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. Lizzie

    The guts of the story.

    The Turnbull government is in discussions with large telecommunications companies about selling large chunks of the government-owned National Broadband Network, including its huge hybrid fibre cable, copper and fixed wireless networks.

    A combination of the government’s dire fiscal position, and criticism of the progress at NBN is fuelling the decision to engage in what would in effect be the biggest privatisation since the Howard government offloaded Telstra.

    The talks are at an early stage and the government is not committed yet to a sale. If the sale goes ahead it will not take place until after the next election, expected in October 2016.

    Details of the proposal are sketchy, but industry figures believe the government is committed to hiving off large parts of the Labor-created NBN operation during 2017, assuming the Coalition wins the next federal election.

    Well-placed trade sources say Telstra is the likely bidder for the bulk of the NBN assets.

    Australia’s largest telco is in a strong position to extract favourable terms from the government, particularly for the upgraded copper network, which Telstra was obliged to sell to NBN.

    However, other, smaller players are also keen to become involved.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

  2. PM had govt reps defending the comments by Joyce with no comments from Labor, but when we had Shorten defending something or other, Morrison finished the report with one of his blasts against Labor.

    A small example, but it happens all the time and it all adds up.

  3. ICanCU@#901 Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Personally like most Greens I will always preference Labor ahead of LNP federally and Bill Shorten has certainly surprised me with his professional and energetic campaign to date. Seems to have a solid team approach and good experienced people with him with the odd Feeney exception.
    My concern is that Greens who don’t believe in a 2 party duopoly won’t include Labor in the Senate preferences if the spat gets too vicious. Hopefully the lefties can unite and bring about a change in government for everyone’s benefit.

    This is a great post. I am concerned that it will also work the other way – that ALP supporters may not preference the Greens as much as they otherwise would. This would be a disaster on both counts.

    I have been musing over the wide variety of opinions on the Greens by ALP supporters on PB. And I have had a few outbursts as well, which come from my geographic and work location I think. I will try to stop doing this, except in reasoned discussions of policy.

    I think the wide variety of reactions to the Greens come directly from the the wide variety of behaviours and personalities of the Greens with whom you deal locally.

    My Greens friends and acquaintances in inner city Sydney and the Eastern suburbs cover the whole gamut, from anarchists, to the Peter Whish-Wilson types. And I think this is why the varied response to the Greens. They are a very broad church, and our local experiences colour our thinking. I work in the Eastern Suburbs, but live in South Sydney, and the contrast in the Greens between the two areas is stark.

    I was just reading the article on the ABC website about Chris Harris resigning from the Greens ( Chris Harris has been a pretty decent City of Sydney Councillor, and I think the issues that have made him resign relate to the big tensions in the different types of Greens living within 10 K of the Sydney CBD.

    The Eastern Suburbs Greens, or those I know, are quite open in their support for the Liberal party. They see themselves as Malcolm-Turnbull-type Liberals, and many were part of the Republican movement before the referendum. They are most interested in the environment, and the sort of issues that Turnbull used to stand for – compassion for asylum seekers, marriage equality, and an Australian republic. However, they have little time or sympathy for people who do not see these issues as the most important issues for the election. And, they think that they will get there faster under an LNP government.

    Someone here was saying earlier that they were disappointed about the School Kids bonus not being restored by Labor, and I am really unhappy about this.

    However, I wonder if one reason for this lack of enthusiasm is that the Eastern suburbs Greens made a big deal out of this bonus at the last Federal election. There was a local campaign, by at least some Greens, to say that the School kids bonus was a waste of money, and only used by parents to buy plasma TVs. The Eastern suburbs of Sydney has some very disadvantaged pockets of public housing, and often individual Greens in that area do not like them, because they are perceived as being Labor voters who will never vote Green. This is relevant in electorates such as Kingsford-Smith, adjacent to Wentworth, which should probably have gone Liberal years ago because of the big demographic changes (gentrification), but which is still a hold out for the ALP. This should not necessarily have a big effect on Federal Labor policy, but I think that Labor can ill afford to lose Kingsford-Smith, and the neighboring seat of Sydney (my seat) which creeps ever closer to the east with each redistribution.

    On the other hand, the Inner West Greens are much closer to the anarchist wing. They do not believe that change can be effected gradually and are taking direct action, as in the sort of scenes we saw at the new Inner West council meeting on Tuesday night (with the Labor ex-mayors and Councillors):

    Both groups of Greens can take positions that we would be better off with an LNP government, but none of my Inner West Green friends would ever consider putting the Liberals above Labor, and this probably includes most of the supporters of Greens Grayndler candidate Jim Casey. Of course, this does not stops the Green putting pamphlets in my letter box saying they are both the same, bastardsd, bastards or worse, but I take this with a grain of salt.

    So, I suspect how you feel about the Greens probably depends on how they are behaving with respect to progressive politics in your local area.

  4. Lizzie, I’ve been saying all along that when Abbott said he’d destroy the NBN, Turnbull came along and whispered in his ear “hey, I can bodge the books and flog it off”. And the plan to destroy the NBN never changed.

  5. ruawake
    The vultures are already circling around the bones of the NBN …

    Australia’s largest telco is in a strong position to extract favourable terms from the government, particularly for the upgraded copper network, which Telstra was obliged to sell to NBN.

    However, other, smaller players are also keen to become involved.

    What an absolute disgrace!

  6. KB

    My estimate is Labor needs 50.9 for a 50% chance

    So is it
    1. Porkbarrelling in marginal seats
    2. Superior campaigning ability in marginal seats
    3. Being in general better funded/organised
    4. Sophomore effect

  7. Ruawake
    Thanks. I only read 3 paras before it shut down on me.
    I would regard NBN as a national service similar to, say, Auspost, and if it’s split up and sold off we’ll have the same uneven service as with all the privatised ones and the prices will go up.

    Cud Chewer
    I’m angry.

  8. [Not quick enough to copy it]

    Lizzie, with a pc, when you click on the afr story link, just continually and quickly keep pressing Esc. That will usually stop the page wall. Sometimes it takes 2 goes.

  9. Telstra told me that I shouldn’t get the NBN (not that it is in my suburb anyway) as the cable that was put in for Foxtel was faster and cheaper.

  10. Looks like Mals plan was to buy the crap bits off Telstra, Optus and Foxtel. Fix them up with Government money, then sell them back at a loss. Its criminal.

  11. lizzie @ #967 Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    My google is Bing and it doesn’t work that way. I have this conversation with someone every week or two.

    Is it you who says they can never seem to get past the Australian’s paywall? If so, this is probably because you are using Bing, not Google. The Australian specifically opens its paywall to Google only, so you must use Google to locate the article and open it from the Google results. Doing this from Bing will not work.

  12. P1

    I know that. If I try to get the google page it just says “search Bing for results from Google”, so I’m back to square one.
    I can live with it.

  13. [The page isn’t redirecting properly

    Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.]

    Anyone else getting this message when they try to log on?

  14. Adrian,

    When in doubt blame the ABC and their unacceptable bias against Labor.
    That’s your usual fallback, isn’t it?

  15. adrian @ #974 Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    The page isn’t redirecting properly
    Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.

    Anyone else getting this message when they try to log on?

    Yes. This is a known WordPress issue that the Crikey gerbils seem unable to comprehend.

  16. LNP always want the private sector to docthe jobs thats why they installed former Telstra Board, and always planned to sell it, because there argument is ‘private sector’.

  17. Presumably any sell off of the NBN would require legislation. So how does Mal get it through the senate?

    Assuming for a moment that Labor and the Greens vote against it (likely IMO), what do we think xenophon’s lot will do? If they join Labor and the Greens in voting NO, Mal will probably have to call another DD. Very risky.

  18. The reason no-one has heard of the NBN sale is because the AFR article was discredited as “delusional shit stirring”…

    I do seem to remember that when that article came out it was widely discredited fairly fast. Not that selling the NBN is NOT on the Libs agenda for down the track. However, i understand that under the legislation for NBN, any sale needs Senate approval and that debate can only happen after it is built.

    I reckon a re-elected Liberal govt has no chance of organizing a sale next term and the ALP wouldn’t even want to go there.

  19. lizzie @ #948 Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 6:04 pm
    Not quick enough to copy it, but NBN will be sold off in sections, and the sale will take place in October.

    Lizzie, your post is nonsense.
    That article is dated 4 Dec 2015 and the reference to October 2016 is as when the election was expected to be held.
    Any sale would be after that and I can’t imagine it being completed quickly.

  20. Further to Bowen, if he can outflank Arthur, who has some ability, he should* be able to dem0lish Morrison

    *bearing in mind Morrison will likely shout over everything Bowen says he like Barnaby did last night.

  21. *bearing in mind Morrison will likely shout over everything Bowen says he like Barnaby did last night.

    I suspect the Bowen / ScoMo may end up a bit reminiscent of the Monty Python Holy Grail / Black Knight scene.,d.dGo

  22. 4.5 days and counting: DOUG THE DUGONG’S DESPERATE DIVERSIONS: Day 66 of the Road to Borodino (4 days since last recorded Bluey bite). A scream in two fits – Fit the Second.

    Bugger it. Bridie Jabbour does it better than an amateur marine mammal.

    Vladimir Turnbott and Estragon Beetroot stand around looking for sweet potatoes in a field of turnips. In walks Scummo, with the Lucky Cormanator on a string. Or possibly the other way round. Two hours of nonsensical dialogue later, nothing has changed. The assembled hacks die of boredom. In the distance we hear the mocking laughter of Crosby Textor. Beckett rolls in his grave.

    Doug reckons that Malware would sign over most his Cayman holdings to have himself next to Nova Peris instead of another rancid root vegetable. HD Bill also dealt effortlessly with the Feeney stain, the Beetroot stain and anything else the Rupertariat could throw.

    DOUG’S DECISION ON THE DAY: ALP +1, LDP -1, ALSO-RANS: thanks for coming.

    CUMULATIVE SCARS: ALP 2, LNP 1, A-Rs: irrelevant.

  23. I’m expecting demolition tomorrow. So pathetic that they came out and said they intentionally got their figures wrong to “flush out” Labor.

  24. “Trouble in paradise in the NSW Greens it seems.”

    Even if you despise the Greens, you should be able to recognise that for the beat-up that it was.

  25. My girlfriend has just heard from Reachtel for the second Thursday night in a row. She reports questions were similar to those asked last week.

  26. Adrian, yes I get the “will not complete message” but if I just close the tab that I’m viewing PB on, and then enter the blogs..crikey.. pb URL again, it gets me in complete with a comments box. Mildly annoying, but cope-with-able

  27. Adrian,
    Is it because you are naturally forgetful that you have this uncontrollable urge to post the same thing over and over?

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