Essential Research: leadership ratings, US and China, abortion law

Higher disapproval ratings for both leaders in the latest Essential poll, which also records lukewarm feelings towards the United States and cooler ones for China.

The latest fortnightly Essential Research poll again comes up empty on voting intention, but it does offer the pollster’s third set of leadership ratings since the election. As with Newspoll, these record a drop in Scott Morrison’s net approval rating, owing to a three point rise in disapproval to 37%, while his approval holds steady at 48%. However, Essential parts company with Newspoll in finding Anthony Albanese up on disapproval as well, by five points to 29%, with approval down one to 38%. Morrison’s lead as preferred prime minister narrows slightly, from 44-26 to 44-28.

Further questions suggest the public leans positive on most aspects of the “influence of the United States of America” (defence, trade, cultural and business), excepting a neutral result (42% positive, 40% negative) for influence on Australian politics. The same exercise for China finds positive results for trade, neutral results for culture and business, and negative ones for defence and politics. Asked which of the two we would most benefit from strengthening ties with, 38% of respondents favoured the US and 28% China.

The small sample of respondents from New South Wales were also asked about the proposed removal of abortion from the criminal code, which was supported by an overwhelming 71% compared with 17% opposed. The poll has a sample of 1096 and was conducted online from Thursday to Sunday.

Note also the post below this one, being the latest Brexit update from Adrian Beaumont.

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.

1,826 comments on “Essential Research: leadership ratings, US and China, abortion law”

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  1. Queensland is a disaster area for Labor Federally. The idea is now fixed in the minds of Queensland voters that Federal Labor is systemically opposed to the economic interests of Queenslanders. This idea will take a long time to change.

    Rudd managed to persuade voters in WA that he was ill-disposed to their economic struggles. We suffered very badly as a result.

  2. Why would the combined vote be less if the two parties amalgameted ir formed a coalition?

    Due to the cohort of people, like those on this blog, who have professed that they would never vote Labor and vice versa, would never vote for The Greens. They would, some of them at least, hive off to new parties like the Animal Justice Party, Reason and Sustainable Australia on the Left, and One Nation, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, UAP (who reliably pop up every election now to harvest disaffected voters and direct their preferences to the Coalition) and to the Coalition themselves on the Right.

    There’s a lot more fluidity in politics at the moment and many are likely to peel off if their traditional party of choice ceases to exist/merges with another party they could never vote for.

  3. William,

    The precedent of Labor-Greens coalition government in Tasmania has been, to put it mildly, highly discouraging on an electoral level. Ditto to some extent the Gillard government, which was gravely damaged by the impression it had to go cap in hand to Bob Brown to remain in power. Then again, bumbling along without the ability to command more than a third of the primary vote doesn’t seem sustainable either. Smarter minds than mine, both here and abroad, are quite at a loss to know what to do about the decline of social democratic parties, or the political centre more generally.

    Thanks so much for this comment. I have been lucky (?) to be working o/s this year, and saw the EU elections at first hand in Germany. there was great relief that the hard right did not increase its vote as much as feared, but it took a lot of work by many organisations to stop that, including AVAANZ and the people around Greta Thurnberg – both of whom got out the youth vote. However, except in Denmark and Spain, the Social Democratic parties collapsed. This was partially offset by the rise of the Greens, but the left and centre vote decreased overall.

    I keep saying that we are living the 1920s and 1930s again and hoping for a different result, and I stand by this.

    In times of disruption more people turn to the populist right than the populist left. And, as Yeats noted “the Centre cannot hold”. This is why Steve Bannon and co are so supportive of Brexit and the hard right – as Bannon openly says, it is all about disruption politics, which is likely to destroy democracy. Or, at the very least, result in a bunch of “illiberal democracies”, such as Hungary, Turkey, and now Brazil.

  4. BB
    You have a point on unions, there has been a number of times where they have been actively supporting non-ALP candidates, in some cases quite openly.

  5. All they really care about is the appearance that it’s the people they see on the TV who they collectively voted in are the ones ultimately calling the shots. They don’t care if Albanese’s foot soldiers are all card-carrying unionists so long as it looks like he’s the one with the baton.

    One less party if the Left on the ballot paper would make life so much easier, too.

    Tablet now out of battery, so ciaou all.

  6. As a unionist I am appalled at the fall in union membership across all industries.

    The fact remains though that more than 1.5 million Australians part with up to $700 per year of their hard earned money each year to be a union member. That exceeds by far any other mass participation movement in this country by a country mile. Moreover there is a significant diversity in political support amongst unionists. Many trade unionists do not give either Labor or the Greens a primary or indeed a preference vote these days. Especially in the private sector. Knowing – and indeed having represented such folk for 20 years I know that for such union members their grievance is nearly always the fact that Labor has become emeshed in left wing identity politics and various causes and hasn’t presented itself as a party whose prime focus is that of jobs, incomes and employment security. It is probably different in public service unions – where left wing identity politics is probably quite popular.

    Anyway, it would be a strategic mistake of the first order for Labor to decouple itself from … well Labor. That’s a quick way to becoming the Democrats – another 10%er party.

    It would be better for Labor to reconnect with its union membership base and the 1 million folk who have fallen out of union membership over the past three decades. I’m not talking about dealing with union secretaries, or simply taking their money: I’m talking about using the union membership base (and those who have left) as a giant database of ideas. Pitching to these folk AND also the ABN holding ‘independent’ contractor-tradie (like the TWU has done with truck owner drivers for the past century) is – in my view – the best way for Labor to stay woke to the true zeitgeist of the Australian people.

    Leave the identity politics to the Greens. It’s pretty clear that there are no votes for labor in pursuing active global heating policies either. The Greens can have that as well.

  7. Enough voters will not move toward Labor and the Greens till enough thong straps break on hot concrete in mid summer.
    Labor and the Greens, fighting, is music to the ears of the badly named liberals and nationals.
    The major river system is broken.
    The GBR is dying.
    The government consists of big thieves and petty thieves.
    The health system is not a system.
    Corporations are outside the law.
    Welfare is a privilege for the wealthy.
    Climate change is given the same regard as one and two cent coins.
    House ownership has become a privilege.
    Its everyone else’s fault.
    Scorched feet make you jump.

  8. briefly says:
    Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 10:46 pm
    But I dispute the allegation that my remarks are useless. They have changed the perspectives a bit here and there. They’ve changed the language a bit too. This is necessary.
    Don’t be so modest Briefly. What you’ve done is most likely save PB, and probably the Labor Party. And now you are drafting policy at State Conference! You Sir, are a hero. The implementation of the Lib-kin terminology is a game changer.

  9. Scorched feet make you jump.

    As does having no water to drink on a hot day in an outback town. Maybe this year they’ll wake up?

  10. This discussion reminds me of the 2007 Higgins by-election where the ALP didn’t run and many people here assumed the Greens would pick up the ALP vote yet when the result came in the Greens polled lower than the ALP in the booths that the ALP usually do okay in.

    Both parties may share similar policies but are culturally different just as the Liberals and Nats are culturally different.

  11. A_E…..we have to win on both jobs and the environment. We have to do both. They are not mutually exclusive. They are mutually dependant.

  12. I remain convinced that a Labor/Greens merger, whether covert or overt, is a “worst of both worlds” option which would only see the centre-left further diminished in the eyes of the general public; it would result in nothing more than a continuation of (what we really should acknowledge as) the largely negative perceptions of both parties, except now combined with equal parts amusement and distaste at such a blatant act of desperation on their part.

    And see, this is where we have to decide whether we care more about blind loyalty to a party organisation (regardless of whatever ideological U-turns they may decide to take as time goes by) or staying faithful to a basic set of values and morals. The time for maudlin attempts to keep the flame burning for either the Labor or Greens brand name or party structure is well and truly over.

  13. I disagree comrade, there are no votes for labor on the environment- not in the areas that matter. The regions are hostile to policies designed to combat climate change, the outer rim are at the very least, skeptical but also hostile to labor’s association to the Greens, the middle suburbs voter may tell a pollster that they are concerned about the environment but clearly they don’t vote on that. Only the inner city demographic seems to vote on the environmental concerns: and those inner city folk that do are already giving their first preference to the Greens as a matter of branding. Politically, the environment is a dry stone for labor.

  14. Goll
    The creature in the sky
    Got sucked in a hole
    Now there’s a hole in the sky
    And the ground’s not cold
    And if the ground’s not cold, everything is gonna burn
    We’ll all take turns, I’ll get mine too

  15. I’ll give you $100 bucks to do it if it means you actually put your money where your mouth is and stop whining about the state of our current political parties.

    1. “Whining”? A question was posed; I attempted to answer it!
    2. A new party led by me would go nowhere fast. I fear I make even the gentleman in my avatar look articulate and photogenic in comparison.
    3. The above misgivings notwithstanding, I’ll happily create a GoFundMe page (hey, if it’s good enough for Izzy…) in anticipation of your kind donation. As if I’d ever turn down that kind of easy money!

  16. ‘ there are no votes for labor on the environment’ – and I beg to differ with you.

    There will be a massive, generational size premium of votes for the party that gets the balance right around energy vs climate.

  17. Perhaps the ALP’s links with the working class would better be served not preselecting union leaders who specialise in corporate deals that disadvantage workers and which serve only the interest of ‘players’ whether they be union leaders looking for political advancement or corporate managers looking to climb the business ladder with spectacular financial year results. Then there is the SDA…..

  18. “There will be a massive, generational size premium of votes for the party that gets the balance right around energy vs climate.”

    Where, Mr Sqiggle? In Aspley? The Hunter? Penrith? Caboolture? Rockhampton? Townsville?

    It think you are sorely mistaken. Even tourist operators make money from the exploitation of the environment. They might make the right bleating noises, but that’s about it. Everybody else in the places that – as it turns out – determine elections are completely hostile to environmentalism getting in the way of their lives. Blinked, short-termism: for sure. Also the political reality which Labor must adapt to.

  19. sprocket_ says:

    This ancient Birthing Tree is scheduled to be chopped down in Victoria. It’s over 800. Just to save a few minutes for commuters.

    So this is the big issue, a couple of 800 year old tree of a species that lasts 500 to a 1000 years. A tree pair with a hollow trunk and a story made up by god knows who. The cost, tons and tons of CO2 over the life of the road because trucks and commuters have to “travel a few more minutes”.

    Might be time to let the tree do what trees do, plant a couple of saplings. Birthing tree version2.

  20. Andrew E

    Politics cannot stay the way it is. We can’t bury our head in the sand, the hairless monkeys have to stop burning fossil fuels. If we don’t out ports are stuffed, that is easy to predict, 2 meters, that is all it going to take. God knows what is going to happen to agriculture.

    We need a solution that provides people with a vision for the future, that makes sense. Running around telling people you are going to destroy their life is not going to make it happen, and this is what the Greens have on offer.

    Pretending the Greenland ice is not melting is head in the sand stuff. The Liberals want to pretend the 50’s will last for ever, they are not part of the solution. Actually I think it has got worse than that, there now seems to be an attitude, lets plunder the place before it fails.

    Labor are in the best position to move the economy as it needs to move. They are have done that once in my lifetime and our only hope is they can do it again. The problem is you have the Green and the Liberals trying to stop it.

  21. “A simple link would suffice and at the same time protect William from any potential copyright issues.”


    Posting an article like that for the purposes of reporting the news is specifically covered by Australia’s “Fair Dealing” copyright exemptions and is 100% legal. William has nothing to worry about.

  22. So, the way that the Right is going to protect sovereignty, the voice of the people and democracy is by suspending Parliament so that it cannot stop a Prime Minister, selected by fewer than 100,000 Brits, from wrecking the joint.
    Trump, eat your heart out. The thugs on the other side of the Ditch are much, much worse than you are.

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