Federal budget: the morning after

As the government gears up to reverse its polling fortunes on the back of last night’s budget, a look at post-budget polling effects going back to the dawn of Newspoll.

Leroy Lynch offers a reminder of a long lost Possum Comitatus post from budget time 2007, designed to address suggestions from certain elements of the media at that time that Peter Costello’s last budget (as it transpired) would finally kick off that long-awaited “narrowing” in Labor’s poll lead under Kevin Rudd. No evidence was found of consistent behaviour in polling at around budget time, but it strikes me that this matter is better considered on a case-by-case basis. So here’s a chart I’ve done showing how governments’ two-party poll ratings changed between a period from one month before each budget to one and two months after, based on trend measures of polling from the time (just Newspoll up the 2010 election, but BludgerTrack results thereafter). Many if not most of the big changes probably had little if anything to do with the budget (the Kevin Rudd leadership coup bounce in 2013, the carbon tax backlash in 2011, the unwinding of Kevin Rudd’s post-election honeymoon in 2008), but others (1993 and 2014 especially) very clearly did. Labor budgets are indicated in pink, Coalition ones in blue.


UPDATE: It occurs to me it might be a little more interesting if presented like this:


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.

732 comments on “Federal budget: the morning after”

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  1. Well, after days of enduring incessant power outages and eternally slow internet speeds trying to vent my spleen on PB while in complete disarray, I have find myself suddenly reconnected to an aesthetically designed fully functioning blog with absolutely nothing of value to say. Sigh!

  2. Nina661:

    The Greens tend to over-reach with their stunts when they are feeling invisible. The last time they felt invisible they changed leaders.

  3. stopturnbull.com

    The task of greatest importance is not defeating Labor, but purifying the Liberal Party

    Are you sure this is not a Labor front? 🙂

  4. A somewhat wanky attempt from this writer at The Age.

    Speaking of the Liberals, Turnbull said: “Our values of free enterprise, of individual initiative, of freedom; this is what you need to be a successful, agile economy in 2015.”

    It is an ethos that encourages a person of average earnings to see an annual salary of $80,000 – and its promised tax cut – as attainable. To see enterprising ways of breaking into the property market and riding the housing boom all the way to the bank – and who hasn’t met hairdressers and office secretaries with a portfolio of negatively geared properties? To see private education as an astute investment for their children, or at least to regard educational excellence as hinging on better teachers rather than more money. To see an efficient market that will deliver prosperity as long as government unburdens us and unions get out of our way.

    Labor, on the other hand, tugs at middle-class anxiety and pessimism about the future, and perhaps that sounds uncomfortable for progressives, who think they have a monopoly on hope. Labor still retails some hope, but that hope is contingent on making changes now.

    The opposition’s package speaks to fears about young people being locked out of the property market, or forced to live in outer suburbs far from jobs and transport. About educational opportunities slipping beyond their reach without a massive, long-term investment in schools. About businesses using tax cuts to maximise profits rather than generate jobs. About higher university fees, sluggish wages growth, banks screwing the little people, insecure work.

    I detect both narratives, the optimistic and the less optimistic, swirling in the zeitgeist and competing for supremacy within individuals. Even I, a perennial political optimist, find myself feeling dislocated by the idea that pessimism might be the more rational mindset now.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/malcolm-turnbull-and-bill-shorten-the-optimist-and-the-pessimist-20160503-gollsr.html#ixzz47hMbDT9b

  5. stopturnbull.com

    The task of greatest importance is not defeating Labor, but purifying the Liberal Party

    Are you sure this is not a Labor front?

    Nuttertruckers is doing the same but in a more pseudo intellectual way. Its hilarious.

    Common theme seems to be that the “Defiant Conservatives” should vote against Lib MP’s that didn’t vote for Tony, and try to get ALA candidates into the Senate. Much high ambition and moralizing and they are going to save the world from the unworthy.

    I reckon most of them will just vote informal, Apparently that will send some signal into our political system that will bring about great change……..somehow??

    Oh, and if the ALP gets in thats ok…this time, so long as REAL conservatives control the Senate which should be easy considering their actual vast numbers, pure hearts, and steely eyed resolve, and dont let the ALP pass anything while they are in Govt, and the REAL conservatives will have taken back the Libs and will win easily next time.

  6. When I was in the Commonwealth Employment Service, CES,mid 1990’s, I worked with long-term unemployed jobseekers.

    When unemployment figures were going through the roof the gov’t introduced the Jobskills program. LTUE were taken on as trainees by employers, where the trainees got reduced wages and attracted wage subsidies.

    What is old is new again.

  7. readers of the AFR are not happy about the super changes, the paper did a survey of their readers.

    Wealthy retirees and super savers have already begun investigating options such as negative gearing and splitting strategies to get around the raft of changes.


    The alarm of super savers was reflected at budget breakfasts across the country on Wednesday, where advisers said their phones rang hot when the budget dropped at 7.30pm.

    see : afr.com personal-finance/superannuation-and-smsfs/afr-readers-dismiss-super-caps-as-disgrace (google)

  8. There would have to be some alarm among micro-businesses with the official unemployment levels set to remain high. The *jobs and growth* mantra means diddly squat with no real forecast in growth in jobs / discretionary income. Nothing to stimulate the economy.

  9. Liberal senator Barry O’Sullivan is sure to be pleased with this budget. He’ll continue to kill the pig with his 40+ investment properties. We all pay for it of course.

  10. Hello Pollbludgers – been away from here for a long time due to family and work commitments. I was in Georgia for work last night with some moderate Republicans when Trump easily won Indiana – they were a bit stunned, but conceded that they actually thought Cruz would be worse in the top job! Back in DC today – the Trumpster is on 24/7 on all news channels!

    I am feeling very distant from the “election” campaign in Australia. From a long way away here I just don’t feel Labor will win – but they will close the gap, and Turnbull will weaken the Coalition’s own Senate position which will be the final irony of calling a Double dissolution.

    See y’all. [Georgian]

  11. Good Morning Bludgers, 🙂

    I just heard a snippet of Barnaby Joyce’s interview on 7.30 last night.

    Well, you know what ‘Carp’, when rearranged also spells?


    And that interview was full of it!

    It was also putting contradictory and nonsensical positions, which is not unusual for the Ruling Class Clown of the Australian Parliament. However, this one was a doozy.

    Apparently, Joycey was crying crocodile tears for our National Debt. Again. He was getting all misty-eyed (or was that the grog again at the end of another day in parliament?) because he said that he didn’t want to be part of a government that left large government debt for our kids and our grandkiddies to pay off.

    Ergo, LABOR BAD! Because, they want to increase the Debt!!! What he doesn’t quite get around to adding is that Labor want to do things like educate our kids and our grandkiddies properly, and provide Universal Health Care for them, and like, you know, work towards leaving a habitable planet behind for them when our generation has passed.

    Not that any of that will necessarily blow out the Budget Deficit or National Debt because, as Labor has laboriously been saying it’s a matter of priorities within Malcolm Turnbull’s much beloved, ‘fiscal envelope’.

    Of course, Barnaby’s argument was by way of creating a sob story for the government and alibi for why they couldn’t give a Tax Cut to the low paid workers in society. Because, ‘too expensive’.

    But here’s the contradictory part.

    Why, if this ‘Colour and Movement’ fellow we laughingly call the Deputy Prime Minister, if he is getting all hot under the collar about the National Debt, is his government blithely unconcerned about having more than doubled it since they came to power!?!

    And, not only that, but they happily on Tuesday night in the Budget outlined a plan to massively increase the National Debt over the next 10 years by slashing the Revenue source of Company Tax, to the tune of $40-60 Billion!?!

    I think our kids and grandkids could really have appreciated that. A lot more than the Ruling Class, who just waste it on houses too large for their families, boats too big for a couple of people, jewels that they lock up in vaults anyway, and Private Schools that they send their privileged princelings and princesses to so that they may network their way into the position where they may lord it over everyone else. Just like the Turnbulls and Joyces of this world are doing now and in order to enact the sorts of policies that we saw in Tuesday’s Budget, which favour them, and their kids and granddkids. Not yours or mine. They are but military and industrial cannon fodder for them.

    And if one of them has to act the Fool to aid in pulling the wool over the plebs eyes, then that seems to be a price Barnaby Joyce is all too willing to pay. The truth be damned! And, just quietly and not to be shouted from the studios of the ABC, Debt be damned! If it’s all for the cause of the real,undeclared Class War. To entrench the might and power of the Ruling Class.

  12. It gets even worse: from Gabrielle Chan at the Guardian:

    While we are all still digesting Tony Abbott’s comments on Ian Macfarlane, there was a little nugget from his speech that we haven’t yet covered.

    Abbott in the adjournment debate was also singing the praises of the integrity of retiring Liberal senator Bill Heffernan as “the only member of this parliament I have ever met who never sought promotion”.

    Abbott then moved to a personal anecdote. The former prime minister told the parliament that as a “relatively new member of parliament”, he was invited to drinks by a well-known millionaire.

    Tony Abbott:

    As I was leaving he gave me an envelope and said, ‘That’s your Christmas present. When I opened it up it contained $5,000 in cash. I can tell you, the Abbott family in those days could have used that money, but it did not feel right. I rang Bill Heffernan for his advice and he said: ‘Once bought, always bought. Give it back and say to that person, “Please write out a cheque for the campaign.’

    I think Gabrielle misses the point. The biggest worry about this story is that he actually had to ring Heffernan for advice. An honest man wouldn’t have to do that.

    There are two things about this story.

    The first is the spectre of politicians being offered envelopes full of cash. What for? We don’t know. But remember he is talking about an experience at the beginning of this career. Not at it’s height.

    The other is that while the cash was rejected, the “softer path” is to make a donation as a party donation. That is, the knowledge of an potential expectation tied to a specific member can be attached to a particular apparently generic donation made out to a political party.

    If you want to feel just a bit sick, think about that.

  13. I’ve only flicked to Sky News twice in the past week or so. The first time Ross Cameron was in the middle of gushing over Donald Trump. The second time Mark Latham was doing the same thing. I was somewhat surprised both times. I thought Cameron was a fairly typical Liberal, and although Latham is a bit kooky, he’s also a smart guy.

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