Newspoll and ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in Herbert and Flinders

Seat polls show Labor with their nose in front in one seat where they won by a whisker in 2016, and another where they haven’t won in since 1983.

Two new seat polls today, with due caution for the fact that seat polls tend not to perform very well:

• The Australian has a small-sample Newspoll from the Townsville-based seat of Herbert, which Labor won by the barest of margins in 2016 for the first time since the Hawke-Keating era. The reason this seat in particular has been targeted appears to relate to Clive Palmer’s expensive bid to re-establish his political career, to which Townsville is relevant given the failure of his nickel operation there. The poll has the 50-50 result from 2016 turning into a Labor lead of 51-49, which I’m guessing is based on respondent-allocated preferences, as the primary votes look a little more favourable for Labor than that. Labor’s Cathy O’Toole is on 32%, up from 30.5% in 2016; the Liberal National Party is on 32%, down from 35.5%; One Nation is on 9%, down from 13.5%; Katter’s Australian Party is on 9%, up from 6.9%; the Greens are on 7%, up from 6.3%; and Palmer’s United Australia Party is on 8%. The poll was conducted Thursday from a sample of 509.

• The other poll is a uComms/ReachTEL poll for the CFMMEU, which targets Greg Hunt’s Melbourne fringe seat of Flinders, which he holds on a post-redistribution margin of 7.1%. As related by the Herald Sun, the poll credits Labor with a lead of 51-49, with the Liberal primary vote at 36.8%, compared with 51.6% in 2016 – although this is probably complicated by an undecided element. Hunt’s primary vote is only 32.7% among women, compared with 41.2% among men. I hope to be able to obtain full results over the next few days. The poll finds 47.8% less likely to vote for Hunt due to his role in the move against Malcolm Turnbull, compared with 34.4% for no difference and just 17.8% for more likely. The poll was conducted Thursday from a sample of 627. The Herald Sun report also reveals that Julia Banks, the Liberal-turned-independent member for Chisholm, is considering running against Hunt.

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.

924 comments on “Newspoll and ReachTEL: 51-49 to Labor in Herbert and Flinders”

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  1. Interesting about Julia Banks – I think she has very little chance in any seat that is basically a “drag race” between Labor and the Coalition, and would have a much better chance in somewhere like Higgins where it could end up as a four-way race with a big Greens vote.

    Then again, without a strong grass-roots campaign behind her she likely has little chance in any seat she contests. And her profile in Chisholm was as a result of her being the Liberal member – she wasn’t that well known before that.

  2. simon holmes à court
    43m43 minutes ago

    good morning @ScottMorrisonMP!

    today would be a good day to call election.

    • avoid losing phelps medical evacuation bill
    • avoid dutton high court referral
    • avoid airing ugly scandals
    • improve libs chances for NSW state election
    • save some furniture.

  3. Stephen Koukoulas
    11h11 hours ago

    From what I can see, Zali Steggall will not support the reforms of negative gearing, capital gains tax, imputed dividend refunds & she supports company tax cuts for big business
    A few inches to the left of Tony Abbott is still ultra conservative

  4. Trump advisers lied over and over again, Mueller says. The question is, why?

    They lied to the public for months before Donald Trump was elected — and then repeatedly after he took office.

    They lied to Congress as lawmakers sought to investigate Russia’s attack on American democracy in 2016.

    And they lied to the FBI, even when they knew lying was a crime.

    Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide, said he believed that people around Trump lied to investigators because they were trying to make sure their version of events lined up with lies the president was telling to the American people.

    “They all conspired,” he said, “against themselves.”

  5. simon holmes à court
    33m33 minutes ago

    saying that “closing a coal power station won’t reduce global temperatures by 0.1 degree” is like telling a morbidly obese person that “skipping that donut won’t reduce your weight by 1kg”.

  6. A few inches to the left of Tony Abbott is still ultra conservative

    Anyone but Tony is preferable. Genghis Kahn even.
    The main goal is to neuter Tony.

  7. I’m staggered the Libs would register anything in any poll. I mean seriously, how could anybody give them a tick of approval based on the BS they’ve served up for the last 5 years. What a joke. They’ve literally f#%ked everything they’ve turned their hand to. Hunt 32% primary? WTF? How freaking dumb are these 32%?

  8. [‘…Palmer’s United Australia Party is on 8%.’]

    Despite spending a motza on advertising Palmer’s failed to make a splash.

  9. Today’s the day – that Morrison has to call an election if he wants one on March 2nd – and he surely has great reason to avoid any parliamentary sittings now being in a minority in both houses.

    There are rumours he will call it tomorrow for March 9th – which is two weeks before NSW election. That is surely less likely, but he continues to surprise me with stupid decisions so who knows.

  10. For those who have forgotten what an expletive deleted scoundrel Peter Reith is, this is from 2012.

    Admiral Chris Barrie acknowledges that on October 11 he advised Reith that the photographs he released the day before were not of the child-throwing incident. So, yes, he was told all right.

    Reith then allows four weeks of the election campaign to pass without correction. The majority opinion of the Senate committee was that ”Mr Reith deceived the Australian people” during the 2001 election campaign”.

    Why does this still matter? Because truth in public life matters. Because the slur – the appalling accusation that people would be prepared to kill their own children to get into Australia – has never really gone away. And because Reith has re-entered the public debate and wants to be taken seriously in it. To do that, he’s finally going to have to account for this sorry chapter. An apology for the concealment would be good, too.

    Imogen Bailey nailed it on Go Back when she said the issue still resonated because that moment, that uncorrected untruth, shifted the public’s view of asylum seekers for all time. The shadow it casts over refugees and the body politic is long.

  11. Rick Wilson has the last word on Trump being ‘humiliated and shamed’ by Pelosi: He was left ‘without his pants’

    According to Wilson, Trump walked away from Friday’s Rose Garden address “humiliated.”

    “I think that the major loss for the president this week was that the fraud and the con of Donald Trump, that he is the master negotiator, that he’s the king of the art of the deal. that he always wins when he sits down at the bargaining table was finally shattered” Wilson began.

    “This is a guy who spent– who threw our government and economy into chaos for 35 days and who insists, absolutely categorically that under no circumstances would he stop this shutdown unless he got $5.7 billion for his wall,” he continued. “He walked out of the room with nothing, he didn’t even have his pants. At the end of this negotiation, he had been humiliated and been shamed.

    “He was knocked down hard he got spanked hard by Nancy Pelosi and it still hurts so much he can barely sit down,” he said at the end of his rant.

  12. “There are rumours he will call it tomorrow for March 9th…”

    He could still call an election tomorrow for the 2nd. I understand that the 33 days required by legislation includes the date the election is called.

  13. Tom:

    [‘If that was really the case and it happened, they would both go for conspiracy…’]

    Proving it is another matter, more so when you consider who the major player would most likely be.

  14. Losing a major vote in the House is a really big deal, one that would put Morrison in the history books. He may be chasing notoriety, but I doubt it will be this way.
    My prediction is a visit to Yarralumla by tomorrow evening.

  15. Good Morning Bludgers 🙂
    Tony Abbott:
    “My other pledge is to do everything I humanly can to protect you from Labor’s tax attack that will unfairly target people in Warringah with above-average incomes and assets,” he says.

    So, Tony saying that Labor’s tax changes are reasonable. Thanks, Tone! 🙂

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. I’m having another very bad day with Outline.

    Doctors are seeking legal advice over whether they may be held liable for mishaps that occur as a result of incorrect patient data on My Health Record, as the task of populating millions of new records puts pressure on GPs, specialists and hospitals. Nice work Greg and oh, how is your seat polling looking?
    Ben Packham reports that the former deputy prime minister John Anderson has been urging MPs to add to the pre-election Coalition exodus
    Kerryn Phelps write that Zali can take Warringah as she took Wentworth.
    Kirsty Needham reports that Defence Minister Christopher Pyne is expected to use a speech in Singapore on Monday to warn that the world can’t afford to be divided into Cold War blocs.
    Kerryn Phelps reckons that Zali can take Warringah just as she took Wentworth.
    Labor is confident it can steal up to five Victorian seats from the Liberals in the upcoming federal election, but the leafy seat of Higgins – to be vacated by government minister Kelly O’Dwyer – is not among its priority targets.
    Greg Jericho writes that the Coalition is clinging to fear and delusion as it stares down election defeat.
    The roll-out of the NBN has been lambasted as a national tragedy. Lee Ridge looks at the players and the process behind the foundering broadband project and argues politics and ideology have set Australia back years.
    John McDuling writes that not that long ago, BuzzFeed was considered digital media’s great success story but now it’s facing an uncertain future.
    Alexandra Smith tells us how the NSW Greens have still not resolved their upper house ticket less than two months from the state election as members quit and candidates flee the bitterly divided party.
    Clancy Yeates reports that major banks removed hundreds of ATMs in the latest year, as the industry responded to the scrapping of withdrawal fees and consumers further reduced their use of cash.
    This UK Guardian contributor says that he is proudly centre-right, but Brexit has summoned the very worst demons that lurk in the party’s psyche.
    Victoria Police made the confidential payout of more than $500,000 to settle a case involving an ex-policewoman who was handcuffed, stripped of her underwear, stomped on, kicked by fellow officers. Charming!
    Bill Shorten has promised Labor will spend $200m to restore urban rivers and waterways.
    Do schools expect parents to be more tech-savvy than they really are?
    Long time Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone said on Sunday he would have to consult with his attorneys about potentially cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. That didn’t take long!
    Emeritus Professor Ramesh Thakur debunks the idea that America is a morally good, impartial international actor.,12308
    In the cultural warfare over whether January 26 should be retained as Australia Day, survey results are deployed like guided missiles. But what do Australians really think about the continuing debate?
    John Birmingham writes about the nation-builders we constantly fail to recognise.
    Find out if you’re one of the many Australians entitled to an NBN refund.
    And the Opal Tower saga continues.

    Cartoon Corner – sorry, this is all of reasonable standard that I can dig up this morning.

    Pat Campbell with an Australia Day dress code.

    From Jim Pavlidis.

  17. From today’s SmearStralian. SE Queensland is a long way from Yarralumla – Scotty is hanging on till May (or November?). Plus this article has a roundup of the growing congaline of Liberals denying they are quitting the sinking ship..

    “Former deputy prime minister John Anderson has urged ­Coalition MPs thinking about ­retirement to consider the impact of their decisions on the nation’s future, amid growing pressure on Scott Morrison to stem a pre-election exodus.

    The former Nationals leader ­issued the warning to wavering government MPs as the Prime Minister prepared for a three-day campaign blitz across southeast Queensland to sandbag seven ­at-risk seats, including that of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

    The government is bracing for further retirement announcements, including the hotly speculated departures of Julie Bishop and Craig Laundy, following the retirement notices of frontbenchers Nigel Scullion, Kelly O’Dwyer and ­Michael Keenan.‘


    The Prime Minister will head to Brisbane tonight to announce new infrastructure spending and to campaign with threatened ­colleagues. In a sign of the electoral difficulties facing the government in the state, Mr Morrison is expected to campaign alongside Mr Dutton in his seat of Dickson, which is being targeted heavily by Labor and left-wing activist group GetUp.

    He is also expected to spend time in the seats of Petrie, Forde, Bonner, Ryan, Wright and ­Brisbane — all of which would fall to Labor under current polling.

    The Opposition Leader will begin his week in Victoria, where the Coalition faces a rout, and is due to ­announce $200 million today towards improving the health of urban rivers.“

  18. I think Hunt would be spitting chips at the result in Flinders. He has spent a great deal of time telling the voter how good he is by putting expensive, life-saving drugs on the PBS, the RPBS which have been recommended by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. He would’ve been remiss had he not followed the Committee’s advice.

  19. Steve777

    If that’s the case, then it sounds like tomorrow morning’s press conference will be to announce the election.


    ‘Truth overboard’ is why I am hanging out for the release of the Howard government cabinet papers from 2000 and 2001 which will happen in January 1st 2021.

  20. “unfairly target people in Warringah with above-average incomes and assets”
    Tony had better check the ABS data on Woollahra, it’s very similar to Manly.. it didn’t save the LNP there & won’t save him.

  21. BK “I’m having another very bad day with Outline.”

    Same here. I think that news sites are learning how to defeat it.

    I often use Outline even on non-paywalled sites because they have become unreadable on mobile devices. They are so packed with ads that they become unstable, very slow, constantly freezing and reloading.

    I don’t mind ads and accept them as the price of getting something for free, but I think some sites might be killing the golden goose from overwork.

  22. I’ve been wondering whether the recent hot weather will produce another leg down in Liberal polling. A lot of voters might realise that life has suddenly got very serious and we can’t afford to have boofheads in charge.

  23. Paul Barratt
    People should have a close look at then-environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval waving through Shenhua without it going close to meeting the requisite conditions.

    The way it dealt with the water trigger a cynical joke; important issues about indigenous sites & koala habitat.

    Greg Hunt obviously trying to wipe out his poor environmental record by plugging his Health Minister ‘humanity’.

  24. The gross stupidity of Scotty and crew is compounded by bad luck.

    This year, of all years, the sacrosanct date of 26 January fell on a Saturday. Bad luck for the Jingoists.

    Who is going to be wound up to don their Aussie flag bucket hats and capes on a Saturday? And to be jingoistic about it whilst celebrating? Whilst today, a Monday – which could have got things moving along – if it had been declared as “Australia Day” – is a nothingburger.

  25. Again the caveat that seat polls are notoriously unreliable measuring tools for what will happen at an election.

    However, successive such polls in erstwhile safe Liberal seats seem to find the Lib vote has collapsed to the low 30s and the LNP have a huge discrepancy on women and male voting intentions.

  26. The fact that Hunt and the government are in trouble and not improving on internal polling is Hunt’s continual drip feed of medications being included on the PBS looking for favourable headlines

    Simply, there is a demographic which votes anti Labor regardless including because of being “a better class of person” – so the older demographic and the Company Directors sitting in their leased, huge vehicles including those we see at the School gate at school knock off time parked across our driveways

    The “move aside I am coming thru” demographic

    Plus the religious right – God bothered anti abortion, anti same sex marriage and anti climate change

    The same sex opinion poll identifies the percentage among us – so the anti progressive demographic among us

    These demographics will limit Labor to a maximum 55% support in my view (on 2PP, so including preferences but the Coalition is 2 Parties plus preferences so similar) and probably less than that in an election

    Where the performance of the Coalition is not resonating and they are losing support is the educated, wealthy and particularly on issues such as sustainability of services – that demographic has resolved to change their vote including because of Morrison and his performance as the Conservative Party leader

    They may not be complimentary of Shorten (given a Union background) but they are far less complimentary of Morrison

    Then we get to the team – where Labor has a decided advantage backed by policies being put forward and prosecuted

    Those I refer to are basically very fair people – not the self serving greed brigade – and they will see the change of government whenever the election is held

    It will then be up to Labor to perform and cement the support from that demographic

  27. Even more evidence that no drive to Yarralumla is on the cards today or tomorrow.. maybe

    PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has revealed a blueprint for new local road and rail projects to end traffic snarls crippling southeast Queensland, in an exclusive interview with The Courier-Mail.

    Mr Morrison also revealed a highly personalised and confronting campaign detailing what a Shorten-led government would mean for Queenslanders.

    Ahead of the Government’s first Cabinet meeting of the year tomorrow, to be held in Brisbane, Mr Morrison will hit the hustings in the southeast to start rolling out plans that aim to smash congestion and connect satellite cities to Brisbane.

    The PM is expected to arrive tomorrow, visiting electorates that represent some of the biggest concerns for the LNP in the southeast – Brisbane, Petrie, Dickson, Bowman, Bonner, Forde and Wright – before he leaves on Thursday.”

  28. The poll finds 47.8% less likely to vote for Hunt due to his role in the move against Malcolm Turnbull, compared with 34.4% for no difference and just 17.8% for more likely.

    Too funny.

    As for claims that Hunt has been busy spinning positive news by adding medications to the PBS, I’ve not heard a peep out of him since the My Health Record debacle. An indication that unless you’re highly tuned to the media cycle or watch every press conference like PBers do, his news isn’t really penetrating everyday lives.

  29. lizzie @ #7 Monday, January 28th, 2019 – 7:05 am

    simon holmes à court
    33m33 minutes ago

    saying that “closing a coal power station won’t reduce global temperatures by 0.1 degree” is like telling a morbidly obese person that “skipping that donut won’t reduce your weight by 1kg”.

    The point needs to be made wrt saving the planet that, ‘From little things, big things grow’.

  30. The Opposition Leader will begin his week in Victoria, where the Coalition faces a rout, and is due to ­announce $200 million today towards improving the health of urban rivers.“

    We were told about this policy last week. It’s really good and shows Labor are thinking. About the little things. Like our local waterways.

  31. Seth @ #43 Monday, January 28th, 2019 – 8:44 am

    Morrison’s itinerary sounds awfully lot like the beginning of an election campaign, TBF.

    Not really. It’s the pre election campaign announcement time. Making the announcement gives the candidates time to print the leaflets containing the announcement so that they can start handing them out and seeding the idea in the electorate, before the sprint to the finish line during the campaign proper.

  32. sprocket_ @ #46 Monday, January 28th, 2019 – 8:46 am

    Zali Steggal is being well managed, saturating morning radio and TV in Sydney – one day after announcing her challenge to Abbott. All the newspapers were dropped a tonne of info, and access.

    This is not an amateur hour production. A taste…

    A lot of media, marketing and advertising people live in that area, as you would know.

  33. January 18, The Australian

    Power baron Trevor St Baker has revealed a $6 billion China-backed plan to develop Australia’s first high-efficiency, low-emissions coal plants in Victoria and NSW and a pumped hydro facility in South Australia in response to the federal government’s call for more “fair dinkum” baseload generation.

    The underwriting proposal, which could see Canberra back a new coal-fired power plant, signals the willingness of the Coalition to shake up the structure of Australia’s power industry.

    January 28, The Guardian

    The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) – the body tasked with making sure we have energy when we need it – found there were “no fundamental limits to 100% renewables”, and that the current standards of the system’s security and reliability would be maintained. These studies show different pathways towards 100% renewable energy, but what they all agree on is that it can be achieved.

    I expect and hope that stories like this will be repeated. In our current summer mood this is a profound weakness for Morrison’s government.

  34. Mavis Smith says: Monday, January 28, 2019 at 7:37 am


    It appears that Stone’s leaving his options open as to whether to co-operate, sending a message to Trump to promise him a pardon or he’ll spill the beans:


    I read an article yesterday : “Stone is too untrustworthy for a prosecutor to ever rely upon.”

    No Escape for Roger Stone: Mueller’s Case Is a Slam Dunk and He’s Too Slimy to Get Flipped

    Prosecutor who helped convict Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby for lying and obstruction says the case against Trump’s old pal is virtually perfect.

    Barring a presidential pardon (always the wild-card possibility with a POTUS like Trump) Stone will be convicted and receive a very substantial prison sentence. This is as close to a slam-dunk case as a prosecutor will ever bring.

    Finally, do not expect to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller make any attempt to flip Stone and have him cooperate. A defendant like Stone is far more trouble than he is worth to a prosecutor. Stone is too untrustworthy for a prosecutor to ever rely upon. He has told so many documented lies, and bragged so often about his dirty tricks, that he simply has too much baggage to deal with even if here to want to cooperate—which seems unlikely in any event. In short, Stone has nothing to sell that Mueller would be interested in buying.

    Stone is clearly enjoying being in the spotlight now. He should enjoy it while he can. His remaining years won’t be nearly as pleasant.

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