BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition

The polling picture this week has been transformed by Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership coup, the effects of which are felt with little variation across all six states.

Five polls conducted since Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership putsch early last week have sung from the same song sheet by recording results of either 50-50 (ReachTEL and Essential Research) or 51-49 in favour of the Coalition (Newspoll and Galaxy), with the exception of a stray result from Morgan, which had it at 53.5-46.5 when using the equivalent two-party measures that assumes preferences flow as they did at the previous election. This results in a dramatic shift in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which has the Coalition in the lead for the first time since the very early days of the Abbott government. The BludgerTrack voting intention results shown in the tables on the sidebar are simply a weighted average of the five results after bias adjustment, rather than the usual trend calculation. There has not been a great deal of state-level variability in the Coalition surge, except to the extent that Queensland and South Australia have shifted a bit under 2% more than New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. On the seat projection, the Coalition is up nine seats in Queensland, seven in New South Wales, four apiece in Victoria and Western Australia, and two apiece in South Australia and Tasmania.

On leadership ratings, the only results on personal approval have came from Newspoll, which credited Malcolm Turnbull with a strong but not spectacular net rating of plus 18% – only slightly higher than where Tony Abbott was during his post-election honeymoon. However, Galaxy and Essential Research joined with Newspoll in publishing preferred prime minister results, which respectively recorded Turnbull’s lead over Bill Shorten at 31%, 36% and 34%. The change in atmosphere has had no discernible effect on Shorten’s personal ratings, which remain as they were a fortnight ago.

Other news:

• Postal votes continue to trickle in, but the swing in Saturday’s Canning by-election appears to have settled at 6.5%, leaving victorious Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie with a winning margin of 5.3%. There was an intruging regional pattern to the swing, which was approaching 10% in the low-income suburbs around Armadale at Perth’s south-eastern fringe, but little more than 3% in the coastal retirement of Mandurah. For more of my thoughts on the matter, here is a paywalled article from Crikey on Monday, and a podcast discussion with Natalie Mast at The Conversation. See also Seat of the Week immediately below this post.

The West Australian reports that Bill Shorten is lobbying to have Matt Keogh, Labor’s unsuccessful Canning by-election candidate, preselected for the new seat of Burt, which will encompass Armadale and similarly Labor-friendly territory to the north. However, it is also reported that the powerful Left faction United Voice union is keen to have the position go to Gosnells councillor Pierre Yang.

Mark Coultan of The Australian reports that Trent Zimmerman, factional moderate and acting president of the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party, is the “early front-runner” to replace Joe Hockey in North Sydney, which he is generally expected to vacate to take on the position of ambassador to Washington. Major Liberal preselections very likely loom in Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah, Bronwyn Bishop’s seat of Mackellar and Phillip Ruddock’s seat of Berowra, but these will have to wait until the redistribution is finalised.

Daniel Wills of The Advertiser lists six nominees for the Liberal preselection in Boothby, to be vacated at the election with the retirement of Andrew Southcott: 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 Nicole Flint, a columnist for The Advertiser; Josh Teague, a lawyer and the son of former Senator Baden Teague; Nick Greer, a Mitcham councillor; Shaun Osborn, a policeman; and Ryan Post, a staffer to Andrew Southcott.

• The Advertiser report also relates that Liberal nominees for the seat of Adelaide, which is held for Labor by Kate Ellis, will include Houssam Abiad, the Lebanese-born deputy lord mayor of Adelaide (CORRECTION: Abiad was born in Australia, of Lebanese-born parents). Abiad’s run for preselection in the seat in 2010 had backing from both Christopher Pyne, a fellow factional moderate, and Alexander Downer, from the rival Right faction, but may have fallen foul of publicity given to anti-Israel comments he had made two years earlier.

• The Greens have a new Senator for South Australia in Robert Simms, a former Adelaide councillor and former adviser to Scott Ludlam and Sarah Hanson-Young. Simms replaces Penny Wright, who was elected to the Senate at the 2010 election, and announced her intention to stand down due to an illness in the family in July. Josh Taylor of Crikey has been reporting on ructions in the party over the transfer of the tertiary, technical, and further education portfolio to Simms from Lee Rhiannon, which has incurred displeasure from the party’s New South Wales branch (paywalled articles here and here).

• Last week’s leadership change has returned the moribund issue of Senate electoral reform to the agenda, after the newly appointed Special Minister of State, Mal Brough, said he wished to see reform enacted in time for the election. The Guardian reports the outgoing minister, Michael Ronaldson, had told Liberal MPs that legislation he had drafted was being held up in Tony Abbott’s office, and that Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm had been “more or less told” by senior ministers that the government had lost its enthusiasm for the project. Labor appears to be split, with Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters members Alan Griffin and Gary Gray standing by the recommendations of the committee’s report into the matter last year, but The Australian reporting that senior party figures believe reform would result in a “less progressive parliament”.

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.

2,389 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition”

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  1. IMO Malware won’t move Policy to the centre until after this mini-budget and more probably early next year, just prior an early election announcement & PRE BUDGET – too late for the RWNJ’s that gave him the numbers to oust the Mad Monk.
    He lied to them, it’s been his plan for awhile now and the RWNJ fringe are too stupid to see the Irony coming…

  2. [The pundits are always right. Mark Kenny was right yesterday. He is right today. And he’ll no doubt be right tomorrow.]

    Yes, except for Mark Simkin. Did someone comment that he had burnt his bridges at the ABC?
    Such a pity if that’s the case, but I’m sure Toolman could hire him as a consultant.

  3. Essential poll
    [Essential: Turnbull fires up a damaged Coalition brand
    Bernard Keane | Sep 29, 2015 12:46PM

    While Malcolm Turnbull has has put a rocket under the Coalition vote, its brand remains badly damaged from the Abbott era, today’s Essential Report shows.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s ascension to the prime ministership has turbocharged the Coalition vote, today’s Essential Report shows.

    The Coalition now leads Labor 52%-48% on a two-party preferred basis, its first lead since March 2014, based on a primary vote of 44% (up three points), compared to 35% for Labor (down two points) and 11% (unchanged) for the Greens. That marks the first full fortnight of the Turnbull era. Based on results from last week alone rather than a fortnightly rolling average, the Coalition’s lead is even higher — 53.5%-46.5%, suggesting the Turnbull effect is taking some time to play out.

    Voters also think Tony Abbott should now leave politics, with 41% saying he should resign from Parliament compared to 25% who think he should remain on the backbench. However, more Liberal voters would prefer Abbott remain in Parliament (34%) than resign (27%).

    However, there’s little evidence that the Turnbull ascendancy has translated into a more optimistic view of the economy for voters. Asked how they viewed the overall state of the economy, just 26% rated it as good, 32% rated it as poor and 39% said somewhere in between. Compared to March this year, that’s a drop of one point for both good and poor and a rise of three points for “neither good nor poor”. Even in August last year, as the Abbott government’s woes deepened in the wake of the disastrous 2014 budget, optimists outnumbered pessimists 37%-26%. And more voters (39%) think the economy is heading in the wrong direction than the right direction (34%) — about the same levels as before the leadership spill (41%-35%).

    Essential also asked about perceptions of the major groups that benefit under each political party, and the numbers show a tale of profound disillusionment with the Coalition since the question was last asked, on the eve of the 2013 election. Back then, voters recognised that the wealthy and big business would do well under a Coalition government but thought there wasn’t a great deal of difference between the parties for a number of other groups. That’s now significantly changed. Large corporations are better off under a Coalition government according to 55% of voters, compared to just 10% who think they’re better off under Labor — about the same difference (45%) as the difference in July 2013; ditto for people on high incomes (45-point gap, compared to a 41-point gap in 2013). But other numbers shows a marked difference. In 2013, “people and families on middle incomes” were on balance seen as better under the Coalition (by a five-point gap); now that gap is -6 (26% say better under the Coalition, 32% say better under Labor).]

  4. The polls should be a clear indicator to Malcolm that he has a mandate to move his policy platform to the centre.

    He has no choice but to stare down Abbotts hard right fringe.

  5. Bushfire – Brilliant as usual. Like you, I strongly suspect that Tones is going to hang around and be the PM in Exile (“the PM across the Water”) in the Liberal Party. He will continually protest his loyalty while he continually insists he’s better than everyone else. Maybe, finally, he is going to do a great service to his country!

  6. Rex Douglas

    [We all knew both Abbott and Rudd v2 weren’t fit the role of PM.]

    There would not have been a need for Rudd 2 if Shorten et al did not organise a coup against him.

  7. Someone mentioned to me the other day that it is much better to be treated in a public hospital because they have peer review of doctors. Private Hospitals are must less good at that.

  8. The biggest beneficiary of Abbotts clearly divisive rhetoric is of course Bill Shorten, who would’ve been thrilled with thismornings interview with Hadley.

    Abbott announcing he was staying in parliament will continue to assist Shortens small target strategy.

  9. BK – I missed your ‘days in hospital’. Hope all is well now and you’re back to roping steers (or alpacas) again 🙂

    Shellbell – Nice to hear good things of hospitals. Neighbour’s son had his appendix out a few weeks ago and I was amazed at how different it is now to year gorn. He came home with a tiny strip of bandaid (or whatever they use) and no great slash on his tum.

    All the best for your daughter’s stay in Hospital.

  10. Leroy @2353

    [This report summarises the results of a weekly omnibus conducted by Essential Research with data provided by Your
    Source. The survey was conducted online from the 24th to 28th September and is based on 1,008 respondents.]

    Is it me or is the methodology used on this one is quite different from the ones previously?

  11. BH
    Last night we saw a black-faced Dorper in the street and managed to corral it into our driveway and then into a paddock which it is now sharing with a horse. I’ve named it “Legga”.
    I posted on the township’s community Facebook page but with no bites yet.

  12. BK

    Corralling that must have been fun. I’ve only seen one Dorper and was struck by the long legs so “Legga” is a good name for it.
    Maybe somebody doesn’t want the little devil back – might be too good a fence hopper.

    Did anyone else hear David Marr mention something coming up at the TURC in a couple of weeks? I thought he said Tony Jones knew something about it as well but wtte Mum’s the word until it comes up. They both had big smiles about it.

    Any clues?

  13. Just reading my Crikey newsletter and there is a nice photo of Ray Hadley cuddling Tone. Horror of horrors – Tone isn’t wearing the blue tie!!

  14. CTar1
    With a butcher as a son-in-law there is that possibility, but the women of the house wouldn’t have a bar of it. We have a neighbour with a few Dorpers so we might add it to her flock if no-one comes forward.


    [Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called a mini-summit for later this week, inviting leaders from the worlds of business, unions, community organisations and think tanks to discuss the state of the economy and the best way forward for long-overdue economic reforms.]

    Since unions are to be invited to this, I hope the issue of indentured labour – a function of the temporary immigration visa system and an implicit feature of ChAFTA – will be raised. This must be addressed to prevent the re-development of a labour market with “colonial” characteristics.

    Allied to this, the importance of human and social capital formation to the innovation/resilience economic model should be explicitly discussed.

  16. If the forex and equities markets are sensing the future, then it’s all too little too late for Turnbott. The falls are persistent, widespread and deep…

    [Mining giant BHP was down $1.35 or 5.8 per cent, at $21.80, while rival Rio Tinto lost $2.55, or 5.3 per cent, at $46.20. Fortescue dipped 8.0 cents to $1.70.

    Origin Energy shares slumped 56 cents, or 8.2 per cent, to $6.25; Santos shed 31 cents, or 6.6 per cent, to $4.40; while Woodside Petroleum was down $1.28 at $28.63.

    Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank slid $1.33 to $71.35, Westpac slipped 72 cents to $29.52, NAB lost 67 cents to $29.63 and ANZ declined 77 cents at $26.63.]

  17. victoria – thanks for the link. I’ll check it out now.

    I’m stuck in a chair atm with broken bone in my foot. Why does sitting in a chair, doing nothing, sound so good when you can’t and is so awful when you can. At least it gives me a chance to play on the computer more often and catch up with everything instead of snatching grabs here and there.

    I read the Mark Kenny article and the last sentence floored me ‘none so blind as those who cannot see’!!! Surely he was referring to not only Tone but to his media mates as well.

  18. Afternoon all. I have an idea for Tony Abbott’s new career -stand up comedy! He only has to go on stage and repeat these lines with a straight face and he will have them rolling in the aisles.

    There was no problem with the polls:
    [“A strong result in Canning — which is what we were going to get — would have put paid to this notion that somehow I was unelectable because of the polls,” he said.]
    And Scott Morrison didn’t really warn his office, did he?
    [The former prime minister conducted a brief interview last week as he emerged from the surf in Sydney, criticising Mr Morrison for suggesting he warned Mr Abbott’s office to be on high alert ahead of the coup.

    At the time he said Mr Morrison “misled the public” by saying he had sounded the alarm.

    Today, Mr Abbott addressed the discrepancy.

    “Certainly there was a conversation, as I understand it, between Scott and Peta Credlin,” Mr Abbott said.

    “He’s (Morrison) obviously put one construction on the conversation, my office put a different construction on the conversation.”]
    And lets not blame Joe Hockey for all those dumb policies:
    [Mr Abbott said he and Mr Hockey were “blood brothers” in terms of economic policy.]

    Amazing, the level of self delusion is off the chart. The polls have turned around 5% to 75 in one week since he left office, but it wasn’t his fault??

    This is where the right wing shock jocks can for once do Labor a huge favour. If people like Ray Hadley keep pandering to this nonsense and ferment the belief of being hard done by in the Abbott camp, it will hamstring Turnbull very badly. Thanks Ray! 🙂

    Comedy gold 😀

  19. Raaraa@2363

    Leroy @2353

    This report summarises the results of a weekly omnibus conducted by Essential Research with data provided by Your
    Source. The survey was conducted online from the 24th to 28th September and is based on 1,008 respondents.

    Is it me or is the methodology used on this one is quite different from the ones previously?

    Looks normal. The reporting is often a tad confusing because it sounds like voting intention results are based on just one week’s results when in fact they are rolled averages (except when stated otherwise).

    Coalition pretty lucky to get 52:48 for the fortnight off those primaries. Would normally be good for about 51:49.

  20. Regarding the mining share sell off, I find that such things are often over-reactions. Yes Glencore is in trouble:
    [With debt approaching $US30 billion and a market value of just $US16 billion, shareholders and those holding the debt are desperately looking for an exit.]

    So are FMG. But BHPB in particular has very low debts. Rio Tinto has higher debts but still lots of assets not at risk from coal prices. How can they go belly up from this? In the context of the trillions traded each week, how can it bring down companies outside mining?

    These days financial reporting is full of hyperbole. I think we should transfer all the sporting journos to report finance and vice versa. Then we could interchange the names and no meaning would be lost:
    [This is a disastrous callapse, the worst since bodyline/the depression.

    Australia/BHPB closed a little higher today after a solid days batting/trading.

    That is the catch/trade of the century!!! Hold on, the umpires/regulators are taking a look at this again.]

    If it sounds like I am trying to make both seem silly, yes, I am. Have a good afternoon all.

  21. I think Malcolm can easily backflip on NBN cause none of his RWNJ ministerial colleagues understand what the feck he is talking about.

    [by Dominic White and Paul Smith
    New Communications Minister, Senator Mitch Fifield has signalled that the Turnbull government is open to including more fibre-to-the-premise in the national broadband network as the $56 billion project rolls out.

    In an interview with Fairfax Media, Senator Fifield said the current plans to have only 20 per cent of the population covered with FTTP technology were “not set in stone”.

    He also said that the NBN, tackling mobile black spots and the digital government agenda were among his top priorities in the role, which he inherited from the now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    Speculation has been increasing that under Mr Turnbull the government is shifting in its attitude towards the high-speed, more expensive technology, with many in the tech industry hoping that a larger percentage of the population will be connected by FttP, as opposed to the cheaper, but slower fibre-to-the-node option.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

  22. Socrates

    [ I think we should transfer all the sporting journos to report finance and vice versa.]

    The Sports journos seen to be the better ones.

  23. [davidwh
    Essential 52/48 Coalition/Labor


    Sorry Leroy didn’t check first.]

    I don’t think anybody here is going to begrudge you that. Been a long time between rays of sunshine for the more moderate liberals/conservatives in Oz.

    Assuming you are one, of course. 😉

  24. victoria – thanks, tho lucky me cos I’ll be able to, without guilt, sit in front of telly all day on Saturday. I will channel hop when they replay last year’s Grannie. It’s still far too painful to watch 🙂

    Did your boys manage to get tickets? Shld be a good match.

  25. [Coalition pretty lucky to get 52:48 for the fortnight off those primaries. Would normally be good for about 51:49.]

    My model comes out at 51.2 but it depends on rounding I guess.

  26. Just Me I think I am a conservative when it comes to things economic but a borderline progressive on things social. I’m a bit messed up 🙂

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