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. We know that the Coalition intends to do nothing about emission reduction beyond lip-service and token gestures.

    We know that Labor intend to reduce emissions to zero by 2050. At the last election they planned to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 but that will require adjustment in view of a further 3 years of inaction and likely increases in emissions. Details of how that is to be achieved will be worked out well before the election.

    It doesn’t matter what the Greens propose as they will not be called upon to implement their plans.

  2. zoomster @ #1289 Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 – 8:43 pm

    The general direction is clear – Labor is supporting Paris – but there are multiple ways to get there.

    And I think this is the nub of the problem. “Supporting Paris” is meaningless now. The Coalition claims it is “Supporting Paris”. It doesn’t really matter if you or I believe them – the electorate clearly does. Or at least enough of them do. And they also believe – because they are told so by the Coalition – that this is going to be enough.

    Of course, it isn’t enough. Even the IPCC – you know, the people who negotiated the Paris agreement – are now loudly and clearly telling us that “Supporting Paris” is just not enough.

    Labor simply won’t win with a simple #MeToo message. They have to go beyond that, and (yes, of course) they have to take the electorate with them. Which means educating the electorate. And doing it while they are in a mood to listen. Which would be … well, right about now!

    Honestly, Labor couldn’t have picked a worse time to be standing around with blank looks on their faces and their hands in their pockets, admitting – nay, even boasting – that they have no policies.

    Labor squibbed it’s post-election review, and I believe some of the saner heads in the party can now clearly see they jumped the wrong way on coal. A coal tour of Queensland? While Australia burns? You really couldn’t make this stuff up!

    And yet here they are wasting yet another opportunity to differentiate themselves. How many more chances do you think they are going to get?

  3. Yeah that walking track is still there. The pipline track is a good walk.
    And I agree, Government do lose elections, and oppositions can help them along.

  4. Nazi flag furore prompts move to tighten anti-vilification laws

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/disgusting-behaviour-premier-slams-couple-flying-nazi-flag-over-property-20200114-p53rao.html

    “The Victorian MP pushing for changes to the state’s anti-vilification legislation does not believe the swastika should be banned from public display.

    Reason Party MP Fiona Patten, whose bill has prompted a parliamentary review of the state’s anti-vilification laws, was responding to controversy over a Nazi flag flying above a home in country Victoria.
    :::
    Ms Patten condemned the couple’s actions, however she does not believe banning the swastika is the answer.

    “I think with banning symbols, where do we stop? Now yes, the history of the Nazi party and the extraordinary, horrific acts that they undertook is one thing. I don’t think prohibiting something or banning it the answer, however we do want to prohibit people trying to incite hatred and violence on the grounds of who they are,” she said.”

  5. Rakali:

    It never fails to astonish me that something as fundamentally undemocratic as the House of Lords still exists in a first-world democracy in 2020.

  6. Player One @9:16. Labor have to first get elected. They have to start by proposing a plan that will be accepted by the electorate. They need to move us from doing nothing to doing something, even if it’s way short of what is needed.

    Labor can do nothing from opposition. Once in Government they can shift things in the right direction. While about it they can start to dismantle to Howard-Costello legacy.

    The Coalition don’t tell the punters what they’re going to cut or privatise when in Opposition. They just do it once elected

  7. jenauthor says:
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Was just watching an MSNBC show (can’t remember which one – though it wasn’t Maddow) and Rick Wilson was on. He made an argument which I am growing to believe … and applies to our situation as well.

    He said wtte “Dems (and I would venture ALP here) don’t know how to fight elections. They put forward policy. And policy isn’t what wins elections. It’s someone, anyone, telling voters they are like them and will fight for them — and will use any means they can find to trash their opponents.”

    He implied that sensible and honourable only exists after the election has been won. Before that, he suggested, was basically, mongrels fighting in the gutter and if you don’t get down there and fight dirty you’ll never win.

    I think, especially given the evidence of popular support that was lost by Morrison because social media lambasted/trashed his behaviour over the fires, that Wilson is right.

    It seems a clean fight is an impotent one.
    ——————————————-
    This is exactly the central theme of Machiavelli’s the Prince. Which is why i think the left needs to read it then from there read other books on people management. I hear people say the ALP ran a positive policy based campaign but I and many Australians didn’t see it that way. Successful people are at times ruthless in the quest for success, this isn’t to be confused with being a jerk.

  8. Pity all the people who shot up the street signs on the dirt road to the southern most point of Tasmania c1994 are presumably not available to be deployed in the Mallee

  9. Mexicanbeemer,
    I totally agree, it’s why i talk about will power a lot. I don’t think labor really has the will to be in power.
    Until they fight like the the consequence of losing will be worse than death. they won’t win.

    The LNP know how to do this. They fight for their personal lively hoods every election. Every LNP member knows that once they leave parliament they are lost. And hence they are willing to fight, hard and dirty.

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

    It is almost impossible to make adults change their minds. You have to get them to question themselves.
    1. Ask them how do they know that Australia is doing enough?
    2. Did someone else tell them that or did they work it out for themselves?
    3. If someone else do they trust that source? Has it ever been wrong? Is it unbiased?
    4. Have they ever read any of the science on climate change? Or only other people’s opinion of climate change?

  11. Socrates @ #1315 Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 – 9:47 pm

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

    It is almost impossible to make adults change their minds. You have to get them to question themselves.
    1. Ask them how do they know that Australia is doing enough?
    2. Did someone else tell them that or did they work it out for themselves?
    3. If someone else do they trust that source? Has it ever been wrong? Is it unbiased?
    4. Have they ever read any of the science on climate change? Or only other people’s opinion of climate change?

    It’s a matter of how you engage.

    So far, you’re on the side of telling people they are fuckwits for not accepting your brilliance.

    Not an overly successful political strategy in my experience.

  12. If you want the message read Ross Garnaut’s book.

    Australia will do very well out of a zero carbon economy. Fu*k the rest of the world, it is in Australia’s interest to make it happen. What are you doing to bring it on?

  13. He said wtte “Dems (and I would venture ALP here) don’t know how to fight elections. They put forward policy. And policy isn’t what wins elections. It’s someone, anyone, telling voters they are like them and will fight for them — and will use any means they can find to trash their opponents.”

    He implied that sensible and honourable only exists after the election has been won. Before that, he suggested, was basically, mongrels fighting in the gutter and if you don’t get down there and fight dirty you’ll never win.

    This is my concern re the Democrats, and why Labor should essentially ignore the Greens and their virtue signalling.

  14. frednk..

    “Australia will do very well out of a zero carbon economy. Fu*k the rest of the world, it is in Australia’s interest to make it happen.”

    That’s also a message that should be taken directly to voters in shopping centres.

    Its the opposite of this message. The lie that frankly even a lot of pro climate people have swallowed, that taking action means taking a hit to our standard of living. That’s at the absolute core of this problem.

    You see it implicitly in so many journo interviews for instance. Remember Shorten being relentlessly asked “how much will this cost?” He tried by answering “whats the cost of doing nothing”. Instead he should have answered “Actually taking action means bringing forward the use of technologies that will make us all wealthier. It will mean cheaper energy, a renewed steel industry, export of energy intensive materials, export of electricity, and a higher standard of living for all. Its a no-brainer investment for a government”.

  15. Anything I write at the moment about Morrison and climate change is influenced negatively by the smoke lingering for days and becoming thicker whenever a S-E wind blows. The house is hot and stuffy (cannot use evap cooler and doors/windows closed).

    I know that those in the bushfire areas are a lot worse off and feel somewhat guilty that I am complaining.

    But to the government, PLEASE PLEASE see the error of your ways and do something useful for humanity and all creatures on the planet.

  16. frednk @ #1317 Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 – 9:52 pm

    If you want the message read Ross Garnaut’s book.

    Australia will do very well out of a zero carbon economy. Fu*k the rest of the world, it is in Australia’s interest to make it happen. What are you doing to bring it on?

    Ah, the infatuations of youth! How enthusiastically we embrace our first loves, to the exclusion of all others. Indeed, to the exclusion also of all logic and reason. And how deeply we are wounded when our love fails to fulfil their promise, and how loudly we are then wont to denounce them as shallow and false!

    🙂

  17. citizen I’ve been personally, physically hurt by the smoke. Its been like having a bad head cold for weeks. Not feeling energetic, feeling down. I bet a lot of people have suffered similarly. I hope they all get the message.

  18. citizen:

    As an asthmatic I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be for you living with the choking smoke for a day much less weeks on end and with no real end in sight.


  19. Player One says:
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Ah, the infatuations of youth! How enthusiastically we embrace our first loves, to the exclusion of all others. Indeed, to the exclusion also of all logic and reason. And how deeply we are wounded when our love fails to fulfil their promise, and how loudly we are then wont to denounce them as shallow and false!

    Been reflecting on your behavior.

    Gas, gas, gas.
    Cable too long to go to Singapore, Nonsense.
    Export Jobs, Export jobs.
    and now, dishing Ross’ work, who by the way knows more about the issue than you ever will.

    Are you sure your not a Liberal provocateur.

  20. Player One:

    Life is just so much easier when you can tie a neat little label onto anyone who disagrees with you, isn’t it?

    Saves you having to think.

    I wish we could all agree to avoid such labelling.

    One of the other problems with labelling is that it leads to relabelling, which is now a principal activity in Universities, and is a complete waste of time

  21. Prof Garnaut’s book is quite interesting, as is in the CSIRO Roadmap, as is the Stanford study; instead we just have nonsense.

    The statement from Bucephalus placing nuclear fusion, thorium rectors and “hydrogen steel-making” into the same category at least had the advantage of being wrong

  22. GG
    Had you taken the time to comprehend my comment you would have seen that I was explicitly advocating not telling them anything. Ask them questions. Its called Socratic irony, ironically enough. The irony seems lost on you.

  23. “Confessions says:
    Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 10:14 pm
    citizen:
    As an asthmatic I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be for you living with the choking smoke for a day much less weeks on end and with no real end in sight.”

    There are literally millions of people affected at the moment, with the firefighters and people in bushfire zones the worst off. The short, medium and long term health effects are now being examined and various medical experts are predicting problems down the track for many people.

    The Canberra Times today has an article on the subject (headline only):

    Smoke must be treated as ‘public health emergency’: Bowen

    Health Minister Greg Hunt will commission new research to understand the long-term health effects of the bushfire smoke choking Australian cities and towns, as Labor says it should be treated as a public health emergency.

  24. Fess,
    It’s starting to get willing before the Iowa Caucuses, and between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, of all people!

    On Saturday night, Politico reported that Sanders volunteers were instructed to tell voters leaning toward Warren that “people who support her are highly educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what” and that “she’s bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party.”

    Warren struck back on Sunday.

    “I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me,” she told reporters in Iowa.

    She recalled the hostility of many Sanders voters toward Clinton after he lost the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination to the former secretary of State.

    “We all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016, and we can’t have a repeat of that,” Warren said. “Democrats need to unite our party.”

    The anti-Warren script for volunteers was produced by the Sanders campaign, but the Vermont senator tried to keep his distance, saying nobody was “going to be attacking Elizabeth.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/warren-says-sanders-told-her-a-woman-could-not-win-the-us-presidency-20200114-p53rcc.html

  25. citizen:

    Yes, one doesn’t have to be in a bushfire risk area to be impacted by the bushfires.

    I was hoping the cyclone off WA might provide some rain relief at the very least to SA, but that’s not going to happen.

  26. Yep. Relentless Positivity. Can’t buy a clue. That’s the Morrison government:

    Australia’s former productivity boss says the Morrison government is failing to stimulate the economy, and warns it seems more concerned about public perception than actual policies.

    Peter Harris, who chaired the Productivity Commission between 2012 and 2019, said productivity had collapsed and wages had stagnated but “the political leadership tool of choice today is simply to emphasise the positive”.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/former-productivity-commissioner-attacks-coalition-s-economic-plan-20200114-p53rby.html

  27. C@t:

    A commentator asked the question this morning: if Sanders’ campaign is surging (as his fans have asserted) why is he going negative? And his claims of ignorance aren’t going to wash after the allegations earlier in the primaries.

  28. I came back to Melbourne yesterday after spending 10 glorious days on the north island of New Zealand; what I witnessed was apocalyptic…my beautiful city was shrouded in smoke….v sad.

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