Essential Research: 53-47 to Labor

Essential Research closes its account for the year by recording a slight improvement in the Coalition’s position, and a generally more positive outlook than in recent years.

The final Essential Research result for 2017 (actually released yesterday, but who’s keeping score at this time of year) has the Coalition gaining a point on two-party preferred for the second week in a row, reducing the Labor lead to 53-47. They’re also up two on the primary vote to 37%, with Labor steady on 38%, the Greens down one to 9% and One Nation steady on 7%.

Essential closes the year with a particularly interesting series of supplementary findings, one of which is that only 29% approve of tax cuts to medium and large businesses, with 54% opposed. On political donations, overwhelming support is recorded for immediate disclosure of donations (84% versus 6%) and politicians’ meetings with companies donors and unions (82% versus 5%), very strong support for a ban on foreign donations (67% to 16%), capping donations at $5000 (59% to 20%) and banning donations from companies and unions (58% to 22%), but opposition to banning donations altogether and replacing them with public funding (30% to 50%).

Another series of generalised questions on how things have been going over the past year suggest Australians are feeling a good deal more positive than they have at any time since this annual series began in 2013. In particular, there are greatly improved perceptions on the state of the economy; neutral but improved ones on respondents’ personal financial situations; greatly improved, but still somewhat negative ones on how “the average Australian” has fared; and a view on “Australian politics in general” that remains highly negative, but is still greatly improved. Included for the first time is a question on “the planet”, with 20% consider to have had a good year versus 42% for bad.

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.

2,526 comments on “Essential Research: 53-47 to Labor”

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  1. Ex-NSA analyst explains why Americans should be terrified by Clapper’s claims about Trump

    James Clapper’s suggestion that President Donald Trump was a Kremlin “asset” should be taken seriously, according to a former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer.

    Trump’s relationship to Russia has long been the subject of suspicion within the intelligence community in which Clapper served more than 50 years.

    “To be perfectly clear: America’s most experienced spy boss publicly termed our president an asset — that is, a witting agent — of the Kremlin who is being controlled by Vladimir Putin,” Schindler wrote. “Even if meant only ‘figuratively,’ this is the most jaw-dropping statement ever uttered about any American president by any serious commentator.”

  2. New York Times rips Trump and GOP lawmakers for ‘feathering their own nests’ with tax bill

    In a scathing editorial, the New York Times tore into President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers for “feathering their own nests,” with a tax plan that will increase their personal fortunes while devastating the middle class.

    “The biggest winners would be people like Mr. Trump, his family and similarly advantaged developers who make tens or hundreds of millions of dollars every year on swanky office towers and luxurious apartment buildings,” the editorial details.

  3. I can’t figure out why the Coalition are high-fiving each other over these poll results. “47” seems to be the new 50.

    Joyce has gone feral. Free of his wife and family he’s turned into a playboy who thinks he can do or say anything and get away with it. A cousin of the biggest water user as minister for water? Tick.

    It can’t end well.

  4. From previous thread.

    KayJay @ #994 Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 – 6:50 am
    “The M4 Rifle is a Terribly Flawed Weapon” | Range365

    May 22, 2017 – So said a major general to the Senate Armed Services committee, adding that the “American penchant for arming troops with lousy rifles has been responsible for a staggering number of unnecessary deaths.” Here is an example of an M4A1 carbine with an ACOG sight. eb photo. It looks like the U.S. …

    A really interesting couple of articles.

    Can anybody inform me of the heightened terrorist threat?

    Could it be that the heavy machinery and the hard working council blokes doing concrete work in my street are really dirty commies, vicious religious zealots, chinese undercover agents or perhaps, foolish children enamored of youtube and movie violence hell bent on blowing up the next bus into town?

    I await with keen interest the first patrol of gun fighter style equipped para military troops, gimlet eyed and of ferocious visage knocking on my door, perchance to enquire about the empty house on the opposite corner.

    What will be the procedure? Salute? Kneel in prayer? Making a run for it would appear out of the question as a 5.56mm round in the back would put paid to Christmas dinner unless as often happens with the M4 rifle, the damn thing jams.

    I think I need to work out a plan. Raising my bed about 20 centimetres may be my best bet as this would allow space for me, brown bear and any yellow skinned demons or mussis (what is a mussi>) also seeking refuge.

    Advise from folk au fait with this problem eagerly awaited.

    Yours faithfully,

    Bruce 😇
    (note the cleverly disguised signature). I was thinking of using “Boris” but decided the risk was just too great.

  5. Remember also the Joyce defence of Family Trusts – those vehicles for distribution of income for the purposes of spreading income and reducing the tax liability

    Joyce was very outspoken that Family Trusts protected the family farm from being the subject of Family Court proceedings and resulted in the family farm always remaining in the family name

    Given his personal circumstances now I am surprised his vociferous defence of Family Trusts is not in the media with scrutiny

  6. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. On the strength of the following one would have to say that the reshuffle has not been well received.

    Mark Kenny analyses the dynamics acting upon Turnbull with respect to the ministerial shuffle. And he’s not very complimentary towards certain “winners”. One of Kenny’s better efforts, this one.
    Laura Tingle starts off by saying that t is good of the Nationals to remind us all so regularly that they really are a minor party, by behaving so spectacularly like one. Google.
    And James Massola writes about Barnaby’s “ captain’s call” to dump cabinet colleagues.
    Here’s Michelle Grattan’s take on it.
    Paul Kelly says that Turnbull has seen off challenges from left and right, but is still vulnerable on values. Google.
    Katharine Murphy joins the fray and piles into the Nationals.
    Judith Ireland looks at the winners and losers in the reshuffle.
    James Campbell writes that the reshuffle is a disaster for Victoria. Google.
    Turnbull has been branded “pathetic” for appearing to care more about the ratio of Queenslanders in his ministry than the number of women.
    Steph Peatling profiles our new top legal officer, Christian Porter.
    Phil Coorey writes that he Turnbull government’s recently restored parliamentary majority is again under threat with aggrieved Nationals MP Keith Pitt considering joining the crossbench following a ministerial reshuffle in which he and Infrastructure minister Darren Chester were dumped by Barnaby Joyce. Google.
    Paul Bongiorno says Turnbull has a pet project for 2018 and that’s “Get Bill”.
    The New York Times’ Roger Cohen explains why Trump’s national security strategy is a farce.
    The NSW deserves a good kick up the Khyber over this effort!
    Michael West has examined the ATO’s list of big companies’ taxation payments and says that “While the price of gas and electricity have doubled in recent years, stinging every household and business from Broome to Bruny Island, EnergyAustralia has been furiously stacking away billions in income and paying no income tax, not a zack.”
    Our second rate NBN is feeling the pinch.
    Oh dear! The NSW government’s $20 billion-plus metro train line under construction in Sydney “could have been built far cheaper with more sensible planning”, four of NSW’s top former rail executives have said in a highly critical assessment of the project.
    The Turnbull government will reverse course and allow businesses to buy overseas carbon credits to meet Australia’s emissions reduction targets, a policy long questioned by climate experts and once labelled “dodgy” by Tony Abbott.
    But the policy will have little impact on the emissions from the energy sector.
    The Conversation has a piece that says the federal government’s newly released Climate Policy Review is hugely disappointing, but far from surprising – just business as usual.
    Ross Gittins says that it’s time for the culture of Christmas to change.
    Clancy Yeates tells us that before the royal commission starts they have vowed to make it easier for customers to cancel their credit cards, they will stop charging statement fees, and borrowers will be alerted when their interest-free period is about to end, as part of a new code of conduct.
    Adele Ferguson has a bit of a gloat in saying that when a company falls more than 55 per cent in 10 days, it speaks volumes about its credibility. She gives its management a really good serve.
    Justice Peter McClellan, who chaired Australia’s landmark royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, will retire in February at a ceremony before Sydney’s supreme court. What a man!
    How obscenely high family court costs are destroying parents and their children.
    The Coalition has been crowing about the latest job figures, but are the claims justified? Mike Dowson thinks the data tells a different story.,11043
    Bitcoin has no fundamental value and is likely to end in tears once speculators discover how hard it can be to extricate their cash, Singapore’s financial watchdog has warned.
    ‘Kill the messenger’: how Fox News cried ‘coup’ over the Trump-Russia inquiry. They continue to go further and further to the right.
    No adult crime erases the legitimacy of trauma caused by childhood abuse, yet Turnbull’s two-tiered scheme implies that this is the case, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.,11044
    Public service emails could be the next front in a battle over “political correctness” after hardline Coalition senator Eric Abetz asked agencies to disclose their holiday staff greetings. Government agencies are releasing Christmas and Easter messages from departmental bosses to the bureaucracy for the former public service minister, known for his ardent Christian views and social conservatism. When will we be rid of this dinosaur?
    This study examines the extent of mental health problems in small business.
    Caitlin Fitzsimmons on the problems with after-school care.
    Mungo McCallum writes on Turnbull’s return to obscurity after Bennelong.,11042
    The COAG talks on the Murray-Darling Basin plan did not go well.
    William McKeith takes his hat off to the efforts of grandparents.
    The SMH editorial says that Australia’s cricket selectors are deserving of praise.

    Cartoon Corner

    Matt Golding with some upset Poms.

    And he was there for the announcement of the new cabinet.

    A rather maudlin Michael Leunig Christmas contribution.

    John Shakespeare on the allegation the Sydney trains favour business over the public.

    Mark David on Turnbull’s infatuation with coal.

    Fiona Katauskas with her last cartoon of the year – and it’s a good one.

    Peter Broelman with MYEFO.

    Paul Zanetti on free speech.

    Glen Le Lievre has got Morrison worked out!

    David Pope farewells a relieved George Brandis.
    Jon Kudelka and a headache for the High Commission in Lindon.
    Peter Nicholson welcomes Barnaby to Infrastructure.

  7. Overnight I heard a discussion about 2017 on RN (I assume repeated from the am).
    3 persons – one was Hartcher. I was stunned to hear him say that Turnbull had achieved everything “perfectly” in 2017. To repeat – whatever he had set out to do in 2017, Turnbull had accomplished it in style. Caveat, I think there were only 4 items, but we on PB obviously do not appreciate his magnificence.

  8. The end of the USA is nigh:
    Moreover, I am convinced that the worst is yet to come. Heading into the special election in Alabama, Moore seemed likely to win, confirming the utter depravity of the Republican Party. Thankfully — mercifully — that was not the case. Trump will issue blanket pardons in the Russia investigation and eventually fire Robert Mueller. The attacks on environmental protection, conservation, economic equality, the social safety net, a free press, voting rights, higher education and reason, diplomacy, women and morality itself will continue unabated with the full support of the Republicans. We shouldn’t fool ourselves. America is under siege, and this civil war has already taken a grave toll.

    I have to say that this has been my reading for some time now (even pre-Trump) of how the US is travelling. Trump is just an accellerant to the democracy conflagration.
    My sincere wish for the New Year is that it does not jump the fire-break and take hold here as well.

  9. On a universal basic income:

    ‘A basic income is a distraction from these core issues of economic power; a radical-sounding excuse to look the other way from the less glamorous, more complex question of how to ensure labour market rights are properly enforced. Accepting a deterioration in employment rights and working conditions in exchange for a basic income could be dangerously counterproductive.’

    The author argues that the UBI is being pushed by big corporations who are already avoiding their social obligations and who would use the existence of a UBI as an excuse to avoid fixing their workplace problems.

    She also provided a link to this study which shows that people who moved from being unemployed to take up a ‘bad job’ had worse health outcomes than those who stayed unemployed.

    The author argues that:

    ‘The answer cannot be to accept this sorry state of affairs and try to patch things up with a basic income. It must be to address the fundamental power imbalances that allow employers to shift risk on to their employees by forcing them to become self-employed contractors, or refusing to pay them for breaks. And to develop long-term solutions for improving the quality of work.’

  10. What a shambles! Tingle calls Cormann and Dutton “the two most lethal political operators in the government ”

    It always seemed rather extraordinary that people around Parliament House were suggesting that the government really needed Barnaby Joyce back in harness to “restore discipline” to the Nats.

    Seriously? The deputy prime minister is not the instigator of discipline but a man with a long personal history of creating havoc for the government of which he was a part – dating back to his days as a senator – and now, as leader, engaging in vindictive score settling in cabinet appointments on a scale we have not seen in some years.

    Darren Chester has been sacked unceremoniously from cabinet – not even just demoted – because he was a threat to Joyce. There has been no criticism of him as a minister.

    …All this noise overshadows the two central structural changes in the cabinet, with the final elevation of Peter Dutton as the Minister for Home affairs – with two junior ministers.

    Noise of the Nationals aside, this is the most striking feature of the cabinet reshuffle is the entrenchment of the power of the two most lethal political operators in the government – and the men on whom the prime minister most relies: Dutton and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

  11. @KayJay 7:06am

    The M4 Carbine – indeed any high velocity asssault rifle – is a terrible weapon for civilian policing. Period. This was the weapon used by NSW Police TRG when they stormed the Lindt Cafe. Two deaths were as a a result of ricochet and bullet fragments from police weapons as the high velocity bullets shattered on the marble walls.

    Our military TAGS use HK MP5 machine pistols with 9mm parabellum ammunition for urban assaults for this very reason (and not their standard issue M4 Carbines).

    If police are to be issued with long armed weapons, then the benchmark weapon should be the policing version of the MP5 – the UMP9. This has a longer chassis and folding stock than the MP5 and longer standard barrel (8 inches as opposed to the 5.3 inches for most variants of the MP5) and a lower rate of cyclical fire than either the MP5 and M4 carbine. All of these innovations are designed to assist Plod staying ‘on target’ thus minimising the risk of collateral damage – pretty essential in an urban environment with lots of civilians around. Curious that Commissioner Mic Fuller started a need for accurate fire at ranges between 25 and 100M when that is the exact mission specifications of the UMP9 – and not that of the M4 …

    One last point. For heavens sake, keep these type of weapons out of the hands of the bully boys in the Roit squad. The risks of inevitable ‘mission creep’ are truly horrific …

  12. I can’t figure out why the Coalition are high-fiving each other over these poll results. “47” seems to be the new 50

    I can.

    This is peak Labor.
    The chaps and gals in the coalition know they’ve got the next election in the bag.
    Along with the CPG, in the bag, MSM, in the bag……Bill Shorten there for the long haul.

    As I said the other night, you can see it coming from here.

  13. Good Morning


    The point the article misses is that UBI is not a distraction. Its a necessity. We already have that argument happening with the work for the dole scheme and the drug testing of those on welfare.

    Have a Universal Basic Income and those go away.

    Yes there are those on the right that support it because they think they can do the same as with social security now. However there are progressives that support it because it undoes a lot of the arguments used against those who cannot work. Be that because of age disability or whatever.

  14. Steve777

    Here in Melbourne, we had high 20s night before last.

    Yesterday temp got to almost 38 degrees, and then yesterday evening a cool change occurred that brought with it two storm fronts. What was unusual about them is that it resembled tropical storms. Day became night, and then after the storms passed. Around 9pm it was so bright and clear it felt like dawn had broken. Was so strange,

  15. Lizzie

    Hartcher is correct. Turnbull has achieved what him and his pathetic mob set out to do. Prime examples. Penalty rates, crackdown on Centrelink robo debt and privately contracting Serco to manage it.
    And not forgetting the establishment of ROC to deal with unions!

  16. Sky News could be off the air within 12 days, as Foxtel’s joint owners Telstra and News Corp struggle to reach an agreement on carriage fees for the news network.

    Foxtel’s current contract with Sky News will expire on December 31, meaning a new agreement on carriage fees – how much Foxtel pays Sky News for the broadcast – must be reached by that date.

    But on Tuesday, media news website Mumbrella reported that News Corp and Telstra had not yet reached a new deal, opening the possibility for the influential news channel to disappear from Australian television screens altogether.

    A spokesperson for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which wholly owns Sky News, confirmed to The New Daily there was an “issue” over carriage fees.

    However, the spokesperson said negotiations were ongoing.

    A Telstra spokesperson declined to comment on the details of the dispute, but similarly stated negotiations were ongoing.

    If no agreement is reached, The New Daily understands Sky News may not necessarily “go dark” immediately on January 1, but eventually it will inevitably stop broadcasting.

    The disagreement comes at a delicate time for the telco and media giant, as they finalise plans to merge Foxtel with Fox Sports.

    Currently Telstra and News Corp are 50-50 owners of Foxtel. But the merger would result in News Corp, which wholly owns Fox Sports, becoming the majority shareholder.

    Sky News could be off the air within 12 days, as Foxtel’s joint owners Telstra and News Corp struggle to reach an agreement on carriage fees for the news network.

    Foxtel’s current contract with Sky News will expire on December 31, meaning a new agreement on carriage fees – how much Foxtel pays Sky News for the broadcast – must be reached by that date.

    But on Tuesday, media news website Mumbrella reported that News Corp and Telstra had not yet reached a new deal, opening the possibility for the influential news channel to disappear from Australian television screens altogether.

    Last week, Rupert Murdoch made headlines again when he sold the film and television arm of his media empire, 21st Century Fox, to Disney for almost $70 billion.

    That left the Murdoch family in control of News Corp’s newspapers in the US, UK and Australia, Fox News in the US and the TV networks in Australia.

  17. And let’s not forget the nobbling of the NBN?

    And of course, whilst Abbott was PM, they sold off Medibank Private, shut down the car manufacturing industry, and destroyed any meaningful climate policy.

    This mob have been in power for four years, and whilst they give us a good version of bread and circuses, and appear incompetent, they are doing exactly what they intended. Next in the agenda is tax cuts for themselves and Their friends.

  18. Turnbull had achieved everything “perfectly” in 2017. To repeat – whatever he had set out to do in 2017, Turnbull had accomplished it in style.

    Exactly what was that? He can’t claim marriage equality, although I heard him on the car radio yesterday praising himself and George Brandis for bringing it about. Unless he was determined to ensure that nothing was done about the climate and energy policy mess, he’s accomplished that.

  19. maddow: Oops.…

    BresPolitico: House will have to RE-VOTE the tax bill tomorrow, GOP leadership says. Byrd problems with 2 provisions. Senate votes today after provisions are struck, House votes again tomorrow

  20. I first heard the term “basic income” in the socialist magazine Dissent in 2005. I was a 15-year-old leftist with a taste for weird, radical plans to restructure society: say, having the government buy up majority stakes in every company and then distribute them equally to every American; converting all companies into worker cooperatives; trying a planned economy where the planning is done by decentralized worker and consumer councils rather than a government bureaucracy. Basic income, wherein the government gives everyone enough cash to live on with no strings attached, struck me as an idea in that mold: another never-going-to-happen but fun-to-think-about alternative to the unfettered financial capitalism of the second Bush term.

    Boy was that wrong. As of 2017, basic income — often referred to as unconditional basic income or UBI — is a big enough deal that President Obama’s chief economist felt obligated to release a case against it, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised it in a widely viewed Harvard commencement speech, the ruling party’s nominee in the French presidential election made it his main campaign proposal, and the Indian government could enact it within the next year. There’s also a bevy of experiments evaluating basic income and related ideas by groups like GiveDirectly in Kenya, the investment firm Y Combinator, and governments in Ontario, Finland, and elsewhere

  21. I have said in past and will say it again. Here in my namesake state of Victoria, things are going okay at present. It has absolutely nothing to do with the federal coalition govt being in control.

    Vic State Labor govt have proceeded with their promised infrastructure projects of building new rail lines ,rail stations, the removal of level crossings, road projects, and the huge project of the metro tunnel.
    Meanwhile there has also been an apartment and unit construction boom.

  22. Steve777
    Perhaps I didn’t make it clear that I was gobsmacked by Hartcher’s adoration of Turnbull, taling as if everything he did was part of a grand plan, instead of a series of backflips, mistakes and bad calls, now brought to a ‘wonderful’ climax by his total kowtowing to Barnaby and the RWNJs.

  23. In 2018 there will be a SA and VIC state election.

    And the federal election is not due until mid 2019.

    Still a lot of water to go under bridge.

  24. Morning all. Thank BK for today’s reading. Spot on about the reshuffle being trashed by the media.

    Turnbull can’t even assemble his front bench without stuffing it up!

  25. 😆

    Canberra is on the verge of a jobs boom after retiring Senator George Brandis announced he would take his $7,000 bookshelf with him to the High Commission in London.

    The Government has put out call for labourers, carpenters and engineers in what is expected to be one of the largest construction projects in the ACT next year.

    ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it would provide a huge boost for the local economy, although warned that Canberra may not have enough skilled labour to service the mega project. “We may need to look at a fly-in-fly-out model to attract labour from other states,” he said.

  26. A-E earlier
    I too loathe the militarisation of our police forces – RPGs next?
    I am sure the Israelis will be more than willing to sell us their public suppression techniques & equipment (if not already doing so of course)

  27. Aldiansyah Syamsudin, who uses the pseudonym Abu Assam Al Indonisiy, said he was a simple rice cook in Bogor, south of Jakarta, before travelling to Syria to join IS.

    There he was taught how to fire a machine gun and an AK-47, but Islamic State’s promises — that he would receive four wives, a car and a house — came to nothing.

    That’s the problem with IS. They over-promise and under-deliver.

  28. @ Victoria – get ‘mid 2019’ out of your head.

    Parliament must expire any time between 1 July 2018 and 12 March 2019.

    Turnbull will not go through another long campaign period. The last one nearly destroyed him when he was at the height of his honeymoon.

    The shortest time between expiry and lection is just over a month.

    So the next election will be any time between 4 August 2018 and 13 April 2019. So mid 2018 through early 2019.

    I also highly doubt they’ll run it so close and risk sabotaging the NSW state election (the only jurisdiction in which they have good odds of winning) by allowing NSW Labor to make the NSW election about Federal issues.

    More likely, we’re looking Aug/Sep 2018 or Feb 2019.

  29. Malcolm Farr tweets this

    farrm51: The Nats once were led by titans and skilled political managers.
    Then along came Barnaby.…

    So newscorp looks like its agreeing with Mr Coorey

  30. Of course, I am not gobsmacked by Hartcher’s adoration of Turnbull.
    And neither should anyone be here.

    I expect the CPG and MSM to do all they can to keep their boy in the job.
    To expect otherwise is simply delusional.

  31. Thanks you Mr. BK for the roundup, in particular the cartoons.

    Poor Santa has had his penalty rates cut and apart from being kind to both naughty and nice children, he has the added insult of balancing the truly horrible on his knee – and get a load of the queue.

    Fiona Katauskas with her last cartoon of the year – and it’s a good one.

    I remain clueless about posting photos but as with the current government we await hope to appear from Pandora’s box.

  32. Given the media ignoring the debt by the Government its time Labor started its own debt truck.

    Its a lame stunt but it seems it works to get media attention.

  33. srpeatling: Labor frontbencher Ed Husic (RIP his twitter presence) says the reshuffle should be called “The Sopranos Down Under – Akubras Got Whacked”.

  34. guytaur
    The media would ignore that too…or just allow Conman and Morriscum to beat up on Labor for raising the debt in the first place…same old same old…..

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