BludgerTrack: 51.2-48.8 to Coalition

The recent trend to Labor in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate levels off this week, after a stronger result for the Coalition from Ipsos.

An above-trend result for the Coalition from Ipsos this week has halted the long run of momentum to Labor in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate – although it hasn’t reversed it, partly thanks to a stonger result for Labor from Essential Research. Technically there has been movement in Labor’s favour for the seventh week in a row, but the movement on this occasion was inside 0.05%. Perhaps not surprisingly, this has not resulted in any change on the seat projection. The Ipsos poll also provided leadership ratings which, as BludgerTrack interprets them, were perfectly in line with an overall trend that shows Malcolm Turnbull in freefall, and Bill Shorten improving modestly.

Preselection bits:

• The latest federal MP to announce their retirement is Teresa Gambaro, who held the seat of Petrie for the Liberals through the Howard years, then made a comeback in the seat of Brisbane in 2010. Gambaro said she wished to spend more time with her family, but unnamed party sources complained to the media that Gambaro was engaging in a “dummy spit” over her failure to win promotion in recent reshuffles, and that the late hour of her announcement meant she was “all but handing it to Labor”. There was a short-lived flurry of speculation that the preselection might be contested by former Premier Campbell Newman, after his biographer, former Cairns state MP Gavin King, told ABC Radio he was “weighing it up”. However, Newman promptly knocked the idea on the head, and Cameron Adfield of Fairfax reports the preselection is likely to go to National Retail Association chief executive Trevor Evans, who was talked out of pursuing a challenge against Gambaro last year by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott. It is also expected that Robert Cavallucci, who won the state seat of Brisbane Central in 2012 and lost it again in 2015, will nominate.

• Labor’s candidate to succeed Melissa Parke in Fremantle is Chris Brown, whose CV as listed in The Australian includes 29 years as a wharfie, ten months as an organiser for the Maritime Union of Australia, and ownership of small businesses in Fremantle. Brown’s victory was owed to factional arrangements that secured him overwhelming support in the 75% of the vote determined at head office, including all but unanimous support from the union delegates who account for half the overall vote. This easily negated his 155-110 defeat in the local party ballot at the hands of Josh Wilson, the chief-of-staff to Melissa Parke and deputy mayor of Fremantle. A full account of the results is provided by Gareth Parker of The West Australian.

Joe Kelly of The Australian reports that New South Wales Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells faces a threat to her preselection from Jim Molan, a former senior army officer who was heavily involved in the government’s efforts against unauthorised boat arrivals. Fierravanti-Wells is said to have lost support among the Right for telling journalist Niki Savva she had confronted then Prime Minister Tony Abbott over perceptions he was having an affair with his chief-of-staff, Peta Credlin. It was earlier reported that factional moderates were organising a challenge by Richard Shields, a former ministerial adviser and manager with the Insurance Council of Australia, but the threat appeared to subside when Fierravanti-Wells was appointed to the ministry.

• The Liberal preselection for Bronwyn Bishop’s seat of Mackellar has been set for April 16.

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.

3,122 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.2-48.8 to Coalition”

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  1. [Steelydan
    Posted Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 10:32 pm | PERMALINK

    please have a look at Federal Government deficits as a % of GDP since WW 11 ]

    No problem – quote the figures the scource and the point you are trying to make.

  2. Well one thing is certain is that the honeymoon is over for Turnbull. Now he’s just Malcolm in the middle of a horribly divided partyroom.

  3. I’m still unsure about certain details.

    The Senate needs to pass supply bills before an election is called. Labor may vote for the supply bills to pass quickly if it feels that Labor has a better chance of winning a July election. That’s why I’m curious what people think about Labor’s chances July vs Sep. If Labor thinks it is better with a Sep election they’ll attempt to delay passing the bills. Only then does the Greens vote matter.

    Its not clear how the Greens would behave. I don’t think its safe to assume they would pass the bills without scrutiny. But they could. Or Labor could.

    My call is that Labor is more likely to try to delay. But the Greens are going to be very tempted to enable a DD. And the weird thing here is that if the Greens decide for a lengthy debate they’ll get attacked for acting on principle 🙂

  4. [Steelydan
    Posted Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 10:53 pm | PERMALINK

    And these numbers are based on last election preferences. Even better then.]

    Thats standard practice.

    But what is *excellent* is turnbull’s personal ratings continuing to worsen.

  5. while 45 per cent say the Prime Minister is the more capable of handling tax reform compared with 25 per cent who say it is the Labor leader.

    It seems somewhere between 45 and 75% of voters have taken no notice of political events over the last six months beyond feeling the vibe.

  6. [Pegasus
    Posted Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 10:50 pm | PERMALINK
    Thank you. Mystery finally solved!

    Excellent question Peg. I had been wondering about that too.

  7. Despite the media claiming that Malcolm has a brilliant mind, I think he is too dumb to get out of this death-spiral. The guy is a political Pamela Anderson.

  8. Well, as usual, my prediction for the latest poll result turned out to be pretty far off the mark.

    With the only difference in voting intention being a slight drop in Labor’s primary vote (which could easily just be noise), I don’t think a great deal can be drawn from this Newspoll beyond the fact that Turnbull’s approval is continuing to plummet. If he keeps it up, it won’t be long until he’s polling worse netsats than Shorten! And it seems that if the recent Senate chaos has provoked any sort of reaction from the broader electorate, it was a resounding “Who gives a shit?”

  9. #Newspoll Preferred PM: Turnbull 52 (-3) Shorten 21 (0) #auspol

    #Newspoll Shorten: Approve 28 (-2) Disapprove 52 (-3) #auspol

  10. [My call is that Labor is more likely to try to delay. But the Greens are going to be very tempted to enable a DD]

    Di Natale said today that he doubted there would be a DD.

    I took that to mean that the greens would not be in any hurry to assist the Liberals by expediting their supply bill.

  11. Airlines

    I can only assume the greens are ecstatic about yesterdays results. It is clear that the senate fracas has not damaged them in terms of PV.

    Check out the following:
    Gabba ward – jump from 17% to 33% – probably a win
    Walter taylor up 1.5% to 21.7%
    Central steady at 21%
    Enogerra – up 4% to 15%
    Pullennvale up 8% to 21%
    Paddington up 7% to 27%

    Only one ward the Gap went backwards for Greens by 4%, but this was because of an exeptionally Green focussed ALP campaign with a very well known local boy and son of the former federal member.-Got a positive 16% swing.

  12. cud @ 3060

    [Labor may vote for the supply bills to pass quickly if it feels that Labor has a better chance of winning a July election. ]

    I don’t think it would do that even if it wanted a DD. It has burnt a lot of energy in opposing the Senate changes and, in the process, has gotten a fair degree of goodwill from the cross bench. If it agrees to supply, that will be the political death warrant for most X benchers, and that goodwill will be lost. In addition, opposing supply will strengthen Labor’s claims that the Government has decided to cut and run and that Labor wanted to hold them to account.

    I think Labor will not vote for early supply, whatever it thinks its prospects are. But they would be quite comfortable if the Greens did.

  13. Sorry I should add i have not checked pout every ward – just the ones near me and where I know there is a solid green vote. There have been boundary changes too so numbers may not be exact.

  14. I doubt an election campaign of any length will do Malcolm much good.

    — 9 am. Scott Morrison makes a policy pledge that the government will take action on X.

    — 10 am. Chris Bowen announces a very detailed policy on X.

    — 11 am. Turnbull says that the Coalition never had any intention of doing anything about X. Labor implementing X will be a disaster because Y will happen.

    — 12 noon. Random minor Minister says that under Labor’s policy Y won’t happen.

    — 1 pm. Random minor Minister states that yes, Y will happen, but it will be a disaster.

    — 2 pm Scott Morrison denies he ever said anything about X.

    — 3 pm Turnbull reappears to do a bit of Malsplaining. At the end of it, everyone is just as confused as they were before, but the press gallery nod seriously and say that that’s made everything so much clearer. When pressed, none of them can explain it, but they do comment on Turnbull’s lovely speaking voice.

    — 4 pm. Abbott talks about his government’s success in achieving Y and wonders aloud why Malcolm hasn’t been able to achieve the same.

    — 5 pm. Shorten does presser, stresses how united his team is, and delivers a zinger just in time for the evening news bulletin.

  15. [ The 51-49 is just noise – but that net approval drop is not! ]

    Yup. 🙂

    [ You guys stuff it we fix it, that’s how its been in modern times.. ]

    SteamSteely, just what sort of an idiot are you?

    Your lot have had the big chair for nearly 3 years now, treated us to hysterics, hyperbole, OTT rhetoric (remember Debt, Deficit, Budget Emergency!!), blamed everyone except yourselves for pretty much everything and you expect your last to qualify as reasoned argument?? What we need is an actual Govt that will do you know, actual governance. Not the economically illiterate place holders we have had under Abbott and Turnbull.

    You’d probably better pour some of that kool aid into the boiler and get back up to pressure.

  16. Looks like there are quite a few fence sitters yet to make up their minds. With all of the questions about who is the better team to manage the economy, or who is better able to manage tax reform, there seems to be 25-30% who haven’t indicated one way or the other.

    So I think the contest is there for the winning. People are waiting to see what the Coalition does ultimately and Labor too.

    Game on!

  17. goes negative
    Turnbull’s approval goes negative
    Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating as PM has fallen into negative territory for the fIrst time

  18. Airlines

    You have a big ask – Those booths are LNP strongholds. However the greens clearly have emerged as the viable alternative, at least for council elections.

    What is most relevant is that the Green “brand” does not seem to have been damaged by the recent Senate stuff. Now of course people do distinguish between local and state and federal elections, however clearly there has not been an obvious Meg Lees effect in Qld at least.

  19. Asha

    [And it seems that if the recent Senate chaos has provoked any sort of reaction from the broader electorate, it was a resounding “Who gives a shit?”]

    It’s far too early to make that judgement – and it’s also true that events that hardly register with the general electorate at all are signs of things to come.

    The Dems deal with Howard on the GST didn’t cause them to immediately implode. Indeed, to some extent they were heroes of the hour – they made substantial alterations to the GST that had originally been proposed. However, the internal strife over the decision festered, and sparked off a series of leadership changes, and it was all downhill from there.

    Utegate didn’t particularly resonate with the hoi polloi either. It damaged Turnbull’s credibility with the media and his party, because it showed his lack of judgement.

    Even what seem like quite cataclysmic events don’t show up in the polls until about three weeks later. It takes that kind of time period for conversations to happen, and for people to mull over what’s been happening.

    I’m not saying that the Senate reforms was the Greens Meg Lees moment (and Meg Lees decision looked OK at the time). Meg Lees decision showed, however, that she was too overwhelmed by the mere condensation shown by the PM in actually talking to her to strike the best bargain she could have – it was a symptom of political naivete.

    Richard di Natale looks like he made the same kind of decision for much the same reason.

    It’s not whether the decision was good or bad, but the kind of political nous it demonstates on behalf of the decider.

    So it’s a bit like me saying “I knew the marriage was doomed when the bride said she didn’t like the cheesecake at the wedding.” I don’t mean that the couple left the reception and went straight to the divorce courts. I don’t mean that everyone there gasped and shook their heads. I mean that, in retrospect, the bride’s action was a symptom of later problems.

    di Natale’s decision making in this case shows that he thinks he is too clever by half, and that means he is easily gamed. He may be lucky, and get away with it, and the Greens go on to bigger and better things – but it’s a straw in the wind, and that’s why it’s important.

  20. Oh, and neither local council elections or State elections tell you anything about how the federal party is travelling. If it did, we would expect to see Liberal federal governments with all Liberal state governments, and vice versa. In fact, if anything, the reverse is true.

  21. [ People are waiting to see what the Coalition does ultimately and Labor too. ]

    The budget will be the big one.

    Lots of policy will get out there as the govt HAS to define what it is funding and de-funding in 2016.

    I keep looking back at Bludgertrack for the April – June 2014 period. If the Libs seriously stick to the “its a spending not revenue problem” line this year then they are fwarked.

  22. Zoomster

    I think you are wrong about the Meg Lees issue. There was lots of adverse comment about the deal on the GST and clear evidence of internal party tensions.

    This issue of senate voting just does not have the same impact as the GST issue.

    I think most of the ALPers here are engaging in wishful thinking- hoping that DeNatali damaged the Greens. This may have happened in Victoria, but I think the Qld results pretty much tell us that the Greens have side stepped a Democrat like implosion – this time anyway.

  23. imacca,

    If the Libs seriously stick to the “its a spending not revenue problem” line this year then they are fwarked.

    Has any government in election mode ever been that honest with the electorate? It would be political suicide surely to go down the government services and programs cuts road, especially when they combine that with generously lifting the Deficit Reduction Levy from their own backs and bring the Company Tax rate down to 28.5%. When most of them, individuals and companies alike hardly pay any tax to begin with!

    What sort of numbnuts think that’s a winning strategy? Even if they trot out ‘Silken Tones’ Sinodinos to explain it all away!?!

  24. How in hell do people equate what happened this week over senate reform to a rise in Greens votes in local council elections.

    You might just as well say that due to the senate reforms Manchester United will win the FA Cup.

  25. [I think most of the ALPers here are engaging in wishful thinking- hoping that DeNatali damaged the Greens. This may have happened in Victoria, but I think the Qld results pretty much tell us that the Greens have side stepped a Democrat like implosion – this time anyway.]

    I always thought implosion was a bit rich, but the question will be how many like me who used to preference the greens just before the LNP will now ensure our votes exhaust rather than going to the greens. If there are lots of me, then where the greens need labor preferences they are in trouble. If I’m the only one they’ll be fine.

  26. See that chart of Williams over there third down on the left? That’s the only story in town. The move from 50-50 is just as likely to be rounding error as anything. But that HALO dive Malcolm’s netsats are doing? That ain’t rounding error. That’s people in there hundreds of thousands realising that Malcolm Turnbull ain’t anywhere near as good as they’d hoped.

    The ONLY reason the Libs hit the front in the polling was because people believed in the Malcolm Myth. If the Malcolm Myth is no more then people will realise it wasn’t just the Onion Eater than was mad – it was the whole damn incompetent lot of em.

    It isn’t very far to go from ‘Turnbull’s no where near as good as I thought he would be’ to ‘Turnbull’s a dud’. Once that happens he’s gone. Shorten’s netsats are pretty irrelevant. So long as he isn’t scary he’ll win if enough people decide the Libs have gotta go. If the majority come to the conclusion that Turnbull’s a dud there is nothing else to save this government.

    Turnbull’s satisfaction collapse has plenty yet to go.

  27. Dan

    I am NOT saying that what happened in the Senate had a direct effect on Green votes – the opposit in fact. There was an argument put about by ALP stalwarts that linking the Greens and the coalition would upset the Green base, who presumably all return weeping and sorrowful to the ALP fold.

    The Qld local government ballot shows that this has not happened. Of course NSW and Victoria may well be different.

  28. So at this stage the government is going into the budget with the huge spending cuts to health and education still on the table, with the Deficit Reduction Levy due to finish on July 1st 2017 and with talk about futher tax cuts for large companies.

    If they remove the spending cuts they’re going to blow out the budget deficit. If they don’t then they’re giving Labor a huge target.

    If they allow the Deficit Reduction Levy to expire then they will potentially allow Labor to argue the only tax cuts they’re poviding are to the rich. If they legislate to keep or extend it they can’t really argue that they’re the party of lowering taxes.

    As for company tax cuts, good luck selling that one. I’m not sure the idea that it leads to higher wages stacks up in the real world. I think you would be hard pressed to find a voter who doesn’t think that companies will just pocket the savings and not pass any of it on to employees or customers (excluding the CEO of course).

    So can Malcom sell cuts to health, education and the CSIRO together with tax cuts for those on $180,000 and for large companies?

  29. Oh and just wait for the collapse in Turnbull’s netsats when Lib voters realise he’s losing them the election.

    Tonight’s numbers won’t do anything to make the nutjobs call a ceasefire. Doubly so after Turnbull’s complete capitulation on Safe Schools. I have no idea what the next thing the right will go off message on, but you can be damn sure we’ll know and probably had Turnbull capitulate on it by the time the next Newspoll comes out.

    Abbott and co know that the only thing Turnbull has ever had going for him is popularity. If they can destroy that, they destroy Turnbull. That war has plenty of battles left.

  30. I don’t think anyone gives a crap about local elections in Queensland. I didn’t even know they were on until I saw it in here.

  31. B.C., as you so comprehensively detail, Turnbull has got himself wedged completely.

    No doubt there are STILL dreamers out there that think Malcolm’s going to pull a rabbit out of his hat. There ain’t no rabbits though, just choices between unpopular and really unpopular decisions. Whichever way he jumps he’s gonna piss off a lot of people whose votes he needs.

  32. @Dan Gulberry

    Because within 24 hours of the climax of a fortnight-long anti-Green squeal and slimy tactics from Labor over half a million voters went to booths and delivered the Greens a historic result. And then several days later a Newspoll shows no damage to the national party. It’s starting to paint a picture.


    I can confirm that it is true the other way around as well. Many Greens voters I know would now rather exhaust preferences than support Labor. I am not one of them, but it won’t be easy, I’ll be swallowing my pride and voting BTL only for progressives who don’t make a major point of attacking the Greens.

  33. Dan Gulberry @ 3090

    Spot on. To draw any link because of a poxy mayoral election where the total voter turn out was some 29000 people (a quarter of one federal electorate) is truly the peak of absurdism.
    Or more likely as I suspect it is the greens supporters desperately trying to grab onto anything at all that may prove their point.

  34. PhoenixGreen

    Half a million voters?
    Where are you pulling that stat from?
    At close of voting the AEC have total number of voters at 28,329 of which the greens candidate received 3,922 votes.

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