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. Socrates #21

    ” I have never trusted Shorten so they will dismiss my comments.”

    Well you goy that right.

    “Socrates” …. what an abuse of that philosopher’s name.

  2. meher

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

    Aha! I hadn’t picked up the timing.

    As Dee says, it’s not only the environmental pollution, it’s the destruction of arable land. And there’s our Tone raving about Australa’s ability to feed the world. 😮

  3. [Barry Tucker ‏@btckr · 3m3 minutes ago
    After chuckling at Fran Kelly’s “attention deficit” jibe, Tony Windsor gave her a lecture on state of #auspol; didn’t spare Labor either.]

  4. DF

    [“How can Mr Shorten – the alternative Prime Minister – expect that the identity of his deputy campaign director be kept secret?”]

    Because the government appointed commissioner said he could.

    [This isn’t just some low level staffer. It’s his deputy campaign director! ]

    Um, this says volumes about your abysmal knowledge of politics. He had two staff, one full time, one part time. The campaign director was paid about $50k – about the same wages as a factory hand – and one would thus assume the ‘deputy’ was paid even less.

    Campaign directors are even lower on the scale than staffers, who are permanent employees on a much better pay grade.

  5. Socrates is a hit and run expert here.

    Always says something fairly plausible but invariably includes an element that IMHO needs taking to task, but he flits off quick.

  6. “@farrm51: @TonyHWindsor Are you a political firehorse hearing parliamentary bells ringing again in your future?”

    “@wendy_harmer: ” He’s done nothing! ” @TonyHWindsor on Barnaby fakery. #Shenhua”

  7. [Barry Tucker ‏@btckr · 8m8 minutes ago
    Coal mine will be on world’s 2nd best farmland after Ukraine. In NP AgMin’s seat. Approval given by EnvironMin Hunt, Liberal. Very smelly.]

  8. Desert Fox

    You said we’d find out her name and we did!

    She is a middle aged lady from Frankston, named Patsy Meunier.

  9. “@dudethinking: Liverpool Plains farmer on Barnaby: “what’s the point your local member having a seat at the table, when its his constituency on the menu?”.”

  10. It was made quite clear in the live coverage of TURC on either the SMH or Guardian live blog that the part time staffer, NOT Shorten, requested that her name be concealed. Justice Heydon found the request to be perfectly reasonable. I repeat, Shorten had nothing to do with the request for anonymity, idiot Fox.

  11. i think the Liberals are really struggling to make anything out of the TURC so far.

    The 3aw news had a grab of Abetz saying that Shorten still had questions to answer and that the non declaration of the $40000 was similar to what Craig Thomson was in strife over.

    Strangely he did not mention that his own leader was also involved in the practice of non declaration of large amounts of money, to the tune of $60,000, as I understand it. But I’m sure someone on the Labor side will help him out with that.

    Talk about lead with your chin.

  12. [Stephen Mayne: 2013 political donors to Liberal Party, Tony Abbott | Crikey

    The 2013-14 political donations data confirms a long trend in Australian politics, with the ALP still fundamentally reliant on the union movement and the Liberal Party in the thrall of big business, rent-seekers and a few wealthy families.

    It shouldn’t take until almost halfway through Tony Abbott’s first term in office to be told who funded the campaign that dislodged Kevin Rudd, but the figures were only released by the Australian Electoral Commission at 9am today.

  13. [Coal mine will be on world’s 2nd best farmland after Ukraine. In NP AgMin’s seat. Approval given by EnvironMin Hunt, Liberal. Very smelly.]
    Royal Commission NOW!

  14. Barnaby Joyce says that he did everything he could to stop this coal mine. Well, he’s still a Minister, so he either didn’t threaten to resign, or made the threat and then wimped out. Either way, his claim to have fought the issue to the last breath looks threadbare.

    As Jeremy Thorpe said of Harold Macmillan, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his friends for his life”.

  15. The tory budget taking further great whacks with plunging Iron ore prices – down almost 32% since mid June.

    If abbott is going to an early election it better be soon –

    [How hard will Australia’s iron ore miners be hit? That depends on whether this is a moment of craziness or some sort of new normal.

    Right now it feels more like the former, but accepting for a moment that prices could remain below $US45 a tonne for an extended period – and there are plenty of experts who believe it can go even lower – the pain will be intense.

    BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have their breakeven prices (the point at which they are not losing or making money) down towards $US30 a tonne, so even at these low prices they are doing OK.

    But outside this top tier of the iron ore pecking order, it will get ugly.

    Certainly the tier two and three players have made big efforts in cutting their costs in recent months, even if there are some questions over whether those cuts are really sustainable.

    Fortescue Metals Group is getting its breakeven down towards $US40 a tonne, so it won’t want the price to fall much further.

    Atlas Iron has a breakeven around $US50 a tonne, although company founder David Flanagan told shareholders last month that the company could now ride out iron ore prices as low as $US45 a tonne.

    Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill, which expects to ship its first ore in September, has an assumed break-even price of $US41 a tonne.

    These estimates were made with an assumption of the Australian dollar at US78c, so the miners will have received a bit of respite with the dollar falling towards US74c.

    But the speed with which the iron ore price has fallen – around 25 per cent in a matter of weeks – has surely made life extremely difficult for the juniors.

    Will Australian investors stick with these smaller miners on Thursday?

    More carnage could be on the way.]

  16. Darn @ 63: Senator Abetz is a perfect illustration of the proposition that every child has a right to grow up with a mother, a father and a great uncle.

  17. Good morning all,

    Could some kind soul advise me what tIme the Australian made soap opera TURC starts today.

    I am keen to watch it as I heard the counsel assisting is up for a logie as best new liberal talent.

    Only a rumour though !,

    Thanks in advance.

  18. Hopefully in a couple of years time Abbott will have the opportunity to explain under oath how a $60,000 gift to a close family member from a private college, where an Abbott donor sat as chairman on the board of governors, was all above board. He could also reassure us that the fact that the college stood to gain greatly from planned Higher Education reforms, reforms that were kept hidden before the 2013 election, was immaterial. Further, he can explain why he saw no need to disclose this gift until details were leaked by an employee of the college.

  19. “@political_alert: The Prime Minister is in New South Wales today and will visit a local farming property, 11.30am, Grafton #auspol”

    Talk about Tone deaf. A farming property after that decision!

  20. I’ve always been of the view that there should be ZERO political donations from companies to political parties. Ideally, elections should be funded solely by the taxpayer to provide a level playing field ..much as electoral boundaries are re-drawn periodically.

    However, we have a system of donating in Australia which is obviously open to to actual corruption ..and, of course, the perception of corruption. ALL donations from business to ANY political party can be viewed through the ‘conflict of interest’ prism …including Graeme Wood’s record $1,600,000.00 donation to the Greens..

    To single out one donation made to the AWU to pay for a worker in Bill Shorten’s election campaign is disingenuous at the very best ..hypocritical, certainly ..and in this instance malicious smear-mongering of an opponent by the Prime Minister of Australia …AND using taxpayer’s money …a corruption of a Royal Commission of the highest order imho..

    If Bill Shorten has done the wrong thing …then so has the Prime Minister of Australia ..and so has the Treasurer of Australia ..and so have countless MPs/Senators on both sides of politics..

    The central issue here, surely has to be the disgraceful and ultimately destructive behaviour of our Prime Minister. After all, if he was genuinely concerned about political donations he could have instituted a Royal Commission into ALL political donations ..not just those of his political enemies..

    ..and fools like Socrates cynically use the very thin evidence in the Union Star Chamber to attack someone they don’t like..


  21. [guytaur

    Posted Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    “@political_alert: The Prime Minister is in New South Wales today and will visit a local farming property, 11.30am, Grafton #auspol” ]

    Probably just wants to see if there is any thing worth digging up.

  22. Jun 23, 2010 OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott took out a new $710000 mortgage on his … he failed to declare the loans to Parliament for almost two years.

    Mortgage on your home? Hardly something you wouldn’t know about…

  23. Markjs

    The Greens agree with you including the Graeme Wood donation.

    They have stated they have to work in the system as it is while trying to change it.

    Not a holier than thou a we all need to do better position.

  24. From memory, Tony Windsor several years did sell some of his own property to a mining company. Cant recall all the details, but I do remember him talking about it and reasons why

  25. “@bkjabour: The prime minister is holding a press conference in my home town! Grafton usually only sees federal pollies during election campaigns…”

  26. guytaur..

    I’ve read the Greens policy on political donations ..and I agree with it.

    PS: glad to hear they’re going to pay back the $1,600,000.00 donation 🙂

  27. It’s not a question of Bill not sending in a form. This is an administrative error by the Party, but the commentary is rabid.

    [Labor sources pointed reporters to an AEC media release from 2008 that said: “Officially endorsed candidates may submit a ‘nil return’ and roll their reporting into their annual party return due for release in February 2009 if their financial transactions were the responsibility of a party committee. Out of 1,421 candidates who stood at the recent federal election, more than 1,000 nil returns were received.”

    Shorten told the inquiry all of his campaign accounts were kept by the Labor party.

    “I don’t have separate campaign accounts in my electorate. They were all held, as I think most of the ALP accounts for members are held, by the Victorian branch of the ALP,” he said.

    “My campaign director would typically fill in, and he has for the five years that he was my campaign director, filled in a return, and would list all the various matters. You will find quite a lot disclosed there which is not here. But I have discovered in very recent times that there was an incomplete form sent to the ALP head office … I take ultimate responsibility for that. This is done by my campaign director each year and we have now updated it.”]

  28. Markjs,

    I understand your concerns re funding of campaigns but I believe private donations including from business and unions are important and democratic methods of progressing ones agenda irrespective of which party you support.

    Donations should be declared within a very strict timeline from receiving and should be released through the AEC on a regular basis perhaps every three to six months. All donations above $500 should be included in the release

    Failure to declare should be a offence that incurs a automatic penalty of a significant amount and a automatic audit of the records of the party or and the individual concerned with the findings and names of those whose donations may be found to have been undeclared released.

    The AEC should be give the power and resources to do this and be independent from government in its ability to investigate just as the auditor general is.

    Just some thoughts anyway.


  29. psyclaw: Socrates is just a silly armchair socialist who would like to see the ALP expunge all right faction members/unions and veer as far to the left as it possibly can. Like many, he seems to suffer from the utterly mistaken belief that this would make Labor more electable.

    In reality, I think it would put the party in a death spiral battle against the Greens for the same political space, with the Greens holding all the aces: representing a growing, affluent constituency as opposed to the declining base of environment-hating, absurdly militant left unionists to which the Labor left is attached.

    My sense is that, in recent years, the left is becoming steadily more powerful within the ALP, especially in the three “southern states” where we have two left premiers and a left OL in Tassie. The plebiscite to elect the OL demonstrated a strong left orientation across the branches: understandable for many reasons, but not helpful to the party in the longer-term.

    With the Coalition vacating the political centre in a big way (Federally: things aren’t so crazy at the State level), it’s imperative IMO that Labor do all that it can to seize the middle ground. Shorten, with all his faults (and they are many) is the right man for this job ATM.

  30. How to make themselves look ridiculous –

    [ China bans big shareholders from cutting stakes for next six months

    China’s securities regulator took the drastic step of ordering shareholders with stakes of more than 5 percent from selling shares for the next six months in a bid to halt a plunge in stock prices that is starting to roil global financial markets.

    The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on its website late on Wednesday that it would deal severely with any shareholders who violated the rule.

    Unlike other major stock markets, which are dominated by professional money managers, retail investors account for around 85 percent of China trade, which exacerbates volatility.

    Deng Ge, a CSRC spokesman, said in remarks posted on the regulator’s official channel on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that there had been a big increase in “irrational selling” of stocks.

    “It’s a stampede,” added Wang Feng]

  31. citizen at 22

    This is an excellent example of what happens when a person has decided the result before learning all the facts, they have to work backwards & when this doesn’t work, they make up spurious facts to fit their result.

  32. [The Greens agree with you including the Graeme Wood donation.

    They have stated they have to work in the system as it is while trying to change it.

    Not a holier than thou a we all need to do better position.

    So when it comes to action on climate change and a range of other issues, the Greens attitude is not to compromise but to hold out until they get exactly what they want (basically forever..)

    But when it comes to money, they’re happy to work within the system.

    Not at all hypocritical.

  33. steve777: I’d be more interested in seeing the AWB issue reopened: something that “hero to most”* KRudd was happy to sweep under the carpet, along with giving plum jobs to Brendan Nelson and Tim Fischer (and how did Abbott repay him? Disgracefully dragging Steve Bracks and shunting Mike Rann for Minchin and Downer).

    * Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant s__t to me” Public Enemy, “Fight the Power”

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

    Grace Collier has a regular segment on 2GB with Chris Smith entitled “Clown Of the Week”. It is always either an ALP “clown” or Gillian Triggs.

  35. How to make themselves look ridiculous –

    [ China bans big shareholders from cutting stakes for next six months

    China’s securities regulator took the drastic step of ordering shareholders with stakes of more than 5 percent from selling shares for the next six months in a bid to halt a plunge in stock prices that is starting to roil global financial markets.

    The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on its website late on Wednesday that it would deal severely with any shareholders who violated the rule.

    Unlike other major stock markets, which are dominated by professional money managers, retail investors account for around 85 percent of China trade, which exacerbates volatility.

    “It’s a stampede,” added Wang Feng, ]

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