

  4. The Lions are 37 points ahead of Port with less than ten minutes to go in 4th quarter! The Gabba is ready to celebrate and so am I 🙂

  5. [
    I was quite prepared to blame my ISP, but Stan works a treat.

    Sounds like some weird issue with Netflix and your ISP / Router / Device or combination thereof.

    At least Stan and Apple TV work.

  6. [A professional journalist operating in the big time should have done their homework and not only be in a position to challenge evasion and bullshit, it is their job to do so, albiet avoiding rudeness and excessive agression.]

    Two words: Sarah Ferguson

    It is a testament to the incompetence or worse of ABC management that her intellectual inferior, who has no idea how to conduct a productive interview is in what should be Ferguson’s chair.

  7. zoomster

    Where I think Gillard went wrong is the denial part. It should be up to every person to choose to marry or not marry.

    If they do not believe in marriage they can choose not to be married. However denying people equal access to that choice in my opinion is wrong and is where I disagree with Gillard.

    I still find her position odd but do respect her because I think her views are honestly come by and have nothing to do with factions.

  8. I love it when RWNJobbies start talking referenda. 🙂

    Its only a short step from that to recall elections. that would sort that Lambie out wouldn’t it TBA??

  9. Hey Tony, if you not going to do anything about the iron ore market, then what’s the point to hold an inquiry into the iron ore sector into the sector in the first place!

    [Prime Minister Tony Abbott has vowed not to interfere with the iron ore market despite pushing ahead with plans to hold a controversial parliamentary inquiry into the sector.]

  10. [
    Sir Mad Cyril be so “millionaire” he has a ZX Spectrum AND a Commodore 128 .

    Actually, I’ve still got my old Commodore 64. Wished I’d kept my Sega Megadrive.

  11. Zoom
    [Which makes her continued support for that position, post politics, rather mysterious.]
    No, it does not. In her speaking and her book, she has tried hard to protect/restore her reputation since leaving politics. There have been very few admissions of error. To be fair, she is probably wise to say nothing, given that it would only distract from Abbott’s ineptness.

  12. [867

    We need more referendums generally.]

    Careful what you wish for.

    Want one over the death penalty? Because it will be among the first demanded by the demagogues.

  13. [Actually, I’ve still got my old Commodore 64. Wished I’d kept my Sega Megadrive.]

    I still have my Mega Drive. Unfortunately I lost my Sega Master System and its games years ago, which is a pity as some of the titles I had are actually valued by collectors.

    I also have my Super Nintendo, my NES, my N64, my Gamecube and my Wii (yeah, bit of a Nintendo fanboy.)

    Okay, I’ll shut up, lest I manage to make myself look any more dorky – although I don’t think I could go much further 😛

  14. [ lest I manage to make myself look any more dorky ]

    Nope you couldn’t. 🙂 Top of your wardrobe must be the “elephants graveyard” of several generations of consumer electronics.

    For me its telescope parts. 🙁

  15. @guytaur

    Alternatively, look at Switzerland, which uses direct democracy and has for nearly 200 years. Scandinavian democracies have multiple referendums on a wide range of subjects at regional and national levels at every single election.

    I think our democracy is sickly and fading. Votes for third parties and others have increased slowly at every election for decades, to the point where even landslide victories can’t approach representing half the people. Long term party membership trends are abysmal. Governments are increasingly thrown out after their first time and the PM/Premier churn rate is ridiculous. People are sick of the system and the players, and I think would gladly accept reform if it was put to them.

    I disagree that decisions by legislatures have more ‘public acceptance’. It just seems like the system is so distant and impenetrable that we can’t hope to influence it. That’s not democracy.

    My problem isn’t that the legislature is slow – it’s not! My problem is that it doesn’t reflect what people want. The will of the people isn’t being translated into law.

  16. Soc

    why people think Gillard isn’t sincere is strange to me.

    I thought not being religious left you to make up your own mind on issues. Apparently, however, there are a series of beliefs you must adhere to in the name of atheism.

    If Gillard had merely been acting as a pawn of factional powerbrokers, then she could have done exactly what Rudd did, and refuse to allow the issue to be discussed at all.

  17. [
    I still have my Mega Drive. Unfortunately I lost my Sega Master System and its games years ago, which is a pity as some of the titles I had are actually valued by collectors.

    I foolishly sold my Mega Drive and all it’s games for $50 back in the mid 90’s. What was I thinking!

  18. Just me


    For better or worse we elect governments to govern. The idea that special interest groups could petition for a referendum would paralyse them.

    I don’t know whether they still have them but back in the days I took more interest in local government ratepayers could petition for a loan poll to stop a council borrowing for a project.

    It was so bad in one Council that it could hardly borrow for a new truck without a ginger group petitioning for a poll.

    We get good governments and bad. that’s the way it is. And at election we can deal with them.

  19. PhoenixGreen

    [Votes for third parties and others have increased slowly at every election for decades, to the point where even landslide victories can’t approach representing half the people. Long term party membership trends are abysmal. Governments are increasingly thrown out after their first time and the PM/Premier churn rate is ridiculous..]

    And are any of these things necessarily bad – or a sign of a decaying system?

    [Votes for third parties and others have increased slowly at every election for decades..]

    Surely that’s good. Isn’t it improving the diversity of views represented in Parliament?

    (And doesn’t this contradict your assertion that people aren’t interested?)

    [where even landslide victories can’t approach representing half the people. ]

    Well, actually, that’s bollocks. Landslide victories are still just that.

    [Long term party membership trends are abysmal..]

    Long term membership of almost anything you can name is trending poorly. It’s a function of more people working and having less time for other things, not a cancer at the heart of democracy. (And I’m speaking wearing my sporting club hat…)

    [Governments are increasingly thrown out after their first time…]

    Good for democracy. Stops complacency.

    [the PM/Premier churn rate is ridiculous..]

    Is this necessarily a bad thing? It might highlight the fact that people are voting for a party, not an individual – and that would be good for democracy.

    [People are sick of the system and the players, and I think would gladly accept reform if it was put to them.]

    All assumptions. Some of them may be true, of course.

  20. @Just Me

    It would be pathetic to stop the people having a voice just in case you don’t like what they say.

    And Parliament isn’t too crash hot on the big issues these days either. Tens of thousands of lines of our country’s law shouldn’t come down to which side picks the right marginals to spam with vague or negative advertising. If it is a controversial issue, the people should always have the last word. Any other way and it’s not really democracy.

  21. Hey zoomster /guytaur,

    Not saying I have all the answers – and what I proposed was not precluding taking people directly from UN camps etc and was meant as part of the solution.

    I am not sure what you meant re; you’ve seen countries attempt to be a fortress before and it didn’t work. nor sure if I was really proposing Aust as a fortress either.

    For me I am not beholden to what I suggested – my only desire is to see a solution that takes into account humane treatment of refugees, absolute limits on Australia’s immigration and athough it was never really in my conscious before the current hullabaloo it does seem a good idea to take the mafia and deaths on boats out of the equation where possible.
    I would also like to see diplomatic means used to reduce persecution abroad and see more of a global solution.

    Any policy framework that can accomplish the above gets my vote and I do not think it is impossible.

    I think though the issue needs acknowledgement from the hard left that taking a policy of ‘we will settle any genuine refugee that makes it to our land throws up a significant set of problems and does nothing to fix the problem – only temporarily ease the symptoms – and in part leads to its own injustices & unintended I’ll consequences – like deaths at sea.

  22. Ipsos out

    The Abbott government’s second budget has strengthened the Prime Minister’s grip on the leadership and shored up the position of his embattled Treasurer, Joe Hockey, with support for the Coalition rising dramatically since last month.

    In a stunning reversal of fortunes, the government has now pulled even with the Labor opposition, answering internal critics and increasing the prospect of an early election in the second half of 2015, should Tony Abbott decide to capitalise on the electoral recovery.

  23. @Zoomster

    Landslide victories are only described that way because of the effect they have on seats in parliament, which is not very representative of public opinion (And designed not to be, since we have a majoritarian system). Almost every government in recent Australian history has only been supported by a minority of the voters, the last time a federal government represented a majority of the people was the Fraser government of 1975, and even that was a close call.

    Even Campbell Newman’s “Landslide”, which won him 90% of the seats, was supported on primaries by less than half of Queensland voters!

    Those people had to live through 4 years of a government most Queenslanders didn’t vote for, who nevertheless felt they had an extraordinary mandate. Imagine how many of their proposals would have been pushed back, had the public been given a choice on the matter. You can vote to kick someone out without wanting the entire legislative framework of the state to be overhauled.

    In our system we vote for campaigns and people, not policies. And if democracy is about turning the will of the people into law, then our system is doing a piss-poor job at best. It seems to me public opinion is ignored wherever parties can get away with it. When election time comes round, they pick a few policies to campaign on and sweep the rest under the rug.

  24. Primary votes

    The poll represents a cumulative 8 point switch from the 46-54 result recorded in the April survey.

    It is driven by a strong bounce in the Coalition primary vote, which has jumped 4 percentage points from 39 to 43 per cent.

    The ALP’s primary support has sunk back to the mid-thirties and at 35 per cent – down three points since April – it is just two percentage points above its landslide-losing share of first preference votes at the 2013 election.

    Greens support has improved fractionally to 13 per cent following the sudden change from former leader Christine Milne to the relatively unknown Richard Di Natale.

  25. @Zoomster

    Actually, correction.
    If you consider the Gillard minority government as consisting of Labor, Greens and the Independents, then that was the most recent government to represent a majority of voters. The last one before Gillard was Fraser in 1975.

  26. PhoenixGreen

    People chosing to vote for parties other than the majors is a positive, not a negative. They do so in the understanding that – should their preferred candidate not get up, and most people have a fair idea as to whether or not that’s going to happen – their vote will go to the major they’ve preferenced.

    Queensland is actually a bad example, because no one had to direct their preferences to Campbell Newman’s party. They did because they wanted to.

    And then, when Newman didn’t do what he said he would do and did things he said he wouldn’t, they were able to get rid of him.

    There seem to be a lot of people who think democracy is broken because our system (which, btw, is only partially democratic) doesn’t deliver the outcomes they personally want.

  27. I don’t think Ipsos has any credibility. Best to wait for real opinion polls, Tony, before calling an election.

  28. Phoenix

    Ah, so you’re working off primaries. Fair enough. But the assumption there is that people didn’t know where their preferences were going, or that they didn’t want their preferences to go there but were constrained by the electoral system.

    In my experience many people feel comfortable voting for minor parties or independents BECAUSE they don’t expect them to get elected (at least in the Lower House). They’re very deliberate and purposeful about where their preferences end up. In elections they think ‘matter’, they are less likely to vote for a minor or independent.

  29. [Ipsos 50-50, Shorten nosedive]
    Well the government bet in the budget that most people were stupid, had short memories, and were easily bought. If that poll is accurate it looks like they were correct.


    If Gillard was being sincere then her position made no sense. The whole idea of a conscience vote is that each member follow their conscience, and hopefully the balance of consciences in a representative parliament will be representative of the balance of views in the community that was cajoled into electing them. Its a bad theory but true or not, if those who really believe in something do not vote for it, then it will surely lose. She should have voted for it, if she was sincere. Evening all.

  30. @Zoomster

    I would agree that more diversity in politics is a great thing, but I think that more and more people leaving the government parties and looking elsewhere for their representatives shows that they’re not satisfied with the way things are being done, and they don’t think the opposition will be any different. And until those third parties reach critical mass and start taking seats, these people won’t be represented in our parliament.

    Preferences are great, but the point remains – only a minority actually picked the LNP as their choice for government.

    But 4 years is a long time. If Newman did 1000 things in that time, and you disagree with 501 of them, how do you represent that in your vote? How do you vote for privatisation without voting for politics creeping into the justice system? How do you vote against bikie laws without giving up on liberal economics?

    Unless you have 1000 parties squared to choose from, or one for every possible policy decision, you are going to have to give up on trying to convert almost all of your views into a vote. Since we only get a handful of candidates in every seat, and really 2 or 3 options ever shown on the news, how are we supposed to send a granular, nuanced message on the thousands of complex issues we face?

    Most of us don’t get to mix and match to create our dream party. We’re always giving up something, and sending a mixed message. And when there are 1000 decisions to reflect on in a single vote, or even just 2, the message is going to be lost in translation.

  31. PhoenixGreen

    Opinion Polls sort out what you are talking about. Its just instead of party politics it should be issues only opinion polling.

    However as the piper pays the tune its always going to come back to a popularity contest of parties representing issues instead of the issues themselves.

  32. Soc

    sorry, don’t follow the logic there at all.

    From memory, Rudd did similar; he allowed a conscience vote on stem cell research, whilst voting against it himself.

  33. LH

    No avoiding the drowning at sea. The draconian cruel offshore regime has led to drownings at sea as well as death and abuse in detention centres as a result of Australian policy.

    At least with on shore Australia is not causing death or abuse.

  34. @silmaj

    Sorry, 3 years then. Still can’t condense 1000 complex decisions plus personality plus campaign momentum into a single vote without losing something important in translation.


    Yeah, working off primaries. 2PP is misleading as people who hate both manage to be interpreted as supporters. Well until we get proportional representation I ‘spose we’ll never know what people’s true feelings are about government. But even with full representation, there’s still no way besides opinion polls to know what on earth the public actually want MPs to do about a particular issue.

  35. @guytaur

    If the people get the last word, that’s a lot better than just pretending people outside parliament have any idea the thousands of things being done in their name.

  36. PhoenixGreen

    given that laws in Parliament pass on 50% + 1 of the vote, then of course no one is ever going to get everything they want. That’s a given.

    It is wrong to then assume that that means ‘the people’ aren’t being represented.

    It would be impossible to draw up a system of government whereby every single vote in Parliament represented exactly what 50 + 1 % of people wanted. (To arrive at such decisions, you’d probably have to go to preferences!) As decisions have to be made, regardless, we accept that a law passed by 50% + 1 is valid and representative.

    It doesn’t mean the system is broken, or unrepresentative; it is simply the possible triumphing over the impractical.

  37. dwh

    actually the problem with budget replies when it comes to opinion polls are the same as any event in parliament.

    Its who bothers watching and how much the media reports it and in what way.

    This is why budgets and replies don’t generally get a poll result. Its why last years polling results afterwards was such a shock.
    It was because the budget was a shock.
    Given this budget was not a shock Shorten did well and the budget period would have been more influenced by the words sort and fraud and the pistol and boo Deportation saga

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