Newspoll quarterly breakdowns: January-March 2016

Newspoll breakdowns find the Turnbull government sinking in Victoria and South Australia; another poll suggests the government will have a hard time selling its budget; internal polling reportedly shows Bronwyn Bishop’s goose to be cooked in Mackellar; and a Liberal-versus-Nationals stoush looms with the retirement of Sharman Stone in Murray.

Probably not much doing in the land of polling over Easter, but The Australian as always takes advantage of the situation to unload Newspoll’s quarterly aggregates, providing breakdowns of the combined polling so far this year by state, gender and metro/regional. The results strongly suggest the Coalition’s recent downward movement has been driven by Victoria.

Also of note:

• The Australian has results from a privately commissioned poll by MediaReach which suggests Bronwyn Bishop would suffer a heavy defeat if Dick Smith ran against her as an independent in Mackellar, as he says he will do if she again wins Liberal preselection. The poll of 877 respondents showed Smith on 54% of the primary vote, compared with just 21% for Bishop. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents said Bishop should retire, and she recorded a net favourability of minus 30% compared with plus 59% for Smith. A report in the Daily Telegraph this week said support for Bishop was rapidly waning ahead of the preselection vote on April 16.

• A poll conducted for Sky News by Omnipoll, a new venture involving former Newspoll director Martin O’Shannessy, suggests the federal government will have a difficult sell with its mooted company tax cut. Out of four budgetary options offered, this one was most favoured by 3% of respondents, compared with 46% for fixing the bottom line, 27% for spending more on education, and 25% for personal income tax cuts. Respondents also faced a forced choice question on whether Malcolm Turnbull had lived up to expectations and Prime Minister, which broke 62-38 against. A table at the Sydney Morning Herald features breakdowns by age and, interestingly and unusually, income. The results suggest the most indulgent view of Turnbull’s performance is taken by the young and the wealthy.

• An intra-Coalition stoush looms in the rural Victorian seat of Murray, following Sharman Stone’s retirement announcement on Saturday. Stone gained the seat for the Liberals upon the retirement of Nationals member Bruce Lloyd in 1996. Rebecca Urban of The Australian reports candidates for Liberal preselection will include Duncan McGauchie, “a Melbourne-based communications specialist and former policy adviser to previous Victorian premier Ted Baillieu”.

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.

1,804 comments on “Newspoll quarterly breakdowns: January-March 2016”

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  1. TPOH I admit it I am starting to worry, this election is absolutely ours to lose and at the moment it just looks messy no cohesion no clear direction, the ALP are not winning there just doing a Bradbury and that’s fine if the Coalition don’t get there shit together we deserve to lose and I wish the ALP to be a fine Government in the tradition of Hawke and Keating (Don’t think you have the talent in your ranks though).I still believe we can win but it will be very hard at this rate and I am not sure I want the Coalition to stumble over the line with a win of only a couple of seats particularly if there is still in fighting and no clear policy direction, better off giving the other mob ago.

  2. cc @ 1739

    Voters are rational. It’s just that they don’t think like us political tragics. Their issues can be different, their day to day concerns can be different, how they interpret behaviour and their past experience of politicians can be different.

    Normally, I would not place as much expectation on the campaign. But normally, the government and the opposition largely do nothing in the campaign to change the impressions that have built up in the year or so before the election.

    But very few voters really have a direct impression of Bill Shorten, as compared to the indirect impression they have from newspaper headlines, shock horror union boss allegations and the deliberate decision of Labor not to grandstand while the Government makes a complete mess of everything, ripping themselves to shreds internally in the process, and under almost no pressure from Labor.

    On the other hand, we have a newish PM, who carries a huge burden of expectation among swinging voters that he will use the authority of his office to bring the government back to the centre and back to rational decision making and who, at every turn, confounds that expectation – especially making huge concessions in the very areas where public expectation of a change in policy outlook is strongest.

    At this stage, voters have no affection for Bill Shorten and cling to the hope that the towering self-made financial genius and Rhodes Scholar Malcolm Turnbull actually has a grand master plan to meet those expectations. How much the last week will have impacted those expectations we do not know yet. But with the challenges mounting and mounting it is getting increasingly harder to see how he is not going to collapse in a screaming heap and the popularity of his government with it.

  3. L G H @ 1738: The AEC would have kittens at the thought of address on the electoral roll being used in that way, since it would create the greatest ever incentives for people to enrol for addresses where they didn’t actually live.

    Residence is actually a really slippery concept, and when you enrol to vote you don’t actually have to provide proof of residence.

    As A E Housman once said, two minutes of thought would have highlighted the problems with this, but for some people thought is irksome and two minutes is a long time.

  4. [Did Mal not learn anything from the Abbott disaster about the importance of competent, coherent, and saleable policy?]

    Like most Australians, even rusted on Labor voters and, I suspect, even Bill Shorten and his parliamentary party, I expected that Turnbull had used his time in the wilderness drawing up detailed plans of exactly where he would take his party and his government if he ever got the job. Whatever he was doing (given he had outsourced the job of gutting the NBN) it clearly was not that.

    I suspect Bill Shorten and Labor cannot believe their eyes and ears that Turnbull has been such a disaster. I know I can’t.

  5. Steely @ 1751

    Don’t forget that Bradbury got the gold medal because he know how to skate and had a cool head. It’s easy to think it was just because everyone took everyone else out, but I couldn’t have done it and, I suspect, many other speed skaters of moderate ability could not have done it.

  6. Shellbell@1490,

    Yes, finding a pro bono advocate is the best way forward. I have been in touch with the young lady in question, and she will be around to see me with every bit of documentation she can get her hands on tomorrow morning.

    she is still completely chuffed that anyone is interested.

  7. This says it all as to how the NSW state govt has rolled over and had it’s tummy tickled by Packer’s Crown mob with the Barangaroo casino development in Sydney. Whatever Packer wants Baird and co just cave in and say yes yes yes Jimmy.
    Thank god Keating was able to quarantine the headland for public use otherwise they would have gobbled that up too.

  8. [1737
    cud chewer]

    I’ve yet to meet the voter – other than a paid-up Lib – who will spontaneously cite pink batts and school halls as reasons to vote Liberal.

    Really, I’ve never met one.

    Voters were very discomforted by the R-G-R squabbles. But this has largely faded away. In any case, the A-T-A wrangling has simply encouraged voters to substantially lower he premium they place on leadership. Voters will focus on policies and on the conduct of the parties. They will refract what they see through the prism of cynicism….they just tend to discount nearly everything they read/see/hear.

    They want plausibility, realism, a sense of purpose and reliability. They are getting loads of this from Labor and almost none of it from the Liberals.

    The Liberals may have just lost the election today. They have made themselves appear foolish and, what’s worse, made it seem they think voters are foolish. This is all the work of the Liberal Party. Labor cannot be blamed. It is entirely self-inflicted.

  9. Turnbull is looking very flaky right now.

    His ‘cities’ plan, from what Ive read of it isnt quite as flaky as this tax rubbish his waffled out today – but it will be a hard sell given the last 15 years of LNP anti-debt rhetoric, being essentially reliant on long term loans.

    But this ‘plan’ today, hahahaa, is headed right for the bin. The ALP should get him trot out as much rope on it as possible, via dorothy dixers, before its inevitable ditching: small states loathe this sort of crap, it smells like no cross-subsidy from larger states. No surprise to see TAS and SA have already ruled it out completely, before the fart had even completely cleared Waffle’s brainspace.

  10. Airlines

    Truffles is the U-Boat commander about whom Steven Fry spoke on a QI episode. The captain sank his own submarine accidentally by stuffing up the procedure for using the toilet. Tried fixing it himself but the flooding got to the batteries and the shite really hit the fan then.


    [National Party MP Damian Drum will quit the Victorian Upper House to seek preselection for the federal seat of Murray.

    The Nationals are keen to regain the seat which is being vacated by Liberal Sharman Stone, who announced on Saturday she would not contest the election after 20 years in Parliament.

    Mr Drum’s decision to run sets up a likely contest against their Coalition partners, who are expected to preselect a new Liberal candidate in the coming weeks.

    Mr Drum was educated in Shepparton and had a career as a footballer and coach before being elected to the State Parliament in 2002.]


    [Retiring parliamentarian Ian Macfarlane says Queensland state MP John McVeigh should be pre-selected to run in his seat of Groom at this year’s federal election.
    Mr McVeigh is in a pre-selection battle with controversial Toowoomba GP David van Gend to become the Liberal National Party’s candidate for the seat, which Mr Macfarlane is vacating.
    Mr Macfarlane said Mr McVeigh was the most qualified for the job and would be a “fierce” advocate for the Darling Downs-based electorate.]

  13. The Nationals may be keen to regain Murray, but they should look at the numbers from the last time there was a 3-cornered contest, ie when Dr Stone first won it. She got 43.2% of the vote to the Nationals 29.7. Doubt that the ratio of farmers to townies or urbanites has changed in the farmers’ favour since then.

  14. [Steelydan
    Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm | PERMALINK
    I live in a town with over two thousand aboriginal people and I have no doubt that quite a few of them feel like there country was invaded but I also believe that everyone of them would put employment, health, education, housing and a shitload of other things that come under those banners a long way before recognising that Captain Cook invaded Australia. The QandA audience type need to come out here and live for just a few weeks and see what it is really like and then they may then use there time and energy on more productive measures that may help indigenous Australians.]

    Late to the discussion, but what town are talking about? And what’s the “other” population? Or are you the sole non-indigene?

  15. I should also add that when voters decide to remove a Liberal Government they will do so by switching their support to Labor. Labor will attract support from the Liberals, the micros/3rd voices and the Greens. The logic is irrefutable from the standpoint of most voters. So we will see the Labor’s PV improve at the expense of all its competitors.

    This has the potential to re-write the rules in the Senate in the context of a DD. If Labor’s PV were to shift back towards 42-3% – and it’s very possible this can happen – they may get close to achieving 38 Senators. With 1 or 2 X’s and/or micros left in the mix, the G’s will lose their B-o-P and the LNP numbers will be significantly reduced.

    T is an utter fool. He has put himself in a position where he may have to call a DD even though this may result in the very worst possible outcome for the LNP.

    Voters will delight in exercising the chance to re-set the political political match by voting for policy continuity, realism and leadership stability.

    Following events of the last couple of weeks, there is an excellent chance this will occur.

  16. TPOF @1752,

    [Voters are rational]

    No, voters are human. Shallow, selfish, and on the whole, fairly unintelligent. One big motivation when hovering over the ballot paper is pretending to oneself that one didn’t get it “wrong” last time.

    And even to the extent that voters are rational, they are far from well informed. Lots of voters rationally decided to ditch the ALP because the ALP was chaotic, wasteful and incompetent. And it must be true because everyone else said so and the Daily Telegraph said so.

    So far the Liberals are doing their best to hand it to Labor.

    But when the budget comes out, the media will sell it as “fair and balanced” or “innovative” or whatever the fuck the turd polishers come up with. And a lot of people will swallow that. It has to be bad. I mean really mean, before there is a backlash, like there was in 2014.

    And the Liberals have to only offer a few half decent, reasonably sensible things in their policy launch and the media will lap it up.

    And all those “rational” voters will heave a sigh of relief and vote Liberal knowing they are the best managers and all that bad stuff will go away.

    Sorry TPOF, but I don’t believe that Bill Shorten standing on a soapbox will win the election. I actually like him. He’s intelligent, well versed, loaded with good policy ideas. Etc. But again, which of your “rational” voters will pick this up given that most of what they get are a few seconds of mindless pap and if they’re lucky, breakfast TV.

    In order for Labor to win, either something miraculous has to happen and the media (or enough of it) stop engaging in side show and start saying unambiguously that a vote for Labor is a vote for better actual policy (including a huge shift in the way the way the media reports the NBN from some adversarial side show to straight out reporting the fact that Labor’s NBN shits all over the MTM)..

    Or.. The Liberals have to stuff it up in a big way.

    The budget has to go as badly as 2014 (yes, possible with Morrison, but to really set it on fire you need another Hockey moment)

    Or.. leadershit gets going (hard to believe the media will run with this).

    Or.. Several Liberal ministers have train wreck interviews at a time of night that actually matters, not on Lateline.

    Or all of the above.

    I’m giving Labor $2.80 at the moment. We’ll know a lot better a week after the budget when we see if the “unfair and out of touch” response sinks in.

  17. To those despairing that the polls are only around 50-50, or perhaps 51/49 (Turnbull’s way)… do NOT despair.

    They stayed at 55-45 or thereabouts for months, until suddenly moving, as if tectonic plates had shifted.

    I think we’re in for some aftershocks. This mess that Turnbull is putting up as “government” cannot last much longer without serious changes in the polls. Labor only needs 2 or 3 percent and it’s an election winning lead for them. But the public needs to get used to the idea that Turnbull has let them down and that Labor can be trusted again. That’s where p.o.l.i.c.y comes in.

    Shorten is looking like a genius in just giving things a nudge along every now and again, but mostly just staying behind cover, keeping his powder dry, watching the other side do his work for him.

  18. briefly,

    I’d be happy to see Labor’s PV get up to 40. In that situation they would have a decent majority in the lower house.

    I’m not so optimistic about Labor getting anywhere near a majority in the Senate. Not impossible, but certainly you’re right in saying that a DD is a risky thing.

    A Labor/Green senate is a real possibility and in that situation I think Labor could get a lot of good stuff done.

  19. BB,

    Your remind me of a point I almost made earlier to TPOF.

    [They stayed at 55-45 or thereabouts for months, until suddenly moving, as if tectonic plates had shifted.]

    The fact that the polls weren’t even higher for Labor under Abbott (like 57) tells you everything about a large chunk of swinging voters who are still convinced that Labor was ineffective, incompetent and wasteful. And Labor has said NOTHING since to disabuse swinging voters of this. They do need to defend their record, not just go through the usual motions.. policy launches etc.

  20. Shorten looking like a genius, please give me a break, your mob are doing better because the Libs are shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly. Read Cud Chewers post and then re read it and that’s about where it is at.

  21. [1774
    cud chewer

    A Labor/Green senate is a real possibility and in that situation I think Labor could get a lot of good stuff done.]

    The G’s will always find some way to thwart Labor. They think they can make capital by gathering outside the tent and throwing rocks, sticks and insults at the occupants. I hope Labor find themselves not having to rely on the G’s for anything at all.

  22. Steely,

    Which post? The one where I say you’re a fucking idiot for voting Liberal and probably read the Daily Telegraph? Sure, there’s lots of fucking idiots out there. Nothing to gloat about.

  23. Shorto hasnt won over the public at large. Not by a long stretch. And yet its 50-50 or thereabouts.

    Thats how bad the LNP is governing.
    The press doesnt seem to get the above.

  24. [1777
    cud chewer

    I was half expecting Turnbull to bring things back to 50/50..]

    A very large part of the T effect was simply delight that Abbott – the Crazy Clown, The Worst PM in National History – had been removed.

    But that is not enough.

    Maybe, if he’d taken his chance for a DD in February, it would have got him through. But having chosen to at least try to govern, T is finding out just how difficult that is when his Party actually hates him – when they will obstruct his every action.

  25. cud @ 1771

    I still disagree, but I’ve made my points and there is no value in repeating them. I would clarify one thing though. I have watched a few Suspension of Standing Orders debates in recent months where I have seen Shorten and Turnbull up against each other debating. Very few swinging voters have seen the two up against each other.

    Shorten will eat Turnbull alive when they do the face to face debates at Rooty Hill or wherever. Shorten is actually quite direct and uses straightforward, but not simplistic, language. Turnbull can’t stop waffling to save himself and thus won’t be able to in the coming election. You only had to watch his Penrith announcement today to see that he has no idea of how to actually communicate critical political and policy points to the ordinary person.

    Bill Shorten’s communication skills when he is being interactive in debates and responding to live press queries are very good. Many voters who have not been paying attention will be surprised by the contrast with their previous image of him and prepared to consider him electable.

    Oh. And the mainstream media (especially News Corp) are not the force they once were influencing how people think. They still have some impact but that is reducing year by year.

  26. [1782
    lefty e

    Shorto hasnt won over the public at large. Not by a long stretch. And yet its 50-50 or thereabouts.

    Thats how bad the LNP is governing.
    The press doesnt seem to get the above.]

    Whatever the election turns out to be about, it will not be about Shorten.

  27. They think they can make capital by gathering outside the tent and throwing rocks, sticks and insults at the occupants. I hope Labor find themselves not having to rely on the G’s for anything at all.

    Baghdad Briefly strikes again.

  28. lefty at 782

    [Shorto hasnt won over the public at large.]

    And he won’t before he becomes PM. All he needs to do is earn enough respect to not be an obstacle to people voting Labor in response to the Coalition omnishambles. I’m convinced he can do that as the election approaches.

  29. [They think they can make capital by gathering outside the tent and throwing rocks, sticks and insults at the occupants.]

    Sounds like the monkey pod club to me.

  30. Chud Chewer 1778 I thoought it was insightful I don’t understand what you mean by gloating and is it possible for people like yourself to not abuse people, it is difficult to know what a persons character is by reading posts, and even though it is obvious by your posts that you are reasonable intelligent and have a good grasp of politics saying things to people that you would not say to there face also shows you to be a coward. But don’t worry there is a lot of them on this site I hope I am not seeing a snapshot of your typical Labor voter but I do wander where it comes from the hatred and the cowardice.

  31. I agree TPOF. He looks sane and stable by comparison. If they backed a Federal ICAC Id just about call it for the ALP now.

    Anyone who hasnt put $50 on the ALP at 5-1 is nuts.

  32. 1784

    Shorten has been doing live audience meetings/speeches/Q&A gigs all the time. He performs very well. Come the live debates, he will easily outpoint T.

    T is ok with the rehearsed phrases but he does not think as quickly as Shorten and cannot condense his thoughts on his feet. Of course, Shorten is decidedly younger, more energetic, has better body language and a lifetime of experience in stand-up, real-life communication. It shows.

  33. Steelydan
    In spite of first impressions i find you a thoughtful and reasonable person and I hope you will continue to contribute to this blog.

  34. You may have just caught me at a weak moment lizzie my side are getting the crap beaten out of them and we are doing it to ourselves, but I am a Liberal man through and through. Thanks anyway.

  35. [Shorten has changed his media advisors since the start of this year and its working for him.]

    Sounds to me like he’s had voice coaching too.

  36. Steely

    Like Briefly I also welcome you. It is great to actually get a sane voice from the liberals. We have a few but not many. We do get some of the crazies but I do not count them.

  37. Zoomster @ 1259

    I have some experience setting up corporate entities in Timor-Leste, i wish your friend luck in setting up a co-op. She is going to need PLENTY of patience.

  38. [ I will admit I do not understand the Coalitions strategy, ]

    Its alright SteamSteely, no-one in the coalition does either.

    [ calling a DD and focusing on Union corruption seemed like a good plan, ]

    only to idiots…

    [ but a new tax is going to be a real hard sell ]

    You reckon?? 🙂

    [ it should have been trumpeted out with heaps of fanfare, ]

    It would still be a stupid idea, regardless of the presentation.

    [ We could stuff this up if we are not careful. ]

    To Late. 🙂

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