Later than usual on this one because the only pollster to report this week, Essential Research, moved its schedule back a day because of the public holiday. Essential’s voting intention numbers, which you can see detailed below, are characteristically stable, and the movements in the leadership ratings are almost perfectly on trend. As such, the only movement to report is a 0.3% shift to Labor on two-party preferred. However, this has had more impact on the seat projection than you might have thought, since several states are currently on the precipice of one result or another. Labor is accordingly up a seat in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania, returning it to majority government territory.
The aforesaid Essential Research poll showed Labor leading 52-48 for the fifth successive week. Primary votes were 41% for the Coalition (steady), 40% for Labor (steady), 9% for the Greens (down one) and 1% for Palmer United (steady). Also featured were Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, providing yet another improvement for Tony Abbott with approval up three to 39% and disapproval down four to 50%, while Bill Shorten was respectively steady on 32% and up four to 45%. Abbott’s lead as preferred prime minister was 38-33, up from 35-32 a month ago.
The poll also found remarkably strong support for revoking citizenship on grounds of terrorism, although this is clearly a case where question design has a lot to do with the response that is elicited. The headline findings of 81% approval and 9% disapproval in the case of dual nationals, and 73% approval and 13% disapproval in the case of sole nationals, presupposed that the suspect was guilty as charged. A follow-up question allowed respondents to choose between a court of law and a government minister in making the determination, with 54% favouring the former and 24% favouring the latter.
The Mercury had a Tasmanian state ReachTEL poll on the weekend, which I didn’t write up because it was barely a week since the EMRS poll. It was a strong result for the Hodgman government, putting the Liberals on 48.5%, Labor on 29.9% and the Greens on 15.8%, compared with March 2014 election results of 51.2%, 27.3% and 13.8%. ReachTEL’s result helpfully features breakdowns by electorate. The poll was conducted last Thursday from a big sample of 2646.
Heath Aston of the Sydney Morning Herald reports that former NSW Premier Morris Iemma has told Labor Party players in south-west Sydney that he will contest preselection for Barton, and that his name is also in the mix for the neighbouring seat of Banks. Both seats were lost by Labor at the 2013 federal election, and there were suggestions Iemma might run in Barton as early as 2011. Others named as contenders for Barton are Rockdale mayor Shane O’Brien, Electrical Trades Union organiser Mark Buttigieg and Hurstville councillor Brent Thomas. Thomas is also named as a possible starter in Banks, together with Jason Yat-Sen Li, a high-profile figure in the Chinese community who ran for Labor in Bennelong in 2013 and as the lead Senate candidate of the Unity party in 1998.