BludgerTrack: 53.8-46.2 to Labor

A lurch back to Labor in the BludgerTrack poll aggregate, plus further polling tidbits and preselection news aplenty.

The addition of this week’s Newspoll and Essential Research polls have ended a period of improvement for the Coalition in BludgerTrack, which records a solid shift to Labor this week. Labor’s two-party lead is now 53.8-46.2, out from 53.1-46.9 last week, and they have made two gains on the seat projection, one in New South Wales and one in Queensland. Despite that, the Newspoll leadership numbers have resulted in an improvement in Scott Morrison’s reading on the net approval trend. Full results are available through the link below – if you can’t get the state breakdown tabs to work, try doing a hard refresh.

National polling news:

• A poll result from Roy Morgan circulated earlier this week, although there’s no mention of it on the company’s website. The primary votes are Labor 36%, Coalition 34.5% and Greens 12.5%, which pans out to a Labor lead of 54-46 using past preference flows (thanks Steve777). Morgan continues to conduct weekly face-to-face polling, but the results are only made public when Gary Morgan has a point to make – which on this occasion is that Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party is on all of 1%. One Nation doesn’t do great in the poll either, recording 3%. The poll was conducted over two weekends from a sample of 1673.

• The Australian had supplementary questions from this week’s Newspoll on Tuesday, which had Scott Morrison favoured over Bill Shorten by 48-33 on the question of best leader handle the economy – little different from his 50-32 lead in October, or the size of the lead consistently held by Malcolm Turnbull. It also found 33% saying the government should prioritise funding of services, compared with 27% for cutting personal income tax and 30% for paying down debt.

• The Australian also confused me by publishing, together with the Newspoll voting intention numbers on Monday, results on franking credits and “reducing tax breaks for investors” – derived not from last weekend’s poll, but earlier surveys in December and November (UPDATE: Silly me – the next column along is the total from the latest poll). The former found 48% opposed to Labor’s franking credits policy and 30% in support, compared with 50% and 33% when it was first floated in March (UPDATE: So the latest poll actually has support back up five to 35% and opposition down two to 38%). Respondents were instructed that the policy was “expected to raise $5.5 billion a year from around 900,000 Australians that receive income from investments in shares”, which I tend to think is friendlier to Labor than a question that made no effort to explain the policy would have been. The tax breaks produced a stronger result for Labor, with 47% in favour and 33% opposed, although this was down on 54% and 28% in April (UPDATE: Make that even better results for Labor – support up four to 51%, opposition down one to 32%).

With due recognition of Kevin Bonham’s campaign against sketchy reports of seat polling, let the record note the following:

Ben Packham of The Australian reports Nationals polling shows them in danger of losing Page to Labor and Cowper to Rob Oakeshott. Part of the problem, it seems, is a minuscule recognition rating for the party’s leader, one Michael McCormack.

• There’s a uComms/ReachTEL poll of Flinders for GetUp! doing the rounds, conducted on Wednesday from a sample of 634, which has Liberal member Greg Hunt on 40.7%, an unspecified Labor candidate on 29.4% and ex-Liberal independent Julia Banks on 16.1%. That would seem to put the result down to the wild card of Banks’ preference flows. There was apparently a respondent-allocated two-party figure with the result, but I haven’t seen it. UPDATE: Turns out it was 54-46 in favour of Greg Hunt, which seems a bit much.

• The West Australian reported last weekend that a uComms/ReachTel poll for GetUp! had Christian Porter leading 52-48 in Pearce, which is above market expectations for him.

• Another week before, The West Australian reported Labor internal polling had it with a 51.5-48.5 lead in Stirling.

Preselection news:

• Following Nigel Scullion’s retirement announcement last month, the Northern Territory News reports a field of eight nominees for his Country Liberal Party Senate seat: Joshua Burgoyne, an Alice Springs electrician, who was earlier preselected for the second position on the ticket behind Scullion; Bess Price, who held the remote seat of Stuart in the territory parliament from 2012 to 2016, and whose high-profile daughter Jacinta Price is the party’s candidate for Lingiari; Tony Schelling, a financial adviser; Tim Cross, former general manager of NT Correctional Industries; Gary Haslett, a Darwin councillor; Kris Civitarese, deputy mayor of Tennant Creek; Linda Fazldeen, from the Northern Territory’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation; and Bill Yan, general manager at the Alice Springs Correctional Centre.

Andrew Burrell of The Australian reports Liberal nominees to succeed Michael Keenan in Stirling include Vince Connelly, Woodside Petroleum risk management adviser and former army officer; Joanne Quinn, a lawyer for Edith Cowan University; Michelle Sutherland, a teacher and the wife of Michael Sutherland, former state member for Mount Lawley; Georgina Fraser, a 28-year-old “oil and gas executive”; and Taryn Houghton, “head of community engagement at a mental health service, HelpingMinds”. No further mention of Tom White, general manager of Uber in Japan and a former adviser to state MP and local factional powerbroker Peter Collier, who was spruiked earlier. The paper earlier reported that Karen Caddy, a former Rio Tinto engineer, had her application rejected after state council refused to give her the waiver required for those who were not party members of one year’s standing.

• The Nationals candidate for Indi is Mark Byatt, a Wodonga-based manager for Regional Development Victoria.

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.

1,132 comments on “BludgerTrack: 53.8-46.2 to Labor”

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  1. Peg
    Your post on the NSW Greens (above) is interesting.

    It seems to me the Greens are facing the same sort of internal contradictions that the Nationals and the Liberals are separately and collectively.

    It is not hard to identify the core issue for the Nationals. The old Nationals managed for years to be essential a three policy party: encourage mining, support agriculture and apply rural socialism.

    The irreconcilable problem is that coal mining and farming are no longer either intellectually or practically capable of BOTH happening at the same time. This is expressed among the MPs. McInvisible and Littleproud are strong on the ag side and acknowledge that global warming is real and that it needs to be addressed. Not as a peripheral issue but as a core issue. The trad mining types in the Nationals include Canavan and Joyce.

    You seem to be suggesting that the only way the Greens will reconcile is if the traditional environmentalists in the Greens all learn to become Trots and put the Revolution first and the environment as a by product to the Revolution.

    Over the course of Australian political history extreme left parties have rarely polled more than 5% for any length of time. The inclusion of the environmentalists with the Left strand got the Greens up to 10%. But the environmentalists themselves are starting to see that they face a crucial either-or.

    Either the environmentalists choose the Trots persuasion, or versions thereof, and focus primarily on the Revolution by way of social issues OR they accept that the Greens will never deliver on real and present environmental issues.

    It seems to me to be clear from the various statements by Greens Party players in NSW that the the inability to reconcile these priorities is tearing the Party apart.

  2. Reading the many articles on the so called Emergency and the usurpation of power by Trump, it strikes me that the Republicans should be crapping themselves.

    It’s likely to be struck down by the courts so won’t matter in the end.

    The real problem for Republicans is:

    a) their claim to be in favour of small govt is now in the toilet esp having rung up record debt.
    b) the Democrats have a huge opportunity to drive a wedge between Trump and the GOP leading up to 2020.

  3. My father was born as WWI ended. He left school during the Great Depression and as he finished his apprenticeship and came of age, WW2 hit. He was conscripted into the Reserve but signed up for the regular army instead. He got through it relatively unscathed, but seems to have suffered some PTSD.

    After a few years, he met my mother and things improved from there – the 50s, the quarter acre block, postwar boom, Baby Boomer children…

  4. Dovey,
    I have just been listening to Shields and Brooks’ weekly sit-down on The PBS Newshour, as I have done for the last 15 years, and they were discussing the issue that you are referring to. What they said made sense to me.

    Basically, Mitch McConnell and the other Senators that are up for re-election in 2020 are absolutely petrified of being subjected to a Primary Challenge by a Trump acolyte and have fresh in their minds the spectacular flameout of former Governor and Congressman, Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

    As far as Trump was concerned he had the audacity to challenge Trump’s positions publicly in 2018 and so was challenged in the Primary by a Trumpist and beaten decisively because Trump employed all his malign talents to make sure he was defeated.

    So, all the Senators up in 2020 have that seared into their consciousness and they are cravenly capitulating to Trump now as a result.

    Sad but true.

  5. C@tmomma @ #344 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 5:51 pm

    Get angry at our so-called ‘leaders’ at the time of the Vietnam War who sent our young men off to die just so they could suck up to the so-called ‘leaders’ in the USA who started the damn thing!

    Australian Historian Paul Ham said in his book, “Vietnam – The Australian War” that the then Country Party sought trade concessions for primary production exports to the US, specifically dairy, in return for our “involvement” in Vietnam.

    The menzies government lobbied the US for our involvement initially and they in return lobbied the South VN Governement to “invite” Australia into the war, to “assist”.

    So Australian Soldiers deaths were demned “tradeable” for favourable treatment of dairy exports.

    Paul Ham says the US ‘declined” the preferential trade treatment sought, but granted same to the Kiwi’s who hadn’t asked for it?

  6. Fess and Holden Hillbilly – if Biden is the best the democrats have, god help them. Hopeless in 1989 and 2008. A ‘safe pair of hands’ perhaps; except he’s now older than my old man when he popped his clogs.

    It’s time for the torch to pass to a new generation of Americans, of this century and dedicated to the future prosperity of humankind …



  7. Confessions,
    I agree, the courts will strike it down, but who is going to take it to court?
    If the Dems stand back and then the Repugs may have to.
    After all, the Dems only said that they will not pass a money bill to fund the wall, not that they will stop Trump taking Emergency powers.
    If the Repugs don’t go to court, then this may well set the precedent to allow future presidents to do the same again
    Napoleon Bonaparte: Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake

  8. Cat, Paul Ham is a superb historian and his books are a wonderful source of information. If you have not had a chance to read 1914, the year the world ended, do yourself a favour and read it.
    A completely different look at WW1 and it’s antecedents. All that I had understood about why that war came about and how it was carried out was challenged. Really worth a read. I hadn’t realised that Paul Ham was an Australian Historian till after I finished it

  9. Fess and Holden Hillbilly – if Biden is the best the democrats have, god help them. Hopeless in 1989 and 2008. A ‘safe pair of hands’ perhaps; except he’s now older than my old man when popped his clogs.

    I agree. Besides, Biden hasn’t even thrown his hat in the ring so it may be moot to talk about his candidacy prospects.

  10. Most amusing.

    The South Australian Greens and the Australian Greens are not on the same page:

    ‘The Australian Greens want:

    A world free of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
    The cessation of Australian uranium mining and export.’

    The South Australians say it is OK to errr… actually mine the uranium but that the mined uranium then must to stay at the mine.

    Both the AGs and the SAGs are, of course, resolutely and totally opposed to the storage of errr… uranium waste.

    Neither the South Australian Greens nor the Australian Greens have explained how doing all the work to mine the uranium, separate it from the copper, having to store it indefinitely, but not being allowed to sell it, while accepting a reduction in 25% of total mine sales, will not actually have the impact of rendering the Olympic Dam unprofitable.

    Losing 25% of your sales while your costs are either the same or increased is not something that most mines can absorb.

    Maybe a Greens can explain how that works in the real world.

  11. Boerwar says:
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 4:35 pm
    Peter S

    ‘The Silent Spring was first published in 1962 and is generally recognised as the book that initiated the environmental movement. Many baby boomers became concerned about the damage being done to the environment and campaigned for change. Maybe they could have done more.’

    The antecedents and the intellectual underpinnings to ‘Silent Spring’ are well worth some study. Essentially they go back to what von Humboldt ‘did’ to Natural Philosophy. The core bit of new thinking came when he realized that in nature everything was connected.
    Boerwar, Sorry for not responding earlier, I’ve been doing other things for a while. I have heard of Humbodt but did not realise his importance. I will have to read a bit more. You are right about Darwin’s hesitancy in sharing credit. There were several others, particularly Alfred Wallace, who contributed to the development of the understanding of evolution. Tim Severin’s book on Wallace ‘The Spice Island Voyage’ is a good read.

  12. dave

    Paul Ham says the US ‘declined” the preferential trade treatment sought, but granted same to the Kiwi’s who hadn’t asked for it?

    Well the yanks are notorious for their appalling knowledge of geography , at least they were close and didn’t give it to Austria, 🙂

  13. I agree, the courts will strike it down, but who is going to take it to court?

    A Texan woman who stands to lose property along the border has reportedly lodged the first legal challenge. I imagine there will be others who follow.

  14. ‘Vogon Poet says:
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Where are they going to leave the Uranium ?’

    Well, the Greens are adamant about opposing a uranium waste storage facility…

  15. Thanks Peg for the NSW Greens update read. It was good to get one person’s perspective on it at least. What I liked most about it was the recognition of difference, nuance, internal disagreement and the mammoth task of finding a consensus position on a range of issues. I think that it can be a healthy thing as long as it does not result in what Monty Python would call “Splitters” blowing up the whole shebang.

  16. lizzie @ #355 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 6:14 pm

    Quentin Dempster
    22h22 hours ago

    Former ABC chairman Maurice Newman wants to terminate Gardening Australia .. along with everything else the ABC does for the Australian people. ABC is no longer needed, he says. See his column in the Oz 15/2/19. Happy 30th Gardening Australia.

    Little doubt that many other tories feel the same way.

    Their just utterly gutless to say so – particularly to take it to an election – along with so much of the other really nasty stuff they intend doing asap.

    But they say things like – “No cuts to the ABC” etc etc…..

    and they get away with it.

  17. Dave, I read the book and found that piece very interesting. I also found it interesting that the vietnam war cost just short of 20% of Australia’s GDP for each year for the last 5 years we were involved. I wondered what Australia would have been like had of spent the money differently.

  18. I have heard of this argument that Australia demanded to be a part of the Vietnam war before. The reality is probably more complex – The South Vietnamese government was losing to the guerrillas/ North and the Australians had had success with the Poms against the Malayan communists a decade earlier. So there was probably a view that if the Americans were do the same in South Vietnam the country could be saved. But the Americans also launched the “Many Flags” policy which involved the Australians, New Zealanders, South Koreans and Philippines (and attempted to drag other nations in) which suggest the Americans had the idea of bring other nations independently of the Australian “demand” to be involved.

  19. Boerwar says:
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 6:24 pm
    So, what did the Boomers ever do for Rome?
    Some of us did our best to reduce their wine surplus.

  20. Greensborough Growler @ #382 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 6:38 pm


    The Pogrom is in and you’re name is at the top of the list.

    Either you shed this self appointed role of correcting the PB diaspora or you are a dead duck.

    As I have done none of that at all since Mr Bowe laid down the law, and all I did today was lightheartedly make reference to my before and after condition, I am interested in why you have come out and made this statement.

    If it was in reference to the way I used to be here, then fair enough, but wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to say it earlier this week then?

    On the other hand, if you think that I still haven’t pulled my head in far enough, even after the pogrom, then you should make that plain, because, as far as I can take my own temperature since that time I believe that I have cooled down a lot and behaved myself as much as anyone else.

    So, maybe, so that we can settle this issue once and for all, we should get Mr Bowe, as he seems to be around, to adjudicate and tell me if he thinks I am still going too far?

    I think that might be best, rather than taking your word for it, don’t you?

  21. EB @ #400 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 7:00 pm

    Player One says:
    Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    You people do so love your strawmen arguments, don’t you?

    This reasoning is a fallacy of relevance: it fails to address the proposition in question by misrepresenting the opposing position- and so are you – “a fallacy of relevance”. Take your ignorance elsewhere P1 I prefer to engage with non zealots from any political sphere.

    No, you so clearly don’t.

  22. Greensborough Growler,
    And if you are referring to what I said to Observer, I thought it was an anodyne reply to something far more inflammatory that he had just said to another poster. Or aren’t we even allowed to do that any more? Please explain yourself more fully.

  23. Quasar @ #361 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 6:20 pm

    From one of my favourite journalists, Michael West…re his SMH dismissal:

    “When I asked why they sacked me they said, “Your skill-set is not in alignment with Fairfax strategy going forward”.
    They were right

    Am cancelling my sub after 39 years . Will miss the crosswords.

    What took you so long ?

    Michael West published the above statement upon his sacking/ redundancy and starting his website – some years ago now.

    Mind you I abandoned paying for the AFR after 30 years or so when the current (chief ?) editor took over, maybe 10 years back.

  24. PeeBee @ #421 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 7:20 pm

    Dave, I read the book and found that piece very interesting. I also found it interesting that the vietnam war cost just short of 20% of Australia’s GDP for each year for the last 5 years we were involved. I wondered what Australia would have been like had of spent the money differently.

    The Baby Boomers would have been 20% wealthier?

  25. Confessions @ #415 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 7:17 pm

    I agree, the courts will strike it down, but who is going to take it to court?

    A Texan woman who stands to lose property along the border has reportedly lodged the first legal challenge. I imagine there will be others who follow.

    Didn’t Trump mention Eminent Domain? Which would tend to suggest, as here in Australia, that if a government wants your land for something, they can get it. You just have to take the paltry amount they offer you for it.

  26. Dave,
    Yes, I meant to at the time but it is the current front page of the SMH with it’s anti-labor lies that has finally forced my hand.

  27. While it is somewhat a matter of chacun a son gout, but still weighing heavily in the scales of the judgement at the Final Trump, Boomers did a lot of solid hard work to wean the nation off the six o’clock swill, sacking APS female staff who got married, cheese fondue, Marsala, Ben Ean Moselle, and Mateus Rose.

  28. Dan Gulberry @ #436 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 7:30 pm

    Vogon Poet @ #404 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 4:07 pm

    Where are they going to leave the Uranium ?

    Probably the same place that all mines leave the dirt they can’t do anything with.

    Except that it would be slightly radioactive and highly toxic.

    Perhaps we could store it on the Great Barrier Reef or in the Murray Darling Basin? After all, they are both going to be ecological dead zones very soon anyway.

  29. As I understand it, South Australian Greens are going to support mining the uranium and then storing it but oppose storing uranium waste but the Australian Greens do not support mining the uranium or storing it as waste.
    Neither bother explaining how cutting a mine’s gross income by 25% (which is the current proportion of uranium sales compared with total sales) while the costs are increased won’t actually close it down.

  30. cheese fondue, Marsala, Ben Ean Moselle, and Mateus Rose.

    I’ll give you Moselle.

    But there is absolutely nothing wrong with cheese fondue (cheese makes EVERYTHING awesome!), marsala or rose.

  31. B.S. Fairman @ #422 Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – 7:20 pm

    I have heard of this argument that Australia demanded to be a part of the Vietnam war before. The reality is probably more complex .

    Read the book – make an assessment of what he says/ against your knowledge.

    He goes a lot further, including our military where never briefed about what the Australian Government wanted our military to “achieve”.

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