BludgerTrack: 50-50

Essential Research corroborates Newspoll in recording Labor retaining its 51-49 lead, but there’s nothing in it so far as the BludgerTrack poll aggregate is concerned.

The addition of Newspoll and yesterday’s Essential Research result to BludgerTrack leave nothing between the two parties to the first decimal place. Observers of BludgerTrack’s form will know that actually translates into a small Coalition majority on the seat projection, which has the Coalition up one on the seat projection in New South Wales and down one in Queensland. I haven’t updated it with Newspoll’s leadership ratings yet, but will get around to doing so tomorrow. I haven’t yet covered the Essential Research result, which was once again unchanged in having Labor leading 51-49 on two-party preferred. On the primary vote, both parties were down a point – the Coalition to 41%, Labor to 37% – while the Greens and Nick Xenophon Team steady on 9% and 3%.


The Australian has also been treating us to a series of supplementary results from the weekend Newspoll over the past few days that echo the further questions posed by Essential Research this week, to wit:

• The latest in Essential’s occasional series on leadership attributes finds Malcolm Turnbull deteriorating between five and seven points over the past three weeks on “out of touch”, “arrogant” and “understands the problems facing Australia”, without suffering much change with respect to capacities such as “intelligent” and “good in a crisis” (although “hard-working” is down five). Bill Shorten’s numbers are little changed, leaving him rated lower than Turnbull on most attributes, with the singular exception of being out of touch with ordinary people, which is the largest point of difference between the two. Similarly, The Australian today has Turnbull ahead on a series of measures, but with Shorten leading on “cares for people” and “in touch with voters”, while Turnbull has lost all but two points of a ten-point lead on “understands the major issues” from February.

• There has been a whole bunch of “best party to handle” results in the past few days. Amid an overall predictable set of results, Essential Research finds Labor increasing leads from 4% to 11% on health, 6% to 13% on protecting local jobs and industries, and 4% to 10% on housing affordability, the latter of which has only recently emerged as an area of Labor advantage. The Seven Network last night had further results from Friday’s ReachTEL poll showing the Coalition favoured 55-45 on economic management, Labor favoured 61-39 on health. Newspoll framed the questions in terms of the leaders rather than the parties, and had Malcolm Turnbull favoured 55-29 over Bill Shorten on the economy, 48-25 on asylum seekers and 43-38 on the cost of living, 46-33 on tax reform, 50-27 on interest rates and 42-38 on unemployment, while Shorten led 47-40 on health, 47-41 on education and 41-36 on climate change.

• When it asked if respondents expected Labor to keep or change the government’s asylum seeker policies, Essential Research found 28% opting for keep, 38% for change, and 34% for don’t know.

• As recorded in the chart below, the three betting agencies have been consistent in offering odds on the Coalition to form government that imply a probability of between 70% and 80%, although the one most immediately responsive to the actions of punters, Betfair, seems to have recorded a bit of a dip over the past few days.


• In further horse race news, Phillip Coorey of the Financial Review reports Labor is having trouble landing the swing where it needs it, with Labor margins that were cut fine in western Sydney over the past two elections set to blow out again. Coorey had earlier reported one Liberal strategist saying the election was “genuinely close, but at this stage, the retention of the government is more likely”, while a Labor counterpart concedes they were behind, but concluded: “We haven’t put our cue in the rack.”

Local matters:

• Labor is scrambling for a new Senate candidate in the Northern Territory after Nova Peris today confirmed she would not be seeking re-election, with widespread reports she is to take up the position of senior adviser for indigenous and multicultural affairs with the Australian Football League. Trish Crossin, whom Julia Gillard forced out of the seat to make way for Peris at the 2013 election, told ABC Radio yesterday that Peris had presented Labor with a “selfish distraction”, and called on Gillard to admit she made a mistake. There are as yet no indications as to who Labor might preselect to replace her.

• Both major parties have now lost their first choice candidates for the seat of Fremantle, after Sherry Sufi resigned as Liberal candidate, after local newspaper the Fremantle Herald reported he had been recorded in 2013 doing an unflattering and profanity-laden impersonation of his then boss, state Mount Lawley MP Michael Sutherland. There had been news reports in the preceding days about articles Sufi had written in opposition to same-sex marriage and an apology to the stolen generations, which had actually been in the public domain for some time, and rather technical allegations he had provided an inaccurate account of his employment record on his candidate nomination form. The Liberals have rushed to endorse previously unsuccessful preselection candidate Pierette Kelly, an electorate officer to Senator Chris Back.

• Pauline Hanson’s prospects for a Senate seat is the topic of the hour, having been canvassed by me in Crikey last week, Jamie Walker in The Australian on Saturday and a Courier-Mail front page yesterday. Antony Green told ABC Radio’s World Today program yesterday had “some realistic chance”. Kevin Bonham is a little more skeptical, but doesn’t rule it out.

Phillip Hudson of The Australian reported on Monday that Labor is seeking to exploit talk of a preference deal between the Liberals and the Greens in Victoria to shore up working class support in two low-income regional seats: Bass in northern Tasmania, and Dawson in northern Queensland.

Matthew Denholm of The Australian reports that Jacqui Lambie is advocating that her voters give their second preference to the Nick Xenophon Team, and put Labor ahead of the Liberals.

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.

1,123 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50-50”

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  1. Nice, Bludgertrack a day early and BK back online.
    Andrew Street reports the government should be ‘terrified’ of the implications of the latest polling, but it is ok because

    As everyone knows, polls are meaningless numbers that indicate nothing, compiled purely for the sheer giddy thrill of calling strangers up and asking them a series of pre-prepared questions, and then applying complex statistical analysis to the results. You know, for kicks!

  2. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. It’s great to be back after an enforced hiatus.

    Ross Gittins explains how Shorten has the edge over Turnbull.
    Laura Tingle – Morrison and Cormann are left with over-egging on their faces. Google.
    Ben Eltham goes further and says the real black hole is the Coalition’s credibility.
    More on the subject from Michelle Grattan.
    Things are not well in Warringah.
    Chaos at Target/KMart.
    Looks like it’s goodbye el Nino and hello l Nina.
    Morrison escapes from witness protection and look what happens.
    More use of the APF for political purposes.
    Adele Ferguson says big companies can’t simply outsource morality.
    Stephen Koukoulas tells us that actually jobs and growth are both falling.

  3. Section 2 . . .

    The AEC sends a bluey to the designer of the Turnbull “Fizza” billboards.
    Credlin gives a character assessment of Turnbull. He likes to be liked.
    The prospect of a Trump presidency is worrying those in Australian business circles.
    There is nothing to separate the government and Labor on border security says Sara Gill.
    Phil Coorey says that the government has ramped up on immigration/refugees as its economic message drowns. Google.
    Urban Wronski tells Turnbull to stop the rabid nonsense about asylum seekers.
    The SMH editorial says we should be polishing Medicare, not chipping away at it.
    “View from the Street” on how the polls are travelling, our attitudes to refugees and Nova Peris.
    On the campaign trail yesterday – from The Guardian.
    Peter Wicks says that the government’s plan is not one for the country.

  4. Section 3 . . . Cartoon Corner

    I love this effort from Alan Moir.

    Cathy Wilcox and generational expectations.

    Ron Tandberg goes to a bit more trouble than usual to pen this good one.

    David Pope has an aged Andrew Robb looking on as we head for the promised lands of FTAs.

    Classic work from Mark David on our internet expectations.

    David Rowe and the black holes.

  5. The SmearStralian has reverted to type and appears to be doing a sequential trawl through the Independents garbage cans.

    Today’s effort smears Nick Xenephon, with a Timorese financial backer having his background explored. Some desultory boosting of the Lying Waffle and tub thumping cheering for Mutton Dutton by Planet Janet rounds out the highlights. The Smear is silent above the fold on the train wreck black hole fiasco.

    Back to crime and celebritys no-one has heard of over at the Daily TurdBurgler. They at least have a minor follow on the yesterday’s Willie Wonka cartoon of Bill Shorten’s Money Factory (which probably won him some votes amongst the Turd’s readers, who like chocolate and think there might be something in it for them). The story is titled “Labor in Frenzy over Debt Billions”, claiming the ALP went into ‘meltdown’.


  6. Thank you, BK. Good to see normal service has been resumed. For you especially!

    Thank you, Lizzie, for stepping so capably into the breach.

    And thank you too, Douglas and Milko. 🙂

  7. The reference to ‘Barnaby Jones’ by Johnny Depp is an oblique nod to this guy and the show he appeared in about an aging Private Detective:

  8. 13 years later.

    The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has cleared the naming of cabinet minister Josh Frydenberg and a former adviser to Malcolm Turnbull, Craig Maclachlan, who were interviewed in a police probe into the leak in 2003 of a “top sec­ret” national security document.

    The Australian revealed yesterday that Mr Frydenberg had been at the heart of a Labor Party pursuit using Freedom of Information to discover the source for a newspaper article about the document and its co-author, intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie.

  9. Thanks BK
    Coalition lies about renewable energy increasing energy costs need to be called out.
    For those who haven’t noticed, South Australia shut down it’s coal fired generator a fortnight ago. This means that SA, where power prices have been historically high, is dependent on expensive gas fired power and power imports via the interconnectors to Victoria, to supplement wind and solar.
    However, on same days SA wind power has contributed up to 120% of requirements, and power prices have dropped below those in Queensland.
    Once we get past the capital cost of wind and solar, the energy source is free, and the only cost is maintenance.
    In this slogan driven political environment, you never get time for a “but”, before being pulled down by shit for brains arguments by the likes of Turnbull, Hunt and Morrison.
    e.g. “If we go full tilt on renewables power prices will increase a little in the short term, but, as the wind and sun are free, will get much cheaper in the intermediate term as we pay off our renewable investment.”

  10. And another thing.
    It was cringe worthy watching Sales sycophantic ending to the Morrison interview on 7:30.
    Looks like Crabb and Sales have got some groupie thing going with Turnbull and co.
    I used to think she was pretty good, but after last night – no way.

  11. Friggin hell!!! Not content with giving us Barnaby all over the news and AM (zero interruptions), ABC then had a soft interview with new Chamber of Commerce. It was very helpful that Brissenden told us that the Chamber fully supports the coalition economic agenda, in case we were in any doubt.

    The ABC isn’t even pretending to be impartial anymore.

    And what happened to the caretaker conventions? Has no one from the ABC heard of this as they give maximum publicity to Joyce’s dodgy announcement?

  12. Morning all


    Good to see you back on board doing dawn patrol?

    And thanks to lizzie for filling in at short notice. Much appreciated

  13. I hope the egregious bias of the ABC has not gone unnoticed by the leadership group within the ALP, and that they intend to do something about it if elected.

  14. 97.3 ABC Illawarra ‏@973ABCIllawarra 25m25 minutes ago
    BREAKING – Liberal candidate for Whitlam, Dr Carolyn Currie, has withdrawn her candidacy. Exclusive interview on @973ABCIllawarra at 8:30

  15. Seriously: LNPs claims of economic competence need to be RIDICULED, from now to July 2. Put a dunce hat on them in the public mind.
    This must happen!
    HINT: Abbottt works a treat for reminding them of how useless the LNP are.
    Get him introducing the ad with ‘budget emergency!’ then show how the LNP TREBLED IT.
    Get Australia laughing at the Liberals again folks!

  16. There’s been movement at the ALP station in the NT, via Longueville 🙂

    Malarndirri McCarthy to nominate for Nova Peris’ seat

    08:45 AM Primrose Riordan

    Former Northern Territory government minister and NITV journalist Malarndirri McCarthy has confirmed in a message on her personal facebook she will nominate for Nova Peris’ Senate seat. Interestingly, however, the message says it was sent from Longueville in Sydney, a little way from Darwin.

    She wrote:

    Hello families & friends

    Just wanted to let you know I have decided to throw my hat in and nominate for the NT Labor Senate spot.

    Thank you to all who have encouraged me in every area of my life, in particular my beautiful sons.

    I sincerely wish Nova Peris and her family all the best with her future plans. It was a privilege to cover the historic occasion of Nova & her family on her entry as the first Indigenous woman into Federal Parliament.

    As a Yanyuwa Garrawa woman from Borroloola in the Gulf country, I am deeply humbled to be invited by the ALP to nominate
    and will respect the internal process of the NT & Federal ALP in deciding who they choose to represent the NT in the Senate.



    Read more:

  17. It is becoming more and more obvious to me that FUD – Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – should be the Coalition’s 3-word slogan.

    It’s a headlines-only exercise. And woe betide anyone in the media who doesn’t put up the correct headline.

    With the complicity of the media government ministers are just shouting “Black Hole! Black Hole!” from every roof-top. It’s so easy to do, and almost completely impossible to counter.

    We saw an example last night on ABC TV News, as Uhlmann sought to explain what the “Black Hole” claims were all about.

    He spent the first half of the segment doing sums that showed how the Coalition got to a scary figure in the results line: “minus-$67 billion” for Labor’s allegedly uncosted promises. There was quite a lot of explanation of the logic, flawed logic though it was.

    Then he went into a mind-numbing “refutation” of this figure referring to Forward Estimates, 10 year time scales, add-backs, and subtractions that had me utterly confused by the time he was half way though it.

    Chris was just trying to be helpful, of course. He showed us all the details of the lie so that he could demolish it… and then he didn’t.

    What we were left with was that the Coalition had claimed such-and-such a figure and that, no matter which way you looked at it, if it wasn’t as bad as they had claimed, it was pretty bad anyway, and all based on typical Labor Fairyland assumptions of where we might be in the distant future.

    The Coalition’s poor arithmetic in inattention to detail was written off as “just politics”, perfectly understandable in an election campaign.

    Labor’s numbers were written off as Bad.Economic.Management… again. Although you couldn’t be sure. You were too busy shouting at Uhlmann to just.shut.up.

    There would probably be no more than a few dozen people in the entire country who could have understood Uhlmann’s presentation, and they didn’t need Uhlmann to make a botch of explaining it to them.

    As for other 24,999,000 or so of us, the take-out feeling from the segment was complete confusion. In other words: F.U.D. As the figures ramped up from $67 billion to $100 billion to (on one occasion) $200 billion and then back to $37 billion – all in the space of a few hours – the tactic was plain: create noise and motion that drowns out rational debate and replaces it with anger. If the media don’t report your lies then you go after them for bias (especially if the medium in question is the ABC).

    Yin/Yang. Yes/no. He said, she said. True/False. 4 years, 10 years, 6 months, 20 years. A billion or 10 here, and another billion or 10 there. Pepper everything with econometric jabber. Fill the airwaves with a leering face and crowd out the other side. And make sure it’s all done to a short timeline: “We’re out of time, Minister”. If you throw enough mud, some will stick. If you tell enough lies then punters start to think that what you’re saying can’t be completely wrong. There MUST be a grain of truth to it. And anyway, their heads are hurting. So better just stick with the Coalition… Q.E.D.

    We saw the same with the Boats stupidity. It went from some Labor MPs and candidates being a bit doubtful about the cesspits of Nauru and Manus, to 100,000 illiterate refugees hiding in the tropical jungles of the north, ready for Labor to give them permission to come down here invading our land, taking our jobs and bludging off our dole. And of course, in behind somewhere is “raping our women” and “blowing us up with suicide vests”.

    It didn’t matter what Bill Shorten – or anyone else – said about it. The aim was to get these monstrous lies out there. And a dutiful media did exactly that, in loving detail. We had Fact Check articles that nobody read, we had Opposition Shadow Spokespeople on 7.30 harangued and harassed by Leigh Sales doing her “Grumpy Mummy” party trick… none of Labor’s defence made any difference. Reportedly the Talk Back lines were running hot: against.

    Mission Accomplished.

    Labor needs a new tactic to counter this. Shouting back doesn’t help. It only increases the noise and confusion. We need calm. We need credibility. We need to ask the voters whether they’re prepared to piss away the things they treasure and the service they need just for 5 minute’s worth of instant Reality TV-type gratification in the heat of an election campaign.

    How Labor accomplishes this… I don’t know.

    That’s why they’re in politics and I’m not, I guess.

  18. According to Bludgertrack, Labor needs just two more seats to push the Libs into minority government and with more than five weeks still to go that must be very doable.

    Winning government however, well that’s another thing. Still very unlikely it seems.

  19. The theories are ‘out there’….

    Lisa Davies
    Lisa Davies‏ @lisazdavies
    Caller on 2GB suggests @TurnbullMalcolm wants to lose the election so Shorten will make Australia a republic and him President. #ausvotes

  20. Still supporting the rich.

    Paul Karp‏ @Paul_Karp
    Superannuation concessions are still ‘very generous’, Turnbull tells Alan Jones #auspol #ausvotes

  21. “How Labor accomplishes this… I don’t know.”

    It’s not easy when the media tend to ignore your best lines, but I think derision might help if handled well.

  22. My guess is the Labor war chest is limited and they will bring out a lot os adds closer to the election. I really hope Bill wins by KO on Sunday night.

  23. A bit of confusion in the Guardian between the City of Dandenong and “The Dandenongs”:

    Elsewhere in the campaign universe, Turnbull will carry on his tour of Victoria. He has some announceables worth up to $20m for tourism infrastructure in the Dandenongs, which happens to be in the seat of Bruce. It includes $6.5m for the Puffing Billy railway.

    Labor MP and Rudd numbers man Alan Griffin is the retiring MP in that seat with a margin of 1.8%. In his recent valedictory, he likened retirement from parliament to release from prison – a bit like the movie The Shawshank Redemption.

    Puffing Billy would be in the Dandenongs, and therefore the marginal Liberal held seat of La Trobe, and including the southern edges of Casey.

  24. Joyce might not understand that we are in caretaker mode, but the journalists at the ABC damn well should. If not they are incompetent.

  25. I wouldn’t expect too much from the debate with Ulhmann as moderator.
    Depends on who is on the journalistic panel I suppose.

  26. Ross Gittins:

    The broader point, however, is that the parties aren’t nearly as far apart as it suits them to have us believe during election campaigns, when they’re whipping up partisan feeling and trying to convince us the choice we make between them will determine whether the economy heads for heaven or hell.
    The goal of the parties’ manoeuvring is to ensure the main issues over which the election is fought are those that suit their perceived strengths relative to their opponents’.

    When an issue arises that favours your opponents, you neutralise it as quickly and quietly as possible – even if that involves going against your stated values.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

  27. Ulhmann along with Sales, in fact nearly all the ABC commentators is why I lost my lifelong love of the ABC and now rarely watch it.

  28. Clive Palmer Retweeted
    Kevin Morgan
    Kevin Morgan‏ @kevinmorgantas
    #Politics #Australia style
    #Liberal & #Labor Hunting or Haunting each other
    TRY all the Tricks
    #ausvotes #auspol2016
    Clive Palmer‏ @CliveFPalmer
    @TurnbullMalcolm asked me to remove #Conroy from NBN #Senate Committee. #auspol #ausvotes2016 #NBNGATE #Exposed

  29. C@t

    The audio of that interview with Kelly O’Dwyer was linked on previous thread yesterday. Could you imagine if it were a Labor assistant Treasurer who said that

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