BludgerTrack: 50.2-49.8 to Labor

Wherein recent movements one way in ReachTEL and the other way in Essential Research and Roy Morgan cancel each other out in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate.

Essential Research and Roy Morgan have both reported over the past few days, in accordance with their usual weekly and fortnightly schedules, giving BludgerTrack a completed weekly cycle’s worth of polling results to play with. The results indicate no real change on last week, with the recent ReachTEL, Essential and Morgan results exciting the aggregate neither collectively or individually. ReachTEL and Essential in particular recorded less week-on-week movement than their headline figures might suggest. The seat projection has ticked a point in favour of Labor, the gain coming off Tasmania in response to a fairly radical result in the Morgan breakdown this week. The only new data on leadership ratings since last week is from Essential Research, and it’s strengthened the impression that Malcolm Turnbull’s polling plunge has levelled off at a net value of zero, while slightly blunting Bill Shorten’s recent trend upswing.


• Today’s Essential Research records an unusual two-point shift to the Coalition on the fortnightly rolling aggregate, reversing its 51-49 deficit from recent polling. On the primary vote, the Coalition is steady on 41%, Labor is down two to 35%, the Greens are steady on 9%, and the Nick Xenophon Team is up one to 4%. A monthly reading of leadership ratings finds Malcolm Turnbull up one on approval to 41% and down three on disapproval to 39%, Bill Shorten respectively steady on 34% and up one to 44%, and Turnbull leading 40-27 as preferred prime minister, down from 43-28. The poll finds a reasonable level of awareness about politics and the election, at least from their own sample, in that 77% corrected identified it as being held in July, 50% knew it would be for all seats in both houses, and 64% were able to identify Scott Morrison as Treasurer. This week’s component of the online survey involved 1007 respondents, polled from Thursday to Sunday.

• The latest fortnightly result from Roy Morgan has the Coalition up a point to 37.5%, Labor down half to 32.5%, the Greens down 2.5% to 13% and the Nick Xenophon Team steady at 5%, and otherwise remains remarkable for the size of the non-major party vote. The headline respondent-allocated two-party measure has Labor leading 51-49, down from 52.5 last time, but the shift on previous election preferences is more modest, from 52-48 to 51.5-48.5. The poll release also informs us that the Nick Xenophon Team was recorded at 26.5% in South Australia, ahead of Labor on 25%, with the Liberals on 31%. The poll was conducted over the past two weekends from a sample of 3099.

• Roy Morgan has a poll, sort of, from the Victorian seat of Indi, which Sophie Mirabella seeks to recover for the Liberals following her defeat by independent Cathy McGowan in 2013. However, the result is compiled from the entirety of its face-to-face surveying in the electorate since the 2013 election, and the voting intention result relates only to the generic question on party-based voting intention, so its finding that the Coalition has a 51-49 lead over “independent” is unlikely to mean very much. In recognition of this, the Morgan release mostly focuses on most important issue results.


• Labor has preselected Malarndirri McCarthy, member for Arnhem in the Northern Territory department from 2005 until her unexpected defeat in 2012, to replace Nova Peris as its Northern Territory Senate candidate. McCarthy prevailed from a field of five indigenous women, including Ursula Raymond, former chief-of-staff to Peris; Denise Bowden, chief executive of the Yothu Yindi Foundation; and Cathryn Tilmouth, a former ministerial adviser. Amos Aikman of The Australian reports McCarthy and Raymond respectively had backing from the Left and the Right. McCarthy has lived in Sydney since 2012, where she has worked for NITV and SBS, and her membership of the party had lapsed.

• The New South Wales Liberal Party has finally resolved the order of its Senate ticket, putting hard Right incumbent Connie Fierravanti-Wells at number four and centre Right newcomer Hollie Hughes to the unlikely prospect of number six, number five being reserved for the Nationals. The top three positions have gone to Marise Payne, Fiona Nash of the Nationals, and Arthur Sinodinos. Retired major-general Jim Molan, who was heavily involved in the government’s efforts against unauthorised boat arrivals, could only manage seventh place. The decision was made at a meeting of the state executive held after objections were raised about an earlier process of “faxed ballot” sent through by email.


Troy Bramston of The Australian reports Labor sources saying the party has “all but given up hope” of David Feeney retaining Batman from Alex Bhathal of the Greens, and that Anthony Albanese is under serious pressure in Grayndler. Labor is “almost certain” Tanya Plibsersek will be returned in Sydney, and “quietly confident” about Peter Khalil retaining the inner northern Melbourne seat of Wills, which would be threatened if the Liberals directed preferences against Labor. However, it is noted that polling young inner-city voters is difficult, invoking Labor internal polling before the New South Wales state election which wrongly pointed to Labor wins over the Greens in Newtown and Balmain.

James Massola of Fairfax reports the seats of greatest concern to Coalition strategists are Barton, Dobell, Lindsay, Robertson, Eden-Monaro and Macarthur in New South Wales, Dunkley and La Trobe in Victoria, Petrie and Capricornia in Queensland, Lyons in Tasmania, and Solomon in the Northern Territory. However, they remain hopeful of picking up the Melbourne seats of Bruce and Chisholm, both of which are set to be vacated by sitting Labor members. Labor strategists are said to be keen to add to their list of potential gains Hasluck and Burt in Western Australia, Hindmarsh in South Australia, Banks, Paterson and Page in New South Wales, Braddon in Tasmania, and Bonner in Queensland. Cowan in Western Australia is curiously absent from either list, and it’s unclear if the Liberals weren’t counting Paterson on the basis that it’s a notionally Labor seat after the redistribution, as indeed are Barton and Dobell.


• The latest campaign car crash victim is Chris Jermyn, the Liberal candidate for the highly marginal Labor-held seat of McEwen on Melbourne’s northern outskirts. Jermyn and some supporters gatecrashed Bill Shorten’s visit to a health centre in Sunbury, but Jermyn evidently hadn’t reckoned on being asked basic questions about health policy by a News Corp journalist at the event, which he proved unable to answer. Jermyn refused to answer questions posed to him as he left the event, saying: “This is why I hate journalists.” The seat is held for Labor by Rob Mitchell on a margin of 0.2%.

• Former Australian Idol host James Mathison is running against Tony Abbott in Warringah. Mathison’s pitch seems to be that Abbott’s deep conservatism leaves younger social liberals in the electorate with no one to vote for.


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.

1,210 comments on “BludgerTrack: 50.2-49.8 to Labor”

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  1. Mr Bowe,
    As far as Robertson and Dobell goes, leave a space in your consideration for any John Singleton-supported, Labor spoiler candidates being introduced into the mix.
    In 2013 they proved the difference between Labor winning and losing as they directed their preferences to the Liberal Party and the candidates he chose to run were popular locals.

  2. Tom
    Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 10:51 pm
    The response rate varies each week, but usually delivers 1000+ interviews. In theory, with a sample of this size, there is 95 per cent certainty that the results are within 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population had been polled. However, this assumes random sampling, which, because of non-response and less than 100% population coverage cannot be achieved in practice.
    So it appears that MOE would be 3% if random sampling was used, but does not (probably?) actually achieve this.

    In my view the biggest problem with the unknown error increase; is that it is likely to be biased.

  3. The polling really seems to have come to a shuddering halt, at or about 50-50. This suggests to me that the conventional wisdom of the government squeaking back in is probably correct at the moment. Of course, there is still a way to go, and most swinging voters will likely not start tuning in until after the long weekend, but it will take something more to push Labor over the line. Inertia won’t be enough.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Credlin gives Barnaby a sidewinder.
    Seriously, Trump is deranged!
    Sales fails to “gotcha” Plibersek on Shorten’s comment on some of Trump’s utterings.
    Trump trashes convention with his failure to disclose taxation returns.
    “View from the Street” on how a cafe owner on Q and A gazumped the odious Ciobo. It’s a good article.
    The Council of Small Business agrees with the cafe owner and says that only a very small fraction of small businesses would use the tax cut bonus to expand.
    Ben Eltham says that Labor is at war with inequality, not business.
    Some people are just born arseholes!
    How pissweak can Hockey get? He used the terrorism card to block access to his Cabcharge details.
    Yet another study fails to find a link between wind turbines and poor health symptoms.

  5. Section 2 . . .

    Morrison the Magician – Making all sorts of nasties disappear.–how-to-make-our-jobless-and-economic-ills-vanish,9050
    Will Sydney’s lockout laws go national?
    The Australian Christian Lobby. What a mob! This is what we have in front of us if the SSM plebiscite goes ahead.
    School funding is dysfunctional as private schools get a growing difference in funding than public schools.
    How Greg Hunt and his department turned good news into an international scandal.
    Concetta F-W survives a factional fight between factions that we continue to be told don’t exist.
    A nice weekend in Chicago. Only sixty people shot.
    The SA government could easily sort this out by instituting a monthly direct debit for car registration and insurance payment. It would even be a vote winner. Google.
    Quentin Dempster on Mesma’s superannuation gotcha moment that helped to expose a change that will hurt those transitioning to retirement.
    Jonathan Holmes writes in the really scary thing about the NBN raids.
    Why Australia is stingy and getting stingier.

  6. Interesting to note the report today that Bulk Billing rates are being held up, not by the magnificence and correctness of the Coalition’s Medicare policy settings but by a glut in the number of Medicine graduates.

    To which I will add that, guess what the big ticket item was which Malcolm promised the electorate of Robertson?

    Yep. A Medical School.

  7. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    There is a concerning level of political disengagement in this country.
    Stephen Koukoulas on the hypocrisy of the heavy spending Coalition.
    In bad news for Colesworth Aldi is winning the supermarket battle.
    Are the Rio Olympic Games seriously under threat from a virus?
    Now the bikies are into the fish and chips business. Accused of salt and battery!

    Ron Tandberg redefines border protection.

    Alan Moir on Baird’s path to merging councils.

    David Rowe takes us into the complexity of the superannuation kitchen with a confused Mesma and Malcolm.

    Nark Knight in support of Jarrod Roughhead.
    That fall that Bill Leak took some years ago did him no good at all.

  8. We also learned this week that the Icelandic government has increased the intensity of its capital controls and is forcing speculative capital to behave itself. For those who think the state is dead, particularly those on the Left who promote grand (delusional) schemes of a Pan Europe Democracy as the only way of taking on the powers of corporations, Iceland proves that neo-liberalism has to work through the legislative capacities of sovereign states. Corporations do not have armies (usually). They have to manipulate the legislative process in their favour. The currency-issuing state is still supreme – globalisation or not – and the Right know that. The Left have been duped into believing otherwise. That is what has to change before progress is made in restoring some decency to the policy making process around the world.

  9. A barely reported speech delivered recently by a Labor MP reveals the party is moving towards a more radical position on the thorny issue of competition. Despite the shrieks from the business lobby, it’s not really about them, writes Ben Eltham.

    “ALP ramps up its war on business,” screamed the headline today in The Australian. According to the narrative pushed by the Murdoch broadsheet, Labor apparently has an “anti-business agenda”. Former Queensland Labor treasurer Keith De Lacy has waded into the fray, attacking Bill Shorten’s plan to abandon the Coalition’s $48 billion company tax cuts should Labor win government.

    Some would counsel that Labor runs a risk by taking on big business. The implacable opposition of big business for most of the Rudd-Gillard years was a major political problem for the ALP government.

    But maybe Labor figures it has nothing to lose. The entrenched support of big business for the Coalition is locked in, and there’s not much Labor can do about it.

    Shorten this week waved away De Lacy’s remarks with ill-concealed scorn. “Shock horror, a company director saying he would like to see a company tax cut for his company,” he said in response to a question from journalists.

    Indeed, you could argue that Labor is doubling-down on inequality, making it a major theme of economic policy across its platform.

    …A week ago, for instance, in a little-reported speech to Melbourne University, Labor’s shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh made a number of very interesting policy commitments on economic policy.

    …Labor’s foray on competition policy is cautious and interesting. We’re not talking trust-busting with pitchforks, whatever the business lobby may scream. But for those interested in doing something about entrenched inequality, Leigh’s speech signposts a quietly radical direction.

  10. Jonathan Holmes

    Now, in law, there’s a difference between having an obligation to keep something confidential, and having a duty to keep it secret. “Secret” is a heavy word. Yet the AFP search warrant claims that background briefing documents about the rollout of the NBN are “secret”, and that as a consequence anyone who can be proved to have received them, knowing that they weren’t authorised to do so, can be thrown into the slammer for two years, just like their source.

    This is extraordinary, and to my knowledge, unprecedented. We now have a federal police force that believes that journalists or (in this case) political staffers who are leaked documents by an employee of a Government Business Enterprise may be committing an offence – no matter what the public interest in disclosure may be, no matter what the documents’ contents, and no matter whether or not the recipient staffer or journalist discloses them to anyone else.

    As one of the lawyers I consulted wrote to me: “I have never heard of anything so crazy … It’s ridiculous they got a search warrant partly on that basis.”

    But they did. These days, it seems, the police and security forces can get just about anything they want, even when the issue has nothing to do with national security.

  11. “For Malcolm Turnbull the election is all about jobs and growth and a belief that a company tax cut and reducing government spending is the way to achieve both. But in light of the failures of such standard economic thinking after the GFC to provide economic growth, new research is finding that policies that fail to consider other aspects such as inequality are actually undermining long-term economic performance.”

  12. “The results, the IMF researchers concede, have been terrible. Neoliberalism hasn’t delivered economic growth – it has only made a few people a lot better off. It causes epic crashes that leave behind human wreckage and cost billions to clean up, a finding with which most residents of food bank Britain would agree. And while George Osborne might justify austerity as “fixing the roof while the sun is shining”, the fund team defines it as “curbing the size of the state … another aspect of the neoliberal agenda”. And, they say, its costs “could be large – much larger than the benefit”.”

  13. Halfway through this tedious election campaign, nothing is happening. Life goes on. We have a government and are not madly concerned with tipping it out. It will be a status quo election.

    Labor will probably pick up a seat or two in each of WA, Queensland and NSW, possibly drop a couple in Victoria, and look anxiously at its collapsing vote in SA.

    A net gain of eight seats for Labor is about the best it can hope for. Unfortunately.

  14. BK a monthly direct debit is available for motor registration/CTP insurance in SA. It is called EzyReg and operates very well in my experience. I receive an email monthly to advise of upcoming DD and there is a mobile app that you can use to check theťstatus of your (or anyone else’s) car’s rego

  15. dtt – re viral threats. Thanks for the ALL CAPS and “labels”. Perhaps you might like to take some time to understand the biology of viral pathogens, rather than responding to the propaganda promulgated by anxious activists with agenda. You might ask yourself why it is always Queenslanders that get so hysterical, despite the negligible local morbidity and mortality of Dengue, Ross River, Hendra, Australian Bat lyssavirus, SARS coronavirus, etc. I suspect that the major driver is underlying parochial anxiety and xenophobia. Plant and animal pathogens are far more relevant to our lives than human pathogens – but they don’t drive many votes or sell papers, so they get ignored.

  16. @ Toorak Toff – you make two claims

    1) Very little is happening in the election campaign.

    2) Labor will lose 7 seats between now and the election.

    On what basis are you predicting a massive swing against Labor?

  17. RhWombat

    You sisapoint me. I was trying to have a sensible engagment and you return with that defensive pap.

    First my views have nothing whatever to do with being in Qld, but come from Sydney Uni Microbiology, not the medical School people but the quality and bloody good people in Badham House. They were strongly AGRICULTURAL in focus. However i can say that of all the Uni and school courses I have done (and there are many), other than High School English and History (bloody brilliant) this was the best taught course.

    I do NOT and never have winged about Denge or Ross River. While nasty is is probably not catastrophic. Same with Zika I suspect.

    You raise Hendra and Lyssa. Well I do NOT think there is much hysteria about Lyssa here in Qld. Which is probably a good thing, but you do of course realise that Lyssa is RABIES. It looks like rabies, acts like rabies, is treated like rabies and responds to the same vaccine as rabies. It is in fact a CREDIT to Qld Health and I suspect the veterinary community, that there is not much, much more panic about “Lyssa virus” the rabies you have when uyou do not have rabies. Obviously it has a different infectivity profile and does not get into wild populations. I sort of wonder (you are the expert tell me) if this is because it is placental mammalian specific so we have a very small wild host animal population.

  18. Scott Bales: The polls are stagnating or even moving a fraction back to the Coalition.
    Do you really think Labor will pick up five seats in WA? Then there’s Feeney in Victoria. Except in Hindmarsh, the only election material my friends and I have received in SA has come from the Liberals.

  19. Jermyn refused to answer questions posed to him as he left the event, saying: “This is why I hate journalists.”

    A rather unconventional campaign strategy by this candidate, I would say.

  20. Toorak Toff:

    I said only the other day that this election does not have that ‘change’ vibe to it like it did in 2007.

  21. Maybe this crazy idea that both parties are pretty much the same is beginning to take hold more strongly. If that’s the case why bother changing your vote?

  22. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Turnbull’s vision for Australia is one where you work for a boss until you have enough money for a start up, and then you either start up your own small business or become an investor.

    It may have worked for him, but I’m not sure it floats as a national strategy.

  23. Morning all

    Peter Murphy

    Read that piece last night. Reminded me of the Abbott and Costello skit “whose on first”. You could be excused for thinking it was a parody.
    One aspect I am not clear on, is what allegations were actually being investigated.

  24. Nick despite having to grit my teeth through the currency issuing bit, the point the author of your quote is trying to make is very important.
    A really simple illustration is around regulation and tax regulation. We (through Parliament) choose how to resource the tax office, we make the regs and rules, and companies have to comply.
    But we choose to under resource the Tax Office (and appoint a commissioner to be sensible and commercial), we write rules and regs far too often to be helpful and reduce ‘effort’, we maximise self regulation and then minimise the ways to show self regulation works in the name of getting rid of red tape.
    I wrote a paper on the cooperative compliance model decades ago, and I still believe it is probably the best model, but we are doing it wrong!

  25. Zoomster

    Labor’s official launch will take place on June 19 in Western Sydney. Less than two weeks before election.
    I gather any big policy announcements will take place then. I am feeling that perhaps it is leaving it a little late to impact the electorate

  26. Hairy Nose

    The Greens owe Labor no favours after the years of attacks. A great example is blaming the Greens for the failure of the Malaysia solution. The Greens were always for on shore policy it was the LNP that caused the failure of the Malaysia solution but Labor people blame the Greens and then wonder why Greens people can take delight in some home truths coming home to roost for Labor.

    The home truth being that if the voters vote for a hung parliament Labor is going to have to deal with it.

  27. Coalition have 90 seats and will gain Palmer’s seat and possibly McGowan’s (hopefully not Mirabella though!). The question is how many seats they can possibly lose… looks like 3 already ALP notional after redistribution in NSW (Dobell, Barton, Patterson). Looking for 14 or more other losses.
    Does anyone really think that NXT can win any SA lower house seats from the Coalition?
    Are there any real risks of pickups by the Coalition from the ALP (i cant believe two Vic seats can switch in this direction).
    I would say ALP will certainly pick up Solomon, but the most they could expect to gain from the Coalition across Tas/SA/Vic is 1-2 seats and frankly would expect 0.
    Looks like a default is something like 4-4-4 pickups across each of NSW/Qld and WA (not including those notionals above)… to bring the Coalition to the brink of minority government.
    Frankly am not too worried about ALP losing a seat or two to the Greens, if they are going to govern its going to have to be in coalition with them anyway due to the likely Senate result.
    As i’ve said like a broken record probably the prospect of the Coalition having to depend on the Greens whether in the lower house or the upper house (or both) is a result that i think would be brilliant – either for the country or the ALP lol

  28. NSW is the big imponderable right now. The coalition hold seven seats which are all within 0.4% of BludgerTrack’s current NSW-wide swing of 2.9%. If swings around a state range maybe 5% either side of the statewide average, and those swings are not tightly correlated to TPP margins, you would expect 3 or 4 of those seven NSW Coalition seats to swing by 3% or more. Further, there are 2 more NSW seats held by the Coalition by 1-2% more onlythan the NSW-wide swing. Including them with the other 7 makes it more likely that 4 will fall to Labor rather than 3. I would say current polls show NSW most likely returning 24 Labor seats and 23 Coalition, with a very reasonable chance of 1 seat variation either side of that.

  29. victoria

    No thats not too late. Labor has been doing the corporate tax cuts cost medicare education. That message has been getting out. However despite that to most voters its only background.

    You have to save some big stuff for just before the election to have an impact on the vote.

    Its why the LNP love leaving their costings to the last days before the elections. Its designed to let them do big announcements in the last week without people saying but hey you can’t pay for it because you costings say otherwise.

    Thats specifically designed to let the LNP leave till the last minute their big policy announcements having some credibility.

    Shorten doing talkback being broadcast on 24 too

  30. greentaur @ #35 Wednesday, June 1, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Hairy Nose
    The Greens owe Labor no favours after the years of attacks. A great example is blaming the Greens for the failure of the Malaysia solution. The Greens were always for on shore policy it was the LNP that caused the failure of the Malaysia solution but Labor people blame the Greens and then wonder why Greens people can take delight in some home truths coming home to roost for Labor.
    The home truth being that if the voters vote for a hung parliament Labor is going to have to deal with it.

    The Greens have done Labor no favours and all that is happening is that Labor is returning the compliment.
    Experience has shown that Labor suffers if it gets too close to the Greens.

  31. bemused

    Stop using Greentaur. I will not be labelled by you in a smear to make out I am unthinking just because I do not go along with the Labor line

  32. ‘The Greens were always for on shore policy it was the LNP that caused the failure of the Malaysia solution but Labor people blame the Greens ..’

    And by voting Malaysia down, the Greens ensured that Nauru/Manus got up.

    This is what happens when you put ideology before reality.

    Anyone with half a brain could see that the majors were determined on some form of offshore processing (because the Australian people were). With onshore thus not an option, the Greens should have looked at what was available and worked with that.

  33. Do we know is NXT votes are coming more from ALP or LNP ?
    That might effect the accuracy of 2PP as calculated on previous election distribution.

  34. bemused

    As for your return post. All abuse no substance. The point I made is crystal clear. Labor people have blamed the Greens for the failure of the Malaysia policy when its the LNP that support off shore.

    You wonder why Greens people see Labor people as hypocrites and take some pleasure in seeing a home truth bite.

    I am not saying the Greens don’t blame Labor for stuff Labor does not do either. I was responding to a particular point Hairy Nose raised.

    You may not like it but its the truth. Greens policy was known. LNP policy was known. We know who supports off shore policy and voted against it and that was not the Greens

  35. Thank you for the dawn service BK.

    The “terrorist” excuse used by Hockey to justify secrecy over his cabcharge rort is unacceptable.

    The rationale for exemptions from usual laws that make special provisions for terrorism is generally accepted. These exemptions are contrary to usual practice because they are seen as being anathema to a free and open society.

    So when a fat ugly bastard who has spent the majority of his adult life sucking on the public teat whose ostensible ideology is a libertarian “freedom of the individual”, “no entitlement – you earn what you gets” abuses the exemptions that are there to protect legitimate terrorism concerns, it is particularly galling in its hypocrisy.

    The suggestion of a need for secrecy to protect Hockey from acts of terrorism is so outrageously an abuse it is not possible to have any confidence in him in any public office. And certainly not as our Ambassador to the USA. Imagine what further abuses Hockey might inveigle to achieve under the protection of terrorism secrecy exemptions in that role.

    As the attempt at secrecy by the misuse of terrorism exemptions was deliberate on his part, it is quite irrelevant for him to apologise. His commission must be terminated immediately.

  36. zoomster

    Typical Labor rusted on response. Blame the Greens instead of the LNP. Sorry does not cut it. The Greens supported their own policy. The getting up has to do with how many people vote for them. If Labor and LNP both supporting off shore vote an off shore option down thats a Labor LNP problem not the Greens problem

  37. Windhover

    Agreed. Could you imagine the outrage if Hockey was a former Labor Treasurer who resigned half way through term and got a cushy posting as Ambassador to the USA. It is beyond pathetic

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