Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor

Another turn of the polling screw against the Coalition, as formerly uncommitted respondents increasingly offer a negative view of the Prime Minister.

The fortnightly Essential poll — now appearing in Newspoll off weeks, praise be — follows Newspoll in recording Labor’s lead at 54-46, out from 53-47. Monthly personal ratings are better for Scott Morrison than Newspoll in that he remains in net positive territory, but the formerly undecided are breaking heavily against him, with his approval down two to 41% and disapproval up nine to 37%. Bill Shorten maintains his recent improving form, up five on approval to 38% and down one on disapproval to 44% – his second best result from the pollster in the past two years. However, the shift on preferred prime minister is relatively modest, with Morrison’s lead down from 42-27 to 41-29.

Other findings: 44% support Australia becoming a republic in principle, down four since May, with 32% opposed; 61% have a favourable view of Queen Elizabeth, 68% of Prince William, 70% of Prince Harry but only 33% of Prince Charles. The Guardian report is here; the full report from Essential Research, including primary votes, will be with us later today. The poll was conducted Thursday to Sunday from a sample of 1028.

UPDATE: Full report from Essential Research here, and the primary vote shifts are on the high end from what you’d expect out of a one-point shift on two-party preferred: the Coalition is down two to 36%, and Labor up two to 39%, the Greens are steady on 10% and One Nation are down one to 6%.

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.

1,958 comments on “Essential Research: 54-46 to Labor”

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  1. Michael A

    Too late, it’s already a thing —

    ‘While a May election remains the most likely scenario in the government discussions, some MPs are open to the idea of holding a Senate election early in the year while going to a separate election for the House of Representatives several months later.’

  2. About half a dozen staffers usually accompany the Prime Minister on a trip, including two spinners, a policy adviser, executive officer and security.

    At least three of those staffers would seem to be extraneous to requirements. ScoMo shows no evidence of policy and repeats the same spin every day.

    Perhaps their job is simply to rehearse him every morning in case he goes off piste and says something meaningful by mistake.

  3. Separate house and senate elections is a terrible idea for this government. Based on this, I believe it is the only course of action that will make sense to them.

    Would those 6 months then mean Labor are, in effect, “persuaded” to go early at the next election in order to join the half Senate and house elections back together?

    The libs may think that they are in with a chance to make Shorten a one term prime minister and want to limit his time there.

  4. (from previous thread)

    Labor should be looking to opportunities to end this farce at the earliest possible date. Another year in office for this Government will see more Howard-Costello style “starve the beast” attacks on the Budget, with irresponsible and unaffordable tax cuts, middle class welfare and corporate welfare.

  5. So we have a Senate election in May. The Senators take their seats 1/7/2019. Meanwhile, the terms of the long term Senators elected in 2016 expire 30/6/2022. The House election takes place the following November. To avoid another separate Senate election, whoever wins then has to call the next election by May 2022, so are limited to a 2.5 year term.

  6. “Yeah down at Broadbeach, on the beach, just here wearing my beachwear. Love the…sand…and water? Other things that are involved in visiting a beach, which I love to do.”


  7. The Morrison government’s own threatened species experts say Australia is failing in its plan to save wildlife from extinction and the crisis is damaging the nation’s reputation overseas.

    It comes as environment officials pull plans for an international unveiling of the government’s widely panned threatened species strategy, after critics derided it as a “global embarrassment” which “reads like a Year 10 school assignment”.

    Australia has the world’s worst record of mammal extinction – about one in 10 have disappeared since European settlement. Almost 500 animals and 1300 plants are officially deemed threatened.

  8. Those with a more than passing interest in the culture wars, #metoo and ‘whither old white males?’ might have a interest in the link below:

    When we arrived here 31 years ago there was a lot of divorcing, separating, women partnering women, women’s groups, and women forming witch’s circles with accompanying rites out in the bush.

    Now some men are heading bush for male circles:

  9. Have just put $10 each way on No 24 Rostropovich in the Cup.

    “Young Irish stayer who finished runner-up behind Latrobe in the G1 Irish Derby. Untried over 3200m but he has class on his side and won’t be lacking for fitness. Could give some cheek”

  10. Steve777
    So we have a Senate election in May…

    If the government were to separate out the elections, there would be no reason why the half-Senate election need be May. They may decide to hold it quite early, so as to maximise potential time before the House election – perhaps get it out of the way before the NSW election campaigning really gets going (though a half-Senate election campaign in summer with the Greens as contenders would be courageous in a Sir Humphrey Appleby sort of way)

  11. Good Morning Bludgers 🙂

    Phew! The peeps in voterland not being persuaded by Scott’s schmaltz. 🙂

    I can’t help thinking that, with the way people react to Scott’s thought bubbles, that having 2 elections, with him as the leader of the government campaign, where he will be in your face twice as much as if we only had one campaign, might just make voters even angrier.

    Firstly, they would not like having to come out twice and vote for no good reason, other than Morrison trying to hang on for just that little bit longer.

    Secondly, with the timing being what it seems to be, that means that the electorate will have the smug Scott in their faces continuously for most of the first half of next year and I can’t see that working out very well for the Coalition.

  12. From Oz article (AAP breaking news) on going early – Morrison is doing stuff:

    Asked on Monday whether his four-day bus tour amounted to a quasi campaign, Mr Morrison replied: “This is me doing what I do. I’m out, I’m listening, I’m hearing and I’m doing. That’s what I’m doing as a prime minister.”

  13. The government is hopeful about its electoral prospects in Queensland, a state where Turnbull was considered unpopular, and Morrison is spending a lot of time projecting what his strategists consider to be a relatable persona, with frequent social media posts heavy on vernacular.

    But Shorten and Labor have already done considerable groundwork in Queensland during this term in opposition. The Labor leader has visited Queensland 47 times since the last federal election, concentrating on regional seats.

    Labor is already distributing new campaign materials in Queensland highlighting Morrison’s record as treasurer, and emphasising the leadership instability in the Liberal party.

    Morrison is spending a lot of time projecting what his strategists consider to be a relatable persona, with frequent social media posts heavy on vernacular.

    Perhaps his “strategists” are writing the vernacular for him?

  14. Barney – have a safe trip.

    Regarding the Coalition’s most recent stupid idea (separate half Senate election), I believe this may cause a ‘premature’ House election. Smaller parties would not want two elections. The Coalition are currently down 74-75 on the floor of the House. From Katter’s recent utterances they may possibly face by-elections in Dickson and Dunkley, maybe even more likely if the Coalition start seriously floating the two election idea.

    Two High Court referrals before Christmas wouldn’t matter much for a May Reps election because it is likely if by-elections were required they would never actually happen before a general election. But if the Reps election was late 2019 it is likely such by-elections would be held on the same day as the half Senate election. Which would make it truly a referendum on the government. If the Coaltion did suffer two by-election losses they would be down to 72-77 on the floor of the House and a Reps election would likely come before this absurd November plan.

    As I said yesterday, when the public feel that a government has been dragged kicking and screaming to an election they react savagely.

    So this plan would likely result in a worse outcome for the Coalition. Which hopefully means it will be soon adopted as official policy!!

  15. I support your reasoning, Rocket Rocket. 🙂

    Now, a few questions. If the Senate went into election mode, what happens to the business of the parliament? As the Prime Minister would want to be out in the field campaigning for his team, wouldn’t that mean that parliament would virtually grind to a halt? No Senate to pass Bills? Also, what about the Budget? Wouldn’t it be seen as simply a vote-buying exercise?

  16. I predicted the 2 election nonsense months ago. They are going to have to drag the LNP kicking and screaming out of their high paying cushy jobs, and all the perks, and power and kick backs to their mates etc…they will hang on as long as they can because it is all about power.

  17. This govt wants to remove all initiative from citizens and then blame them for being ‘welfare dependent’.

    The mother of two had left a violent relationship a few years ago and was now in the final year of a psychological science degree. And then the phone rang – it was Centrelink.

    “What’s really frustrating is if they just left me alone for another year, I was nearly finished with university,” she said. “I was so excited to get off Centrelink.”

    Chia is one of 68,000 parents who have been placed on a new government program, Parents Next, after receiving a call from Centrelink assessing whether they are at risk of “long-term welfare dependency”.

    Since July, these parents – overwhelmingly single women – must meet a fortnightly participation plan negotiated with a case worker, known as their ParentsNext provider. If they don’t, their parenting payment – $384.25 for a single person – can be suspended or terminated.

    Parents say they have been forced by their providers to attend activities such as “story time”, swimming lessons or playgroup, or told to sign up to education courses at their own expense, even if they already hold qualifications.

    “I’m in financial insecurity on a fortnight-to-fortnight basis now,” said Phoebe, a 37-year-old single mother of two who already holds a certificate four in accounting.

  18. Good morning Dawn Patrollers
    Labor has pulled further in front of the Coalition in the national political contest, and voter disapproval of Scott Morrison has jumped by nine points in a month, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll. So much for the ScoMo Express!
    It’s popcorn time as the heads of Australia’s biggest banks will be interrogated by Kenneth Hayne at the banking royal commission this month. Senior executives from Macquarie Group have also been asked to appear – and so they should!
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    And David Wroe writes that China experts say Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s crucial visit to Beijing shows the Chinese government wants to get the relationship back on track.
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    Michael Koziol reveals that the self-styled “ScoMo Express” might be tearing up the Bruce Highway this week, but for the most part, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is touring Queensland by jet.
    In a very good contribution ormer Productivity Commission executive Jenny Gordon says that protecting against trade ends up harming many. She examines why social protection is better than trade protection.
    Michaela Whitbourn reports that the barrister acting for Geoffrey Rush in his defamation claim against The Daily Telegraph has blasted the newspaper’s “extraordinary attitude” during the litigation and argued its conduct should lead to a higher-than-usual award of legal costs if the Oscar-winning actor wins the case.
    John Passant accuses the government of ignoring workers, veterans and refugees, bit not war memorials.–but-not-war-memorials,12068
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    Former senior public servant Paddy Gourley tells us that the review of the APS bureaucracy is producing some useful, and some absurd, discussions.
    And Doug Dingwall writes that Mathias Cormann, who emerged from the rubble of August’s Liberal leadership meltdown as public service minister, is proving a motivated advocate for the Coalition’s signature decisions about bureaucracy staffing and contractor spending.
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    David Crowe writes that, after admitting he would have appreciated more help from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in the difficult campaign to hold the seat, Dave Sharma has cast doubt on whether he will contest Wentworth at the next election after independent Kerryn Phelps was declared the official winner in the byelection that has cost the Morrison government its majority in Parliament.
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    And Virgin Airlines has backed-tracked on its plan to give Australian veterans a US-style public acknowledgement on their flights and priority when boarding, amid an outcry from veterans themselves.
    Michael Pascoe is onto them. He writes that if the News Corp/Scott Morrison/Virgin Australia stunt using returned servicemen and women was merely a marketing ploy for the airline coming second, it wouldn’t matter. But it’s not. It’s part of a calculated plan to exploit Australians’ respect for people who have taken risks and worse in our armed services.
    Meanwhile a Senate inquiry hears that xx-serviceman Mark doesn’t want priority boarding on Australian airlines. He just wants help for medical conditions that go back to 2001, when he was deployed to Timor-Leste and took anti-malarial drugs in a seven-month trial.
    Australians know Adani doesn’t “stack up” environmentally or economically and it won’t stack up for the Morrison Government politically either.,12066
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    Meanwhile the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney writes that bad legislation is made in a rush. But when it comes to religious freedom we already have bad legislation and there seems to be no urgency to fix it properly — just a rush to create more.
    And Sam Maiden tells us how the Catholic schools sector outplayed the Coalition government.
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    A politically wounded Donald Trump in the US midterm elections may be the world’s worst nightmare, prompting him to become even more “extreme” in his America First approach, attacks on the WTO, and escalating trade war with China, warns Kevin Rudd.
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    Industrial relations lawyer Jon Wilson warns against racing headlong into discrimination legal reform.
    According to this English teacher the government’s draft curriculum on sex education falls short on LGBT experiences, sexual violence and pornography.
    There must be an election in the air as yet another lobby group comes out swinging. This time the big miners say removal of the diesel rebate would be akin to placing “a big tax on business”, in a warning shot to federal Labor ahead of the next election.
    Clive Palmer has been accused of ‘scandalising conduct’ as a second judge steps down from his trial.
    The Grattan Institute lauds NSW’s move to index stamp duty rates and says other states should follow the lead.
    More than 40 highly skilled disability workers at AnglicareSA will be made redundant or offered back their jobs for a considerable pay cut of up to $300 less per week, a union says. The staff were informed at a meeting on Monday, of which the Australian Services Union says they were only made aware 22 minutes before the announcement.
    The launch of 5G is expected to revolutionise wireless internet, with many touting it as the first true competitor to fixed-line broadband. It’s the threat NBNCo never mentions.
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    A great effort from Australia’s champion Gerry (it’s always somebody else’s fault) Harvey.
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    And for today’s nomination for “Arsehole of the Week” . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe never lets up on Trump.

    Well you can’t say Morrison hasn’t asked for it! Here David Pope launches the Cirque du ScoMo.$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto/4d51aeb77e4e991102e3bc6345da40def972aa4e
    From Mark David.

    Nice work from Peter Broelman.

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    More in here.

  19. It is not only Dutton and Crewther who are under the eligibility gun.
    Robert is under investigation in a potential crime space which has potential sentences of more than the maximum required for him to be rendered ineligible should he be charged and convicted.
    Then there are the dozen or so Coalition citizen eligibility questions that must be answered.
    Of course no-one voted for Morrison as Prime Minister or for McCormack as Deputy Prime Minister.
    All-in-all an illegitimate government.

  20. Denise Shrivell

    Today on @BreakfastNews they spoke about Morrison’s ghost bus & said how the slogans on the bus had been memed but they couldn’t show as they indicated slogans were rude & not suitable for broadcast. I’ve not seen any ‘rude’ bus memes – just more accurate claims. You?

  21. zoomster @ #2 Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 – 7:13 am

    Michael A

    Too late, it’s already a thing —

    ‘While a May election remains the most likely scenario in the government discussions, some MPs are open to the idea of holding a Senate election early in the year while going to a separate election for the House of Representatives several months later.’

    With the libs already in minority in the reps and two of their members in doubt why would thy go for a split election and hope to last to November to say nothing the upper house election would be kind to them? It’s bullshit, look over there stuff.

  22. Ewin Hannan

    Four ANZ Bank staff, including two managers, have been sacked after bank accounts were opened for Chinese students in Sydney without their knowledge & students were falsely told they had to open accounts to have resumes considered by ANZ. @australian

  23. ‘Steve777 says:
    Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 8:03 am

    The general rule with this Government is that if an idea is idiotic they’ll probably do it.’

    Step 1. Have brainfart.
    Step 2. Announce brainfart.
    Step 3. Bloviate brainfart.
    Step 4. Backtrack on brainfart.
    Step 5. Have another brainfart.
    Step 6….

  24. Cat

    I really don’t know. The current Senate remain until July 1st 2019 so there can be sitting ‘lame duck’ Senators after an election, unlike in the Reps.

    I presume the government would have to go into caretaker mode, and I can’t imagine the Senate or the House could sit during such a campaign. I will see if Antony Green has written anything about this, and maybe ask him about the logistics if he hasn’t.

  25. Would those 6 months then mean Labor are, in effect, “persuaded” to go early at the next election in order to join the half Senate and house elections back together?

    That may well work out to Labor’s advantage, giving Shorten a legitimate excuse to call an early election (something the electorate usually takes a pretty dim view of) while still experiencing something of a honeymoon.

    Imagine if Rudd had gone to the polls in late 2009.

  26. Labor will, of course, be obligated to heavily resist any attempts to hold two seperate elections this year.

    But, to some extent, I reckon they would be hoping the government actually managed to pull it off. Aside from the slim possibility of a black swan event, they have everything to gain here. The backlash against the government pulling a stunt like this would probably be enough to deliver a NSW 2011 style wipeout.

  27. Cat

    Just messaged Antony about this, adding that I understand his focus may be be across the Pacific today!

    This iPad turned My mistyped ‘decat’ into Dead Cat – a premonition of your Munchian Scream perhaps?

  28. Why do people see a black swan event as being favourable to this government ?
    With their level of dysfuntion, it’s more likely to be harmful to them.

  29. If anyone’s up for a punt, the odds for November 2019 election are presently around 101-1 on the betting sites. I imagine that will tighten a bit after today’s news.

  30. “Morrison is spending a lot of time projecting what his strategists consider to be a relatable persona, with frequent social media posts heavy on vernacular.”

    He’s just not selling it though. Even the right wing truckies I know are laughing at him. He hasn’t learnt to fake sincerity. He looks and acts like someone pretending to be an ocker. The longer he sticks to this schtick the better for Labor.

  31. Rocket Rocket,
    America’s Tuesday is our Wednesday, remember. 🙂

    Though Antony will have to consider the prospect eventually, even if only hypothetically at the moment. The Coalition are just crazy enough to do it. I suspect they believe that if they have 2 elections then that gives them twice as long to demonise Bill Shorten. Because that has worked so well till now. 🙂

  32. Vogon Poet:

    Quite possibly, yes.

    But I imagine the government doesn’t see things that way.

    And it really does depend on just what the black swan is. It could be something that’s just severely damaging to the opposition, rather than something the government has to react to.

  33. zoomster says:
    Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 7:13 am
    Michael A

    Too late, it’s already a thing —

    ‘While a May election remains the most likely scenario in the government discussions, some MPs are open to the idea of holding a Senate election early in the year while going to a separate election for the House of Representatives several months later.’

    I can only hope folk in the Government kick this ridiculous idea around as often and as loudly as possible – the more senior the figures the better. Once the inevitable fierce public blowback against such a nationally disruptive ruse to artificially extend the Government’s own worthless hides hits the radar of the crossbench, watch how fast they bring the curtains down on this sh1tshow.

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