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. Question: with the primary vote for the two major parties continuing to drop (now clearly below 75%), at what point do the 2PP figures start to get wobbly and less relevant?

  2. I don’t think Abbott looks ill, just that his hair is thinning and he doesn’t wear that rich yellow makeup so often. I think he looks like an animal under threat, with its ears pinned back.

  3. [briefly
    Posted Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 9:43 am | PERMALINK
    guytaur, Abbott is a proven failure as a leader. He just does not know how to do it.

    As I said at the time he was elected, he is just an attack dog masquerading as a Prime Minister. Now the proof is there for all to see.

  4. sprocket

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

    I had the same impression. I also thought Sales pulled off a decent interview. When Abbott started to intone the usual slogans, she cut him off.

  5. Yesterday I said that the Greens would have a new focus on supporting small business. Today it is already paying off.

    Greens candidate for Higgins, Jason Ball, says:

    “The Australian Council of Small Business will run a marginal seat campaign backing The Greens and Nick Xenophon because Labor and Liberal have failed to back small business over big business.
    The Greens have been consistent supporters of changes to competition laws to better protect small business from the market power of major corporations and this campaign is backed by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Independent Retailers Association, Independent Retailers, the Australian Retailers Association, the Australian Hotels Association and Australian Newsagents.”

  6. Wamut and Unitary

    Unitary is mostly right.

    As long as the ALP and the LIBs are the final 2 then the 2PP isn’t an issue. It won’t be wobbly.

    The only problem comes in three-corner contests where a third party makes it into the final 2. So far that has both been very important and sort of unimportant simultaneously.

    If a Green wins instead of an ALP, or if a Nat wins instead of a Liberal doesn’t usually make that much change to the condition of the parliament. Though it can matter around the edges.

  7. [47


    Any wonder Abbott is feeling crook. :)]

    For Abbott, years of hard work demonising refugees has just gone up in smoke. Far from being able to deny the very existence of refugees, he’s had to accept the indisputable claims of conscience and of reality. Of course, in vilifying refugees for so long and so thoroughly, he has burned all his bridges to civil society. The more generosity he now shows, the less validity there will be in his other policies of revenge and punishment.

    The energy will go right out of border phobia and attention will turn again to his political prisoners on Manus and Nauru. The ground has shifted beneath us all. Maybe Abbott’s whole political strategy has just been demolished.

  8. From article linked to above by PG:
    [Anger has mounted in the small-business sector as it has become clear that last week’s cabinet decision to “defer” changes to competition laws to better protect small business from the market power of major corporations, amounted to a decision not to make the change.

    Given that Labor also opposes the so-called “effects test”, Strong admits a conventional marginal seats campaign is not an option. “But Nick Xenophon and the Greens both back our position,” he said.]

    Greens Party policy – Standing Up for Small Business:

  9. A game-changing scenario in South Australia was posited by Matt Abraham and David Bevan on ABC Radio today.

    They say that, based on Senate voting at the last election, Xenophon candidates could win every seat in the state except the vast outback electorate of Grey.

    Xenophon candidates would finish either first or second in every other seat and win on Labor/Liberal preferences – unless the major parties do a deal and agree to put Xenophon last.


  10. [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.]

    I am not saying this is incorrect I just think it is almost always used in a deliberately misleading way.

    If the current government went to an election now before a single Syrian refugee was transferred to Australia it would not be true for an incoming Palmer United government to cancell the 12000 places and say they haven’t reduced the places. But that is the logic.

  11. The psephological world will become busy and exciting soon if this trend continues in the medium term. Imagine trying to extract a 2PP result from three parties, starting by figuring out which two to compare based on preferences from others.

    Even if the trend stops and we’re left with roughly the status quo, a lot of psephologists work will become reading the mood of Greens voters, which is crucial across most seats and crucially different between them. This will become more complicated with Di Natale at the helm as he works to bring across Turnbull / wet libs.

    /my take

  12. Will the new line re questions to Andrews, Abbott et al. when asked about the bombing raids once they begin in a week be, “we don’t comment on in air operational matters, this policy stopped the boats and it will stop the death cults advance”

  13. Eric Tlozek ‏@EricTlozek 35m35 minutes ago

    @TonyAbbottMHR says the Syrian #refugees Aus will take are different to those in detention because they did not use people smugglers #auspol


    Afghan and IRAQ is still going, it will last alot longer than 10 years.

  14. Yup they are using this to attack people who come by boat:

    ABC Current Affairs ‏@amworldtodaypm 1m1 minute ago

    Govt will help people in the zone of the “genuine refugee & humanitarian crisis in the Middle East” @ScottMorrisonMP

  15. Tony Windsor ‏@TonyHWindsor 3m3 minutes ago Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

    Mr Abbotts performance on 7.30 with @leighsales suggests he may well have given up on himself

  16. WWP

    Yes it is misleading and at times confusing, if the previous government had legislated then this government changed it, then it would be clear cut and it might have happened that way.

  17. zoidlord

    I just laugh when anyone says something will take ten years. It usually means they have no idea. Think of how many ‘cures for cancer’ have been promised ‘within ten years’.

  18. People in our processing camps are not real refugees.

    Real refugees are in the camps waiting patiently in line in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon with a firm grip on their ID papers… something the blow-ins from Indonesia somehow “lose” on the way here.

  19. [Where Laundy has emerged as an odd man out is among his fellow conservatives since he entered parliament at the 2013 election. He stood up for Triggs in the Coalition party room in February, arguing that the real point should be to release children from detention. He threatened to cross the floor against the Abbott government’s plan to change the Racial Discrimination Act to allow hate speech; the government dropped the plan in August.

    And last Friday, while Abbott was trumpeting his government’s “stop the boats” policy as Europe’s refugee crisis unfolded, Laundy publicly pleaded for Australia to take more refugees from Syria. “There but for the grace of God go any of us,” he said. His stand flew in the face of a powerful portion of the Liberal Party’s conservative base that opposes bringing in more refugees, but his electoral office was swamped with emails from the public, about 90 per cent of which supported him.]

  20. [69

    Gration says the conflict will probably last 10 years with no resolution at the end.]

    There is almost never any information published about the conflict. During the last Iraq war the media were “embedded” with western forces and a lot of first hand coverage (and propaganda) was produced. This time there is nothing. As a result, the conflict seems like no more than a figment of official imagination. We know that 800-odd missions have been flown by the RAAF, that 500-odd rockets or bombs have been fired. But we have no detailed idea of the context in which this has occurred nor of its effectiveness. We don’t know of this has had any effect of “degrading” IS or whether there has been collateral damage. We don’t know how these strikes relate to the training missions of ground forces nor if these missions are having any effect at all.

    This is a war that has been announced but which is in nearly every respect invisible.

    Considering we know that Abbott imagines himself as a kind of commander, and yet he is also incredibly incompetent, erratic and opportunistic, a more open account of the conflict would be very valuable.

    Perhaps a public accounting of the warring may compromise his ability to wage it, and, especially, compromise official and civic efforts to deflate radicalisation of young Muslims.

    It’s not easy to sell two conflicting messages – one that says we must kill Muslims and another that says we must build a safe, inclusive and harmonious society. This is the central contradiction in Abbott’s scheme, a contradiction revealed this week in his response to the refugee crisis.

  21. PhoenixGreen

    let’s not get over excited here.

    For starters, it’s not unusual for Greens mid term to score well in the polling. It doesn’t mean that these results carry through to the actual election.

    Secondly, the Greens fared poorly in historical terms at the last election, so part of the current polling simply reflects lost votes coming ‘home’.

    Thirdly, for the Greens vote rise to ‘mean’ anything, they need it to be concentrated in certain seats, not spread out. The Greens are getting better at this kind of targetting, as recent state results show, but federal electorates might be a different ball game (due to size). It will be interesting to see if they can apply the same strategies they’ve used at state level at the next federal election (and, as a side issue, whether doing so is counter productive to their senate chances – given than targetting a few seats rather than many might reduce the flow through of votes from the HoR to the Senate).

    Yes, they are scoring better than they have historically. Yes, I expect that to result in a higher vote come the next federal election. I’m just cautioning against the idea that this is some kind of permanent shift.

  22. [82

    People in our processing camps are not real refugees.]

    Yes. You’re right. They are not refugees. They are political trophies held in Abbott’s gulag. They are hostages kept for nakedly political reasons.

    If they are able to leave Australia’s vise, then they will be able to claim they are refugees – that they are civilians fleeing persecution.

  23. The previous government actually increased the humanitarian program intake to 20000, it wasn’t just an election promise.

    Figures here are for the overall humanitarian program, the number of resettled refugees, and the proportion

    2011–12 13,759 6,718 49%
    2012–13 20,019 12,012 60%
    2013–14 13,768 6501 47%
    2014–15 13,750 (planned) 6,000 (planned) 44%

    The current government actually cut the humanitarian program, no sophistry needed.

  24. I think the combination of:

    (a) images pertaining to previous dealings with refugees;
    (b) the arrow beneath the red trunks pointing at the red trunks wearing person’s old fellow;
    (c) the glasses;
    (d) the ‘only way is up’ reference (which I imply to be a reference to a leadership ambition)

    means it is Morrison.

  25. [There’s a photo of Abbott at 9.33am on this link which isn’t a pretty sight. Is there a medical reason for him not being able to keep his tongue inside his mouth?]

    Yes, he’s got dickheaditus.

  26. [“The previous government actually increased the humanitarian program intake to 20000, it wasn’t just an election promise.”]

    Labors generous “intake” was dictated by the people smugglers in Indonesia flooding Australia with illegals.. had nothing to do with their bleeding hearts helping legitimate refugees.

  27. I know this is impolite, but I laughed.

    [Mr Roger Quimbly
    ‏@RogerQuimbly Just farted so long and hard that my voice recognition software wrote a Daily Mail column.]

  28. [Toorak Toff
    Posted Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 10:03 am | PERMALINK
    A game-changing scenario in South Australia was posited by Matt Abraham and David Bevan on ABC Radio today.

    They say that, based on Senate voting at the last election, Xenophon candidates could win every seat in the state except the vast outback electorate of Grey.

    Xenophon candidates would finish either first or second in every other seat and win on Labor/Liberal preferences – unless the major parties do a deal and agree to put Xenophon last.


    Wow indeed. It might be a bit tricky for Labor though. If this theory is plausible they may have no option other than to put xenophon last if they want to come away with a majority of the seats in SA.

    According to Bludgertrack they could win 7 seats to the Libs 4 if xenophon does not run HOR candidates, a majority of three. If he does run HOR candidates and is not preferenced last the Libs could end up with a majority of 1. That could be enough to swing a close election.

  29. BH

    [There’s a photo of Abbott at 9.33am on this link which isn’t a pretty sight. Is there a medical reason for him not being able to keep his tongue inside his mouth?]

    Well a quick google suggests that he might be suffering from Tardive Dyskinesia.

    TD is a neurological disorder consisting of abnormal, involuntary body movements.

    It is usually associated with long-term use of medicines for treating psychotic disorders (so seems a fair bet for Tones).

    Tardive Dyskinesia

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