BludgerTrack: 52.2-47.8 to Labor

Souring attitudes towards both major parties and their leaders result in Labor maintaining its lead in the zero-sum game of two-party preferred.

It’s been an interesting week in opinion polling on a number of fronts, with the Galaxy-conducted Newspoll series making its debut in The Australian, and big shifts emerging in the first leadership ratings to have emerged in three weeks. What there hasn’t been is any particular movement in headline two-party preferred numbers, although that’s of interest in its own right given misplaced press gallery expectations that things were about to turn in favour of the Coalition. So far as the BludgerTrack aggregate is concerned, Labor’s two-party rating has increased by 0.2% compared with last week’s reading, which is not enough to have made any change on the seat projection, with a Labor gain in Queensland having been cancelled out by a loss in South Australia.

However, the real picture which emerges from the latest results is of disaffection with both major parties. On the primary vote, the Coalition has ticked below 40% for the first time since March (before rounding, at least), while Labor is at its lowest ebb since November 2013, leaving room for the Greens to reach an historic high approaching 14%. Even more remarkable is a joint slump in the standing of both Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten. Their respective net approval ratings have been precisely tracking each other downwards since May, feeding into a startling reversal in the tone of media commentary concerning Abbott’s performance over the past week. The preferred prime minister trend has Shorten recovering a lead he lost at the beginning of May, albeit just barely.

The debut Galaxy-conducted Newspoll, in which the interview-administered phone polling mode of yore makes way for automated phone plus online polling from a bigger sample (1631 on this occasion, compared with around 1150 previously), has produced a satisfyingly conventional result. Compared with BludgerTrack, the poll was about a point high for Labor, a point low for the Greens, and bang on target for the Coalition. This series will not form part of the BludgerTrack voting intention equation until the model has more than one result to work with, although it does feature in the leadership ratings, for which it and Ipsos broke a fairly lengthy drought this week.

I’ve also published the detailed quarterly BludgerTrack breakdowns, for those wishing to probe primary and two-party vote trends at state level. Crikey subscribers can enjoy my analysis of the results here.

Further on the polling front:

• There were two attitudinal results from the Ipsos poll which I neglected to touch upon earlier. Fully 75% of respondents were in favour of removing citizenship from dual citizens who took part in terrorist activities, with only 21% opposed. However, it should be noted that when Essential Research made a similar finding last month, it also asked a further question which established that most would prefer the determination be made by the courts rather than a minister. The poll also found 85% for support for constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples as the first inhabitants of Australia, up from 77% two years ago.

• The Australia Institute has waded into controversies surrounding the ABC by having ReachTEL conduct polls in the electorates of North Sydney, Wentworth and Sturt, which are respectively held by Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull and Christopher Pyne. Respondents in all three electorates came out strongly against the government’s cuts to the ABC budget, with net approval ratings of minus 27.5% in Sturt, minus 27.6% in North Sydney and minus 18.5% in Wentworth. The poll even found strong majorities in favour of the rather odd proposition that the political independence of the ABC should be enshrined in the constitution. These seemed to have formed questions two and five of a longer questionnaire; Kevin Bonham is unimpressed that the other results have been withheld.

• The Northern Territory News last week reported on a poll conducted internally for the Northern Territory’s bitterly divided Country Liberal Party government, which found it at risk of losing all but one of the 13 seats it still holds in the 25-seat parliament after the recent resignation from the party of Araluen MP Robyn Lambley. The survey of 1154 respondents reportedly had Labor leading 59-41 on two-party preferred, pointing to a swing of 15%, and found many conservative voters of a mind to abandon the CLP in favour of independents. Parliamentary Speaker Kezia Purick was found to be better placed to retain her seat of Goyder if she ran as an independent, while Gerry Wood, the independent member for Nelson, was rated as the territory’s most popular politician with a net approval rating of plus 46%. Robyn Lambley was credited with a net approval rating of plus 10%, whereas Chief Minister Adam Giles and Treasurer David Tollner respectively scored minus 37% and minus 43%. Labor leader Michael Gunner was on plus 13%, and held a 16% lead over Giles as preferred chief minister. The poll also found only 18% of respondents saying the government was doing a good job, 22% saying it deserved to be re-elected, and 54% saying the territory was heading in the wrong direction.

Preselection news:

Cameron Atfield of Fairfax reports that Labor’s candidate for the seat of Brisbane is Pat O’Neill, a 34-year-old serving army major and veteran of two tours in Iraq, who if elected will become the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives. O’Neil won preselection ahead of Clayfield solicitor Philip Anthony. Brisbane is held for the Liberal National Party by Teresa Gambaro, who won the seat from Labor’s Arch Bevis in 2010. Gambaro is set to face a preselection challenge from National Retailers Association chief executive Trevor Evans, having put noses out of joint with her frequent criticism of Tony Abbott.

• A preselection held the weekend before last confirmed Sophie Mirabella as the Liberal candidate for Indi, which she lost to independent Cathy McGowan in 2013. Rob Harris of the Herald-Sun reports that Mirabella prevailed in the preselection ballot over Wodonga businessman Kevin Ekendahl by 126 votes to 66. Mirabella will also have to contend at the election with a yet-to-be-chosen candidate from the Nationals, with the Border Mail reporting local party members Marty Corboy and Bernard Gaffney are expected to nominate. There has apparently been talk in the party of the seat being contested by Steph Ryan, who won the new seat of Euroa at the November state election, although it seems she is understandably not interested.


• Last week I had a paywalled article on Crikey on the terrible year that opinion polling has had internationally, having progressively dropped the ball in Israel, Britain, Poland and Denmark. Since then, there has been a new entry on the list with the referendum in Greece, at which pollsters heavily underestimated the “no” vote – although in this case, Nate Silver is more sympathetic.

• Also by me in Crikey recently for subscribers only: a look at the wild inconsistency in this week’s poll results for the Greens, and the obstacles facing Tony Abbott with respect to the timing of the next election.

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.

3,266 comments on “BludgerTrack: 52.2-47.8 to Labor”

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  1. The pleasures of being woken by a puppy needing a toilet visit. First cab off the rank (maybe).

    We’ll see what damage Colonel Chaos’s witch hunt will have done to Shorten. But the ‘behaviour’ revealed applies equally to the conservative side – which is very vulnerable.

    Overall, the big point that should be made is to have all campaign funding public and donations over $500 banned.

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Bill Shorten bruised but still standing.
    Political fundraising just can’t be left to trust.
    Here’s the Gay Alcorn article I linked last night. It’s a straight up and down contribution on yesterday’s TURC.
    Barnaby Joyce has his nose put out by Hunt’s decision – and he’s not happy!
    Nice glove work from Brad Haddin.
    The ATO has warned multinationals about their use of hubs to avoid paying tax in Australia.
    “View from the Street”.
    When it comes to SSM it’s better to be a US Republican than an Australian Liberal.,7912
    Scientists say that the Liberals’ attack on climate science is embarrassing.
    Ouch! Microsoft get bitten by its takeover of Nokia.

  3. Section 3 . . .

    Michael Leunig says Abbott and Shorten are a match made in heaven.

    Ron Tandberg has a good dig at the indigenous recognition referendum proponents.

    Pat Campbell has some fun with the TURC.

    As does Mark Knight.

    David Rowe certainly does “sinister” well doesn’t he! And I wonder what “TRUC” stands for.

    First Dog on the Moon takes us into the TURC with Shorten.

  4. Morning all
    TPOF at 1
    Agreed in principle, I really struggle with this issue of political donations & am uncomfortable with the concept in terms of perceptions regarding political influence.

    Thanks too BK

  5. Nikki Sava continues what can only be described as a series of articles which bash Abbott:

    […Whatever the Prime Minister’s motives — to punish Q&A or impress on his colleagues, including Malcolm Turnbull, who is boss — it was dumb. Turnbull will not defy the ban (which no one apart from Warren Truss can recall being expressed before Sunday) if it remains next week because that would set up an untimely confrontation with Abbott.

    Much as the Prime Minister and those close to him may welcome it, or have done their best to provoke it, Turnbull continues to play it his way. So far he has kept his balance on what is a tightrope.

    Turnbull delivered a nuanced speech to the Sydney Institute on terrorism and free speech, calculated to invite comparisons with the Prime Minister’s overblown, off-putting rhetoric on national security and the ABC as well as his underwhelming remarks on the economy. On Tuesday, faced with a predictable question about possible flow-on effects from the evolving modern Greek tragedy and the plunge on Chinese stockmarkets, Abbott cited the importance of the new grocery code in keeping the Australian economy strong.

    Seriously. Not a disconnect ­between head and heart but head and mouth.


    She also reckons that the Liberals hope that the TURC only wounds Shorten because they are more frightened of either Bowen or Albanese.

    So we have Labor hoping that the Coalition hangs onto Abbott and the Coalition hoping that Labor hangs onto Shorten.


  6. This government does not allow dissent of any kind, especially not scientific, it seems.

    [A scientific committee that provided advice to the Federal Government’s Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) on the controversial Geelong Star factory trawler has been disbanded.

    The axing of the Small Pelagic Resource Assessment Group comes in the wake of controversy surrounding the 95-metre trawler, which has killed eight dolphins and four seals in its first three voyages on Australian waters.

    Former committee member Jon Bryan said AFMA dissolved the group, which provided advice on Small Pelagic Fisheries, because it was unhappy with the committee providing “dissenting views”.

    “There wasn’t a clear rationale given,” he said.]

  7. Regarding the Liverpool plains, is there any truth to the rumour that Abbott said to Barnaby, “let them eat coal”?

  8. My post disappeared – try again

    [Bishop takes Turnbull to task

    Julie Bishop has rebuked Malcolm Turnbull for playing down the security threat posed by Islamic State.]

    Yet another split in Abbott’s ministerial cabinet.

  9. Morning all. I expect the usual suspects here will be trying to defend Shorten after yesterdays RC hearing. I have never trusted Shorten so they will dismiss my comments. But I thought yesterday was quite damaging for Their Bill.

    First Shorten only declared the value of a $40,000 donation to his personal political campaign days before he would be questioned, years after the fact. The law required him to declare it. He failed to do so. At best, poor administration. At worst, cynical disregard for the law. Do others do it? Yes. They are guilty too. That does not make Shorten innocent.

    Second, he denied taking money from someone he was negotiating with might compromise his negotiating. Rubbish. Bill needs to look up the meaning of the term “conflict of interest”. We are trying to stop financial advisors doing that. Do we need a law to stop union officials too? With people like Bill in parliament, it will not be easy to get such laws passed. IMO this answer was dishonest, and fooled nobody.

    Finally he “couldn’t remember” dropping in to another donor firm’s tent to have a beer at a Melbourne Cup, even though he could remember who gave him the tickets for the same event. Really? An amazingly selective memory.

    I said before that the claims Shorten negotiated compromised deals for employees were weak, given the deals were still for above award wages. But this evidence is different. It is about Shorten personally, and shows him failing to obey the electoral law, denying an obvious conflict of interest (a lie IMO) and with a questionable memory. Shorten is. Damaged.

    Was this inquiry a witch-hunt? Probably yes. Did they find a witch? Yes? Have a good day all.

  10. ABC gets a Murdoch writer to attack Shorten for ‘balance’. What union was Grace Collier apparently associated with?

    [But Grace Collier, a former union official who now works as an industrial relations consultant, told Lateline no worker would be happy about Mr Shorten’s conduct.

    “You ask any employee out there in the real world what they think of a union official taking money from their boss in the middle of EBA negotiations and I tell you you will get an answer that will say they are not happy with it, they do not find it acceptable, it is not done, and they will not want it,” she said.

    She accused Mr Shorten of trying to blame people working underneath him and she said it does not pass “the sniff test”.

    “This is all very bad for Bill. I know that people on Bill’s side of politics are trying to put a brave face on it. Quite frankly, what more do people want? You have an employer and a union doing EBA negotiations and you have money changing hands,” she said.]

  11. Of course, Soc finding out that he still doesn’t like someone he’s never liked and people who liked someone finding out that they still like them are not equivalent situations at all.

    Either position is equally blinkered.

  12. Looks like no rainbow colour dresses or voting Greens for me…

    As predicted Greek Banks will be shut for the indefinite future and the Socialists are liars

  13. Ancestors
    [Suzanne Smith
    14h14 hours ago
    Suzanne Smith ‏@suzipeep
    Coalition Split? Liverpool Plains: Barnaby Joyce slams Government’s conditional approval for new Chinese coal mine …]

    [Tony Windsor
    Tony Windsor – ‏@TonyHWindsor
    @suzipeep There is no split – this is all part of the fraud being played out by Joyce . If genuinely against it would not be happening
    3:02 AM – 8 Jul 2015 from Werris Creek, New South Wales

  14. Citizen

    Seriously Grace Collier is the dregs of newscorpse. Apologies to dregs. The Abc shoukd be ashamed.

    She is the one who tried to secretly record union meeting by hiding recording device in her bra, she is nassssty

  15. Ancestors
    Show full conversation
    [Suzanne Smith
    13h13 hours ago
    Suzanne Smith ‏@suzipeep
    @TonyHWindsor What happens next? #LiverpoolPlains #Shenua
    Tony Windsor
    Tony Windsor – ‏@TonyHWindsor]

    [@suzipeep The peoples process begins -this decision has all the ingredients of the Franklin peoples movement – will you join it
    3:17 AM – 8 Jul 2015 from Werris Creek, New South Wales

  16. lizzie

    DF is referring to another campaign staffer, who did not want to be named at the RC.

    Shorten explained this and provided her name on a slip of paper to the commissioner and (I think) to the prosecutor. The Commissioner agreed that there was no reason why her name should be published at this point in time.

    Apparently DF thinks the commissioner was out of line in doing this, which is a grave slur on the man’s integrity.

  17. Some things just don’t need much comment –

    [ Iron ore sank 10% to $US44.59 a dry metric ton ]


    [ Chinese steel ‘cheaper than cabbage’

    …Despite a water content of more than 90 per cent, respected commodity price index publisher Platts revealed that cabbages were pricier by the tonne than the most popular type of steel, known as hot rolled coil steel, which is used to make industrial pipes and some vehicles.]


    [ Local shares are set to extend their losses as China’s stock turmoil and iron ore’s price plunge weigh. ]


    [ Chinese Media Blames Soros, “Hostile” Foreigners For Stock Bloodbath

    Sinister forces are at work in China’s stock market, according to at least one “non-biased” Hong Kong newspaper.

    …the paper says, the same nefarious speculator who famously broke the BOE now has his sights set on bankrupting illiterate Chinese farmers.

    …The problem for China, as we’ve pointed out on several occasions this week, is that Beijing has lost all control of the narrative, which puts the Politburo in unfamiliar territory.

    Rhetoric intended to calm the millions of newly-minted day traders who flooded into the market in Q1 and the beginning of Q2 has largely failed to stop the rush to the exits. China’s highly leveraged retail masses are now ready to sell every rip in an effort to break even, a mentality that contrasts markedly with the BTFD bonanza that prevailed on Chinese exchanges right up until June.]

    All of that said chinese markets are at important technical levels and if looking for a level to support the markets and hopefully get a bounce – these are obvious ones to try.

    Whether it works, how long it works are different matters.

  18. zoomster

    I thought it was Counsel for the commission who did not want the name revealed and Shorten grinned and said he understood,

  19. [Peter Brent ‏@mumbletwits 4m4 minutes ago Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
    I reckon @TonyHWindsor would stand bloody good chance of retaking New England at next election. (Better than that of keeping it in 2013.)]


  20. victoria

    no, Shorten was very explicit. He was asked if anyone else had worked on his campaign, answered that yes, he had a part time worker, but wouldn’t reveal her name at her request.

  21. zoomster

    Oh sorry, that must have happened when I was out yesterday.

    I see that the Australian is mis-reporting the Cleanevent conditions by confusing the years of the agreement. I watched that, and it was obvious what Stoljar was trying to prove.

    I’d like to think the journo is stupid, but I fear it’s deliberate malice.

  22. …it’s quite possible that the exchange you heard was also correct, in that Shorten knew that revealing the name might be embarrassing to people other than himself – but that’s just speculation on my part, as I didn’t hear that exchange.

  23. victoria:

    Also it gives NE voters back a parliamentary representative who actually represents their interests, rather than just rolls over to the Liberals time and again.

  24. lizzie:

    That is the kind of remark from an ABC journalist that would have the coalition flipping mad if uttered against one of their kind.

  25. Good Morning

    Well our predictions about the results of TURC are coming true. Its a pox on both your houses lets look at the rules around political donations.

    A big worry for the LNP. The last thing they want. ICAC was worse for them than for Labor in that Labor had a cancer and has cut it out. The LNP still has theirs and its spread to the federal party.

    The momentum is back up and running. The only reason it stopped was the High Court ruling and now minds will be put to how do we do reform in this area without running afoul of the High Court

  26. Oh and stringent conditions the Runt says!

    Stringent conditions mean diddly squat.

    The mine will swallow up viable farming land and that’s the point.

  27. The same people who were expressing disgust and distaste at workers being paid penalty rates are now claiming to be outraged that workers may have been underpaid…..hypocrisy is in the right wing DNA

  28. The whole lets put an open cut mine in the Liverpool plains thing is going to make a big difference in voting in the next Federal election.

    This morning Linda Mottram had the NSW representative on from the National Farmers Federation. She sounded like a Greenie.

  29. Unless there is worse to come out than we heard yesterday, I reckon Shorten will be fine.

    My impression is that, despite the best efforts of the government and Limited News, the spotlight is slowly shifting onto the government again.

    The TURC needed to reveal something far more sleazy and salacious to turn the tide. Slatergate had sex in the form of a dodgy ex-boyfriend. Yesterday just had a lot of nitpicking stuff.

    The really interesting story ATM is that Abbott looks to have gone way too far with his Q&A stuff. To me, it’s another “shirtfront” moment. I sense a humiliating backdown coming on in the next few days.

    Abbott really does seem to have an inability to know when to stop.

    Announcing the approval of the coal mine while Alan
    Jones is on holidays also seems pretty crazy.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I smell trouble on the wind.

  30. As John Lyons asks: “How can Mr Shorten – the alternative Prime Minister – expect that the identity of his deputy campaign director be kept secret?”

    This isn’t just some low level staffer. It’s his deputy campaign director! We’ll find out one way or another. He may as well tell us himself.

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