Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor

No change from Essential Research this week, which also records Malcolm Turnbull dipping into net negative territory on personal approval for the first time.

The latest result for Essential Research is largely unchanged on last week, with the Coalition steady on 42% of the primary vote, Labor steady on 38% and the Greens down one to 9%. One change is that the pollster has dumped Palmer United from its survey and replaced it with the Nick Xenophon Team, which opens it account on 3%. The poll also features Essential’s monthly leadership ratings, which find Malcolm Turnbull up one on approval to 40% and up three on disapproval to 42%, Bill Shorten up four on approval to 34% and down one on disapproval to 43%, and Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister narrowing from 44-22 to 43-28. There is also a suite of questions on social class, something 81% agreed existed in Australia, with only 8% saying otherwise. Only 2% of respondents identified as upper class, yet 53% thought the Liberal Party mainly served that party’s interests. Forty-eight per cent of respondents identified as middle class, which 15% thought mainly served by Liberal and 17% by Labor, while 34% identified as working class, which 39% thought mainly represented by Labor and 4% by Liberal. The poll also found 48% approval of the budget’s internships scheme for the young unemployed, and 52% rating the election campaign too long versus 5% for too short and 32% for about right.

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.

1,374 comments on “Essential Research: 51-49 to Labor”

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  1. In fact the obvious response to Dutton’ s remarks is that the federal govt used to provide settlement services for precisely the reasons he raises. Except the Howard govt substantially reduced if not abolished the very services that would’ve assisted refugee integration to Australian society.

  2. I don’t watch/listen to any ABC news or current affairs these days, but I see Leigh Sales is being savaged on Twitter for her interview tonight. PB-ers not the only ones.

  3. citizen @ #1230 Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 9:02 pm


    Love it!
    Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 8:42 pm
    Why did Abbott go to Manly Wharf? To stop the boats.
    That’s it. Abbott and Dutton could deploy the Border Force to give all ferry passengers a literacy test and ensure they spoke perfect English. Those who failed would be sent back to Circular Quay and thence to their miserable hovels in Western Sydney.

  4. Wesley Rickard wins fastest ever to make it onto my (very small) STFU list. Took to just the opening of the third comment.

    Looks all the world to me like a beta version bot out for its first field test.

  5. Steve,

    As I said earlier, the Liberal base is disengaged atm. Some like Turnbull. Others abhor him. It’s about finding an issue that they can all agree on and motivate them to attack Labor.
    For the non Liberal disengaged, it’s just the latest shiny object to entertain. They’ll move on when something else happens.

  6. I don’t understand Turnbull’s strategy now. When the Liberals refused to act on Negative Gearing I was sure Malcolm had had enough of the RWNJ’s he was confronted with and was throwing the election (after putting a nice sum on Labor to win). But today he kind of sounded like he passionately meant what he was saying in regard to settling refugees. Does he want to win or not? Now I am not sure. Wondering when will the most catastrophic series of climate measurements in recorded history get a mention? Guess Labor is hiding from scrutiny over another Carbon Tax instead of arguing why we have to do it – like when Rudd threw the last election away and started talking budget black holes which no-one gives a stuff about.

  7. ajm @ 1174
    Pretty sure this is a planned response by Labor given the consistency pf their messaging.

    Labor would have been preparing assiduously for exactly this day. They know they cannot afford a single serious gaffe on this whatsoever, and must more-or-less neutralise it from the go. (They can’t win it in the current political climate.)

    How successful they will be remains to be seen. But I am pretty sure they are as ready to give it their best shot as they could be.

    Unlike Bluey, an otherwise sage and eloquent cephiness, I am not convinced Labor lost today. Just too early to call that one.

    We shall see.

  8. Fritz Schumacher, economist, wrote about the impossibility of infinite growth in a finite world. We need to give priority to improving the quality of our lives and helping people to flourish.

  9. This is for markjs, who was asking earlier whether Christopher Pyne had had anything to say about Dutton:

    Christopher Pyne was asked for his view on Peter Dutton’s remarks on asylum seekers stealing Aussie jobs on Adelaide radio earlier today. Pyne stepped through that fairly carefully.

    Q: They won’t be numerate, they won’t be literate, they’ll be innumerate and they will take our jobs, are they sentiments that you share Christopher Pyne?

    Christopher Pyne:

    Well Will, the answer to the issues to do with asylum seekers around the world is not to simply keep doubling our intake of refugees…

    Q: No, I asked whether you agreed with Peter Dutton’s comments…

    Christopher Pyne:

    Well I’m answering the question, and we already have the second most generous program to take refugees in the world, but obviously there are very complex issues when you take a large number of refugees from war torn countries. They need to have a proper settlement process which often involves English language learning, teachings in literacy and numeracy, resettlement, cultural understandings. You can’t just bring people to Australia from refugee camps around the world and expect them to suddenly, you know be instantaneously part of the society. You need to put them through a proper process where they can become full Australian citizens eventually, and know exactly how our community and our and society works, and that’s what he is saying.

    Q: But that’s much more diplomatic, Chris, that’s a much more diplomatic way of saying that. I mean, do you think that the rhetoric he used was a bit brutal and do you think that he may have perhaps turned up the volume because it’s election time?

    Christopher Pyne:

    No, I don’t think that’s what he was doing. I think he was trying to say that obviously we can’t just keep doubling the refugee intake, it’s a very expensive program, like very expensive, and there needs to be proper resettlement of refugees when they come to Australia. Australia does this really well, and I’m sure Anthony will agree on a bipartisan basis that we do the resettlement of refugees extremely well, but the issues that are dogging the Labor party at this election are not about the resettlement of refugees. They’re about the fact that a large number of people in the Labor party support onshore, rather than offshore processing and would restart the people smuggler’s business, now that is what happened under the Rudd government, despite the protests in 2007 that wouldn’t happen, and we got 800 boat arrivals, 50,000 unauthorised arrivals, and people opening up detention centres. I mean we’ve closed 16 of Labor’s detention centres, because we actually have a successful policy, and Tanya Plibersek confused us all again yesterday when she said that she and the 21 support the Labor party’s policy, not the Liberal party’s policy, well Bill Shorten says the policies are the same, so who’s right?


    New Matilda’s ongoing investigation into Leighton Contractors and AECOM – two key players in NSW’s controversial WestConnex project – reveals a history of email warnings of disastrous traffic projections and failed tollway solutions. New Matilda contributing editor Wendy Bacon reports.
    Leightons had long built its influence over federal and state governments by using a combination of paid lobbyists and big donations to Labor, Liberal and National parties, including for private meetings with politicians.

    A Democracy for Sale search shows that since 2005, Leightons and its subsidiaries Thiess and John Holland have made political donations worth more than $1.6 million, including $918,243 to federal and state Labor branches and nearly $800,000 to Liberal and National Party federal and state branches.

    Last year, Fairfax reported that an internal audit had revealed that Thiess had given then Premier Barry O’Farrell a pen worth more than $1,000. He could not remember the gift.
    Former federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese’s decision to fund the planning office was criticised by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon in a Senate speech in February 2013, in which she raised the question of tollway company political donations.

    “The ears of politicians have been successfully bent by the likes of the motorway construction companies… companies like John Holland, Leighton, Thiess and Macquarie Bank have given big donations to the major parties. The public do not know if deals are done behind closed doors, but there is the perception that MPs are favouring private road building businesses at the expense of public transport.”

    It’s time to break the political duopoly.

  11. Most of the CPG are critical of Turnbull praising Dutton today. But when the likes of Massola, Kenny, Libtika and Grattan join in the chorus of disapproval you get the impression the LNP have over-reached with this particular dead cat. Sales over-reached tonight too, parroting the LNP daily tip sheet lines, but we’ve come to expect that of her.

    Still 70 odd days to go …. Today’s LNP tactics might have worked in the frenzied last two weeks of the campaign as a diversion a la Tampa, but this early it strikes of panic. I suspect the LNP may come to rue the day they let Dutton’s inner Hanson loose.

  12. The liberal strategy is obvious win back Howard’s battlers on racism. Conflate job security with refugees- classic immoral right wing /fascist playbook.

  13. I don’t think bashing on refugees will be all that beneficial to Liberals. People that will support Libs over refugees would already be doing so. Plus, it looks lame when Turnbull is the one running this latest refugee bashing campaign. It just reminds people of Abbott days. I think the issue has lost most of its potency over time as the boats have stopped coming.

  14. “It’s time to break the political duopoly.”

    No, it is time to get big money and their army of lobbyists out of politics.

  15. At some point, Malcolm is going to have a full-on panic attack, when he realises that he is on the verge of the biggest political choke in Australian history – that instead of being a coronation, this election is going to be a public hanging. I wonder if he’s already had it, and that’s why he’s sounding so passionate about boats. This is a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

  16. I agree with Bluey. The Crosby/Textor dead cat won the day. I’m very sure they have stored up a few more stinkers to throw out as required. They will also use repetition and repetition of a few key framings. Worked very well in the UK. Media totally sucked in, with no analysis of the strategy.
    One can only hope the ALP office have their own negative strategy well tested and ready to go.

  17. Although his comments were repugnant, Dutton was correct in saying that the unemployment rate among refugees is very high, I gather more than 50% at five years.

  18. K17

    This is a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

    Wouldn’t you be? Whenever he looks behind him he sees Abbott getting closer and closer. And when he looks in the mirror he sees Abbott’s face in the reflection. No wonder he is getting a bit shrill!

  19. Bingo!

    3m3 minutes ago
    Rowan ‏@FightingTories
    So the Gov that signed FTAs which allowed other countries to bring their own workers, now say refugees will


    Data from the Building a New Life in Australia refugee study show that 23% of the study’s female participants and 17% of the study’s male participants were illiterate in their own language.

    That study found that a majority of study participants were literate in their own language.

    It is true that refugees experience disrupted education and limited literacy prior to resettlement in Australia and may arrive with minimal or no English.

    However, the available evidence suggests that many refugees – particularly Syrians – have been educated to a primary level or higher in their own language, with some educated at tertiary levels.

  21. Try again

    6m6 minutes ago
    Rowan ‏@FightingTories
    So the Gov that signed FTAs which allowed other countries to bring their own workers, now say refugees will take our jobs

  22. The Libs aren’t appealing to the base on refugees folks it’s the swing and labor voters and Mal shows that he’ll do anything to get elected. cartoonist should draw Mal in red speedos,

  23. Josqim .. Except, unlike the UK, the media haven’t been sucked in …. They are outraged at Turnbull fanboing Dutton.
    Conflating, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers was an old Hanson ploy … And the ploy might still win votes in the UK, but it touches the rawest of nerves in Oz, a nation overwhelmingly comprised of families of migrants.

  24. Bizarrely, NewsCorp has commissioned a study into the effect of freezing the medicare rebate on gap payments. A $222 gap is ridiculous, although I note they say “up to” in the fine print so it’s a meaningless figure.
    Turnbull must have really pissed Murdoch off.

    PATIENTS will have to pay up to $222 to see a specialist and the out of pocket cost of having a baby will rise to over $2700 as a result of the Turnbull government’s freeze on Medicare payments exclusive modelling shows.

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