Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor

Bill Shorten’s personal ratings take a hit in Essential’s latest poll, while Galaxy charts One Nation’s ongoing progress in Queensland.

The Essential Research fortnight rolling average moves a point back to the Coalition for the second week in a row, reducing Labor’s lead to 52-48. Labor is down two points on the primary vote to 35%, with the Coalition steady on 36%, One Nation steady on 10% and the Greens up a point to 9%. The monthly leaders ratings find Bill Shorten taking a big hit, down seven points on approval to 30% and up three on disapproval to 47%, and Malcolm Turnbull a smaller one, down three on approval to 34% and up one on disapproval to 49%. Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is out from 39-28 last month to 39-25.

The survey also asked respondents if they would be likely to vote for Cory Bernardi’s Conservative Party, to which 14% said yes – which, as is always the case when questions like this are asked, is well above the party’s plausible vote share. Sixty-two per cent say they would be unlikely to, which is on the high side as these things go. The poll also has 17% saying Bernardi’s defection is good for the Liberal Party, 26% bad, 29% neither, and 28% don’t know. As of next week, the Essential Research poll will be published in conjunction with The Guardian.

We’ve also had federal voting intention results from the weekend’s Queensland poll by Galaxy for the Courier-Mail, which has One Nation on 18% (up six since November), the Coalition on 35% (down four), Labor on 29% (down one) and the Greens on 8% (steady), with the Coalition down a point on two-party preferred to lead 51-49. The poll was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday from a sample of 867.

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.

1,956 comments on “Essential Research: 52-48 to Labor”

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  1. You’d have to wonder what possible (sensible) reason they’d have to do this –

    North Korean leader’s brother Kim Jong-nam killed at Malaysia airport

    Kim Jong-nam was attacked at about 09:00 (01:00 GMT) on Monday while waiting at the budget terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport for a 10:00 flight to Macau, Malaysia’s Star newspaper reports, quoting police.

    How the attack actually happened is still unclear. Malaysian police official Fadzil Ahmat told The Star that Mr Kim had alerted a receptionist, saying “someone had grabbed him from behind and splashed a liquid on his face”.

    But quoted by Malaysian news agency Bernama, the same official said a woman had come at him from behind and “covered his face with a cloth laced with a liquid”. Earlier reports spoke of a “spray” being used or a needle.

  2. John McCain Says Flynn Scandal Raises Questions About Trump’s Intentions Toward Putin

    In a brief interview with ABC News McCain repeated this assertion, saying that there are many questions to be answered and that the Trump administration “is in significant disarray as far as national security is concerned.”

    Of course, all sorts of questions have already been raised about Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin, and as McCain says here, Flynn’s resignation has done nothing to quell those concerns. Rather, as CNN’s Chris Cuomo said this morning to McCain’s fellow Republican Rep. Chris Collins, the press has no intention of “moving on” from the Flynn Scandal.

  3. Fox News, Trump tackle the big question: Who’s leaking information about the White House?

    In the wake of Gen. Mike Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser, the media seems dedicated to learn what President Donald Trump knew about Flynn’s conversations with Russia, and when he knew it.

    Fox News, on the other hand, wants to know who’s been telling the world about this information.

    “What is extraordinary to me, is just the fact that a number of U.S. papers that apparently got the leaks from the intel community that said, ‘Hey look we got the transcript of what Mr. Flynn said on the phone to the Russian ambassador, ‘”Steve Doocy, co-host of “Fox and Friends,” said Tuesday morning. “And it looks like kind of shady. Just the fact that there are these leaks inside the permanent government is troubling.”

  4. Great letter in the SMH today
    ‘the Liberal party swapping preferences with hard-right populist parties, perhaps it is that the Liberals are not as sophisticated as they were once.’

  5. We all like to make fun of America at times, but at least they have quite a few journalists worthy of the name, and a tradition of investigative journalism of a high standard.

    We on the other hand…

  6. Tudge:

    “I’ve recently made the decision to say that, well, if you ask for a review then you don’t have to enter into a repayment schedule,” Mr Tudge said on Tuesday night.

    “It’s only after the review is completed and you still owe the debt that you’ll have to enter into that repayment schedule.”

    Why did it take him so long?

  7. Morning all


    How can Fox News state their concerns about the leaks with a serious face!
    Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.
    They have been singing the praises of St Julian Assange for months and egging him and Wikileaks the Kremlin lackies, to disclose anything at all on Clinton and the democrats.
    What a joke.

  8. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Ross Gittins has launched a scathing attack on the Coalition over climate change denial.
    ON the face of it there are more than a few questions to be asked about the path to the digital betting arrangement with Clubs BSW
    A former CIA deputy director who openly campaigned against Donald Trump before the US election has a word of advice for Malcolm Turnbull next time he has to get on the phone to the US President: flatter him. Doesn’t that inspire confidence!
    The Turnbull government is set to write off more than $13 billion in spending cuts after judging that it may no longer be able to book measures still being blocked in the Senate as savings in the budget. Bye bye zombies? Google.
    Letters to the SMH Editor give plenty of advice to Morrison over his cynical attempt to blackmail the disabled.
    There’s trouble in the poultry production standards community.
    It’s the fight that has become a proxy war between forces for and against the coal industry in Australia and it’s entering its fiercest round. Indian conglomerate Adani’s plans to build Australia’s biggest coal mine have been heralded by the federal and Queensland governments as a boon for local jobs and the economy.
    Paul Kelly whinges that our political system is being transformed and Americanised before our eyes as the Senate now purports to shape and determine the macro-policy decisions for our economic and social future. Google.
    The editor of the SMH says that truth, not hypocrisy, is the answer to One Nation. He alludes to the fracturing of the Liberals/Nats relationship that has the potential to spread east from WA.
    A grudging and minor backtracking on Centrelink robo-dept from Tudge.

  9. Section 2 . . .

    Fact Check returns. Bring it on – there’s plenty of material to work on!
    Paul McGeough writes that Trump’s embattled national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late on Monday, a dramatic early casualty in an administration hobbled by security chaos and confusion and a firming sense that the administration and its intelligence agencies are openly at war.
    Ten unanswered questions after Flynn’s “resignation”.
    Richard Wolffe tells us that Flynn has gone but Trump’s nightmare has just begun.
    Sean Spicer claimed that talking about a 17-day delay “assumes a lot of things that aren’t true,” but what it actually involves is a suspension of reality. Comical Ali does it again!
    Taxes on sugar, salt, saturated fats and sugary drinks, alongside new subsidies for fruit and vegetables, could save Australia’s health budget $3.4 billion, a study has found. It would probably be a regressive taxation arrangement though.
    Will the “Grab Your Wallet” movement in the US hurt the Trump empire. It seems it already has given Ivanka’s rags the treatment although the unremarkable range mostly made in third world countries may have been the main reason.
    The Committee for Economic Development of Australia warns Coalition’s plan to return budget to surplus is inefficient and unlikely to succeed.
    Another very good contribution from Kristina Keneally.

  10. Centrelink have to stop using bad datamatching to generate letters in the first place, and should allow the staff to fix up stupid errors when they find them, instead of insisting the staff are not allowed to fix errors that clients haven’t asked for, at the same time as not giving the clients the information they need to know about the errors.
    In other words, a first step to fixing the dividend debarcle , but a lot further to go.

  11. Section 3 . . .

    Michelle Grattan says that Morrison pushed NDIS ‘hypothecation’ announcement despite caution about timing from Turnbull’s office. He now has a dead bill walking.
    FOI documents reveal Turnbull and Frydenberg ignored the AEMO’s advice that renewables were not to blame for SA blackout. A long and detailed exposure.,10023
    And Quentin Dempster describes Abbott’s role in our energy crisis.
    Mounting criticism of the Commonwealth’s technology efforts have been dismissed as “fake news” by the Coalition’s digital innovation minister. Yeah – they’re performing really well!
    Coal will kill more people than World War II. Why do our ministers joke about it?
    The CA Royal Commission’s latest report gives Geelong Grammar an “F”.
    Premier Gladys Berejiklian has acknowledged the government risks losing the North Shore byelection as a result of its decision on council mergers.
    And down goes another spiv in the training arena.
    Australia Post is on the nose with some.
    Australian political parties accepted more than $300,000 in donations over 12 months from the firearms lobby, gun suppliers and manufacturers, sparking concern among gun control groups.

  12. Section 4 . . .

    A trove of official data about incidents at Australia’s offshore detention centre in Nauru has been censored as a result of a request from the Nauruan government. Something to hide perhaps?
    Meanwhile the use of force and physical restraints in Australia’s onshore immigration detention network has soared – more than doubling in just nine months – despite the prison population declining over the same period, internal documents reveal.
    The well read Ian Macdonald and Bernardi want to strip Gold Pass travel from short serving ex PMs.
    The Turnbull government’s bid to link disability funding to welfare cuts has backfired spectacularly.
    Europe has fallen into an ‘age of anxiety’ – a general mood of fear, pessimism and mistrust which could last a generation, researchers say after taking a snapshot of public opinion across the continent. And it’s pushing politics to the right.
    How can the deleterious social effects of globalisation be recognised and moderated?
    The Domino’s story continues to unfold. A***holes!
    Brendan O’Connor writes that no worker should be treat like those at Domino’s and other companies and franchises. Australians have always believed in the fair go in workplaces. Pity Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t share the same view he says.

  13. Morning all. A question for those who know – any prediction on what the Liberal – One Nation preference deal will mean for the National Party? With the latter in decline and Liberal preferences I assume it could mean virtual extinction for the latter.

    If so I will not miss Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Pork and Multiple Offices. He can always go back to being a bouncer. I suppose that would be one think to thank Hanson for. That, and more Rod Culletons in parliament.

  14. Troll, one of the most used words on the site.
    If two people have entrenched views on subject matter/s. Which is the troll? Is it the person who denounces the other person first?

  15. Good Morning Bludgers 🙂

    I think it’s time for Bill Shorten to hit back hard. Time for him to get together a well-researched speech about Malcolm Turnbull that gathers together all the things we know about Turnbull, from his life before politics, all the way through to his pusillanimous cave-ins to the Lunar Right of the Coalition, and just paint the picture of the craven bully (sounds like an oxymoron but it’s not where Turnbull is concerned), who is running away from truly leading the country where it needs to go.

    He should give the speech in enemy territory, say at The Sydney Institute, invite all the heavy hitters in the CPG and their Editors, give the speech a catchy name, like,
    ‘Howard’s Aspirationals Are Dead, Long Live the Patrician Party’, and use it to tear strips off Turnbull and Co.

    No more Mr Nice Guy.

    The CPG and the electorate want red meat and blood. Not Dad jokes. It obviously worked for Turnbull, you have to admit.

    Bill Shorten has to show that he is prepared to show how much he wants the job of Prime Minister of Australia and he is prepared to take the gloves off to do it.

    In a nice way, of course. Carefully insert the verbal knife between Turnbull’s ribs and turn delicately but deliberately. 😉

    Should be easy peasy! He has lots of material to work with after all. 🙂

  16. Thanks BK for the articles. I can understand the frustration of the scientists over climate change. There is no knowledge problem on climate change. The problems are money, power and arrogance. In my view attempts at carbon trading have been misguided and failed. We simply need to ban the harmful activities, no excuses or more delay. There should be no new coal power plants, and the phase out should be rapid, not slow. After 20 years, Kyoto has failed. Time for action. It was not only coal mines blocking action. The CFMEU did us no favours when Labor was in office.

  17. Alan Davis,
    A person is a troll if they hide under a bridge waiting for another certain person to come across and make a comment, and then they appear, and attempt to ridicule them publicly in a personal fashion. Completely unprovoked.

  18. I thought the definition of a troll is someone who posts material with the main intention being to provoke a reaction, conflict or offence rather than expressing an honestly held opinion

  19. Going negative would be a high risk strategy in my opinion. They do have to smash them on policy but I’d definitely avoid purely personal attack of the sort Turnbull trotted out last week

  20. I was disgusted at Turnbull’s language (apparently provided by Pyne) in his attack on Shorten. I would hate to see Shorten descend to that level.

  21. I’d see the current polling as a lag effect of “Turnbull stands up to Trump” rather than a reaction to “Turnbull tells Shorten he’s a Peasant”. However, I hope that Turnbull and co go with the latter.

  22. Shiftaling,
    I’m just thinking it’s time Bill confronted head-on the criticisms that have been made about him and explained to the Australian people how wrong those characterisations are.

    Why is it wrong for a Union Leader to have friends in the Business world?

    Why is it wrong for a Labor leader to have friends who are Liberals and to marry one of their daughters?

    And why the hell not drink bloody Cristal if he feels like it!?! Lots of other Aspirational Australians do!

    In fact, I’d go so far as to nick the Aspirational Australian voters out from under the Liberal’s patrician noses! Just like Howard stole the Tradies away from Labor.

    Go hard, or go home! That should be Bill’s motto. Play for keeps.

  23. shiftaling @ #28 Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 7:53 am

    I thought the definition of a troll is someone who posts material with the main intention being to provoke a reaction, conflict or offence rather than expressing an honestly held opinion

    That’s true. The behaviour we see here on PB from a couple of posters is more akin to ‘stalking’ than ‘trolling’.

  24. Lizzie,
    I was disgusted at Turnbull’s language (apparently provided by Pyne) in his attack on Shorten. I would hate to see Shorten descend to that level.

    He doesn’t have to. What he has to do is deconstruct the Turnbull myth. Surgically. Go on the front foot.

  25. As Peter Piper kind of pointed out last night, and as Monty Python did so well, you can do it without descending into the gutter.

    Maybe Tony Bourke should help Bill. 🙂

  26. C@

    I think Shorten has already done all that – the media reporting it is another matter.

    But, as I’ve said, I don’t think this polling is a reaction to Malcolm’s sledging, so I think Shorten is better to brush it off than make an issue of it.

  27. …and leaders are better off not doing the sledging, but letting minions do it for them. Shorten is right to leave that sort of thing to Bourke and Albo; Turnbull should have left it to someone like Dutton. That way, any negative reaction isn’t attached to the leader.

  28. Go after Hanson as a Turnbull proxy.

    It will invite further criticism of Shorten by Hanson and Liberal Ministers will rush to her defense also.

  29. Morning all.

    I’d like to see Labor host an energy summit bringing together all relevant groups, businesses etc. What a stark contrast to the do-nothing, stuck in the past, wedded to old industries, immature coalition govt.

  30. Shorten should NOT get down in the gutter with Turnbull. That would be very silly. It’s a long time to the next election. He just has to keep chugging forward and watch Malcolm flounder, as he will.

  31. Good morning all,

    I think ( with all due respect ) there may be a bit of over reaction to the Essential poll. Essential has, from time to time, bounced around with significant poll changes from week to week both in favour of the government and labor. We, myself included, have danced in the streets when a surge flows to labor on a weekly poll only to see it wash through.

    We just need to let this particular sample take its course and also wait for other polling to be released before over reacting.

    My take anyway,


  32. I don’t know that I agree with c@t right now. It is too early in the cycle for Shorten to begin electioneering.

    I think this is why Malcolm’s spurt of ‘reinvertibration’ (:)) will eventually fall flat. Right now, really, only the Canberra Peanut Gallery are impressed and that will be short-lived as it is hard to sustain that intensity for 2 + years.

    Bill showed he could build to a strong crescendo during the election campaign – ramp it up too soon and he’ll run out of puff.

  33. Shorten battles gamely against Sabra Lane’s constant and snide interruptions, which actually began after Shorten had said about 5 words, on AM this morning.

    Compare and contrast.

  34. BTW, the wonderful Greg Jennett now appears to be the ABC’s Washington correspondent, offering a worthwhile White House press release transcription service.

  35. Meanwhile Michael Moore is not mincing his words

    Michael Moore’s Tweets

    Michael Moore‏ @MMFlint
    @realDonaldTrump Maybe this is easier 4 u 2 understand: Мы можем сделать это легкий путь (вы уйти в отставку), или трудный путь (импичмента)



    Michael Moore‏ @MMFlint
    What part of “vacate you Russian traitor” don’t you understand? We can do this the easy way (you resign), or the hard way (impeachment).



    Michael Moore‏ @MMFlint
    Um, @realDonaldTrump — It’s now noontime in DC & it appears you are still squatting in our Oval Office. I gave u til this morning to leave.



    Michael Moore‏ @MMFlint
    Hey @realDonaldTrump-1hr after Obama put sanctions on Russia YOU told Flynn 2 call them & promise em it’ll be OK. Traitor!Resign by morning!



    Michael Moore‏ @MMFlint
    The Washington Post & NY Times now reporting Trump HAS KNOWN FOR A MONTH Flynn lied about the Russian call – and Trump did nothing. #IMPEACH

  36. As I said when it happened, Turnbull’s confected attack on Shorten was done to portray Turnbull as passionate. it worked to some degree. As much as I detest Turnbull, it’s BS to say the attack was unwarranted – Shorten was repeatedly calling him “Mr Harbour side mansion”. That’s not to say that Turnbull’s attack was honest or factual – far from it. But it had the desired effect on the polls. The ALP needs to show Turnbull in his true light – weak and sniffling. They should also return fire to Turnbull in a way that shows his weaknesses. I would suggest that next time Turnbull attacks Shorten, Bill shouls say something along the lines of “It’s ok Malcolm, I have hidden the family cat so attack all you want…”.


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