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. phylactella says:

    [‘My guess is that most scientists and engineers who work for mining/fossil fuel companies also see the short-term financial gain as far more important than long-term planetary well-being.
    Value system and employment – this is a chicken & egg problem.’]

    Noted. But I really think things are starting to change. And as much as I’m reluctant to say it, it’s taken the current crisis to move the electorate, arguably best evidenced by the smoke haze over at least three capitals, global heating having been brought home to city folk. Soon they’ll be saying, “It’s the smoke, stupid.”

  2. Steven @ #1541 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:29 pm

    I just spoke to a colleague at the National Library in Canberra (I’m in Melbourne).

    The smoke has been relentless over the last two weeks and lots of people are very sick and depressed. Windows cannot be opened, smoke is permutating everywhere in buildings except those that have excellent seals or airlocks. Every night a thick smog descends on the capital.

    The smell is relentless. They have not seen blue sky for a fortnight. People are angry and scared. There is hope that the forecast rains tonight and the next few days will help.

    The government is very much on the nose.

    It exposes their lack of preparedness, as does just about everything is the flustercluck. Smoke proofing buildings is an issue (albeit with a long wash in time that one), but things like having adequate numbers of masks on supply is just so basic. Angry and scared is exactly right. It where you end up when (any remaining) confidence is the overlords is demolished.

  3. Not Sure @ #1549 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:43 pm

    Tennis players like all sports people are privately insured and it would be up to the players singly, or as a collective, together with match officials to decide whether or not to play.

    In previous years the issue was heat – and Tennis Australia developed strong policies around managing that. It is another issue that may come up as the tournament progresses. Please not the middle Saturday as my hubby has a ticket for that day.

  4. Mavis @ #1552 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:45 pm

    phylactella says:

    [‘My guess is that most scientists and engineers who work for mining/fossil fuel companies also see the short-term financial gain as far more important than long-term planetary well-being.
    Value system and employment – this is a chicken & egg problem.’]

    Noted. But I really think things are starting to change. And as much as I’m reluctant to say it, it’s taken the current crisis to move the electorate, arguably best evidenced by the smoke haze over at least three capitals, global heating having been brought home to city folk. Soon they’ll be saying, “It’s the smoke, stupid.

    It’s not the ‘city folk’ who need convincing.

  5. frednk @ #1549 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:41 pm

    The simple truth is the bullshit the greens are going on with now ( punching at shadows) is better than giving the Greens and Liberals a policy to punch.

    The silence of the Greens reflects the lack of a Labor policy to kick and the Greens inability to actually create policy.

    Make up your bloody mind: Are the Greens “going on with bullshit” or are they “silent”?

  6. They’re water bombing again just down the road. The not-elvis chopper with the big ball of water lets off a siren wail as it throb throbs overhead. I’ve had some hoses on keeping it damp around the place. Two whip birds have appeared and are cavorting and having a sip. Tomorrow can’t come quick enough.

  7. There are none so blind as those who would not see, nor none so deaf as those that would not hear, it seems.

    The shallow pool of experience and sources of information you might be imited to, does not necessarily reflect what others have said or done. Whoever you are.

    Seems like more than one has gotten out of bed the wrong way today P1

    Greens are both impotent and all powerful, deafeningly silent and always harping on, left extremists and a liberal party front, didn’t you get the memo P1? Greens are both responsible for everything and nothing at all. You know it makes sense.

  8. https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/im-sick-and-tired-of-that-woman-the-projects-steve-price-unleashes-on-virtue-signalling-jacinda-ardern-as-she-holidays-in-australia-and-compares-her-visit-to-scott-morrisons-trip-to-hawaii/ar-BBYWUIE?ocid=spartanntp

    ‘I’m sick and tired of that woman’: The Project’s Steve Price unleashes on ‘virtue signalling’ Jacinda Ardern as she holidays in Australia – and compares her visit to Scott Morrison’s trip to Hawaii

    “Virtue signalling” – has morphed into an insult. It is instructive who uses it on PB and who they use it against.

  9. P1, ‘You do understand that Labor is highly unlikely to win the next election with the same type of…..’

    What I understand is that people think it is some sort of game. Bag Labor and boost Liberals and somehow, in their fantasy land, emissions will go down.

    Be critical of the LNP and their non actions if you want the ALP to win.

  10. Australian Open qualifying delayed due to poor air quality, Racing Victoria cancels races

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-15/more-smoke-predicted-for-australian-open-qualifying/11868644

    “Play at the Australian Open qualifying tournament has been delayed until 1:00pm (AEDT) over concerns about air quality as Victoria’s chief medical officer urges Tennis Australia (TA) to develop an air quality policy.

    Key points:
    Conditions at Melbourne Park were so smoky yesterday that players complained
    Tennis Australia said it has installed measuring devices for air-quality at Melbourne Park
    Racing Victoria has cancelled two race meetings due to conditions being “unsuitable for racing”
    The Australian Open said in a statement that conditions were “constantly” being monitored and that “further decisions will be made using the onsite data and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria”.

    However, Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has urged TA to develop an air quality policy, with Dr Sutton saying he was “not sure” if it was appropriate for organisers to continue playing games in intense smoke pollution yesterday, with conditions in Melbourne expected to reach hazardous levels in Melbourne again today.

    Dr Sutton was reluctant to pass judgement on TA’s decision, noting officials had to weigh the health risks against contractual obligations and sports stars who had flown in from overseas specifically for the tournament.”

  11. I’ve been out for groceries. On the way to the shops I heard part of the Albo/Bill presser. Both spoke well, and Bill made some points about the meanness (not his word) of the current gov. He also described how, in a previous bushfire crisis, each MP was given an ‘assistant’ who became the liaison between the citizen and the bureaucracy. This meant that anyone who had trouble accessing help could simply contact the MP’s office and it could be dealt with directly. Bill said that those assistants no longer exist and the MPs are having as much trouble as anyone else in working out solutions.

    By chance, on the way home I heard someone going into complicated detail about all the money that was being handed out by the gov. Saying things that translated as “You’ll get what you get when you get it,” and emphasising how much simpler it would be from now on, yet being quite confusing about payments to firies “anyone who is in the field for 10 days” and in the next breath “after the first ten days”. I wondered which lesser MP had been handed this obviously difficult task (my radio reception in the car isn’t brilliant).

    At the end, it turned out it was our super-communicator, the PM.

  12. Silly move by Albo to be doing a presser with Littlefinger. You have to wonder why he did it. I suppose Albo prefers Shorten along side him rather than behind him where he can slip in a knife or two.

  13. Pegasus @ #1571 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:58 pm

    Australia urged to stop selling weapons to countries accused of war crimes

    It’s unthinkable Australia sells arms to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 5 million people have been forced to flee, human rights groups say

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/15/australia-urged-to-stop-selling-weapons-to-countries-accused-of-war-crimes

    In terms of crime against humanity, what’s the difference between selling arms and selling thermal coal ..?

  14. ItzaDream @ #1558 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:51 pm

    They’re water bombing again just down the road. The not-elvis chopper with the big ball of water lets off a siren wail as it throb throbs overhead. I’ve had some hoses on keeping it damp around the place. Two whip birds have appeared and are cavorting and having a sip. Tomorrow can’t come quick enough.

    Best wishes, Itza! I’ve forgotten – where are you again?

  15. Diogenes @ #1567 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 11:59 am

    Are there people working outdoors in Melbourne today or playing amateur sport? They are in the same situation as the tennis players.

    Likely would be. Though they’re probably not playing as long or as hard as the professionals. And may have more practical ability, at least in the case of outdoor workers, to wear protective masks.

  16. Player One @ #1572 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:06 pm

    ItzaDream @ #1558 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:51 pm

    They’re water bombing again just down the road. The not-elvis chopper with the big ball of water lets off a siren wail as it throb throbs overhead. I’ve had some hoses on keeping it damp around the place. Two whip birds have appeared and are cavorting and having a sip. Tomorrow can’t come quick enough.

    Best wishes, Itza! I’ve forgotten – where are you again?

    Ta. Between Bundanoon and Penrose on the Park – know where we begin, but little idea where we end (so to speak!)

  17. I see the government is gathering a bunch of scientists to provide a veneer of respectability for whatever plan they’re devising to avoid addressing the root causes of AGW. Resilience and adaptation, was it?

    They’re just as anti-science as ever. They want help, but only if you help in their way, according to their politically pre-determined plan and outcomes. That’s not listening to and following the science, that’s just cherry picking the bits that suit you while ignoring the bits that don’t.

  18. ItzaDream @ #1576 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:10 pm

    Player One @ #1572 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:06 pm

    ItzaDream @ #1558 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:51 pm

    They’re water bombing again just down the road. The not-elvis chopper with the big ball of water lets off a siren wail as it throb throbs overhead. I’ve had some hoses on keeping it damp around the place. Two whip birds have appeared and are cavorting and having a sip. Tomorrow can’t come quick enough.

    Best wishes, Itza! I’ve forgotten – where are you again?

    Ta. Between Bundanoon and Penrose on the Park – know where we begin, but little idea where we end (so to speak!)

    Ah! Same megafire, but not very close to us. I asked because we have water bombers over us again – but they seem to be working south of us, whereas you are north.

  19. We’re Going To Need A ‘Scotty From Marketing’ When the Climate Refugees Start Flooding Australia

    https://newmatilda.com/2020/01/15/were-going-to-need-a-scotty-from-marketing-when-the-climate-refugees-start-flooding-australia/

    But when nations like Bangladesh fall – and they will – we’re definitely going to need someone in charge who is prepared to get in and torture and demonise people seeking asylum. We’re going to need a cruel, ruthless, heartless ‘Scotty from Marketing’.

    Otherwise, all of us are going to have to live amongst more and more people like Abdul… the sort of person who was specifically, deliberately tortured on a faraway island so that the rest of us could live lives free from the inconvenience of human rights law.

    And the sort of person who, at his first opportunity to directly address the Torturer-In-Chief, asked not what this country could do for him, but what he could do to help the man and the country that tortured him.

  20. nath

    Your viciousness is out of place. Both Albo and Bill spoke well and I thought it excellent that Labor was seen to be working as a team compared to the one man band with occasional extra instruments that is the LNP.

  21. DisplayName @ #1578 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:10 pm

    I see the government is gathering a bunch of scientists to provide a veneer of respectability for whatever plan they’re devising to avoid addressing the root causes of AGW. Resilience and adaptation, was it?

    They’re just as anti-science as ever. They want help, but only if you help in their way, according to their politically pre-determined plan and outcomes. That’s not listening to and following the science, that’s just cherry picking the bits that suit you while ignoring the bits that don’t.

    And kicking the can down the lets-have-an-enquiry road. The can that the scientists have been trying to get them to open, for years already.

  22. P1, ‘Is it simply beyond your comprehension that someone could be critical of Labor because they want them to win?’

    I suppose in someone’s fantasy land it could happen.

    Focus your attention on the current government. They are the ‘do nothings’ on emissions.

  23. P1

    “Is it simply beyond your comprehension that someone could be critical of Labor because they want them to win?”

    Evidently. But, but apparently only Labor members and Labor supporters are allowed.

    While at the same time anyone can tell the Greens what they can do 24/7 despite being irrelevant and all-powerful at the same time. Confusion abounds.

  24. National @QuinnipiacPoll, Which candidate do you think would do the best job handling foreign policy?
    Biden 46%
    Sanders 12%
    Warren 10%
    Bloomberg 5%
    Buttigieg 4%
    Yang 3%
    Gabbard 2%

    #DemDebate #DemocraticDebate #CNNDebate

  25. Player One @ #1579 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:11 pm

    ItzaDream @ #1576 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:10 pm

    Player One @ #1572 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:06 pm

    ItzaDream @ #1558 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 12:51 pm

    They’re water bombing again just down the road. The not-elvis chopper with the big ball of water lets off a siren wail as it throb throbs overhead. I’ve had some hoses on keeping it damp around the place. Two whip birds have appeared and are cavorting and having a sip. Tomorrow can’t come quick enough.

    Best wishes, Itza! I’ve forgotten – where are you again?

    Ta. Between Bundanoon and Penrose on the Park – know where we begin, but little idea where we end (so to speak!)

    Ah! Same megafire, but not very close to us. I asked because we have water bombers over us again – but they seem to be working south of us, whereas you are north.

    Ours is a ‘breakaway’ fire, renamed The Morton after it crossed the Shoalhaven River. It stopped, or rather scissored around, a few hundred metres short (south) of us on Friday night; what a shocker that was. There’s smoulderings and little outbreaks, but the winds are slight and from the N, NE, so I’m fairly OK, and hanging in to wait for the rain. The response from RFS has been magnificent. They were back again yesterday with the grader rethinking containment lines.

  26. PB

    Perhaps, you need to remind some of the Laborites here to”focus their attention on the current government” rather than the Greens.

    Though of course, it is understandable why these same individuals deflect to attacking the Greens when ex-Labor leaders and ministers come out to give advice to Labor they don’t want to deal with.

  27. Uh huh.

    The Coalition Bludgers are slagging Labor because they want Labor to lose.
    The Greens Bludgers are slagging Labor because they want Labor to win.

    Whatevs.

  28. a r

    Are the Greens “going on with bullshit” or are they “silent”?

    They’re the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems. 🙂

    You mean it isn’t beer and Homer is wRONg ? ! Oh noes..


  29. Player One says:
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Make up your bloody mind: Are the Greens “going on with bullshit” or are they “silent”?

    You engage in it daily, Labor has no policy is the best that you and the greens can offer. And I am sorry P1 but adani adani adani is not a policy, stockpile smoke masks fits in well with the Liberals new meme, we must prepare

  30. ItzaDream says:
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    What happened to my enemy’s enemy is my best friend.

    The anti Labor parties are the best of friends.

  31. ItzaDream:

    [‘It’s not the ‘city folk’ who need convincing.’]

    Yes, it’s mainly regional Queensland, but don’t discount suburban Australia, where there are many votes to be had. The regions though are going to be difficult, not forgetting that in 2007, Rudd won 15 of the 30 seats on offer – so it can be achieved. Sensible policies going to employment alternatives for those affected by the gradual phasing out of fossil fuels should be Labor’s imperative. Adani is a worry though.

  32. The Coalition Bludgers are slagging Labor because they want Labor to lose.
    The Greens Bludgers are slagging Labor because they want Labor to win.
    The Greens Bludgers want Labor Bludgers to slag Labor because they want Labor to win.

    The Bludger Theatre of the Absurd reaches new heights.

    BTW, good presser by Albanese and Shorten. Well done.

  33. ItzaDream @ #1573 Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 1:08 pm

    There’s a whip bird on the verandah. They’re a bit drab, but very springy, and rather raffish, with a tousled top knot.

    I’ve been enjoying listening to the Kookaburras and the complicated language, for a bird, which they have developed to ‘talk’ to each other. It’s very different from the ‘laughing’ and sounds quite human if one wants to anthropomorphise a bit.

    Also, I have oscillated between laughing and crying as I watch the tiny wrens flit about the bushes looking for equally tiny insects and bugs to consume. Crying, well, tears moisten my eyes, as I think about all the smaller birds such as them who have perished in the fires and what a necessary role they play in keeping the bug levels down on our flora.

    The Crows are just being themselves as they pretend to not be there in the trees, but I can see them, as they wait in hopeful anticipation for me to chuck some more chicken bones and attached dark meat out for them. And I can hear a Waffle Bird in the background.

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