BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition

Not much happening in terms of national polling this week, but a privately conducted poll finds Sophie Mirabella has little hope of recovering her old seat of Indi from independent Cathy McGowan.

The Easter weekend has meant the only poll this week has been the usual weekly reading from Essential Research, which records a tie on two-party preferred for the fourth week in a row. Both major parties are steady on the primary vote – the Coalition on 43%, Labor on 38% – while the Greens are down a point to 9%. There is accordingly not much change on the surface of the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, which records a gentle move to the Coalition that yields nothing on the seat projection. However, there’s a lot going on under the BludgerTrack bonnet, as I’m now doing it in R rather than SAS/STAT, and relying a lot less on Excel to plug the gaps. Now that I’ve wrapped my head around R, I can probe a lot more deeply into the data with a lot less effort – commencing with the observation that the Coalition’s two-party vote would be around 0.5% higher if I was using a trend of respondent-allocated preference to determine the result, rather than 2013 election preferences. I’ve also done my regular quarterly BludgerTrack breakdowns, featuring state-level primary votes based on results from Morgan, Ipsos, Essential and ReachTEL, together with the breakdowns published this week by Newspoll.

Further polling:

• The Essential poll found 44% would approve of a double dissolution election if the Senate blocked the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill, with disapproval at only 23%. Respondents also showed good sense when asked the main reason why Prime Minister might wish to do such a thing: 25% opted for clearing independents from the Senate, 30% for getting an election in before he loses further support, and only 14% for actually getting the ABCC restored. Other questions recorded an unsurprising weight of support for income tax cuts (62% more important, 61% better for the economy) over company tax cuts (16% and 19% respectively). Results for a series of questions on which party was best to manage various aspects of economic policy were also much as expected, though slightly more favourable to the Coalition than when the questions were last posed a few weeks before the 2014 budget. A semi-regular inquiry into the attributes of the Labor and Liberal parties allows an opportunity for comparison with a poll conducted in November, shortly before the recent improvement in Labor’s fortunes. Labor’s movements are perhaps a little surprising, with extreme up and moderate down, and “looks after the interests of working people” down as well. The Liberals are down vision, leadership and clarity, and up on division.

• The Herald-Sun has a report on ReachTEL poll commissioned by the progressive Australia Institute think tank in the regional Victorian seat of Indi, which Sophie Mirabella hopes to recover for the Liberals after her defeat by independent Cathy McGowan in 2013. The news is not good for Mirabella, with McGowan recording a lead on the primary vote of 37.3% to 26.9%, while the Nationals are a distant third on 10.6%. The report says a 56-44 two-candidate preferred result from the poll allocated all Nationals preferences to Mirabella, a decision that was perhaps made in ignorance of the level of support McGowan received from Nationals voters in 2013. The primary votes as reported would more likely pan out to around 60-40.

Preselection latest:

Andrew Burrell of The Australian reports the Liberal preselection for the new Western Australian seat of Burt is a tight tussle between Matt O’Sullivan, who runs mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne indigenous employment scheme, and Liz Storer, a Gosnells councillor. Storer is supported by the state branch’s increasingly assertive Christian Right, and in particular by its leading powerbroker in Perth’s southern suburbs, state upper house MP Nick Goiran.

• The Weekly Times reports that Damian Drum, state upper house member for Northern Victoria region and one-time coach of the Fremantle Dockers AFL club, will nominate for Nationals preselection in the seat of Murray, following the weekend’s retirement announcement from Liberal incumbent Sharman Stone. The front-runner for Liberal preselection looks to be Donald McGauchie, former policy adviser to the then 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.

3,289 comments on “BludgerTrack: 51.5-48.5 to Coalition”

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  1. Maybe Mal will go the election immediately – forget about July 2.

    I think with this polling and his back bench I would be visiting the GG today.

    I doubt he will be able to hang on until May.

  2. Is that newspoll confirmed?

    If so I would imagine there are a lot of very very nervous backbenchers in the ranks of the LNP at the moment.

    Given Turnbull only beat Abbott by 10 votes in the leadership ballot last year meaning only 5 people need to change their vote to bring him down I don’t think it would be wrong to say that Turnbull is currently leading without the support of a majority of his caucus.

    A very dangerous position to be in for any leader especially one seen as the white knight bought in to rescue a dire situation.

  3. Time for Kevin Andrews to mount that challenge. 😀

    Either that or we start a “Bring Back Tony” internet campaign.

  4. So now that Turnbull’s only reason for being PM – his public popularity – is gone, is a Liberal leadership spill on the cards?

    Let the leadersh*t begin. 😀

  5. [#Newspoll Preferred PM: Turnbull 48 (-4) Shorten 27 (+6) #auspol]

    Getting closer to a typical PM advantage… (which off the top of my head would be 45-30ish)

  6. Question@3264

    #Newspoll Preferred PM: Turnbull 48 (-4) Shorten 27 (+6) #auspol

    Getting closer to a typical PM advantage… (which off the top of my head would be 45-30ish)

    Not that it matters. Abbott never got PPM before he became PM AFAIK.

  7. J341983 @3259,

    Exactly. Unless he gets the ABCC legislation through he is locked in to the DD.

    Gordon Brown threatened a DD in the UK. A few bad polls and he backed away. He never recovered.

    Weakness is easy to smell.


  8. [
    Newspoll Allowing States to levy income taxes: Support 19 Oppose 58 #auspol
    I wonder if the News Ltd journos have the energy to argue that the public opinion is wrong and that the change is a worthwhile innovation which should be implemented regardless.
    Not that they are ‘elitist’.

  9. @3266 – My take on Morgan (FWIW) is that they have a bad habit of exaggerating trends and have inexplicably huge swings fortnight to fortnight.

  10. Roy will be pleased that every knob polisher will point to his poll tomorrow after they are done trying to downplay Newspoll.

    Do we have Shorten’s netsats yet?

  11. [To be fair, they managed a bit in their alliance with Labor during Gillard’s term.]

    Yep, that’s my argument too. They swung their weight around pretty well for such a small party. Boerwar will never acknowledge this though. I doubt he would survive the shock of hearing himself say something positive about the Greens.

  12. Dtt @ 3251

    Good point.
    Still too early to be overly confident about Labors prospects but Turnbull and the LNP appear to be on a downward spiral from which at this stage they are unable and incapable to get out of.

  13. Colton

    While I have sympathy with your view about balancing jobs and the environment, I think you have rather rose tinted glasses about the valiant action that the ALP has taken. Sure Lake Pedder and Franklin river were great causes which labor embreaced. However it was Fraser who saved Fraser island (his daughter got to him I recall)

    At a state level while I am not knocking the ALP guys, credit must also go the the Hamer government and to the NSW Liberal governemnt at times. The environment is served best when it is not a super political and divisive issue. SA has always been good on environmental issues. Was this the Dunstan legacy?

    Graeme Richardson, no greeny was a very good environment minister but so too was Robert Hill

  14. Prissy Pyne looks close to tears on Q&A. Turnbull’s farked.


    I wonder how soon the Libs get the newspoll results. Did Andrews have it when he went bat-shit crazy?]

    He was born batshit crazy

  15. Pyne being very very diplomatic on the South Australian question.

    He can’t have his cake and eat it too.

    WTTE of the tender process has to remain the same but SA will somehow benefit.

  16. Hey peeps,

    I’m too busy to comment here much atm, but I just thought I’d add my deepest, most considered observation:

    Mal is massively cocking it up. Once a rooster; now a spatchcock.

    Has his name appeared in the Panama papers yet?

  17. Dtt @ 3277

    You make some fair points.
    There have been achievements from all sides however I think the record of the ALP overall is second to none.

  18. [3277
    The environment is served best when it is not a super political and divisive issue.

    So you DON’T support the existence of the Greens, seeing as their existence politicises the environment?

    That’s much further than I’d go but each to their own 😛

  19. I must say though, apropos qanda which I was listening to on the car radio as I drove back from SES training tonight, that I heard Christopher Pyne essentially saying that to the government the concept of Vertical Fiscal Equalisation between the States was no longer Coalition government policy.

    Which is the upshot of the ‘Don’t bring your begging bowl to us, find the money yourselves!’ position.

    Also, I find it interesting that no one yet has called out the Coalition’s ‘Grow the pie’ rhetoric for what it really is and that is Magic Pudding Economics. You add the magic ingredients that only the Coalition can and voila! The pie/pudding gets magically bigger and able to feed all of us better than before.

    I heard it applied by Pyne tonight to the Education funding question. Apparently you can just train teachers better, have larger class sizes and no extra resources for the schools…in fact, take them away from Public Schools, and voila! you end up with a superior education for your child, disabled and able alike.

    Someone should whisper into Chris’s shell-like that the Coalition’s magic tricks have been worked out and they’re just not fooling the punters any more.

    Exhibit 1 : Newspoll

  20. Re the Subs and SA:

    I read in The Daily Telegraph today (apparently your local tyre joint gets a free copy from Rupert every day too), that Malcolm Turnbull has decided to put off the decision about who will be granted the contract to build the Subs, and hence where they will likely be built, until after the election.

    What a gutless wonder that man is. He doesn’t possess the courage to argue the case for whatever country the government chooses to build the Subs BEFORE the election.

  21. Jimmy you seem to be under the impression that there is a vast pool of hidden money out there that can be taxed somehow the Labor party had seven years to find it and they couldn’t and I am pretty sure they tried hard. The drum had a professor on last night who is a specialist in international tax avoidance, two things stood out one is that tax avoidance is not illegal but tax invasion is(big difference)and what the majority of these people have done not illegal and when asked about revenue he stated that the money recoverable is small beer and for real change in revenue in Australia you have to look at big ticket items like superannuation and capital gains tax. Do I like these guys, of course not they seem to be greedy pigs but it is not the answer to our revenue woes.

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