Day two: Essential, Lonergan, BludgerTrack and more

Individual polls continue to record a statistical dead heat on two-party preferred, but the BludgerTrack poll aggregate detects a subtle shift in favour of the Coalition since the release of the budget.

First up, the latest dispatches from the front:

• The preference deal with the Greens being pursued by the Victorian Liberals at the behest of the party’s state president, Michael Kroger, is meeting resistance from other branches of the party. Rick Wallace of The Australian today cites unidentified Liberal sources expressing displeasure at the idea, and gets Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz to reiterate that the “very strong view” of his own state division was that the Greens should be put last. The party’s federal director, Tony Nutt, issued a statement yesterday stressing that no decision had been made.

• Labor hit a spot of bother today in the Townsville electorate of Herbert, which it has never quite been able to pick off since it fell to the Liberals in the 1996 landslide. Bill Shorten’s Queensland road trip brought him to the electorate today, but a doorstop he conducted together with the Labor candidate, Cathy O’Toole, was dominated by O’Toole’s involving in a protest at Liberal member Ewen Jones’s electorate office in February pleading for “a more humane policy for refugees”.

• Apropos Dennis Jensen’s announcement he will run as an independent in Tangney, the Australian Parliamentary Library reviews “the electoral fortunes of MPs who left major parties and contested the next election as Independents”, going back to 1949. Out of 17 identified examples, 12 failed to win their seats (several of whom left office under a cloud); three won re-election but were then defeated at the next election subsequently; and another won re-election and then retired at the election subsequently. Only Bob Katter went on to lasting electoral success.

Now to polling. BludgerTrack has been updated with the latest Essential Research, along with state data from Ipsos, Essential and ReachTEL. The Coalition is now credited with a lead of 50.5-49.5, which is full point better than the pre-budget reading from last week. That translates into a net gain of three since last week on the seat projection, with two gains in New South Wales and one each in Victoria and the Northern Territory balanced by a loss in Queensland. At some point in the not distant future, I’ll start including state-level primary vote breakdowns and two-party results from respondent-allocated trends as well as previous election preferences, but for the time being the display looks like so:


Two new polls were released yesterday, and I have a bit left to say about one from the day before:

• Essential Research’s fortnightly rolling average has the Labor lead down from 52-48 to 51-49, with the Coalition up a point on the primary vote to 42%, Labor steady on 38% and the Greens steady on 10%. The poll also records 20% approval and 29% disapproval of the budget, with 35% opting for neither and 15% for don’t know. Twenty-one per cent felt the budget had made them more confident in the government, compared with 32% for less confident and 35% for makes no difference. However, most of the specific measures were well supported; 69% for internships for the young unemployed versus 14% opposed; 72% for the higher tax on cigarettes, versus 21% against; 62% for capping super tax concessions, versus 21% against; and 50% in favour of company tax cuts, versus 34% against. Opinion was evenly divided on the tax cut for those on more than $80,000, at 43% for and 44% against, and there was a predictable result for “cuts of $1.2 billion to aged care providers”. A bonus survey question provided exclusively to SBS recorded a view that the budget would make it harder for young people looking to buy their first home and gain a higher education, migrant families seeking education jobs, and people saving for their retirement – but there was a relatively good result for “young people trying to find a job”, presumably reflecting the internships scheme. The poll also recorded 48% opposition to bringing asylum seekers from Manus Island to Australia with 30% in support, and 39% holding the view that conditions in detention centres were poor, versus 32% for good.

• The Guardian Australia yesterday published a poll by Lonergan Research showing 50-50 on two-party preferred, from primary votes of Coalition 42%, Labor 35% and Greens 12%. It also found only 12% felt they would be better off because of the budget compared with 38% for worse off, and that 29% said it made them more likely to vote for the Coalition compared with 47% for less likely. The poll was automated phone survey of 1841 respondents conducted Friday to Sunday.

• I hadn’t mentioned the budget response results from Newspoll, which are worth a closer look. Among other things, there are breakdowns by income cohort, which you don’t often see in published polling. Those on higher incomes ($100,000 and lower) were more disposed to have an overall favourable view than those on lower incomes ($50,000 or less), but not by a great order of magnitude: 39% good and 22% in the former case, 31% good and 22% bad in the latter. However, bigger disparities were recorded on personal impact, with 11% of low-income earners expecting to be better off and 45% expecting to be worse off, compared with 29% and 27% for higher income earners. There are also interesting differences by age, with the most favourable responses coming from the young and the least favourable from the middle-aged, with the older cohort landing in between. Charts below put all this into the context of the regular post-budget Newspoll questions going back to 1988 (although there’s a slight change this year and that there are no longer neutral as distinct from uncommitted response options), and show the historic relationship between the “own financial position” and “economic impact” questions, with this year’s question identified in red. On pretty much every measure, this was an average response to a budget, although the plus 5% net rating for economic impact compares slightly unfavourably with an average of plus 10.9%. Its also a weaker than usual result for a Coalition budget, which have had historically better results (part of which is to do with the Howard government holding the reins in the pre-GFC boom years).


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.

1,527 comments on “Day two: Essential, Lonergan, BludgerTrack and more”

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  1. political_alert: Opposition Leader @billshortenmp is in Mackay & Townsville today, and will visit Beaconsfield State School at 10am #auspol #ausvotes

  2. john reidy @ #42 Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Guess who Morrison blames for the super changes criticism, Labor, it is all labor’s fault for ‘drumming up a campaign ‘.
    After Bowen’s address yesterday I wonder if News Corp is going to propose a treasurer’s debate.

    Morrison is just playing election politics. Hard. He’ll be the #1 Labor attack dog in the campaign, allowing Fluffmeister Malcolm to float above it all with his misleading warm and fuzzy messages.

  3. c@t

    For voters who have no clue as to anything re politics, Turnbull and Morrison could be mistaken for the same person. Have you seen them together lately? Especially when they both have their reading glasses on

  4. Apparently front page of Oz has article on Duncan from qanda. Picture of him and his two girls.
    ABC ‘budget fairness’ victim pays no net tax

    Bad tactic by the Oz.

    That headline means that they missed the whole point his Q&A appearance made.

    They are picking on the little guy for asking a simple question he had every right to ask, and actually, doing it better than a LOT of more educated and generaly eloquent people would have.

    And frankly, a lot of people may not be in Duncan’s position, but they worry about being there and can actually empathise with him.

    Fwark the Oz, they are bastards.

  5. victoria:

    Funny you mention that, I happened upon a photo online of Morrison over a headline with the word Treasurer, and for a fleeting moment thought it was Turnbull and the editors had stuffed up. The resemblance was quite striking, even if it was only momentary.

  6. Other DT headlines today:

    PM slammed after ditching Qld for Sydney
    CITY slicker Malcolm Turnbull has been accused of abandoning his regional MPs after rejecting a leaders’ debate in Queensland and “fleeing” to Sydney (with a very unflattering photo of MT)

    Abbott launches own Queensland assault
    TONY ABBOTT is heading to Queensland. And he has his game face on.

  7. [Australian Liberty Alliance’s New South Wales candidate Kirralie Smith, who has been linked to divisive conservative figures Cory Bernardi, George Christensen and Dutch politician Geert Wilders, targeted Aly during a press conference this week, claiming he only wanted to talk about the Coalition’s faults.

    Ms Smith told The New Daily she also disliked Aly because he “condescends everybody”.]
    Kirralie and George called wanted me to pass on their thanks to their colleagues and supporters on PB. They are really grateful they are not alone in this.
    They suggested that in focus groups ‘condescending’ was considered more intellectual than ‘full of it’ but got exactly the same message across.
    Keep up the ‘good’ fight.

  8. Not sure if my thinking is correct on this one, but I’m sure the brains trust will help me out —

    Turnbull’s argument against negative gearing changes for housing is that housing is a form of investment, and it would be discriminatory to have tax rules on one form of investment which are different to other forms (and, of course, changing the rules on negative gearing will lead to a plague of locusts and the death of one’s first born…)

    Before housing became the investment du jour, farming was a very popular way of losing money and writing it off against taxable income by Malcolm’s set.

    Over the years (when it was often wryly pointed out by the ATO that the better you performed in your profession, the crapper you were at farming) the rules around what classifies as a farm for taxation purposes have been tightened.

    This shows that –
    1. We do treat different investments differently when it comes to taxation;
    2. The particular market does not collapse when this happens (farming land prices have not plummeted).

    To be consistent in his argument, surely Malcolm has to suggest winding back the changes to the treatment of farms for taxation purposes?

  9. Morning all, and thanks BK for the morning round up.

    It really is disgusting that the Oz would pick on Duncan, but then again I’m not surprised given their track record.

    I caught up on some of the highlights of Q&A last night and it really did illustrate how shockingly bad the Liberal “born-to-rule” mentality is. And Willox of course was just horrible.

    It’d be awesome if O’Dwyer loses her seat – would love to see the look on her face!

  10. A comment from last night…

    Turnbull and co are throwing everything at labor just two days into a eight week campaign. That both surprises and interests me.

    Turnbull is fighting the Battle of the Bulge, wearing himself out, while Labor is fighting the Battle of el Alamein, letting him wear himself out.

  11. fess

    I mentioned previously that there is more than 10 years difference in age between Turnbull and Morrison. But they look the same age

  12. C@
    actually all you’d have to do would be to put it to Turnbull. He’s not sensible enough to give a simple answer, and would quickly go into Malsplaining mode.

  13. Victoria

    Apparently front page of Oz has article on Duncan from qanda. Picture of him and his two girls.


    ABC ‘budget fairness’ victim pays no net tax

    Then again, neither does Rupert…

  14. Not very smart of the Oz at all.

    Demonising the poor is fine in Australian Politics and often good for a poll boost. Demonising one particular poor person after people learn his name and see his face? Not so clever.

    The longer this story is in the news, the more it will hurt O’Dwyer. With Higgins effected by the same demographic changes that turned Prahran from Liberal to Green last state election, the current 10% margin vs Labor cannot be relied upon. If this story stays in the public consciousness this seat could be a close 3 way competition.

  15. In case you missed it which is easy considering its the DT.

    Apparently against the democratic principals of negotiating to form a majority in the House if there is a “hung” parliament the DT has got the leaders to pledge not to negotiate.

    So now seeing tweets like this
    mpesce: God knows the Labor minority government with Greens support was the Worst Government in Australian History.

    Oh wait no, that was Abbott.

  16. I thought the 2010-2013 hung parliament on the whole resulted in excellent governance from a policy perspective, and all parties involved deserve credit for that, but I doubt anyone could blame Labor for being incredibly reluctant to repeat that experience any time soon.

    They should own their achievements during that period, however – it is rather remarkable how smoothy things ran and how much legislation was passed considering the general choas generated by a hysterical opposition and media, a number of frustrating own-goals, and certain, er, internal elements. Its particularly noticeable in contrast to the current sorry excuse for a government, which would probably have trouble passing legislation with a majority in both Houses.

  17. lizzie @ #5 Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 7:15 am

    I don’t remember the”hung parliament” years as horror years. I found them exciting, but the Coalition and the media , with Turnbull out in front, are using “Horror!” to try to scare everyone to vote for them.
    Bill used ‘paper notes’? What greater crime could there be?

    Hi Lizzie
    Most Australians don’t want to be bothered by politics between elections. Sad, but true. So, for most Australians they were horror years – although that was largely down to the hysterical carrying on by Abbott and the uncritical broadcasting of that by the MSM through all their outlets.

    In my view, minority governments can produce great outcomes. The last one certainly did. But it is clear from the last one that the Australian public don’t want them.

  18. TPOF

    I disagree. What is becoming clear is Australians don’t want the politics of the lat ten years. The common data point. Tony Abbott.

  19. Zoomster
    I’m not a green voter but Morrison us doing such a sh*t job, as if Bandt would b worse? At least he isn’t evil

  20. The Liberals are copping a lot of grief over the retrospective changes to super this morning. Neil Mitchell has been getting stuck into Josh Frydenberg on 3aw.

    As far as I understand it Labor’s policy is not retrospective, but I’m wondering if that is likely to give them much of an advantage in this debate. Are those who are complaining about what the Liberals are doing likely to look at Labor’s proposals and say “Well that’s alright then”.

  21. The LNP had a victory yesterday with its Labor Green Wedge. Morrison nominating Bandt as Shadow Treasurer along with the DT doing its “leaders pledge” just turned it into defeat with over reach.

  22. Balmain and Rozelle are now in Grayndler, and a few weeks ago Albo popped into the Exchange Hotel and Dick’s Hotel for a beer and a chat. Happened to be there on my buck’s night when he popped in. He’s been campaigning pretty hard on the ground since the redistribution, spending a lot of time locally and getting the message out.

    It would be a big los if he were to lose his seat. One of the abiding memories of Labor’s time in government was Albo staring down Mirabella and other RWNJs out the front of his electorate office when they came to protest against (IIRC) the Carbon Price.

  23. I wish the next time Turnbull says ‘Jobs and Growth ‘, one of the journos says ‘whats with the 3 word slogans’
    Also does anyone like the name ‘Boaty McBoatface ‘ I am thinking of calling Morrison?

  24. Burgey

    I agree Albo losing would be a loss for Grayndler itself. He should be re-elected just on his track record. However it cannot be denied that the area is getting “greener”.

    As I said above, getting an endorsement from the Tellmecrap might not be seen as a positive.


    Excellent take apart of the Jobs and Growth slogan without substance. The website really is scarily in touch with reality considering where it comes from.

    Again it’s like Kelly’s crap about the toaster. Yes possibly it can be demonstrated that buying the toaster and instantly writing it off will make a positive return. Over time. In a ‘model’.

    BUT, is that the best investment for the resources? Are other investments likely to produce larger returns and/or shorter paybacks? Of course the Libs haven’t modelled their crap to test it against other better options and so calculate the opportunity cost of their ideology. Because of course it’s ideological and so evidence doesn’t matter other than to manipulate to support your pre-determined position.

    Labor really should get the PBO to model spending $50bil on company tax cuts v spending $50 on health and education. I don’t think my left testicle would be in any sort of danger if I bet it on health and education producing a significantly larger benefit on GDP, wages and unemployment in a much shorter time frame in the same model used to test the Libs garbage.

    Some solid modelling from the independent PBO that showed the investment that directly benefited ordinary people ALSO had a far greater positive benefit to the economy than the Libs “plans” would destroy them.

  26. I know the reason for the desperation. The articles in today’s papers saying Labor has the policy substance right on economics is a killer for the LNP and they know it.

    Its the only national reporting that will have an impact in local marginals that want to know the national won’t fall into the local and cause job cuts etc.

    The LNP achilles hill as the nation watched the LNP destroy jobs in South Australia in the name of ideology.
    Thats why Duncan’s QandA story resonated beyond the QandA audience and has become part of the national narrative.

    There will be more. Local jobs lost due to LNP ideology is why Labor will win. Top hats v hard hats.

  27. victoria @ #30 Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Apparently front page of Oz has article on Duncan from qanda. Picture of him and his two girls.
    ABC ‘budget fairness’ victim pays no net tax

    Nor does any member of the Australian Defence Force. But let’s ignore that if we are the Australian (which believes that the purpose of tax is to be a bank account for taxpayers).

  28. Been looking through the fine print of the Liberals super changes, and am not surprised that the rent-an-opinion IPA are earning their keep from the well-heeled SMSF crowd.

    The $1.6m cap, with any extra pushed into a separate 15% taxed account, plus a limit of $500k on non-concessional deposits look puny in the face of the worth of a single Sydney/Melbourne investment property sitting in the SMSF, and the $1m non-concessional deposits Howard/Costello pushed in 2006. And it is retrospective, that is RETROSPECTIVE – despite Cormann bleating otherwise this morning.

    Predicting backflip with pike coming from Turnbull/Morrison.

  29. Oops I wrote hill instead of heel. Must have been thinking of what a hill to climb to prove you are not incompetent 😆

  30. “BludgerTrack poll aggregate detects a subtle shift in favour of the Coalition”
    Subtle is the operative word, given that the current 95% range of ALP TPPs seems to be 48.6% to 51.8%. This is more or less a seat range for the ALP of 66 to 81. Projected forward to 2-Jul, the current trends point to the number of ALP seats of 65 to 85. There’s an awful lot of wriggle room in that and it all depends on how one makes one’s “track” . Next week it will all change in an unpredictable way. Much better to wait until the declaration of the polls to assess what is happening this week – Sorry

  31. and another hidden RETROSPECTIVE gems in the Liberal Super Blitz on Wealthy Retirees policy
    – income from accumulated super is capped at $100k per year. If you entered into arrangements in good faith, some of which are not easy to unwind, stiff bickies. Or you can complain to

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