BludgerTrack: 53.6-46.4 to Labor

Tony Abbott’s standing continues to sour on both personal ratings and voting intention, but a recent improvement in Bill Shorten’s ratings also appears to have been short-lived.

After three new polls this week – from Newspoll, Morgan and Essential Research – the BludgerTrack poll aggregate comes in at 53.6-46.4 to Labor, with Labor picking up one each on the seat projection in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania. However, the movement is partly down to a methodological tweak involving Morgan, for which bias adjustments are now based only on the pollster’s track record within a year of the poll in question, and not as before over the entirety of the term. The same change was made for ReachTEL a couple of weeks ago. Over the long term, the effect of these changes is neutral – but in the short term they’re favourable to Labor, as both these poll series appear to have leaned less to Labor lately than they did earlier in the term. Newspoll and Essential also reported leadership ratings this week, which have had the effect of furthering Tony Abbott’s decline, while also stymieing Bill Shorten’s gains over the previous fortnight.

Two further snippets of recent attitudinal polling:

The Guardian relates a Lonergan Research poll had a 57-43 split in favour of taking in more refugees in response to the Syria crisis, although there was a 54-46 split in favour of “Operation Sovereign Borders”, namely boat tow-backs and related policies. The results suggest these were “forced choice” questions, in which the only alternative to jumping off the fence was to hang up on the call – which Kevin Bonham has his doubts about. The poll encompassed 1109 respondents and was conducted on Tuesday night.

• The Australia Institute has conducted online polling (note the self-selecting kind) on extra funding for ABC regional news services, which was found to have 59% nationally and 64% in rural and remote areas. Further polling on the same question specifically targeted the electorates of Eden-Monaro, New England, Wide Bay, Sturt, North Sydney and Wentworth.


• The loudest of hosannas are in order for David Barry’s election results resource, which features – in the most streamlined, intuitive and accessible fashion imaginable – aggregate and seat-level results for all House of Representatives elections since federation, including preference distributions and preference flow data; facilities to explore data as bar charts, line charts and scatterplots; and interactive results maps which, on top of anything else, mark the first time all historical federal electoral boundaries have been brought together in one place.

• A Liberal National Party preselection process is under way to choose a successor to Bruce Scott in the remote Queensland seat of Maranoa. The Chronicle reports that David Littleproud, a manager of a Suncorp bank branch in Warwick, and Cameron O’Neil, a Maranoa councillor who works for the Queensland Disaster Management Committee, are “joint favourites”, while the Warwick Daily News narrows it down to just Littleproud as favourite. Other nominees are Lachlan Douglas, southern Queensland regional manager for Rabobank; Alison Krieg, a grazier from Blackall; and Rick Gurnett, a grazier from Charleville. Maranoa mayor Robert Loughnan was named earlier, but would seem to have dropped out of contention. The preselection will be conducted by a postal ballot, with the winner to be announced on October 23.

• Liberal MP Andrew Southcott last week announced he would bow out at the next election, after 19 years as member for the Adelaide seat of Boothby. Labor came close to toppling Southcott at its high-water marks of 2007 and 2010, but the 2013 landslide boosted his margin from 0.6% to 7.1%. Southcott is 47 years old, and speculation about his motives in pulling the plug have rested on two factors: his recent failure to win the Speakership, and the threat posed to his seat by the Nick Xenophon Team, notwithstanding that it is yet to announce a candidate. It is expected that the Liberals will be keen to field a female candidate. Sources quoted by The Advertiser suggest potential contenders include Carolyn Habib, a youth worker and former Marion councillor who ran unsuccessfully in the marginal seat of Elder at the March 2014 state election; and Nicolle Flint, a columnist for The Advertiser; and Caitlin Keage, a staffer to Senator Simon Birmingham. Labor has already preselected Mark Ward, a teacher at Urrbrae Agricultural High School, Mitcham councillor and narrowly unsuccessful candidate at the Davenport state by-election in January.

Mark Kenny of Fairfax reports numbers from the Tasmanian Labor Senate preselection that has seen incumbent Lisa Singh dumped from third position in favour of John Short, state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. Singh outpolled Short in the rank-and-file half of the vote, which respectively gave 221, 123 and 110 to the incumbents, Ann Urquhart, Helen Polley and Lisa Singh, with Short on 74 and another 14 voters scattered among various also-rans. However, Short closed the gap when the half of the vote determined by unions and conference delegates was added to the total, by 158 votes to 154.

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.

3,499 comments on “BludgerTrack: 53.6-46.4 to Labor”

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  1. I’d like to implement legislation whereby anyone casting a vote for a candidate in a preselection contest must watch every speech made by their chosen MP in Parliament. There are just far too many seat warmers in a relatively small parliament then there should be.

    That’s my grumble of the day.

  2. In response to Lisa Wilkinson’s “there have been wars/disputes in the middle east for thousands of years, how long do you expect Australia to now be involved in Syria” his reply (also paraphrased but with more license) “2 to 3 years and it’ll all be tickety-boo”

    He came across as asserting Australia will be playing a major roll.. almost leading these bombing raids.

    ROFLMAO. idiot.

  3. The Government Gazette intersperses overwhelming acclamation by the RupertRooting columnists of Tony Abbott’s triumph regarding Syria, with new lines of attack on Bill Shorten, who apparently has Gough Whitlam turning in his grave (despite being cremated).

  4. And in a breathless ‘Exclusive’, the Daily TurdBurgler is back on the safer ground of welfare recipient bashing, with an aggressive looking ScoMo topping this palava

    Time to get off the couch, bludgers
    EXCLUSIVE: ALMOST 40,000 dole bludgers who were making no effort to find a job have been told to “get off the couch” and find work as part of the federal government’s new Jobactive scheme.]

  5. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. I just watched a bit of Abbott’s 7:30 interview and wondered what was left on the cutting room floor (rather its electronic equivalent)!

    The High Court has given the green light to recent ICAC legislation so now when do we see the Arthur Sinodinos report?
    Mark Kenny on Abbott’s stunning change on Syrian refugees. And the ridiculous caricature George Christensen.
    Michael Gordon says that at last Abbott’s actions match the words.
    Abbott will not rule out the use of combat forces against IS.
    Shorten challenges Abbott to rein in his right wing fringe dwellers.
    And Graham Perrett nailed George Christensen for posing as a Christian.
    Peter Martin writes of the Senate’s rejection of the latest incarnation of NewStart restrictions.
    Er, Malcolm Maiden, you should have checked the ASX futures before writing this – we’re looking at a 93 points slump to start the day!
    “View from the Street” lets fly on Bernie Fraser’s resignation and our simultaneous taking and creating Syrian refugees.
    Lenore Taylor on how when the voice of the voters is raised politicians will listen.

  6. Section 2 . . .

    This former headmaster of Geelong Grammar’s motives were exposed at yesterday’s CA Royal Commission hearing.
    Seeing past the smoke and mirrors of the China FTA.,8146
    Has Abbott found his 9/11?
    Another APS pay offer bites the dust. This time it’s in Veterans’ Affairs.
    How on-line betting outfits get to us to gamble more. (Not me though!)
    This former Wilson security guard says that sexual harassment of staff in Nauru is rife.
    It’s time to tackle the perversive scourge of suicide.
    Jason Clare’s tribute to Abbott’s first two years has gone viral. No wonder!
    This enterprising former Liberal candidate seems to have been well credentialed.
    We need objective reporting more than ever.

  7. Section 3 . . . Cartoon Corner.

    Ron Tandberg and Abbott’s discovery of compassion.

    And here he is at the Immigration queue.

    A good character assessment from Alan Moir.

    David Pope takes us into our Syrian excursion.
    Mark Knight says plenty here!

    And Bill Leak with something similar.

    Of course David Rowe nails it!

  8. morning all

    Would have been nice if Leigh Sales said to the Abbott that supposedly stopping the boats did not actually stop the problem. There are more people than ever seeking refugee. And in doing so, are drowning in other places. In fact due to the sovereign border secrecy, how many people have really drowned in our part of the world.

  9. [If the ban is overturned by the High Court, Mr McCloy would not have broken the law and major parts of ICAC’s ability to make findings in major parts of its investigation will be thrown into doubt.]

    The overturning does not seem likely but many of the non-politicians the subject of adverse findings or the threat of them at the hands of ICAC have deep, deep pockets. The likelihood of much more litigation in the Supreme Court challenging ICAC in many and varied ways appears a greater reality than equivalent union action viz TURC.

  10. William, I’m not clear on a lot of things this morning. I thought the Greens were on 13.5 last BT, now 14.5 (+1.3). Is that part of the methodology change, or do I need a new abacus? Maybe I missed a week when they went backwards.

  11. William, I’m not clear on a lot of things this morning. I thought the Greens were on 13.5 last BT, now 14.5 (+1.3). Is that part of the methodology change, or do I need a new abacus? Maybe I missed a week when they went backwards.

  12. Good Morning

    For those that missed it the meme twitter is using after the 7:30 interview

    “@GavinDFernando: “Would you like whole milk or skim?”
    “I stopped the boats.””

  13. [Sky News Australia ‏@SkyNewsAust
    Hockey: we are going to see some volatility in the unemployment numbers]

    Which is another way of saying unemployment to rise.

  14. The Rowe cartoon features a red budgie smuggler wearing man with a spike choker who looks like a younger Alan Jones. I can’t for the life of me work out who it is supposed to be.

  15. More importantly than any polling this week if there are any fans left of the dirty dirty hawks from hawthorn you should let your club know it would be nice if you played footy on friday night and were good enough at the footy so that for a change those thugs Sam ‘knee to anywhere sensitive’ Mitchell and good old drunken Luke ‘head high hit’ Hodge could play the game rather than try and take out good players from the other side.

  16. I thought the lurker in the Moir cartoon was George Pell – crucifix, dog collar – but it could be Scrot. Someone who’s been on the beach long enough to get burned, anyway.

  17. I fully understnd that one interview is of no concern but Abbott’s interview on the ABC last night was by any account atrocious & should at the least be very worrying for all Australians. This man is clearly incapable of leading this country & has plumbed the kowest depths of any PM I can recall.

  18. Abbott’s 12,000 refugee intake is under-whelming won’t even make up for the cut to refugee intake ( 20,000 to 13,750 ) he made in 2013..

  19. Can I just say a massive THANK YOU to Mr Abbott for all those from the left gritting their teeth… from Gillian Triggs the biased Labor appointee, to the Greens leader whats-its-name and of course none other than Sarah Hanson-Young… she wants to say a big thank you as well.

    I’m doing this as a community service because lefties are such bitter, bile-filled, hate-mongers that they can’t bring it on to do it themselves.

  20. Good morning all,

    The Australian this morning has Hockey blaming any rise in the unemployment rate on changes to the system rather than any deterioration in jobs.

    So, on that basis and with Hockey out and about this morning trying his hardest to deflect it would appear that the unemployment rate will rise. I would also reflect that if Hockey and Murdoch are putting the work in early then the rise will be significant as I cannot recall the government being this proactive before.

    Time will tell.

  21. The general opinion I have heard on the refugee numbers seems to be “Well done but could do better”, with some admiration for staring down the fringe dwellers.

    IMO the PM doesn’t deserve adulation for giving back some of what he took away after the election.

  22. Lizzie

    By the sound of True Blue’s post, he was thanking us for some promotion he must have received at Liberal HQ.

    We seem better able to create jobs than the government can 😉

  23. [View at own risk

    @srpeatling: Here’s the PM training with the Paga Panthers in PNG, as captured by @mearesy. I think he looks great in hot pink.

    Abbott appeared quite unwell, croakey voice, clearly disoriented and lacking concentration, in the Sales interview yesterday.

    Why has Peta got him out for some he-man photo op after flying to PNG last night? Is this the cunning plan? Wear the duffer out so he has to step down dor health reasons?

  24. It hasn’t cut refugee numbers, yes it did reverse the previous government’s proposal to increase numbers so infect the current intake is the same which existed before the commitment to increase, which due to the election was never implemented.

  25. Of all the things that Abbott said in his interview yesterday afternoon, the one that I can’t go past is the “credible path back to surplus” line. As far as I can see this government has a barely conceivable path back to surplus, and only in the case of something happening entirely out of there control, like another mining boom.

  26. Abbott has worked long and hard to turn the Iraq-Syria conflict into a war-&-terror story, into khaki politics. This has been completely changed by events. Syria now evokes helping stricken people rather than killing the unseen and must also mean a war-inspired election is off the table.

  27. Roger

    I keep hearing the government claim that they have a strategy but its appears to be more of a slogan than anything, it sounds good.

  28. Mexican

    Frankly, there is so much legislation which has been forecast and then defeated or retracted that I am now quite confused as to what has gone through.

  29. [29

    Can I just say a massive THANK YOU to Mr Abbott]


    You can thank him as much as you like. The voters won’t. They don’t hand out gratitude to politicians simply for doing their job.

  30. The strategy seems to be saying positive things about the economy and if anyone says different jumping on them for talking down the economy. After what they did for six years in oppostion it just beggars belief.

  31. Briefly

    Also events have proved Abbott to be a follower not a leader. Look how quickly Mr Shorten moved on his calls for a refugee intake.

    A leader makes sure he is in front instead of waiting for the public to make up its mind and then tell him what to do.

    Flexibility reacting to reality not strong points with this government. Truly an Abbott government.

  32. Lizzie

    That’s okay, its a reflection on how this government operates that seasoned political watchers like us, are confused as to what it is or isn’t doing.

    The more I look at this government, the more confusing it gets, its just all over the stop.

  33. Maybe Abbott caught the flu while campaigning in Canning. I’ve spoken to dozens of unwell people in the electorate in the last week or so.

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