Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor

Labor continues to dominate on voting intention, though few seem impressed by its stance on Adani.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll has Labor’s two-party lead at 54-46, up from 53-47 last time. Primary vote numbers will be with us later. Also featured are Essential’s monthly (I think) leadership ratings, and they find Malcolm Turnbull little changed at 41% approval (up two) and 41% disapproval (on one), but Bill Shorten improving to 37% approval (up four) and 44% disapproval (down two). Turnbull’s lead as preferred prime minister is 41-26, compared with 42-25 last time.

Other questions relate to Adani, on which 30% favour the Greens’ position, 26% favour the Coalition’s and 19% favour Labor’s, though it would be important to see the question wording on that one. Other findings related by The Guardian are that 42% support and 39% oppose company tax cuts; that regulating energy prices had 83% support, an “Accord-style partnership” 66% support and boosting Newstart 52% support; and that same-sex marriage is supported by 65% and opposed by 26%. Essential Research’s full report should be with us later in the day.

UPDATE: Full report here. Primary vote gains for the major parties at the expense of other/independent, with the Coalition up one to 36% and Labor up three to 38%, with the Greens down one to 9% and One Nation steady on 8%. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1025.

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.

2,546 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor”

  1. Richard W. Painter@RWPUSA
    1h1 hour ago
    Many in the House and Senate- including Democrats- say it is up to the voters of this country to decide if Trump is fit for office. They don’t want to be “bomb throwers” and try removing him. So he stays until January 2021? The Constitution says what they can do, but they won’t.

    Richard W. Painter@RWPUSA
    50m50 minutes ago
    Voters expect both of their senators and their representative to fight against abuse of power and tyranny in the White House. That’s a fight worth having. It’s not throwing bombs; it’s fighting for democracy.

  2. bemused @ #98 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 6:39 am

    rossmcg @ #95 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 10:36 am

    TPOF
    Bowen has said several times: Nobody will pay more tax because of this measure. Some people will be denied a cash payment that is in effect tax paid by someone else.

    But expect the Tories to run the “great big Labor tax theft” line. And with their media cheersquad in full cry.

    Any word from the dastardly Greens yet? Will they side with the Libs yet again?

    Could be seen as an attack on the “doctor’s wives”!! 🙂

  3. This from class warfare’s major practitioners – I give you ‘Union thugs’; constant attacks on welfare claimants.

    Turnbull’s criticism of the recent Big Union amalgamation was that it was a naked attempt to drive wages up.

    Ditto, presumably, for the ACTU’s coming “wages” campaign.

    Well… yes.

    It’s a measure of the man’s tin political ear that he believes drives to obtain higher wages – in a period of salary stagnation – would be unpopular measures.

    Similarly, the concentration on Shorten’s alleged dithering on Adani is the meta-issue of all meta issues. The government wants to generate an air of inevitability around Adani. It’s too late to stop it now, they say. Shorten is playing a wrecking game, they say (through mouthpieces like Murphy and Coorey).

    But what about the main issue? It’s pretty obvious that most punters want Adani stopped. They don’t want the landscape turned into a Martian crater. They quite like the Reef and don’t see why it should be trashed so an Indian company can avoid paying taxes on any unlikely income they may be unable to write off.

    In this context Shorten’s (once again, alleged) indecision is by-play. I doubt whether the Australian voting public will effectively vote FOR an Adani disaster simply because a gaggle of CPG insiders reckon Shorten’s state of mind is worth fucking up the environment and destroying the Reef (aided by taxpayer dollars to do so). Absent any proof of big numbers of jobs resulting from Adani, I don’t see why anyone would vote for it at all. Murphy’s “Murpfsplaining”, giggly pieces in the Guardian – at one point 6 in a row – about Shorten (while the actual government fell to pieces elsewhere) were pissin’ in the wind efforts.

    Nervous Nellie’s here worry about weekly polling re. personalities. Pffft! The main game is WAY elsewhere.

  4. Stories of pensioners huddled by a candle for warmth as they eat their last tin of cat food starting in 10,9,8,7…………………..

  5. Completely agree with Ratsak re the ALP position on Adani (9.34am).

    Just imagine the ‘sovereign risk’ rants from the Right and msm if Shorten said today that an ALP government would not honour any existing Government agreements re Adani.

  6. Paywalled but you get the drift…

    Election polling accuracy has not improved since the 1940s

    Being a pollster is an unenviable job. Most polling firms failed to predict the results of the last two UK general elections, the Brexit referendum and the most recent US presidential election, leading many to declare an industry-wide crisis. But despite these high-profile blunders, a new analysis says polling accuracy is actually the same as it has always been.

    Polling errors are no worse now than they were 75 years ago. In fact, they have barely changed at all. Across 30,000 national polls from 351 general elections in 45 countries, errors …

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2163461-election-polling-accuracy-has-not-improved-since-the-1940s/

  7. doyley says:
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 10:44 am
    The one certainty is the greens will jump up and down screaming and ranting that labor has stolen their policy !

    Cheers.

    The Crypto Tories will find a decoy position…one they can use to say Labor’s proposed reforms are not real reforms; that they do not go “far enough”. Their favourite line will be that Labor’s proposals – no matter what they are – are essentially the same neo-liberalism the Blue Tories run with.

    Whatever position Labor adopt, the Crypto Tories will always wave a pic of a sunnier, more delicious-and-nutritious looking pasture on their side of the valley.

  8. Boerwar @ #20 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 7:31 am

    In colloquial terms farmers know this as farming out of the bag.

    In colloquial terms the rest of us know this as ‘bullshit’.

    Your arguments might make some sense if Netherlands was a closed, zero-diversity ecology. But of course it is neither. The Netherlands is a flat, fertile, water-rich country ideally suited for agriculture, and for economic reasons it specializes in a small number of high-value food exports. It also imports a significant amount of food, so it is not self-sufficient. It is no coincidence that also has one of the poorest records for ecological degradation and biodiversity loss in Europe. Even the Netherland government now recognizes this is a problem.

    The particular problems of the Netherlands are discussed in this paper – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1573521413000183

    Sustainable development is then viewed as a dynamic and multidimensional ‘optimisation’ of ecological, economic and societal issues (triple-P: people, planet, prosperity). However, such an approach ignores that Dutch agriculture is not a closed or isolated system, but interconnected with and embedded in much larger global environmental systems by flows of energy and material. An ecological approach to sustainability highlights these interdependencies and recognizes that these flows are governed by physical ‘zero sum’ conservation laws, implying that global constraints ultimately limit flows at smaller scales. The focus of many sustainability assessments on efforts to reduce environmental impacts on regional or lower scales is therefore problematic, as these efforts will inevitably fail unless the global system is sustainable. This also implies that increasing resource use efficiencies can never be the single item on the sustainability agenda, since that does not guarantee that the carrying capacity of the earth’s system is not exceeded.

    Trying to turn the planet into a scaled up version of the Netherlands would be a recipe for ecological disaster.

  9. Sohar says:
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 10:47 am
    So despite the media campaign against Labor, Labor is up 3 and Greens down 1 on primaries.

    No doubt inadvertently, both branches of the Tory family have been campaigning for Labor.

  10. Vic says:
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 8:24 am

    …”It’s nice living in Australia’s most progressive state. I don’t know how I’d go living in Queeensland – my eyes would be eternally rolling in conversation”…


    Yes indeed.
    Each time I visit Melbourne, I am in a constant state of eyes rolled back in my head, stupified amazement at just how progressive everyone is.

  11. I see Murdoch thought leaders Miranda Devine and Chris Kenny are fast out of the blocks defending the cash back dividend imputation rort.

    Some of the stats about to drop on this rort for rich smarties will be mind boggling.

  12. Absence of Empathy

    Each time I visit Melbourne, I am in a constant state of eyes rolled back in my head,

    Being punched out by one of those ubiquitous “African gangs” will do that. 🙂

  13. Labor have run a series of forums for its members on the theme of equality. Invariably, tax equality is one of the issues identified by party members. There is no doubt that this is also an issue in the wider electorate. Labor have picked an issue that will resonate with voters….an issue that exemplifies Labor’s commitments to fairness and equality.

    The LNP will kick up a storm, but when they do so they will not be able to help accentuating Labor’s stand in favour of equality of treatment for all in the tax system. The LNP will end up campaigning for Labor.

  14. In fact, on more than one occasion, eyes fixated on the internal workings of my provincial brain rather than the oncoming traffic, I’ve almost walked straight out in front of one of those super-progressive, big city trams you urbane sophisticate’s insist on clogging the streets with.

  15. In the GG Scrott shouts

    Shorten’s tax grab is theft: Morrison

    But PvO seems Oi Oi Oi for the proposal.

    Just what Labor should do

    6:09AMPETER VAN ONSELEN
    Labor’s plans to axe cash refunds for dividend imputations credits fits within the ethos of the party, both modern and traditional.

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/peter-van-onselen/dividend-imputations-reform-is-exactly-what-labor-should-do/news-story/658fb14248030d11d99176d8a73627f1

  16. One group that will do very well out of the dividend imputation changes is the financial advice industry, as they restructure portfolios of SMSFs to focus more on economic fundamentals of investments rather than their tax treatment.

    One of the fundamental problems in this area is Howard’s removal of tax on super funds in the pension phase, which was always going to be problematic in the medium term and it’s this that largely enables the dividend imputation rort.

    This rort has been widely known for ages and I even used it myself by investing part of my retirement lump sum in my (non-taxable) wife’s name.

    Labor’s proposed changes partly address the situation but it’s going to take a long time for all of Howard’s follies to be washed out of the taxation system. He was truly one of our most destructive Prime Ministers in just about every sphere.

  17. The reason why these changes are a hard sell is that few people, other than those who benefit, know about how deep the rorts are for the well-off and wealthy.

    Consider this:

    A person over 60 who has retired from the workforce can put $25,000 into a self-managed super fund in a single financial year and claim a tax deduction for that $25k. However, the money is taxed in the super fund at 15% (which is $3,750).

    For someone whose taxable income is $52,000, that tax deduction is worth $8625. After taking out the 15% tax, there is a net benefit of $4,875. If you have a taxable income of $205,000 or over, there is a tax deduction of $11,750 and a net benefit of $8,000. Of course, you need to have $25k to start with, but if you are over 60 currently you can take that out of your super fund untaxed and then put it straight back in. And if you are still earning a lot or have a big income in one year because of a lump of capital gains tax you are doing really well.

    And for the same $25K the richest get more back than the middle income earner – just because they were already doing well enough to have a big taxable income.

    The trick is to use the super fund to pay the tax, rather than add to your personal income tax. Because super funds have ridiculous protections and low tax rates, especially for the over 60s.

    Which is where this imputation credit policy is raising the most squeals. If you have a self-managed super fund less than $1.6 million, you can get these credits because the fund is taxed separately and independently of your ordinary income.

    Money for jam – but only if you have the funds to kick it off. These are the people who are squealing like hell. They are bloody well off but are just using a small number of people who are not well off and who will be affected to cover their own greed.

    That money is the

  18. guytaur @ #72 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 9:03 am

    ZekeJMiller: ABOARD A U.S. GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT (AP) — Tillerson says ex-spy’s poisoning in UK ‘clearly came from Russia,’ vows it ‘will trigger a response’

    Nah, that’ll only hold until he gets his new marching orders from Trump. Which will be about 5 minutes after whenever Trump hears that story on Fox News.

  19. KayJay says:
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 11:12 am
    poroti @ #105 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 10:46 am

    Stories of pensioners huddled by a candle for warmth as they eat their last tin of cat food starting in 10,9,8,7…………………..
    Dammit ❗

    Down to my last candle ❗

    Practicing my huddle by the fitful glimmers from the streetlight at night ❗

    Can anybody spare some glowworms ❓

    LOL

    I’m out of glowworms, at least for the time being, ever since I gave up my cave and moved to the open plains. Will the faint twinkle of the stars above suffice? There is always your own enlightenment, KJ 🙂

  20. KayJay

    Practicing my huddle by the fitful glimmers from the streetlight at night ❗

    Enjoy their warmth while you can. They are moving to LEDs and so even that comfort will be taken from you.

  21. poroti says:
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 11:08 am

    …”Being punched out by one of those ubiquitous “African gangs” will do that. “…


    Fortunately, all us Queenslander folk is far to un-ed-u-macated to find our way to the outer suburbs.

  22. Just repeating: I’m one of those who lives off a modest amount of savings (some put into shares) who will be negatively impacted in a not insignificant way by these proposed changes, with no possible offset from income tax cuts or welfare increases.

    I know I can’t expect my peculiar circumstances to be strongly considered in changes to the rules around tax, but can we ditch this notion that this measure ‘targets’ – in any way – just wealthy investors and that it is just a ‘rort’.

    Not saying it shouldn’t happen, but as I said before the real problem is the actual wealthy who can minimize their taxable income … tackle that properly and any equity issue with the company tax refund goes away.

  23. Jackol

    You will be better off by the lifting of the medicare freeze on medicare. Plus changes on tax relief to low and middle income people. So your accountant can probably advise to changes needed. If you are not your own accountant.

  24. Jackol @ #131 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 11:27 am

    Just repeating: I’m one of those who lives off a modest amount of savings (some put into shares) who will be negatively impacted in a not insignificant way by these proposed changes, with no possible offset from income tax cuts or welfare increases.

    I know I can’t expect my peculiar circumstances to be strongly considered in changes to the rules around tax, but can we ditch this notion that this measure ‘targets’ – in any way – just wealthy investors and that it is just a ‘rort’.

    Not saying it shouldn’t happen, but as I said before the real problem is the actual wealthy who can minimize their taxable income … tackle that properly and any equity issue with the company tax refund goes away.

    Jackol

    The problem with any tax change or removal of a tax concession is that there is no way to do this without affecting people who do not deserve to be affected. We know this because those with the most to lose in real dollar terms and who can most afford to lose it wheel out people like you to suggest that you are typical, rather than atypical.

    If this change is not brought in, I would probably make more money than your total income just by directing my funds into an SMSF at no or very little risk. While I’m happy to take the money, especially if everyone better off than me is getting it, it does not stop it from being bad policy.

    I don’t know what you can do. The system is not designed with your interest in mind – it’s designed to look like it’s in your interest while giving many multiples of what you get to others much better off than you.

  25. ErykBagshaw: Chris Bowen says according to PBO costings the dividend imputation policy will affect 1 per cent of pensioners. That is equal to 20,000 Australians.#auspol

  26. Still no real movement in the polls – they’ve been there or there-abouts for at least 18 months now, and the numbers do seem somewhat cemented in place. It looks like most people have made their minds up. It’s always worth remembering that most normal people don’t live and die with the ebbs and flows of the political games in Canberra, and so much of what excites us here is probably not noticed by Mr & Mrs Suburbia.

    It’s great to see Labor getting out some more decent policy (this one has Bowen’s fingerprints all over it – he is shaping up to be the ideas man of the next government). Obviously, like any change, there will be winners and losers, but this is a hard thing to defend morally – those who aren’t paying tax in the first place shouldn’t be expecting a windfall. It’s not meant to be a welfare payment (is it?), and would largely benefit those with enough money to be able to take advantage of it.

    That they are bringing this out shows Labor’s increasing confidence about the next election – they are thinking less about the election itself and more about governing. The coming Labor government will face the same budgetary constraints as the last one, and it’s good that they are lining up a few revenue measures. Do this early, and then they can announce (more popular) spending measures closer to election day.

  27. Have any of you seen glow worms? I saw them in a cave off a Lake in NZ. Wonderful thing to do if you get the chance. Really beautiful.

  28. Jackol @ #131 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 11:27 am

    Just repeating: I’m one of those who lives off a modest amount of savings (some put into shares) who will be negatively impacted in a not insignificant way by these proposed changes, with no possible offset from income tax cuts or welfare increases.

    I know I can’t expect my peculiar circumstances to be strongly considered in changes to the rules around tax, but can we ditch this notion that this measure ‘targets’ – in any way – just wealthy investors and that it is just a ‘rort’.

    Not saying it shouldn’t happen, but as I said before the real problem is the actual wealthy who can minimize their taxable income … tackle that properly and any equity issue with the company tax refund goes away.

    I am saddened by your plight.
    You are obviously an intelligent person, is there no work you can undertake?

  29. YaThinkN: According to @SkyNewsAust “Bill Shorten has ramped up his attacks on the rich…”

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if we saw some balance when pensions, welfare attacked? Why do we never see:

    “The Government has ramped up their attacks on the poor…”

    #FourthEstateInformingPublicMyArse

  30. I thank everybody for the response to the glowworms piece of silliness.

    Sadly, the diminishing magnificence of Mr. Turnbull appears lno onger enough to sustain me through the long, cold, winter nights.

    My dreams of the wonderful, cuddly, gorgeous, 85 year old lady (the one who loves housework, handy with gutter cleaning off a ladder, is thrilled at the thought of house painting and maintenance) will have to suffice.

    I go now to a far better place – out to fill the green waste bin with clippings and cut branches.

    Au revoir.

    I watched Mr. Shorten on ABC24 and really do not understand why Labor is not ahead 60/40. ☮

  31. Diog

    There is an underground river on Mt Buffalo – if you are lucky you can find a local who knows the way through. Lots of glowworms!

  32. Jackol

    On your argument for some equity in changes, i previously mentioned Labor will be also limiting tax deductions for managing tax affairs to $3000.

  33. but this is a hard thing to defend morally – those who aren’t paying tax in the first place shouldn’t be expecting a windfall

    You clearly don’t understand how dividend imputation works.

    Tax has been paid by the company at a certain rate. Dividend imputation – designed to avoid paying tax twice – effectively ‘converts’ the income from being assessable as company income and paying company tax to being personal income on which personal income tax is paid. If no (or little) personal income tax is liable, then the individual gets the difference.

    The ALP aren’t proposing to scrap dividend imputation, of course, so if you earn enough to pay a substantial amount of income tax the dividend imputation will still apply at full value because you get to pay less tax.

    It’s just people, like me, who don’t earn very much (or yes, those who are wealthy enough to fudge their taxable income down to zip) who get a refund at the moment – and, as I said, if you stop the wealthy from being able to do that then you automatically fix any equity issues with the company tax refund.

    So the proposal – from my personal perspective – means that someone earning more than me gets the full value of dividend imputation – whereas I will be excluded from this mechanism because I don’t earn enough to be taxed. That’s basically transferring the 30% company tax rate on that income from shares to me, earning less than $18k a year.

  34. Diogenes @ #140 Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 – 7:39 am

    Have any of you seen glow worms? I saw them in a cave off a Lake in NZ. Wonderful thing to do if you get the chance. Really beautiful.

    I had the amazing experience of seeing “spot light” fish when doing a night dive in the Solomon’s years ago.

    They swim around in large schools and it’s just like looking up at the sky on a clear night.

    The schools even look like galaxies! 🙂

  35. Scott Morrison has accused Bill Shorten of wanting to “steal” money from pensioners and retirees who invest in the stock market, declaring Labor keeps “jacking taxes up” because the party cannot control its spending.

    The Treasurer attacked Labor’s policy of axing cash payments for franking credits by calling it a “brutal and cruel blow” for retirees and pensioners. He said the policy would force pensioners to keep their money in the bank in a low interest rate environment rather than encouraging them to earn more money in the share market.

    He said the dividend imputation system was designed so shareholders did not pay tax twice: through their dividend earnings and on the tax of the companies they have a stake in. “(Labor) are not dealing with loopholes here, what they’re doing is creating them,” Mr Morrison said.

  36. So savings from this policy announcement will go to income tax relief ?

    Why not further funding increases to services ?

    This Lib-Lab messaging that ‘taxes are bad’ is damaging and wrong.

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