BludgerTrack: 53.5-46.5 to Labor

Some slightly better numbers for the Coalition improve their position in the final BludgerTrack reading for the year, although they remain fatally weak in Queensland.

With last week’s results from Newspoll and Essential Research added to the mix, the BludgerTrack poll aggregate records a solid shift back to the Coalition after a recent Labor blowout, converting into a 0.6% increase on two-party preferred and four on the seat projection. The Coalition is up even more on the primary vote, although this is basically at the expense of One Nation (see the sidebar for full results). Furthermore, The Australian published the Newspoll quarterly state breakdowns for October to December this week, which is the last polling data we will get until well into January, and this too has been added to the mix.

I’ve been noting in recent weeks that BludgerTrack’s readings for Western Australia and especially Queensland were looking off beam, and anticipated that the long-awaited addition of Newspoll data would ameliorate this. However, the Newspoll result backed up the picture of a huge swing to Labor in Queensland, of 9%, resulting in a two-party lead of 55-45. Labor’s lead in Queensland has nonetheless narrowed in BludgerTrack this week, reducing their projected seat gain from an entirely implausible 16 seats to a still rather unlikely 11, but this is as much to do with more normal-looking numbers from Essential over the past two weeks than Newspoll.

A very likely problem here is that both Newspoll and BludgerTrack are assuming preferences will behave as they did in 2016, which means a roughly even split of preferences from One Nation. The Queensland state election result suggests the support One Nation has built since comes largely from former Coalition voters, resulting in a stronger flow of preferences to them – of about 65%, in the case of the state election. In the new year, I will begin calculating preferences by splitting the difference between 2016 election flows and a trend measure of respondent-allocated preferences (which have been leaning too far the other way). This will result in more conservative readings of Labor’s two-party support.

In addition to the five seat shift to the Coalition in Queensland, BludgerTrack has the Coalition up a seat in New South Wales – but down two in Western Australia, where the Newspoll numbers (again with some help from a more normal-looking result from Essential Research) have taken the wind out of an outlier result from the state in the Ipsos poll a fortnight ago.

The leadership rating trends have been updated with the latest Newspoll results, producing a slight drop in both leaders’ net approval ratings. However, this too suffers a deficiency to which I will make an overdue correction in the new year, namely that no account is made for the idiosyncrasies of particular pollsters – such as lower approval and higher disapproval ratings from Newspoll, and lower uncommitted ratings from Ipsos. This means changes from week to week often reflect the specific pollsters that have published results, as much as meaningful change in the numbers.

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.

3,297 comments on “BludgerTrack: 53.5-46.5 to Labor”

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  1. ‘Dossier is bogus’: Trump goes off the rails in ridiculous new attack on ‘tainted’ FBI and ‘crooked Hillary’

    President Donald Trump continued his assault on his chief law enforcement agency on Monday by calling the FBI “tainted” because it has reportedly included a salacious dossier about the president in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

    Even though experts warned that Trump was placing himself in danger of being accused of obstruction of justice, the president continued blasting the FBI in a unhinged Tuesday morning tweet directed at his favorite morning show Fox & Friends.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/dossier-is-bogus-trump-goes-off-the-rails-in-ridiculous-attack-on-tainted-fbi-and-crooked-hillary/

  2. ‘I miss Michelle’: Melania Trump ripped after sharing Christmas selfie in the Santa hat filter

    First lady Melania Trump shared a playful and festive selfie on Twitter Monday morning, which showed her posing beneath a Santa hat filter, golden reindeer and with the caption “#MerryChristmas.”

    After sharing the Christmas selfie on social media, she did not receive the best responses from Twitter users all around the world. Melania captioned the photo “Merry Christmas,” and was seen using a Santa filter in the photo. However, the use of heavy-filters by the first lady on her face was not quite appreciated by the users and they were not in any mood to forgive Melania for her actions.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/i-miss-michelle-melania-trump-ripped-after-sharing-christmas-selfie-in-the-santa-hat-filter/

  3. Trump ‘blamed Sessions’ for loss of Alabama Senate seat because he quit to be attorney general: report

    President Donald Trump’s difficult relationship with former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) reportedly became more strained after Republicans lost the Senate seat that he vacated to accept the job of U.S. Attorney General for the Trump administration.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/12/trump-blamed-sessions-for-loss-of-alabama-senate-seat-because-he-quit-to-be-attorney-general-report/

  4. Less than a month after Tesla unveiled a new backup power system in South Australia, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery is already being put to the test. And it appears to be far exceeding expectations: In the past three weeks alone, the Hornsdale Power Reserve has smoothed out at least two major energy outages, responding even more quickly than the coal-fired backups that were supposed to provide emergency power.

    Tesla’s battery last week kicked in just 0.14 seconds after one of Australia’s biggest plants, the Loy Yang facility in the neighboring state of Victoria, suffered a sudden, unexplained drop in output, according to the International Business Times. And the week before that, another failure at Loy Yang prompted the Hornsdale battery to respond in as little as four seconds — or less, according to some estimates — beating other plants to the punch. State officials have called the response time “a record,” according to local media.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/12/26/teslas-enormous-battery-in-australia-just-weeks-old-is-already-responding-to-outages-in-record-time/?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.b0fae9449219

  5. Imacca ‘The Libs now have a policy that only $1.6M or so ??’

    From July the first, 2017 any account pension fund can START with a maximum balance of $1.6m.

    As account pension account you must draw down a pension. The amount you draw down starts at 4% of the account value if you are between 60-64 years of age. After which the percentage increases in increments as you pass various age points.

    The account pension account does not pay tax on earnings.

    Suppose your account is in a high risk-high return investment, the return to your account can be higher than the 4% you take out. For example some funds were returning more than 17% last financial year.

    Because the income is higher than your pension, your account balance can go higher than the $1.6m it started with. No adjustment of the balance back to $1.6m is required and can steadily go higher.

  6. Re the Jobs guarantee/USB and indeed Keynsian arguments there should be no need to argue about them a they could all work together in complete harmony as part of a comprehensive package.

    Here is my still being developed comprehensive package:
    1. Yes there should be a basic UBI, set somewhere at newstart levels but combined with a much more progressive tax system such that those earning more than 10 times the median wage would essentially get no more than 5c in the dollar of any such UBI. This progressive tax rate would be set to achieve revenue/cost neutrality in providing the UBI

    2. Every employee of Australian citizens or Permanent resident would be entitled to a wage subsidy of roughly 25% of the Newstart allowance for every employee paid full time (or pro-rata). This would stop (or slow down) the off shoring of jobs wherever wages was the dominant factor. Very, very severe penalties would apply for anyone rorting the system, including repayment of wages, a fine of triple the amount underpaid or stolen AND mandatory jail time for EVERY director unless they could demonstrate efforts to prevent the rort – eg by board resolution or whistle blowing. It is probable that the extra tax revenue from on-shore jobs would comfortably pay for this expense. (a $50,000 pa job will generate almost $10,000 in tax revenue, way more than 25% of Newstart.

    3. There should be a sensible Infrastructure program which would be set at standard levels but designed to immediately ramp up the moment unemployment reaches high levels or where there are negative economic indicators. So in addition to the usual programs funded from government coffers there would be already identified major infrastructure projects on the back burner but essentially shovel ready and start up funding would be ready to go in true Keynesian fashion.

    4. There should be a comprehensive Job Guarantee program targeting in particular the more marginalised sector of the community – those for whom finding jobs in the mainstream economy is difficult. A job should be found for every person who wants one (perhaps following three of six months of unemployment). Ideally these jobs would be ones which are labor intensive but which do not impede on works normally carried out in the private sector. Examples of the types of jobs include:

    a. weed clearing and tree planting (yes this is a tried and true idea), (target group the young fit possibly low skilled workers)

    b. Domestic services for the aged or disabled that are NOT currently provided by the private sector or which are beyond the financial reach of most. Ironing and laundry services are some such along with home maintenance and just general emotional and support eg shopping trips or companionship. Target groups the older unemployed, women returning to the workforce, single mothers

    c. Administrative assistance in government offices and NFP. There is always lots of this to do. Target groups – older workers, recently retrenched white collar workers, young people with high school or University qualifications not yet employed.

    d. Sheltered or special workplaces – target groups those with disabilities. There should be places not just for the physically or intellectually disables such as currently exist, but places set up which would cater for those with mental illness that do not fit easily with routines. Attendance could be more sporadic and work on an accumulated hours system. Those with severe depression for example would not lose their job because of a two week bout of depression but may be expected to catch up at some time. Obviously the type of work would need to be flexible but crafts of different kinds could well be handled in this way.

    e. Arts support programs for musicians, artists actors and writers that could tour regions or schools or aged care facilities. When the economy is booming they may all find jobs in theatres or galleries but in economic downturn lets make them useful in the regions.

    f. I am sure there are plenty of other work types that could be identified – urban beautification programs, road maintenance, social supports etc

    In other words you have a UBI that ensures everyone can eat and have shelter even those too lazy or emotionally damaged to want to work, a keynsian infrastructure program that ramps up on an as needs basis that picks up all those with skills to ensure the economy keeps ticking over, a job promotion program in the private sector AND a jobs guarantee to ensure jobs are available for those who have difficulty finding a place in the modern economy.

  7. Bemused, D&M and others

    Re the Jobs guarantee/USB and indeed Keynsian arguments there should be no need to argue about them a they could all work together in complete harmony as part of a comprehensive package.

    Here is my still being developed comprehensive package:
    1. Yes there should be a basic UBI, set somewhere at newstart levels but combined with a much more progressive tax system such that those earning more than 10 times the median wage would essentially get no more than 5c in the dollar of any such UBI. This progressive tax rate would be set to achieve revenue/cost neutrality in providing the UBI

    2. Every employee of Australian citizens or Permanent resident would be entitled to a wage subsidy of roughly 25% of the Newstart allowance for every employee paid full time (or pro-rata). This would stop (or slow down) the off shoring of jobs wherever wages was the dominant factor. Very, very severe penalties would apply for anyone rorting the system, including repayment of wages, a fine of triple the amount underpaid or stolen AND mandatory jail time for EVERY director unless they could demonstrate efforts to prevent the rort – eg by board resolution or whistle blowing. It is probable that the extra tax revenue from on-shore jobs would comfortably pay for this expense. (a $50,000 pa job will generate almost $10,000 in tax revenue, way more than 25% of Newstart.

    3. There should be a sensible Infrastructure program which would be set at standard levels but designed to immediately ramp up the moment unemployment reaches high levels or where there are negative economic indicators. So in addition to the usual programs funded from government coffers there would be already identified major infrastructure projects on the back burner but essentially shovel ready and start up funding would be ready to go in true Keynesian fashion.

    4. There should be a comprehensive Job Guarantee program targeting in particular the more marginalised sector of the community – those for whom finding jobs in the mainstream economy is difficult. A job should be found for every person who wants one (perhaps following three of six months of unemployment). Ideally these jobs would be ones which are labor intensive but which do not impede on works normally carried out in the private sector. Examples of the types of jobs include:

    a. weed clearing and tree planting (yes this is a tried and true idea), (target group the young fit possibly low skilled workers)

    b. Domestic services for the aged or disabled that are NOT currently provided by the private sector or which are beyond the financial reach of most. Ironing and laundry services are some such along with home maintenance and just general emotional and support eg shopping trips or companionship. Target groups the older unemployed, women returning to the workforce, single mothers

    c. Administrative assistance in government offices and NFP. There is always lots of this to do. Target groups – older workers, recently retrenched white collar workers, young people with high school or University qualifications not yet employed.

    d. Sheltered or special workplaces – target groups those with disabilities. There should be places not just for the physically or intellectually disables such as currently exist, but places set up which would cater for those with mental illness that do not fit easily with routines. Attendance could be more sporadic and work on an accumulated hours system. Those with severe depression for example would not lose their job because of a two week bout of depression but may be expected to catch up at some time. Obviously the type of work would need to be flexible but crafts of different kinds could well be handled in this way.

    e. Arts support programs for musicians, artists actors and writers that could tour regions or schools or aged care facilities. When the economy is booming they may all find jobs in theatres or galleries but in economic downturn lets make them useful in the regions.

    f. I am sure there are plenty of other work types that could be identified – urban beautification programs, road maintenance, social supports etc

    In other words you have a UBI that ensures everyone can eat and have shelter even those too lazy or emotionally damaged to want to work, a keynsian infrastructure program that ramps up on an as needs basis that picks up all those with skills to ensure the economy keeps ticking over, a job promotion program in the private sector AND a jobs guarantee to ensure jobs are available for those who have difficulty finding a place in the modern economy.

  8. DTT

    You don’t get what a UBI is about.

    A basic income (also called basic income guarantee, citizen’s income, unconditional basic income, universal basic income (UBI), or universal demogrant) is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, independent of any other income.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income

    Thats the basic concept.

  9. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Michael Koziol tells us that the Turnbull government has been slammed for ignoring a major legal report for more than two years, while continuing to enact laws that erode fundamental rights.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/ongoing-erosion-of-legal-rights-government-slammed-for-ignoring-key-report-for-two-years-20171225-h0a2xp.html
    Laura Tingle looks at what the major political parties need to do in 2018. Google.
    /opinion/columnists/laura-tingle/2018-let-it-be-the-year-politicians-focus-on-people-who-actually-care-20171225-h0a2zl
    The Greens will use Phillip Ruddock’s review of religious freedoms to build momentum for an Australian bill of rights and with Labor’s support it could be put before a Senate inquiry as early as next year. This would serve the RWNJs right!
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/samesex-marriage-sparks-push-for-australian-bill-of-rights-20171226-h0a4yx.html
    Unions will launch a national campaign to restrict rising casual employment across the workforce. Google.
    /national-affairs/industrial-relations/showdown-over-casual-workforce-as-unions-bosses-clash/news-story/237afa4e0786d81876974437fe859ed8
    On the Grenfell Tower fire this Labour MP says that to most people it means putting those responsible for the horror in the dock in the Old Bailey, on trial for gross negligence manslaughter. Anything short of that will be a whitewash.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/26/grenfell-tower-fire-david-lammy
    You can’t keep the Mehajers and Ibrahims out of the news!
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/salim-mehajers-sister-sanaa-set-to-wed-ibrahim-cousin-and-convicted-killer-mouhamed-tajjour-20171226-h0a83j.html
    Michael West says that if it were to ever proceed, Adani’s massive Carmichael coal project would be a white elephant of the highest order. Why build a new thermal coal mine, and subsidise it with taxpayers’ money, when renewable energy is half the price?
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/adani-stranded-as-wind-tenders-make-another-record/
    Inside the AEMO “War Room”. Google.
    /news/ameos-virtual-war-room-is-the-nems-frontline-and-flank-20171220-h07xpi
    How Amazon and other internet sellers will be transforming the industrial and distribution landscape.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/industrial-property-enters-boomtime-20171217-p4yxsa.html
    Ross Gittins urges us to spend more time in national parks.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/keep-calm-reasons-to-head-for-the-park-not-the-beach-20171223-h09pzg.html
    Nicholas Stuart reckons it’s time for us to have a good look at ourselves.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/lets-make-2018-about-improving-our-society-politics-and-business-20171226-h0a65z.html
    This experienced paediatrician has a good crack at the plethora of parenting “experts”.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/time-to-throw-down-the-gauntlet-on-the-dark-side-of-parenting-20171220-h07t13.html
    Eryk Bagshaw unpacks the retail sales figures for the year end.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/the-truth-behind-another-boxing-day-sales-record-20171226-h0a3qk.html

    Cartoon Corner

    Cathy Wilcox on the Trump golf course.

    John Shakespeare has a go at Turnbull’s now famous shirt.

    Paul Zanetti and more banking complaints.

    Matt Golding’s trio of contributions.


  10. Guytur
    Yes I do yet it. I suggested it be at newstart Levels. You can argue about the level of the grant but not what it is. I guess you are also suggesting it not be taxed. I could be persuaded on both those issues possibly but you need to start somewhere and the cost will always be an issue.

    Wow Don. Was what I wrote a little too complex? Why should I respect or give the time of day to anyone who responds to my post in such a childish, mean minded and frankly stupid way. What I wrote was in no way offensive, nor inconsistent with any ALP policy, even the dreams of the NSW uber right. It was not Greens policy nor indeed anyone’s policy and was an attempt to weld together the reasonable suggestions of Guytaur, Bill Mitchell (via D&M) and also Bemused’d Keynesian dream.

    Sure bring back basket weaving if that keeps people off the streets, drugs etc. If you had bothered to read what I wrote (can you read?) you would have seen that the “basket weaving” was targeting a narrow group of the long term unemployed who have mental illnesses that make holding down a job with set routines very difficult. You know Deary there ARE many such people. They may suffer depression, schizophrenia, substance use addiction etc. I was merely suggesting that there be a Job Guarantee program which is designed to allow them to be productive members of society while recognising their specific disability. Too complex for you?

  11. DTT

    No you don’t get it. Read the definition. UBI means minimum is above the poverty line. Newstart is way below the poverty line.

    Unconditional means you cannot rort it.

  12. Porter defends bad legislation with b.s. ‘Striking the right balance’ by conservatives is always an excuse.

    Through a spokesman, Mr Porter did not promise a response to the report, but said he would pay “close attention to it amongst his many incoming briefs” and was committed to striking the right balance between legal rights and “the modern operation of Australian governments”.

    Let’s throw some more money away to no purpose.

    Crucially, the ALRC report shelved by the government two years ago found there was almost no cause for concern when it comes to freedom of religion in Australia. There were “very few, if any” federal laws that interfered with religious freedom, the review found – including anti-discrimination laws.

    That is significant because the Turnbull government last month asked Howard-era attorney-general Philip Ruddock to again examine whether Australian laws adequately protect religious freedom – at a cost of $1 million.

    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/ongoing-erosion-of-legal-rights-government-slammed-for-ignoring-key-report-for-two-years-20171225-h0a2xp.html

  13. DTT

    As for cost. Its simple you pay for it by taxing export income. That way as long as the country is a net exporter it pays for itself.

    If we as a country are not a net exporting income country we are becoming a banana republic anyway. Might as well look after the poor who might come up with the idea that creates the net export industry.

  14. Guytaur

    Stop nit picking.

    Obviously Newstart needs to be set at a standard that allows people to live. let us not argue that point in a discussion of the UBI. it distracts from the main idea.

    Now where you and i will disagree is probably over the generosity of the UBI. Now I am not fully on board with a very generous UBI since I think it would encourage people to not work and psychologically this is destructive. People DO need involvement in society and for 90% it is via work. of course there will be many who get their self esteem by reading and volunteering etc and not via work, but they are I think the minority.

    Of course since housing is the highest cost for most I am in favour of more public housing, such that every person has a roof over their heads. The UBI could be set to cover food and basic necessities while housing is supplied by another mechanism.

  15. guytaur @ #23 Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 – 4:06 am

    I thing this means Labor is likely to win the reasonable steps cases. Mr Gleeson did well for Mr Windsor.

    ACT senator to be represented by former solicitor general Justin Gleeson in hearing that could lead to a rash of byelections in marginal Labor seats

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/27/citizenship-case-labor-enlists-legal-firepower-in-bid-to-save-katy-gallagher?CMP=soc_568

    That’s a very big statement.

    I think the best it says is that Gleeson thinks the concept has merit and he thinks he can make an argument in the HC that sits consistent with previous rulings and provides the necessary clarity required of a workable test.

  16. DTT

    It not nitpicking. Being above the poverty line is part of the definition of what UBI is.

    You can argue about what the poverty line should be. Thats not an argument about what the UBI is.

    Also as soon as you start to say disability should get different “because” you are putting conditions on it. UBI is unconditional income

  17. Big D

    I said likely. I did not way would win. I used one word to base my judgement on the expertise of Mr Gleeson and his opinion of merit.

    His record speaks for itself. He has lost less than he has won. So to say likely to win is not that big a call. Its not saying the High Court shall so hold.

  18. Still happy with the overall trend.

    Naturally Scott Morrison would never be caught exaggerating economic figures – only Labor treasurers do that, according to the Courier Mail:
    Trad won’t be hauled over coals

    Royalties THE Palaszczuk Government has defended Treasurer Jackie Trad’s first major economic announcement after claims she has seriously underestimated figures deliberately, with hundreds of millions of dollars difference between her figures and those of analysts.

  19. Guytaur

    I did not say disability should get anything different. I totally agree with a Universal Basic Income. All we may differ on is what is the poverty line and maybe if it is taxed or not. Very minor differences which do not justify an argument

  20. JohnCleese: Dear Twits
    I wish you all a Happy Christ’s Birthday Anniversary, regardless of your culture, class, religious orientation, sexual preference, or race, provided only that you don’t vote next year for the delusional five-year-old currently destroying everything I love about the USA

  21. Ideally these jobs would be ones which are labor intensive but which do not impede on works normally carried out in the private sector. Examples of the types of jobs include:

    a. weed clearing and tree planting (yes this is a tried and true idea), (target group the young fit low skilled workers)

    The private sector is not particularly active in the environment sector, so no fear of competition there.
    Instead of just “weed clearing and tree planting”, we need to develop science-based, large-scale environmental planning and management programs. Expansion of existing Land Care and Ranger programs would be just a starting point.
    I wouldn’t let the private sector within cooee of these programs, (look what they did to TAFE), except, perhaps, as carefully managed sub-contractors where specific expertise or equipment is required.
    As part of this push, expand and broaden TAFE courses in environmental management.

  22. morning all

    Thanks BK. Phoenix and Ors for today’s offerings.

    Trump is obviously doing is darn best to keep the barking dogs at bay,

    Good luck with that I say!

  23. And I am not surprised about Prince Harry wanting the Obamas at his wedding. He wants them there because they are firm friends and also Harry and others know that Trump is a person non gratis. Not because he conducts himself deliberately as a 5 year old, but because they know that he is not a trustworthy ally. What better way then sending this message by having the Obamas at his wedding and not the Trumps.
    But of course, the ultimate decision will be out of Harry’s hands.

  24. Oh Katharine , you’ve done it again.

    The year in Australian politics As Coalition struggles, Labor fears it has peaked in polls
    Katharine Murphy

    ………………Some in Labor think they are now tracking in Mark Latham territory rather than Kevin Rudd territory. Latham put up a good fight against John Howard in the 2004 election – he made Australian voters look up and take notice – but, in the end, the voters said no.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/dec/27/the-year-in-australian-politics-coalition-struggles-but-labor-fears-it-has-peaked-in-polls

  25. WE can’t get too complacent about the polls. Labor is right to be cautious. It will need to work to maintain and hopefully increase its lead. In particular, they will need to counter the Coalition’s seven point plan to come back, one which has served them well in the past:

    1. Lie, with the active help or acquiescence of most of the media
    2. Sow fear, confusion and doubt
    3. Divide the community with a view to taking the bigger half
    4. Distract (with the help of media allies)
    5. Bribe targeted voters / electorates
    6. Smear (with the help of media allies)
    7. Dog-whistle

  26. booleanbach @ #48 Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 – 9:47 am

    GG – loved the “skillfully combined with a number of other ingredients” !

    Not so long ago such ingredients were used in over the counter medicines.
    I recall an excellent and effective for stomach ache called Chlorodyne which included chloroform and morphine in its ingredients. Just a few drops in a medicine glass with some water fixed things in no time fast. Alas, long gone.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorodyne

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