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. Stephanie Peatling‏ @srpeatling · 55m55 minutes ago

    Outgoing Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, press release on number of women on govt boards: “The government is leading the way by capitalising on the full potential of the workforce & putting the best possible people into leadership roles.” LOL, the irony.

  2. Andrew_Earlwood (AnonBlock)
    Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 – 8:13 am
    Comment #11

    Yes I have read about the variations of the MP5 – MP40 etc.

    I lump this militarisation in with the “keep em afeared boys and tell ’em how we are keepin’ ’em safe” theme (otherwise know locally as “bullshit”).

    Damn council terrorists have just about finished their concreting and I now await the new bus shelter to replace the one taken down last week. I do hope Santa will be good to the little oldies of the neighbourhood. 😎

  3. Surely it’s simply a matter of how many people feel under threat in their personal economic outlook at the time of the election. Obviously the idea that people will vote them out for trashing democracy or infringing human rights is naive.

    But Libs can’t seem to help smashing the little guy every time they get the opportunity so without a golden black swan such as a mining boom that has got to take a toll on their support

  4. ………and ’98 as well

    True. And Labor actually did win the 2PP, but no cigar.

    I think that there are lots of people about who think about voting Labor but when the time comes can’t bring themselves to do it. Maybe they identify strongly with middle class respectability. Maybe they have a strong distate for unions and others who identify on the left. So in the end, many of then end up voting against their interests.

    Labor needs to find a way to work on that perception, so that such people don’t swing back at the last moment.

  5. WorldOfMarkyD: Malcolm Turnbull is so “consistently supportive” of same-sex marriage

    he has today promoted David Littleproud.. among the only 4 MP’s who voted against marriage equality

    PM is a spineless hypocrite.. and a vindictive bastard

    #Reshuffle #AusPol

  6. Apparently some Host on Fox has been reporting that the FBI plotted to kill Trump before inauguration.

    Meanwhile, some tweets have given me a chuckle

    John Schindler
    John Schindler
    Remember when #TrumpCrazy was “Obama is a Kenyan Muslim” not “the FBI is our KGB that’s plotting to overthrow/assassinate me”?

  7. This is another good one

    John Schindler
    John Schindler
    Tonight on Hannity: How the FBI plot to assassinate President Trump was arranged by Hillary in a backroom pizza dungeon at Comet Ping Pong!
    9:13 AM · Dec 20, 2017

  8. guytaur

    Did you read the article I posted?

    It points out that the support of people like Zuckerberg should be a huge warning, given his company’s track record on workers’ rights.

  9. @ Victoria.

    The Libs have a complicated set of calculations to do, and I am lacking in the knowledge required to answer whether they will go early (before Vic) or late (between Christmas 2018 and NSW).

    Vic Libs have not too shabby chance in Vic, maybe 20% under PM Turnbull. Those odds would probably go up to maybe 33% under Opposition Leader J Bishop. They would probably drop to 1-10% under any of Opposition Leader Abbott, Dutton or ScoMo.

    Without knowing who is likely to replace Turnbull after the next election, I can’t begin to work out whether the Libs are likely to go before the Vic election or not.

    It’s also unsure how much they care about a small chance to rule Vic vs simply getting an extra 6 months as PM.

    Regardless, they will go before the NSW election. They are favorites in NSW, Abbott isn’t so poisonous there, and it’d only be holding on as PM for 2 extra months anyway. So they’ve got more to lose in NSW state and less to gain federally by keeping Turnbull

  10. Zoomster

    Did you read the article I posted in reply? It addresses that.

    Sorry about delay in posting the relevant bit you are worried about.

    The short answer is that Murray’s plan would do no such thing. Rather than eliminate poverty, it’s designed to eliminate the welfare state. Murray specifies that he would have a universal basic income replace all transfer spending. And when he says “all,” he means all. As laid out in the new 2016 edition of In Our Hands, Murray’s plan would eliminate:

    Social Security, both old age and disability
    Unemployment insurance
    Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare subsidies, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Indian health care
    All federal assistance to students, including veterans’ programs, Title I, and Pell Grants
    9/11 victim compensation (seriously, this is explicitly listed, despite raising a pittance)
    Food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers, the earned income tax credit, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families

    UBI is not a magic bullet that undoes the neoliberal Anne Rand style of economics.

  11. VE

    State Vic have fixed terms. So we go to polls in Nov 2018. Therefore campaign will be in full swing by September.
    It is going to be difficult for the Feds to go to an election around same time.

  12. From last thread …

    Libertarian Unionist @ #983 Tuesday, December 19th, 2017 – 11:11 pm

    Everyone inside the tent, and astute observers outside it, can see that the “exceptional circumstances” referred to are the Govt’s ham-fisted NEG proposal and its timelines.

    Yes, agreed. But those “inside the tent” – i.e. the current owners of generators and transmission infrastructure – are not necessarily interested in shutting down coal-fired generation any faster than they have to. And they certainly don’t want anyone “outside the tent” having any input at all.

    Oh, and just a couple of reminders from yesterday about why this is important:

    Coincidence? Yeah, right!

  13. I assume that – all things being equal (and in politics they never are) – that 53/47 2PP now will likely translate into 51/49 in an actual election. Therefore we can forget about seats like Bennelong and half a dozen WA seats that are allegedly in play.

    On a 51/49 National 2PP breakdown the election will be decided in seats like Forde, Flynn, Pitrie and Capricornia in Qld; Robertson, Banks, Reid and Gilmore in NSW, Chisholm and Dunkley in Victoria and probably only Hasluck and one other in WA. All of these are likely to prove difficult to shift from the LNP column to Labor. I also think that Batman and Melbourne Ports are gone for all money. Therefore Labor will need to pick up 8 out of the 12 I’ve listed above to form a majority Governemnt. In its favour is the ferocious grass roots campaign network it can deploy. Against Labor is the personal popularity of the local LNPs (at least that is a factor in most cases, but with the likes of Sudmalis … not so much).

    Obviously, if Truffles’ tin ear for politics continues to reek havoc Labor may likely keep its 53/47 lead and it’ll be all over red rover. But against that is a generally strengthening of the economy and an increased sense of optimism in the community – which the above Essential Poll has tapped into. That may be enough to save Truffles despite his own best efforts to sabotage his own Government. …

  14. jamesmassola: Getting angry at a journo because your political party lost a byelection is about as logical as getting angry at a journo because your footy team lost.
    daveyk317: Many Aussies are angry that Liberal Party MP’s get softly softly but Labor Party MP’s get nuclear attack from 99.999% of the media. How on Earth is Michaelia Cash still in office? Seriously? Protected by #MSMFail, that’s how.

  15. srpeatling: .@ash_gillon asks Nats senator John Williams why it’s ok to have geographical quotas but not gender quotas: “That’s a very difficult question for me to answer.”
    (Translation – I can’t/won’t.)

  16. michaelkoziol: On Sky, @ash_gillon suggests to Nationals senator John Williams it wasn’t a great year for the Nationals. “It hasn’t been the best, has it?” he concedes. #auspol

  17. TonyHWindsor: Joyce moves from Water before the scandal hits regarding his Ministerial work …similar to former NSW Water Minister Kevin Humphries decision to leave Parliament before theft allegations findings released .

  18. Next NSW election is due Saturday 23/3/2019. Easter 2019 is Sunday 21 April.

    If Malcom (or whoever) calls an election on Australia Day 2019 (a Saturday), or in the following couple of days, the election could not be held earlier than Saturday March 2, which seems a bit close.

    Maybe he could call the election earlier in January, to allow for a mid february election. After all, the Liberals would probably benefit if fewer people are paying attention.

  19. guytaur

    As the article you link to points out – because the author doesn’t really seem to think the UBI is as terrific as you imply he does – a UBI has the potential to leave people who need more than a basic income and who are not in a position to supplement it by working (the disabled, for example) worse off than they are now.

    …or you have to provide a sliding scale UBI, in which case part of the argument for it collapses, and we’re back to welfare payments adjusted according to individual circumstances.

    I have a feeling that the case for a UBI is more compelling in countries without the range of supporting payments and services that we have in Australia (and I speak as the mother of two University students, who seem to have no trouble living well on student allowances, or in finding affordable rental in Melbourne…)

  20. @davidwh – are you predicting a seperate half senate election? Or for Turnbull to simply declare a state of emergency and suspend democracy for a while?

  21. Zoomster

    He addresses that with his argument about Europe and its social security system. Many more generous than ours are.

    He is saying that initially it may be only partly implemented in these countries.

    For the record I disagree with him on the impact of automation. Many are underestimating the impact. Thsoe that work in technology are ringing alarm bells. Using Mark Zuckerberg as the bogey man because he is of the Anne Rand style economics does not negate the impact.

    The truth is those working in technology are not luddites. They know how many jobs will go.

    As I said before UBI is no magig bullet that will suddently stop the neo liberal push to end welfare entirely. The difference is that the right will be forced to admit the truth. That they want no welfare at all. Not even to those in disabilities getting the age pension or any safety net for those not working.

    We will get an honest argument over what type of society we want instead of the pretence we have now that the right cares about a “safety net”.

  22. workmanalice: According to a government-commissioned report by Ernst and Young, last year 64% of Work for the Dole risk assessments failed to fully comply with standard workplace health and safety procedures.

    workmanalice: The AUWU says Work for the Dole injuries have increased fivefold under the Coalition’s “jobactive” system.

    In 2015-2016 there were 500 injuries sustained, out of 106,000 participants in the Work for the Dole programs, including Josh’s death.

    workmanalice: One person who worked at the site where Josh died told the AUWU that when he expressed concern about driving a tractor, he was told by his supervisor that he would face a penalty if he did not do the work.

  23. zoomster

    Thats because you are thinking those arguing for UBI are saying its a magic bullet that will end neo liberal attacks on the concept of looking after all in society.

    Under neo liberalism we end up with a fuedal society. UBI does not stop neo liberalsim trying to do that.

  24. guytaur

    Someone booted from a high paying, stimulating tech job is not going to be mollified by being still receiving a UBI (which they were getting whilst they were on that high paying, stimulating tech job). Their boss might be happier about booting them if they can salve their consciences by reflecting that they won’t starve, however.

    We’ve had something like two centuries of warnings that advanced technology will throw the average worker on the scrap heap, so that’s a bit of a bogey man anyway.

    Your article basically concludes that a UBI might be beneficial in developing countries…and that basically, the competing agendas of those supporting a UBI will make it a non starter in developed ones.

    Basically, if we ignore the USA, the welfare systems of most developed countries make a UBI unnecessary.

  25. guytaur

    You seem to have decided what I’m thinking without me saying a word about it.

    I haven’t mentioned a word about magic bullets or undoing neoliberalism.

  26. zoomster

    NO the article does not do that.

    Read it again. Conentrate on what he says about Europe.

    He makes the point at the conclusion that yes rich developed countries (thats plural and does not only apply to the US) can afford to eliminate poverty through an UBI.

    He does not argue the job thing you argue because he takes it for granted that the human condition is to want to work.

    He argues for more leisure hours as referenced in his comments about Keynes.

  27. Wildcard election thoughts.

    Turnbull DD V2.

    I mean he does have a reverse Midas Touch and an inflated sense of self.

    Im like 90% joking….

  28. zoomster

    Then stop arguing as if supporting UBI means you are ignoring the bogeyman of the likes of Mark Zuckerberg supporting it.

    Thats like arguing against social secuirty because Malcolm Turnbull says he supports a safety net.

  29. Bill doesn’t need this. Libs will leap on it with glee.

    Bill Shorten is facing some stormy weather at home in Melbourne – not yesterday’s thunder and lightning, but a factional fight that has plunged his own branch into turmoil. The brawl is compounding internal difficulties for the opposition leader after the ALP’s loss in last weekend’s Bennelong byelection. A breakaway group of right- and leftwingers want to overturn a stability pact, agreed between the former rightwing parliamentary powerbroker Stephen Conroy and the veteran leftwinger Kim Carr, which has maintained factional harmony in the Victorian branch for several years. A number of Victorian Labor sources have expressed dismay at the outbreak of factional jostling, one characterising the recent developments as “pure madness”.

  30. These latest polls are great news for the Coalition. Instead of losing the next election to Labor in a massive landslide, they will just lose to Labor in a moderate landslide.

    Seriously, if this is the extent of the bounce the Coalition have been able to get from the events of the last few weeks, they should be very worried.

  31. zoomster –

    a UBI has the potential to leave people who need more than a basic income and who are not in a position to supplement it by working (the disabled, for example) worse off than they are now

    I’m yet to be convinced on UBI myself, but clearly UBI would be intended to replace the ‘living allowance’ that currently is covered by the dole, student allowance, old age pension, disability pension.

    Where there are additional needs above and beyond basic food, clothing, shelter, then that’s already supposed to be covered, eg, by the NDIS in the case of disability needs. So at the moment as I understand it you would have most severely disabled people receiving a disability pension because they cannot work (and that pension is only intended to be a wage substitute) and then the NDIS is supposed to cover the additional service requirements specific to the individual’s disability.

    So I would hope/imagine that a UBI would replace the disability pension, but that the NDIS would need to remain.

    Basically, if we ignore the USA, the welfare systems of most developed countries make a UBI unnecessary.

    30 years ago I might have agreed that our welfare system would make a UBI unnecessary. Things have changed massively in that time and now my perception is that being on welfare is to be under constant attack by the government and welfare bureaucracy, and whatever hare-brained crackdown, moralizing, dole-bludger-bashing penny-pinching false-economy by political operatives who seem to get no pushback (quite the opposite) from the electorate.

    Unemployment benefits are already inadequate (and have been for a decade) and look set to only get worse, accompanied by a psychologically damaging permanent state of assault from certain sections of the political establishment. It doesn’t look anything like a ‘safety net’ to me at all anymore.

  32. guytaur says:
    Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 9:40 am
    jamesmassola: Getting angry at a journo because your political party lost a byelection is about as logical as getting angry at a journo because your footy team lost.
    daveyk317: Many Aussies are angry that Liberal Party MP’s get softly softly but Labor Party MP’s get nuclear attack from 99.999% of the media. How on Earth is Michaelia Cash still in office? Seriously? Protected by #MSMFail, that’s how.

    That’s rich. Why does James think so much effort went into having a police raid publicised?

    Perception has a huge influence on the way people vote. Meanwhile, dodgy police raids wouldn’t get much coverage if the triviality of the investigation was the headline. I believe it was a civil matter with a potential fine of $2000 if proven. How much did the raid and everything else dedicated to it cost? Obviously James thinks pursuing such waste would amount to nothing more than barracking.

  33. Lizzie
    After the disaster of the Cabinet reshuffle showing the destabilisation of the NATs we have to have an ALP factional fight for balance.

  34. Asha Leu

    Always one ego at the root of trouble.

    The shift, Labor sources say, is being spearheaded by Adem Somyurek, who was a minister in the Andrews government before being dumped. Somyurek, according to internal accounts, is attempting to assert himself as the kingmaker in the Victorian right.

  35. The DT ‘s Labor – Unions:BOO! scare

    Sharri Markson‏Verified account @SharriMarkson
    3h3 hours ago
    BILL Shorten is working on a secret deal with the grubby CFMEU and the hard-core left to secure his leadership in return for giving the union spots in his federal Labor team when they come up.

    Nobody’s paying any attention to politics 4 days out from xmas.

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