Essential Research: 53-47 to Labor

This week’s Essential Research offers results on Tony Abbott and 457 visas, along with yet another boring set of voting intention numbers.

The Essential Research fortnight rolling average maintains its recent habit of shifting between 53-47 and 54-46, the latest instalment going from the latter to the former. On the primary vote, the Coalition is up a point to 37% and Labor is down one to 36%, with the Greens and One Nation steady at 10% and 8%, so that the result is in all respects identical to the week before last. The poll also finds 40% think Tony Abbott should resign from parliament, 17% that he should stay on the back bench, and another 17% that he should be given a position in the ministry. This is worse for him than when the same questions were posed in August last year, when the respective results were 37%, 21% and 25%. Other findings relate to the tightening of 457 visas: 16% said they went too far, 28% not far enough, and 39% that they were about right; 59% approved of allowing visa holders to apply for permanent residency, against 23% disapprove; 78% agreed that those applying for permanent residency should first be put on a probationary visa, against only 10% for disagree.

The Australian also had extra questions from Newspoll, which found that 70% favoured the government prioritising spending cuts over 20% for increasing taxes, but that only 30% favoured cuts to welfare payments with 61% opposed.

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.

784 comments on “Essential Research: 53-47 to Labor”

Comments Page 15 of 16
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  1. How should Malcolm prepare for his meeting with Trump? Watch Fox News ‘to see what’s going into his brain’, according to a former adviser to GW Bush.

  2. Wombat
    I put it down to one of the legendary stoushes of PB. Hilary vs Obama. Apparently a knock down drag out battle on PB. The Hilary supporters would have this time around been assuming it was “Her turn”. That it did not turn out to be would be a very bitter pill.

  3. I noticed P1 was dissembling earlier.

    P1 started off by asserting that we must have a very large increase in gas generation capacity and more idiotically, that even though the level of investment and scale of construction for such a large increase in gas generation capacity would be large, that somehow a similar level of investment and construction in renewables and storage couldn’t happen in much the same time frame (coming 15 years).

    Here is the relevant graph..

    Notice how the actual amount of gas generation doesn’t change much at all? And how it later dwindles?

  4. Wombat –

    but why would a critique of Clinton get so much push back here?

    I suspect it’s because Trump is so awful, and was so clearly awful in the campaign leading up to the election, that quite a few people here switched into the mode of thinking that voting for Trump, or at least not voting for Clinton, was simply unacceptable, irrational, etc.

    Trump is an abomination.

    Clinton was the wrong candidate and campaigned poorly – winning the popular vote might warm the cockles of various peoples’ hearts, but it doesn’t change the fact she lost. To Trump.

    I’m not a Sanders supporter, never was. I didn’t get the Sanders-mania – he certainly wasn’t charismatic, but even just considering the content of what he said I thought he was quite underwhelming. He’d got a few soundbite style phrases about Wall St and the 1% and yada yada, which he repeated frequently, but it sounded like pablum to me. But all of that didn’t make Clinton a better candidate.

    The 2016 US presidential election was chock full of mediocrity and charlatanism from all comers as far as I could tell.

    Of course I don’t think Trump should have been elected by any right-thinking person.

    But I agree that the US Democrats need to learn more from what happened and to have a really hard honest open-minded think about what went wrong in 2016 and what they can do better in future.

    Of course I think the US electoral system is a massive problem in its own right – FPTP, state controlled district boundaries, fixed terms combined with conflicting electoral mandates, the electoral college itself – it’s all a complete shambles, but I hear absolutely nothing from anyone advocating for any real reform. People moan a bit about the electoral college, but honestly of all the things wrong with US elections the college is the least problematic.

    Meh. I think the US is doomed to a long slow decline because I can’t see the will to really tackle the actual problems, and we’ll be saddled with an empire going down the gurgler with fools at the helm; Trump is merely pointing the way.

    But I’m a depressive pessimist. Maybe things will all turn out brilliantly.

  5. Wombat, N is not actually positing a critique of Hilary. They’re trying to excuse their tacit support for the subversion of the Democratic Party and for enabling Trumpist campaigns and polemics.

    In the same way, criticism of Labor is used to mask G-pop alliances with the LNP. Similarly, N detests “centrists” cos they preclude power-sharing with the G-nomes.

    N wants power. They declaim most loudly against their nearest rivals. We can be sure their whinging says a lot more about them than their targets.

  6. Nice summary of 2016 in the US Jakol.
    Part of the problem with the US and possible changes to their electoral , the perspective there is like with their health care system, as they have flawed but ‘better system than anywhere else in the world’, it is hard for them to look at alternatives.

  7. cud chewer @ #711 Friday, April 28, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    I noticed P1 was dissembling earlier.

    P1’s posts are for everyone’s amusement only. They have no basis in reality.

    I can’t work out if P1 is very good indeed at maintaining a facade, or if P1 simply has no understanding of the topic.

    Doesn’t matter, good for a laugh in either case.

  8. boerwar @ #588 Friday, April 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    What Turnbull was trying to say was that he has just realized that when you cock a snoot at a nuclear armed country and it threatens to vaporize your harbourside mansion, Australia has no defence.
    Turnbull has managed to insert Australia between Trump and Kim.
    Turnbull is idiotter than you would think.

    Sydney harbourside mansions are quite safe.

    Those of us living within actual missile range (north coast of Oz), however, not so much.

    So, big thanks for your work on that, Prime Fuckwit Turnbull.

  9. Nicholas

    ‘The current Labor leader is not interested in pursuing a more independent and intellectually rigorous foreign policy for Australia. He is obsequious towards the Trump-led United States.’

    Bollocks. He came out as soon as Trump was elected and said that being allies didn’t mean we couldn’t criticise Trump.

    e.g.

    ‘Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has slammed US President Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly-Muslim countries as “appalling”‘

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/its-time-for-leadership-bill-shorten-slams-appalling-donald-trump-immigration-ban-20170130-gu1lbd.html

    ‘Mr Shorten says he does not regret calling Mr Trump’s views “barking mad” and will “call it as I see it….’

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/turnbull-attacks-shorten-for-barking-mad-trump-remark/news-story/0e4ad35ed88b5da51de18620772b2bcd

    ‘Australia needed to think for itself on foreign policy, Shorten said. That was the Trump lesson.’

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/02/bill-shorten-takes-town-hall-test-trump-tax-refugees-and-the-gum-tree-menace

    etc etc etc

  10. Wombat

    So it’s OK for people to critique Clinton but not OK for people to critique the critique?

    Obviously Clinton’s campaign didn’t work – at the very least, getting 3 million more votes than the other guy but getting them in the wrong places suggests poor targeting. But she did get 3 million more votes than the other guy, so that also suggests that her campaign did get some things right.

    I don’t mind people critiquing Clinton, but I do mind it when it’s based on mythology.

    If you want to critique my critique, go right ahead. I objected to the article because the criticisms were wrong, not because it was about Clinton (just as I was fair about Mirabella, even though I have more reasons to personally dislike her than most of the Australian population).

    Poor arguments deserve to be critiqued.

  11. but I hear absolutely nothing from anyone advocating for any real reform.

    This isn’t true. Democratic voters were aghast in the wash up on 2016 that they were robbed yet again thanks to an outdated electoral system. Real reform has been advocated by the incumbent Dem Chair by way of referendum to overhaul the Electoral College and states’ voter disenfranchisement.

  12. Crikey is playing up again by directing comments back to the previous thread. I wish these people would get their shit together once and for all.

  13. Don, I originally figured P1 was just out of date and needed an update. Then I noticed that it had no interest in self examination and had already fixated on a view of the world where it was unthinkable that renewables and batteries were going to continue to fall in cost. This annoys me because in my field (electronics) its pretty clear if you make enough of something, it tends to materials cost.

    Its a bit like the nuts who used to post earnestly protesting the cost of rolling out the electricity network saying “but what can you use it for except power light bulbs?”

    Heck, even that level of ignorance I can tolerate, but P1 goes further with its snark and general intellectual dishonesty. Not paying attention to well informed people is one thing that pisses me off about the current incompetent ideologues that run the country.

  14. …I will also add that a lot of the Clinton critiques actually point to some very dangerous trends, which I do believe should be challenged – for example, the idea that being a professional politician is a Bad Thing in itself, or that we should abandon evidence based policy for emotional appeals, or that populism is the way to go.

    That doesn’t mean I think ALL politicians should be ‘professionals’, or that emotions should be ignored.

  15. at the very least, getting 3 million more votes than the other guy but getting them in the wrong places suggests poor targeting.

    It also suggests a skewed electoral system that gives equal electoral footing to low population areas. California is particularly disadvantaged on this front.

  16. cud chewer @ #726 Friday, April 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Heck, even that level of ignorance I can tolerate, but P1 goes further with its snark and general intellectual dishonesty. Not paying attention to well informed people is one thing that pisses me off about the current incompetent ideologues that run the country.

    Who needs to listen to experts and facts when it’s much easier and more entertaining to have a popularity contest.

  17. Quelle surprise that corporate Democrat Barack Obama is cashing in:

    Fresh from his vacation on privately-owned Necker Island with billionaire Richard Branson, Obama has just inked his first lucrative speaking deal. The fee: $400,000. The venue: Wall Street.

    And typical of Obama, the issue is words versus deeds. That “record of attacks” was entirely verbal. Obama’s deeds were the opposite of attacks; they were entirely supportive. Which is entirely to be expected given the level of funding Wall Street poured into making and keeping him president in the first place.

  18. Ah, so Nicholas is a bot, and doesn’t realise that the previous Nicholasbot had already posted about Obama evilly accepting payment for services.

  19. Confessions – as I said the electoral college is a minor wrinkle compared to the other problems. If reform is focusing on the EC then it’s not going to achieve anything.

    And I hear absolutely nothing from anyone in the American public – no one in the media, the talk shows, online discussions – I have seen no evidence that there’s a broad public movement for change, which is what would be required, nor even any broad acknowledgement of exactly how broken their whole system is, beyond a lot of people lining up to condemn or support Trump.

    Is anyone talking about FPTP/single member districts? In Australia we are at least blessed not to deal with FPTP, but there is not even a whiff of a hint of any broad sentiment that we should maybe move towards a PR kind of system – I’m sure it would be a vigorous debate if there were to be a debate, but there’s not even a debate. The public don’t seem to pay any attention to – and actively resist caring about – the actual mechanics of elections and governance and what is possible/desirable anymore, and it seems from what I have seen to be as true in the USA as it is here.

  20. Nicholas,

    You told us your views about Obama earning money yesterday. How long are you going to keep it up?

    I guess 6 months, if we’re lucky.

  21. “Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine everything he believes in,” wrote Vox’s Matthew Yglesias this week. “To fight the rising tide of populism, mainstream leaders need to raise their ethical game,” he argued.

    “The more that Wall Street firms give out-of-office presidents and big-name politicians these paydays, the more they become the norm,” Aaron Blake of The Washington Post wrote. “Other presidents will know that such payments are on the table, and it risks coloring their decisions with regard to Wall Street and special interests.”

    http://www.salon.com/2017/04/26/barack-obamas-400000-speech-to-wall-street-sparks-liberal-blowback/

  22. As I said last night when Nicholas brought up President Obama’s speaking fees (and, at least, unlike Green Presidential candidate, Jill Stein, Barack Obama has never taken any of Putin’s blood-soaked money to speak), craven fop Nicholas would not be happy unless and until President Obama went back to picking Cotton.

    ‘Dem black boys have no right making a fancy dollah!’

  23. jackol @ #734 Friday, April 28, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Confessions – as I said the electoral college is a minor wrinkle compared to the other problems. If reform is focusing on the EC then it’s not going to achieve anything.
    And I hear absolutely nothing from anyone in the American public – no one in the media, the talk shows, online discussions – I have seen no evidence that there’s a broad public movement for change, which is what would be required, nor even any broad acknowledgement of exactly how broken their whole system is, beyond a lot of people lining up to condemn or support Trump.
    Is anyone talking about FPTP/single member districts? In Australia we are at least blessed not to deal with FPTP, but there is not even a whiff of a hint of any broad sentiment that we should maybe move towards a PR kind of system – I’m sure it would be a vigorous debate if there were to be a debate, but there’s not even a debate. The public don’t seem to pay any attention to – and actively resist caring about – the actual mechanics of elections and governance and what is possible/desirable anymore, and it seems from what I have seen to be as true in the USA as it is here.

    With the US election system, I’m not sure which of the following two is the worst in their system: the blatant gerrymandering or the blatant voter suppression. Both have an extremely corrosive impact on the legitimacy of the elected representatives in their state and federal congresses.

    Unfortunately, if you listen to many Americans, they are not even contemplating even starting a serious public discussion about the issues in their election system because far from even thinking there is a problem they seriously believe their system is the BEST IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. The US electoral college has a small bias towards smaller states – each states has a number of Electoral College votes equal to the number of reps plus number of Senators, the latter being 2 for all states and the former proportional to population.

    This means a small Republican bias. The “winner take all” approach, that applies in most states, means that close results in key states can be crucial. However, Hilary lost a couple of big states like Florida and Pennsylvania, which everyone expected her to win. The Democrats need to have a very close look at why they lost and act on the findings.

  25. Steve, there’s a very simple reason Trump won. There’s actually a lot of stupid people, even in places like Florida. Selfish, vacuous, ill-informed and given to appeals to base emotions.

    Just like in Australia.

  26. confessions – yeah, just the electoral college.

    That’s not fundamental reform of their voting system. It doesn’t say anything about the relationship between Congress and the Presidency. How does each citizen’s vote get turned into a say in legislation? Nothing to say about any of that. The EC is one minor wrinkle in how the Presidency is determined, and – as far as it goes – is not inherently wrong or evil (it’s a bit … quaint … and doesn’t serve the original purpose given electors have basically zero agency) – our Senate has a deliberate malapportionment built in to advantage smaller states and the EC provides a (fairly modest in the scheme of things) similar bias. Sure, getting rid of it would probably be sensible, but it really is not a big deal IMO.

    But if in the process of abolishing the EC you got preferential voting in Presidential elections … that would be a big deal, but is anyone talking about that, or anything even moderately like an actual reshaping of the system beyond tinkering at the edges?

  27. cud chewer @ #726 Friday, April 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Don, I originally figured P1 was just out of date and needed an update. Then I noticed that it had no interest in self examination and had already fixated on a view of the world where it was unthinkable that renewables and batteries were going to continue to fall in cost. This annoys me because in my field (electronics) its pretty clear if you make enough of something, it tends to materials cost.
    Its a bit like the nuts who used to post earnestly protesting the cost of rolling out the electricity network saying “but what can you use it for except power light bulbs?”
    Heck, even that level of ignorance I can tolerate, but P1 goes further with its snark and general intellectual dishonesty. Not paying attention to well informed people is one thing that pisses me off about the current incompetent ideologues that run the country.

    I think I have the distinction of being the first to all out P1 as being a troll and an all round pain in the arse, months ahead of anyone else.
    Its response was to call me a troll and put me on its STFU list. I am honoured.
    Really, it is a troll and an idiot.

  28. Steve777

    The Democrats need to have a very close look at why they lost and act on the findings.

    True but sadly they are in it was all someone else’s fault mode.

  29. jackol @ #734 Friday, April 28, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Confessions – as I said the electoral college is a minor wrinkle compared to the other problems. If reform is focusing on the EC then it’s not going to achieve anything.
    And I hear absolutely nothing from anyone in the American public – no one in the media, the talk shows, online discussions – I have seen no evidence that there’s a broad public movement for change, which is what would be required, nor even any broad acknowledgement of exactly how broken their whole system is, beyond a lot of people lining up to condemn or support Trump.
    Is anyone talking about FPTP/single member districts? In Australia we are at least blessed not to deal with FPTP, but there is not even a whiff of a hint of any broad sentiment that we should maybe move towards a PR kind of system – I’m sure it would be a vigorous debate if there were to be a debate, but there’s not even a debate. The public don’t seem to pay any attention to – and actively resist caring about – the actual mechanics of elections and governance and what is possible/desirable anymore, and it seems from what I have seen to be as true in the USA as it is here.

    The EC is only relevant to the Presidency.
    What is needed is an end to gerrymandering, an independent commission to conduct elections and draw Congressional boundaries, and the outlawing of voter suppression and its replacement with efforts to get people enrolled and voting.
    I think before any of this can happen, there will need to be a majority on the Supreme Court in favour. That may be a long time incoming if Trump gets to make any more appointments. Big stakes in the next mid-term Congressional elections.

  30. At the same time as the US Presidential Election, Maine had a ballot measure to change their voting system. It passed narrowly. The ballot? Alternative Vote. It applies to their US Reps and Senators, State Reps and Senators, and the Governor.

  31. Cud Chewer – you are right. The electoral college is not in itself the big problem. It is not affected by gerrymanders, for example, although voter suppression would be an issue. But the big problem seems to have been put succinctly by Thomas Frank, mentioned by another poster this afternoon:

    “The [conservative] backlash…is a crusade in which one’s material interests are suspended in favor of vague cultural grievances that are all-important and yet incapable of ever being assuaged.”[3]
    “While earlier forms of conservatism emphasized fiscal sobriety, the backlash mobilizes voters with explosive social issues…which is then married to pro-business economics.”[4]

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Frank

    The Republicans have found the secret of getting turkeys to vote for Christmas. The Democrats (and Labor) need a counter strategy. That would include not calling the turkeys “turkeys”.

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