Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

A crash in Scott Morrison’s standing finds Labor edging ahead on voting intention, and Anthony Albanese taking the lead on preferred prime minister.

The first Newspoll for the year, and the third under the new YouGov online polling regime, finds Labor opening up a 51-49 lead, after they trailed 52-48 in the poll in early December. On the primary vote, the Coalition is down two to 40%, Labor up three to 36%, the Greens up one to 12% and One Nation down one to 4%. Perhaps more remarkably, Scott Morrison now trails Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister by 43-39, after leading him 48-34 in the previous poll. The damage on Morrison’s personal ratings amounts to an eight point drop on approval to 37% and an eleven point rise on disapproval to 59%. Conversely, Albanese is up six on approval to 46% and down four on disapproval to 37%. The Australian’s report is here; the poll was conducted from Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of 1505.

UPDATE (Essential Research): The Guardian has numbers from the first Essential Research poll of the year, but they disappointingly offer nothing on voting intention. What they do provide is corroboration for Newspoll’s finding that Anthony Albanese has taken the lead over Scott Morrison as preferred prime minister, in this case at 39-36, which compares with a 44-28 lead to Morrison when Essential last asked the question in early November. We are told that Scott Morrison is up nine on disapproval to 52% and that Anthony Albanese is up four on approval to 43% – their respective approval and disapproval ratings will have to wait for the full Essential report, which will presumably be with us later today or tomorrow. UPDATE: Morrison is down five on approval to 40%, Albanese is up two on disapproval to 30%. Full report here.

Despite everything, the poll finds 32% approving of Morrison’s handling of the bushfire crisis, which may be related to the fact that his approval rating was down only three among Coalition voters. The Guardian tells us only that 36% strongly disapproved of Morrison’s performance, to which the less strong measure of disapproval will need to be added to produce an equivalent figure for the 32% approval. Fifty-two per cent disagreed that Australia had always had bushfires like those just experienced, and 78% believe the government had been unprepared for them. Efforts to shift blame to the states do not appear to have borne fruit: Gladys Berejiklian’s handling of the bushfires scored 55% approval among New South Wales respondents, while Daniel Andrews was on 58% (these numbers would have come from small sub-samples of around 300 to 400 respondents).

The poll also offers a timely addition to the pollster’s leaders attributes series. The findings for the various attributes in this serious invariably move en bloc with the leaders’ general standing, and Morrison is accordingly down across the board. However, a clear standout is his collapse from 51% to 32% for “good in a crisis”, on which he was up 10% the last time the question was posed in October. Other unfavourable movements related in The Guardian range from a six-point increase in “out of touch with ordinary Australians“ to 62% to a 12 point drop on “visionary” to 30%.

More on all this when the full report is published. The poll was conducted online from Tuesday to Sunday from a sample of 1081.

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.

2,417 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor”

  1. Of course, the trouble with Labor ‘fighting dirty’ is that – for some inexplicable reason – the Liberals and the media then take that as a blank cheque.

    For example, there were several pieces where journos said that they were letting Liberals – er – bend the truth in the lead up to the last election campaign because (they said) Labor had run with Mediscare.

    It’s quite common, too, for Liberals to justify something – think Nauru/Manus, HECS, etc – by saying that Labor started the process (even where Labor specifically ruled out taking whatever it was further).

    What we NEED is a fair media. Without that, it’s very difficult for Labor to run any kind of strategy – big target, medium target, small target – successfully.

    In some cases, indeed, the media set the agenda, with the Liberals taking their lines of attack from the media rather than the media running the Liberals lines of attack.

  2. 7.30 is a complete tale of woe. The reason for that half mast flag in Sydney should be the reflection that the state of Australia is in at this moment.

  3. zoomster @ #1251 Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 – 7:44 pm

    Of course, the trouble with Labor ‘fighting dirty’ is that – for some inexplicable reason – the Liberals and the media then take that as a blank cheque.

    For example, there were several pieces where journos said that they were letting Liberals – er – bend the truth in the lead up to the last election campaign because (they said) Labor had run with Mediscare.

    It’s quite common, too, for Liberals to justify something – think Nauru/Manus, HECS, etc – by saying that Labor started the process (even where Labor specifically ruled out taking whatever it was further).

    What we NEED is a fair media. Without that, it’s very difficult for Labor to run any kind of strategy – big target, medium target, small target – successfully.

    In some cases, indeed, the media set the agenda, with the Liberals taking their lines of attack from the media rather than the media running the Liberals lines of attack.

    You are dreaming!Labor always needs to win without the MSM support. That’s the reality.

    Do the best with what we’ve got and trust the voters.

  4. I think if the Tennis or Cricket get canned then it’s time for some real fear form the left to rattle the cage.

    This summer is taking strips off the myth of the ‘relaxed and happy’ liberal voter. Crickets gone to shit, tennis is goning to shit, the coast has gone to shit. Only one party to blame. Labor and the masses need to start branding the Liberal party with this and not just scomo, he’s too small a scalp. They need to take down a whole swag bell-ends.
    If labor can’t see a way forward here with something like 100% clean energy by 2035 then we deserve the slow hot death we get.

  5. BB:

    I merely pointed out that Mr Newbie’s basic logical premiss is that his position on the matters under discussion is the only possible rational one.

    Please enlighten me on what rational arguments there are against drag queens, who’ve clearly passed vetting procedures, reading to children in public libraries and SSM.

    Let me guess:
    – drag queens/gay men shouldn’t be around children because they’re paedophiles or want to “groom” them into becoming homosexuals.
    – having children exposed to drag queens at a young age will only confuse them about their own gender identity and/or possibly make them gay (through mere exposure).
    – I don’t want unisex bathrooms/I don’t want my children to share bathrooms with cross-dressers and perverts.
    -Men should act, look and dress “like men”.
    -I don’t want my children exposed to homosexuality/cross-dressing because it’s disgusting/an abomination/against God’s will/unnatural/dirty/all gays are infected with HIV/promiscuous.

    Have I missed anything? Or is there an actual, rational argument you know of but seem reluctant to provide?

    Enlighten me.

    Just as bigoted as the RWNJs on the other side.

    False equivalence, again. That seems to be all you’ve got.

    If you honestly believe that calling someone a bigot for having a problem with drag queens reading to children is “just as bigoted” as attending a demonstration against drag queens in a public library where children are present, you’re a lot less rational than I gave you credit for.

  6. Zoom

    Of course, the trouble with Labor ‘fighting dirty’ is that – for some inexplicable reason – the Liberals and the media then take that as a blank cheque.

    For example, there were several pieces where journos said that they were letting Liberals – er – bend the truth in the lead up to the last election campaign because (they said) Labor had run with Mediscare.

    This is exactly the line that Bernard Keane of Crikey took right up to the May 18th 2019 election.

    He was straight out of the blocks with Labor! Mediscare! Unfair! from the time that Malcolm Turnbull almost lost an “unlosable” election. He mentioned it with surprising frequency in subsequent years, and up until the election he was saying that Labor could not complain about the Clive Palmer “Death Tax” ads, because of Mediscare.

    I am gobsmacked to this day. The LNP were on record about privatising some of the functions of Medicare if they were elected – I presume this happened.

    Keane could not see the degree of difference.

  7. The most practical thing Morrison could do is piss off to Hawaii for a permanent vacation. And take the motley band of Liberal and National misfits with him.

    Scott Morrison to focus on ‘resilience and adaptation’ to address climate change

    The prime minister says he will work on ‘practical’ measures rather than bolstering emission reduction targets

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/14/scott-morrison-to-focus-on-resilience-and-adaption-to-address-climate-change

  8. South
    The punters have voted against clean energy and climate action the last 3 times round.As soon as it becomes a cost to them they run a mile.

  9. All those people who have spent the last 6 months working themselves into a frenzy about what Labor (which is in opposition) intends to do about GHGEs must be feeling quite stupid now. While they’ve been carrying on the actual government is continuing to walk Australia further away from its international and domestic obligations on climate change. And the party for which the environment is supposed to be its signature policy issue has been MIA throughout this bushfire crisis.

    The prime minister says he is focused on “practical” measures to address the effects of climate change in Australia rather than bolstering emission reduction targets.

    As the government faces internal pressure to do more on climate change policy, Scott Morrison said Australia was already “carrying its weight” in terms of its global emission reduction efforts and transition to renewables but more needed to be done on “resilience and adaptation”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/14/scott-morrison-to-focus-on-resilience-and-adaption-to-address-climate-change

  10. Zoomster,
    the left doesn’t currently have the will to be bastards.
    Albo and other loveable left icons should be in cobargo and other hell-scapes right now wrapping their arms about people and looking straight into the camera asking “Why did the Liberal National goverment do this”
    And people can call them all the names they like, and people can see through it, but all labor has to do is talk about the rich future of a green technology sector and how the liberals burnt your house down.

    Labor and the Greens don’t have the will to do this. When they do, they will win. and if they win (maybe never again) they should just abuse process and parliament to right the ship.

    Labor and the Greens would never have the will to drop the guillotine on debate in the house and pass truth in media laws in the dead of night. The LNP will do it with whatever they want, usually counter terrorist legislation. The left squeels all the time about this but Labor and the Greens don’t presently have the will to do something about their structural disadvantage.

  11. citizen @ #1255 Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 – 4:57 pm

    The most practical thing Morrison could do is piss off to Hawaii for a permanent vacation. And take the motley band of Liberal and National misfits with him.

    Scott Morrison to focus on ‘resilience and adaptation’ to address climate change

    The prime minister says he will work on ‘practical’ measures rather than bolstering emission reduction targets

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/14/scott-morrison-to-focus-on-resilience-and-adaption-to-address-climate-change

    And the most practical thing we voters can do is to elect a federal Labor govt.

  12. GG,

    While Labor seems to believe that propping up the Unions representing the 0.02% of Australians employed in the thermal coal industry that support the Right Faction is far more important than planning for future after thermal coal for the other 99.98% of the Australian workforce.

  13. Steve Davis,
    Labor took meek policies on climate change.
    Labor could have said we are going to build a solar array that would power Indonesia and 200K private sector jobs will be created from it. instead they said,
    “Please let us be the government we have turnbulls meek policy, please….”
    And the punters saw them as weak.
    Clive may be a fat shit, but you can get a job in mining from him. There arnt’ that many jobs being a value signaler.

  14. Confessions

    All those people who have spent the last 6 months working themselves into a frenzy about what Labor (which is in opposition) intends to do about GHGEs must be feeling quite stupid now. While they’ve been carrying on the actual government is continuing to walk Australia further away from its international and domestic obligations on climate change. And the party for which the environment is supposed to be its signature policy issue has been MIA throughout this bushfire crisis.
    _______________________________________

    Fess

    As a whole lot of really committed people here will tell you, Australia’s contribution to lowering greenhouse gases depends fundamentally on the powerless Opposition parties right here and right now declaring their climate change policies. Because these need to be examined in detail right here and right now to make sure they will be as effective as the Greens would like and as dangerous as the Coalition would like.

    The government, which won the last election and does not have to face the electorate for another two and a half years, has a clear climate policy of doing nothing more than they can eke out of the decisions of the last Labor government and certainly nothing that will impact the profits of the billionaires that provide endless funds to them through various backdoors.

  15. Labor and the masses need to start branding the Liberal party with this and not just scomo

    Exactly. Its time for Albo to start talking about how the Liberals are not good economic managers. That their philosophy is actually about being selfish. That Labor builds and Liberals tear down.

  16. As a whole lot of really committed people here will tell you, Australia’s contribution to lowering greenhouse gases depends fundamentally on the powerless Opposition parties right here and right now declaring their climate change policies. Because these need to be examined in detail right here and right now to make sure they will be as effective as the Greens would like and as dangerous as the Coalition would like.

    Yes it is eyeroll-worthy inanity.

  17. On other things, a former student and friend dropped into my office today. He worked for the BOM for three years, some time ago.

    We were sighing about how the majority of Australians cannot seem to get their head around the reality and effects of climate change, despite the fact that Australia will suffer most (among OECD countries, anyway).

    We were talking about strategies to try and communicate with voters (almost none we could think of), when I mentioned my QLD one-nation voting relatives. He laughed and said, “say no more”. We both then acknowledged that we have very good friends in QLD who work at UQ and other universities (Hi Dandy M!), before deciding that there is no reaching One Nation voters.

    But then he said ” maybe we cannot afford to just write them off – we need to find a way to communicate with them”.

    Words of wisdom.

    We know that the most effective way of changing peoples minds is by individual conversations between trusted people.

    This has had some effect in my immediate family, with:

    * DIL who has never voted anything but Liberal in her life voting Labor (in Wentworth). Son says I should not underestimate his achievement in this outcome.
    * Daughter discovering that her friends on Facebook were feeding her a lot of fake news, which she had not bothered to check, who now only believes it if it is own the Guardian or SMH.
    * Youngest son who has now even told daughter that unless it is in the Guardian you should not believe it. He was at the protest as Sydney Town Hall last Friday night. I was so proud of him. He said that at least half the Police were polite and smiling, and he figured they agreed with the protestors.
    *Also youngest son is a bit like Toad of Toad Hall – once he discovers an enthusiasm, everyone he knows needs to know about it and share it. He is proud of all his low-info mates who he has disabused of their fantasies.

    Make of all that what you will.

    If I had the secret to winning elections, do you think I would be sitting here making blog posts!

  18. Unfortunately suicide is no respecter of race, religion, gender, age, political preference, sexuality, wealth or circumstance. Certain circumstances can increase suicide rates.

    Emile Durkheim, in the early days of Sociology did a study on suicide by analysing data and publishing the results. The book is ‘Suicide’ published 1897. It was the first that offered the premise that social factors influence the rates of suicide.

    So people could consider that instead of a (then perceived) ‘fault’ in the individual, society had a part in these acts.

    from Wiki
    “Durkheim concluded that:

    Suicide rates are higher in men than women (although married women who remained childless for a number of years ended up with a high suicide rate).

    Suicide rates are higher for those who are single than those who are in a sexual relationship.

    Suicide rates are higher for people without children than people with children.

    Suicide rates are higher among Protestants than Catholics and Jews.

    Suicide rates are higher among soldiers than civilians.

    Suicide rates are higher in times of peace than in times of war. (For example, the suicide rate in France fell after the coup d’etat of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte.

    War also reduced the suicide rate: after war broke out in 1866 between Austria and Italy, the suicide rate fell by 14 per cent in both countries.)

    Suicide rates are higher in Scandinavian countries.

    The higher the education level, the more likely it was that an individual would choose suicide.

    However, Durkheim established that there is more correlation between an individual’s religion and suicide rate than an individual’s education level. Jewish people were generally highly educated but had a low suicide rate.

    Nowadays much of this can be criticised and cannot be used, but, think of how far have we come since 1897.

    Suicide is still seen as an aberration of an individual’s psyche or a failure to cope with the stresses of life. It is mainly a medical problem, to be fixed with more funding for dedicates services to help the individual, which I agree to be commendable and urgent.

    But when are we going to put social factors in the same light? It has come up a bit with farmers suiciding, and in the Same Sex Marriage debate with social response to sexual orientation leading to suicide. But the suicides by robodebt victims never permeated the news-cycle in any real terms.

    When are we going to say, we cannot do this because it will increase the suicide rate? When are we going to look at risk of increase in suicide rate as a consideration for policy development?

    These are thoughts I am just streaming as I sit here

    And as an aside, when the reality of global warming really hits, which we are on the way to, I reckon suicide rates will climb, especially if it seems inevitable because no-one in power wants to do anything about it.

    Would I be jumping to a conclusion to think this could impact most on the young? Or could it be the elderly who decide their last years should not be lived in such times?

    But where is the planning? Where is the confidence that our leaders will give us more an ice-block’s hope in Hell that there is an Over the Rainbow where a Bluebird can fly? (e.g. WW2 Churchill telling British people that they will win in the end and they believed him. )

    Instead of confidence, we get The Con. Instead of planning, we get chaos. Instead of competence, we get madness.

    There are hidden consequences to that.

  19. We know that the most effective way of changing peoples minds is by individual conversations between trusted people.

    EXACTLY!

    And this is precisely what the Labor organisation should be attempting to enable.

    Empowering good people (with good information and careful targeting) to go out and individually, personally, engage the “low information voters”.

  20. First hint. There’s a lot of younger voters who either aren’t registered, don’t vote or sadly, do vote Liberal. A lot of these people are potentially targettable. With them goes their peers.

  21. Douglas and Milko,
    The equation is different for the millennial generation. A lot of people are going to reconsider having children in a world like this. I live surrounded by trees in Hobart. I expect i will see my house burn to the ground one day.

    It’d be nice to have some politicians who actually had the stones to lean in and fight against the apathetic destruction of our future. Instead Wilkie my local member is probably recruiting sources for another run against crown casino.

    If we don’t get climate change right, we dont’ get to have any other problems.

  22. D&M

    My youngest son has told his many fb followers that if they’re going to post anti-climate change memes, they should save him the time and unfriend him.

  23. Scout says:
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    What is the appropriate response to someone who says Australia is doing enough to combat climate change?

    Australia has a bright future an international zero carbon economy, we need to push as hard as we can to get there.

  24. Douglas and Milko

    SK
    “Twerps of Angst” sounds just right to me fo a death metal band right out of Antwerp.

    That’ll be the Antwerp band Angst Twerps

  25. Cud Chewer @ #1275 Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 – 8:22 pm

    Empowering good people (with good information and careful targeting) to go out and individually, personally, engage the “low information voters”.

    And say … what, exactly?

    “Hello there, I’m from the Labor party. Polling tells us that climate change is your number one issue. Sadly, we don’t actually have a policy on that yet, but we do hope to have a real beauty just in time for the next election. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss? Energy? Ummm … actually, we don’t have a policy on that either, just yet. Anything else? No? Well, can we count on your vote at the next election?”

  26. south……I also live in Hobart surrounded by trees and would not be surprised to have a fire rip through this place. (in a suburb that starts with south!)

    do think Wilkie is ok though, his voting is directed the right way.

  27. south

    If we don’t get climate change right, we dont’ get to have any other problems.

    Unfortunately, the slow culling of human life on the planet by climate change means that there will be plenty of other problems that will be important.

  28. Scout,
    Hobart should be a green electorate. Wilkie could be doing a lot more. I don’t see him talking about climate change ever. I just think it’s past him.

  29. south

    I think i have asked, you live somewhere up near where the keen’s sign used to be. When I was a kid I walked from home to the cascade brewery to look at he devastation, I think that was the 67 fires.. The family home was rebuilt after the 1890 fires. I’m not saying it isn’t getting worse, it is, but Hobart has always had issues.

  30. P1

    My experience of doorknocking (and similar voter interaction) is that they don’t even remember what you tell them a couple of years out. Most times, they don’t even remember you’ve called before.

    On the other hand, people appreciate being consulted, not just told. So “we’re in the process of formulating a policy on X, what are your opinions?” is a winning strategy.

    Most voters don’t want to be told. They want to be listened to.

    This is Labor’s listening period. The general direction is clear – Labor is supporting Paris – but there are multiple ways to get there.

  31. What is the appropriate response to someone who says Australia is doing enough to combat climate change?

    Ask them why they think that. Is it because they believe Australia is doing lots?

    Australia ranked worst for climate action as new report shows we score zero on policy

    https://7news.com.au/news/climate-change/embrace-tech-to-tackle-emissions-minister-c-599564

    Or because we are too small to matter?

    The physics of the climate system doesn’t care about political boundaries. Does Germany not matter because it’s responsible for (slightly) less than 2%, or does it matter because it’s part of the EU, responsible for 9.4% of emissions? How about if we divide China into 56 countries of 25 million people, each with emissions half of Australia’s – would that let them off the hook?

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/09/when-it-comes-to-emissions-the-too-small-to-matter-argument-is-absurd-reckless-and-morally-bankrupt

    Or because the US pulled out of the Paris Agreement so our meagre target (and failing to meet that) doesnt matter.
    Well, the US are still in the agreement until late 2020. And States that total about 60% of the US GDP have formed an alliance committing to meeting the Paris Agreement.
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/11/05/paris-climate-agreement-united-states-withdraw/

    Or is because they get there information from the Liberal Party of one of its propaganda outlets rather than a source of independent news.

    Failing all that, just slap them across the chops with a big dead fish. Or start a hashtag. Or make them some hashcookies and start the conversation over.

  32. frednk – I’m 500 mtrs from the keens sign, my father grew up directly underneath it (always told me stories about it being a working class suburb when he grew up and now full of suburu driving yuppies) literally looking out my window at the brewery at the moment (and the tip!), my dad used to work at the brewery and would talk about the beers they had at their lunch breaks.

    south – we are a green voting electorate, (not me personally – anymore) and I am sure Wilkie would vote for carbon reducing votes etc. McKim in the Senate gives it a crack, even if Abetz embarass me as Tasmanian

  33. frednk, Scout,
    I’m up the road a bit, I live in house built in the 40s that was one of the only survivors of 67. I’m attached but not that attached, it’d just be really shit if i renovate my bathroom this year and the place burns down.

    I’m angry that labor and the left has been so wrapped up in playing on the field the liberals mark out that they easily loose on issues that they could win. Even in a hostile press.

    Labor can take green energy, green jobs and a clean future the the next election and win, it can also get coal miners by playing the race card a little and starting to talk about the immigration rate. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until i can own a house in Beijing, no one from china should be able to buy a residential property in Australia. Having tough Australian Citizen first policies will win votes.
    Other countries have similar policies and no one calls them out for it. We are the only country i know of that goes out of its way to play fair for everyone at the disadvantage of our own citizens.

    Labor just have to be willing to fight. Lets hope they get some courage this year.

  34. There’s plenty of bush to burn next year around Sydney. The weather patterns have switched and the East Coast is probably OK for the remainder of this season. February and March in Sydney are normally warm, humid and wet, although nothing is guaranteed. Meanwhile, for Victoria and SA, there’s likely more to come.

    This season, unlike 1994 and many other years, there have been no big fires in the bushland very close to built-up areas near Sydney, for example the Royal National Park, the lower Blue Mountains and Kuringai Chase. In 1994, fires escaped bushland to destroy 100 homes in Janalli near Sutherland. About a dozen homes were lost near Chatswood (within 15 km of the CBD) as fires burnt through Lane Cove National Park.

    Sydney has been hot and dry until the last week or so. This year, Sydney dodged a bullet. Next year and the year after? We’ll see.

  35. zoomster says:
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 8:25 pm
    D&M

    My youngest son has told his many fb followers that if they’re going to post anti-climate change memes, they should save him the time and unfriend him.
    __________________________________________
    Your son sounds like a chip off the old block!

  36. My cousin owns a flat in China. There are restrictions on foreigners buying property in China, but then there are restrictions on foreigners buying property in Australia.


  37. I’m up the road a bit, I live in house built in the 40s that was one of the only survivors of 67.

    We are talking childhood memories here, but that would make it a house in fern-tree. There used to be a walking track from cascade to there.

  38. Small target strategy is the only way to go. The public wouldnt have a clue about policies anyway.They dont even know who their own MP is.

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