Newspoll: 50-50

The second Newspoll since the leadership change delivers Malcolm Turnbull a strong result on personal approval, but an unexpectedly weak one on voting intention.

The Australian today brings us the second Newspoll of the Malcolm Turnbull prime ministership, and it’s a soft result for the Coalition, who led 51-49 in the previous poll but are now level with Labor. Despite a strong result for Turnbull personally – his approval is up eight points to 50% with disapproval up one to 25%, as the initially uncommitted respondents jump off the fence – there is no meaningful change on voting intention, with the Coalition primary vote down one to 43%, Labor steady on 35% and the Greens up one to 12%. Bill Shorten’s ratings are likewise effectively unchanged at 28% approval and 53% disapproval, both representing a one-point drop on the previous fortnight. Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is up from 55-21 to 57-19. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1631, by automated phone and online polling. The poll also finds 62% saying the Liberals did the right thing in replacing Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull, with only 27% opposed. The breakdowns by party support are 56-36 among Coalition voters, 71-22 among Labor voters and 82-11 among Greens supporters. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday by automated phone and online polling, from a sample of 1631.

UPDATE (Essential Research): Essential Research’s fortnightly rolling average has ticked a point in favour of Labor, as a particularly strong result for the Coalition two weeks ago washes out of the system. The Coalition’s lead is now at 51-49, from primary votes of 44% for the Coalition (steady), 36% for Labor (up one) and 10% for the Greens (steady). Other findings show remarkably little opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has 49% approval and 16% disapproval, notwithstanding that 57% expect multi-national companies to benefit compared with only 32% for Australian workers and 31% for small businesses, and 62% saying they oppose allowing foreign companies to sue the Australian government for changes that cost them money, versus only 15% in support. A question of privatisation of various services finds across-the-board opposition, which is strongest for primary schools (25% approve, 58% disapprove) and weakest for public transport (37% approve, 47% disapprove). Regarding the threat of terrorism, an overwhelming 75% said the threat in Australia had increased in recent years compared with a mere 1% for decreased, and 20% for “stayed about the same”. Forty-five per cent said Australia’s participation in air strikes in Syria would make Australia less safe from terrorism, compared with 13% for more safe.

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.

1,603 comments on “Newspoll: 50-50”

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  1. Re. Cashless Welfare Card

    For me, the biggest problem with the cashless welfare card is the availability of services.

    From what I understand, the card is supposed work as an EFTPOS card that limits people’s spending to essential food and services, which the funds would be accessible from in a grocery store that has an electronic card reader. But then an unavoidable problem occurs: not every community/town in Australia has grocery store/s with an electronic card reader, and many rely on direct cash-on-hand service.

    Such communities/towns negatively affected would generally rely on traditional, small (usually family-owned) businesses or collective farmer markets – situations where having electronic card readers would be either unfeasible or more expensive to equip than not.

    Potentially, a very small portion of the population who live in communities too remote, too hostile or too poor for businesses to equip electronic card readers could be fatally affected by this welfare card, as welfare recipients in these areas would have no way of buying food.

  2. Diogenes@1547


    nudging people in the right direction.

    And punching on the nose the majority that don’t need nudging.

    Very true. And that’s what the trial has to decide; are the downsides more than the upsides.

    My guess is that they aren’t but I’m happy for a trial to happen.


    The “cost” of an object is much more than the price; the time and effort taken to buy it and consume it are also included.

    You could just reduce the number of liquor stores or pokie machines and that would also increase the “cost”.

    Government is already doing a good job of winding back tobacco consumption.

    It has made some tentative steps with alcohol but needs to do more. (BTW, I am a moderate drinker)

    It seems to be doing nothing to combat the gambling scourge.

    Crown Casino in Melbourne is the southern hemispheres largest money laundering facility. The criminal community must love it. But it is poker machines that cause the most widespread damage and should be progressively phased out.

  3. Diogenes@1547



    The “cost” of an object is much more than the price; the time and effort taken to buy it and consume it are also included.

    You could just reduce the number of liquor stores or pokie machines and that would also increase the “cost”.

    And your solution to simply using the self-serve checkouts is?

    Or buying from the checkout person who you know well/is a member of your extended family and lets it slip through?

  4. Doyley,

    Heydon’s form is to believe the uncorroborated stuff before the unequivocal denials.

    However, be wary of the surprise witness here.

  5. I’m a bit uncomfortable about the ethics of the pursuit of Turnbull over his wealth and the Cayman Islands business.

    However, I’m even more uncomfortable about the ethics of the pursuit of Bill Shorten in the TURC over matters that simply cannot result in charges because of the contradictory evidence and the lack of any clear criminal offence involving him. So all that is left is a grievous smear. Whether you like Shorten or not, this kind of behaviour drags down the whole political system.

    So, if Turnbull is happy to take the dividends from a crooked and immoral Royal Commission paid for with $60 million of our money (that could have been spent on refuges or legal representation for victims of domestic violence), he cannot complain if he is presented in a less than flattering right as someone who legally avails themselves of financial stratagems not available to the ordinary person.

  6. Millennial

    In Darwin when the card repeatedly resulted in this scene at the Coles store I usually did my shopping.

    The person , only Aborigines at the time, ahead of me would get into an argument with the check out person over whether this item or that item were allowed on the card. It caused endless hold ups

    After a while they had a special lane open just for card holders. Come on down instant stigma.

  7. GG,

    I agree re Heydon.

    TURC is all about throwing mud and seeing how much sticks.

    Melham is up next week so we shall see where it goes but if Thiess officials cannot even agree what went on then to me it seems as if they are pushing shit up hill.

    I await with interest to see if there are any more witnesses and if so what they have to contribute.


  8. Dogleg

    Counsel for Shorten Neil Celland gave Rzesniowiecki fair workout.

    If it had been Perry Mason or Judd for the Defence Rzesniowiecki might have cracked … But he held up.

    Celland actually asked Rzesniowiecki why he said the other witnesses were lying and then quickly withdrew …

    Interesting the media reports I have seen focus on later evidence which I did not watch.

    Fairfax was all over Rzesniowiecki’s evidence in chief yesterday but doesn’t seem to think his cross was worth reporting.

    Agenda running here.

    I note several reports refer to “Bill Shorten’s AWU…”

  9. TPOF,

    Re Turnbull.

    The approach by labor today came pretty much out of the blue.

    It will be interesting to see what follow up if any comes tomorrow and if labor has a narrative ready to go.

    I have no problem with the approach but unless labor plans to take this somewhere I would hope they quit while they are ahead ( so to speak ) and do not over egg it.

    Just let it flow on its own with Turnbull, Cayman Islands and tax haven floating up,in the clouds forever connected.


  10. [Melham is up next week so we shall see where it goes but if Thiess officials cannot even agree what went on then to me it seems as if they are pushing shit up hill.]

    Sadly for Bill Shorten (but fortunately for the rule of law), there is a big difference between small excerpts of witness evidence being tarted up in news media to create a predetermined impression of guilt and the fact that a judge and/or jury are required to listen to every last bit of evidence, including cross-examination, in a criminal trial. And then decide whether someone is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    And that is why any findings against Bill Shorten will never get further than a theatrical referral to the police for maximum political smear effect. If it’s the Victorian police there will be big pressure on them to either lay charges or declare there is not basis on which to do so.

  11. [Re. Cashless Welfare Card]

    Just another little step on the road to the return of the golden age of capitalism: circa 1830.

    After the “welfare card” has not been successful in “nudging” the poor to know their station, they (the neo-libs controlling the LNP-ALP) will return to rations of damper and blankets and and when that doesn’t work it will be “work” houses………..

  12. Doyley @ 1563

    Lenore Taylor at the Guardian has a pretty sharp analysis:

    I suspect that this will not be pursued with vigour so much as establish a context for a more focussed attack on tax rorts generally. The Coalition is doubling down on spending cuts (where spending does not include revenue loopholes and concessions in their lexicon). So Turnbull own wealth can be linked to efforts by the Coalition to avoid closing those loopholes or making those closures as cosmetic as possible. Even though Turnbull himself may be more inclined to be more proactive here, he has a restive back bench and support base who will be livid and respond accordingly if their nice little welfare giveaways are reduced.

  13. The Trade Union Witchhunt seems to be having no impact in Sydney. The words ‘union’ and ‘AWU’ don’t appear on the landing pages of the Sydney Morning Herald (except same sex unions) or the Daily Telecrap (except Rugby Union) or ABC News. Seems to be mainly a Melbourne thing.

  14. TPOF,

    Thanks for that Guardian link.

    I see Morrison has this afternoon pretty much ruled out any changes to super concessions for the top end.

    The social services Ministet has put further cuts to pensions on the table today as well.

    Plenty to work,on there.


  15. TPOF

    Goodness me. People like GG were shouting exactly the same thing as this from your link. Makes ya wonder.

    [By day’s end the Coalition was pointing out that Labor MPs, including Bill Shorten, have their money in super funds that also have investments that are domiciled in the Caymans.]

  16. Doyley #1572
    [I see Morrison has this afternoon pretty much ruled out any changes to super concessions for the top end, and has put further cuts to pensions on the table today as well.]

    Can you share a link to where he said that?

  17. Millennial,

    I have no idea how to link anything but if you go to the AFR site you will find the article on there.

    It is paywalled so I,just let my fingers Google the title and read it from there.

    Excuse my lack of tech knowledge but I just blunder on through life.


  18. Doyley

    If you ‘right click’ your mouse on the web page address at the top of your browser and select “copy” then when doing your post here ‘right click’ and select ‘paste’ then Bob’s your uncle.

  19. Labor has so far got Turnbull to identify himself with unpopular Abbott policies, nailing his colours to the mast on asylum seekers and climate change.

    They are now taking advantage of his love of his own voice to link him in voters’ minds with other issues.

    Turnbull should have said on penalty rates wte of “We are reveiwing these and it’s inappropriate of me to comment until the review has been carried out” or even just “We have no intention to make any changes at this time” and then sat down.

    But instead he decided to show how smart he was, and took the opportunity to deliver a little lecture to a frontbench of unionists on industrial relations.

    So now he is linked – however vaguely – in people’s minds with penalty rates, and any association between someone in the Liberals and penalty rates is not a good one.

    Today he should have said, “My tax arrangements are my own personal business and I will not discuss them” and then sat down. Instead, he talked at length about his holdings in the Caymans, thus ramming the message home for Labor that he has offshore investments. In the Caymans.

    Again, no ordinary person has ever heard anything positive about people who have offshore investments, particularly in the Caymans.

    It’s also why Labor seems to run out of puff on these things. They’ve got the result they want, so there’s no need to push it further.

    And people don’t have to pay attention to Question Time for these things to bite. The nightly news will dutifully play snippets of Turnbull talking about his money in the Caymans.

  20. Nart man

    It’s kinda funny about lawyer Turnbull digging a hole for himself.

    Years ago when I was young a lawyer told me that if i ever found myself in strife and being interviewed by police to just shut up.

    Answer yes of no or best of all don’t answer at all.

  21. It’s true. Turnbull needs to hire someone whose job description is “waffle curber”. This person’s entire role would centre on getting Turnbull to put a sock in it. She or he would get a pay bonus for extra pithy, less is more kind of speech or other public statement that Turnbull could get on the record.

    Seriously. This could make his prime ministership.

  22. Paul Sheehan writes this shit without the slightest self-consciousness as to how awful it sounds to be praising the previous Prime Minister’s personal selection of a hatchet man to get his political opponents.

    I don’t see Shorten panicking.

    [Panic attacks are perceived as jittery events, but they can be slow and pale, where the surface appears calm but the innards are in full distress. This is the world of Bill Shorten. He is trying to save himself, because he is sinking.

    Tony Abbott set in motion the royal commission – and personally selected the royal commissioner – that will likely finish off Shorten’s political credibility before the voting coup de grace. His polling numbers are diabolical.


  23. 1585

    Turnbull needs someone who has experience in getting a leader of the Liberal Party to reduce misuse of the mouth to win an election. Fortunately, as far as I know, Credlin is looking for a job!

  24. rossmcg,

    I doubt Malware can help himself even with a full time micro-manager, script writer as Abbott had in Credlin.

    In a way I applaud him for not going the [so far] ‘I/we don’t discuss these matters’ I doubt he can be trained to spit out the RWNJ negativity/nonsense and avoidence that he’s watched for years.

  25. 1586

    I do not buy all the way into the argument that Shorten is hopeless and cannot win but why do the Liberals assume that if he was replaced, the ALP would do badly?

  26. The envy rhetoric is getting traction on the ABC tonight so perhaps Turnbull was right not to just cop the Labor strategy sweet and say little.

  27. So Paul Sheehan writes that Abbott set in a motion a RC and picked the Commissioner to finish off an opponent’s political career and Sheehan makes no comment on the corruption inherent in that action?

  28. dw @ 1590

    I think Labor’s approach is a lot more sophisticated than people think. If this stuff was run during an election campaign it would be high risk, but it is lower risk being run this far out. It will resonate if the Liberals do not take on the generous tax concessions still at the top end and do too little to recover revenue losses through tax loopholes. If they do, then it won’t be particularly remembered and Labor will have a harder job to win the next election anyway.

    As I and a few others have been saying since Turnbull took over, it will all depend on how the Coalition handles the internal conflicts, policy and personal, that the dumping of Abbott has unleashed. Turnbull’s popularity is heavily based on a belief that he is honest and that he will maintain his previous positions on headline stuff such as marriage equality and climate change. If he fails this test his popularity will drop but, more significantly, people will vote against his party because even if they still like him, they don’t want more of the same right wing agenda that the Coalition has been trying to foist on Australians since 2013.

  29. Puff @ 1591

    Sheehan has an obsessive hatred of Bill Shorten that makes anything seen here mild by comparison. He has more animus toward Shorten than Cato had towards Carthage.

  30. davidwh
    As someone of less means than the likes of Turnbull I am totally enraged when some b’stard accuses me of ‘envy’ when I question the means people use to acquire fortunes, their use of those fortunes and their attitudes and behaviours they exhibit towards people who have been disadvantaged, particularly people such as me. It was not lack of will, wit, work nor education but circumstances imposed that limited my ability to become a Turnbull. Most of that disadvantages came about simply by being born female, remote rural and without financial connections.

    It is not envy, but the realisation that there are those born to advantage that not only do not give a flying fig about those not so lucky, they want to destroy the social wage that levels out the distribution of benefits of social prosperity and community. That social prosperity and community I contribute to, and it provides the platform for the better-offs to make and maintain their fortunes.

    If I get accused of ‘envy’ when all I ask that that the social wage is adequate and maintained, and that the lucky are asked to pay into it, I know I am being addressed by a greedy, low-down worm who, like a tick on a dog, regards the blood of the host as theirs as a right to suck.

  31. So Paul Sheehan writes that Abbott set in a motion a RC and picked the Commissioner to finish off an opponent’s political career and Sheehan makes no comment on the corruption inherent in that action?

    Blind Freddy see’s it for what it is, but the hardcore Lieberal cheer squad wear such rhetoric as a badge of honour and ‘justness’

  32. What the hell is anyone trying to do by taking cash off the poor, and denying them the dignity of having cash? What a mob of arrogant paternalistic wangkers? If you are worried about the poor spending money on poker machines, do the right thing and ban the b’stards, if it is alcohol and cigs, fund the programs to reduce addiction and tax tobacco so it costs $1OO per packet.

    Having some bloody cash in the wallet/card once a fortnight, and maybe a bit of it building up in a Xmas club account, vet care account or paying off a layby of a lawnmower or paying the Avon rep for some make-up, is a good feeling some people get once a fortnight. Here we have people who can toss $20 bills around like $2 coins telling others how to spend their money.

    Some people need a good kick in the crotch to make sure they still know how to recognise a feeling.

  33. the problem for many libs is not that they oppose dumping of abbott but that they worry about turnbull for all kinds of reason – maybe he is a superman who pull something off – but frankly it looks like rudd over, popular with populace but not in party ….

  34. Tony was the Liebral wet-dream, the epitome of their ideology running the country/ They are in great shock at it all ending so soon.

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