Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor

Newspoll has both major parties up on the primary vote, Scott Morrison’s standing recovering somewhat, and generally positive results for federal and state governments on handling of coronavirus.

For all that our world may have changed over the past three weeks, Newspoll has not: The Australian reports the latest result has Labor’s lead steady at 51-49. There has, however, been primary vote movement in favour of the major parties, with both up by two points: the Coalition to 40%, Labor to 36%. The Greens are down one to 12%, One Nation unchanged on 4% and others down three to 8%.

As with Essential Research, Scott Morrison has recovered somewhat from his post-bushfire slump, with his approval rating up three to 41% and disapproval down five to 53%. He now holds a 42-38 lead over Anthony Albanese as preferred prime minister, who led 41-40 last time. Albanese’s net rating has also improved, his approval rating up one to 40% (The Australian report says down three, but I believe it has its wires crossed from the preferred prime minister movement) and disapproval down four to 40%.

In other findings, 75% support the government’s decision to abandon a budget surplus in favour of economic stimulus; 51% believe the federal government has managed preparedness for the crisis well; 66% are satisfied with federal and state government efforts to inform the public about the virus; but only 47% feel the same way about managing its economic impact.

UPDATE: The Australian’s reportage rather downplays the fact, but the poll found only 33% were satisfied with the economic response of governments (the question emphasised “both federal and state”) to the coronavirus outbreak, with 47% dissatisfied. The 75% rating in favour of stimulus did not relate specifically to the government’s policy, but to the general notion that “the Morrison government should provide a stimulus package to safeguard the economy”, with only 14% favouring the alternative option that it “should prioritise its promise to deliver a budget surplus”.

For the other questions, 76% of respondents were worried about the economic impact of the outbreak, versus only 20% for confident; 51% were worried, and 47% confident, about the preparedness of the public health system, for which 51% were satisified with the federal and state government response and 33% dissatisfied; and 63% were confident, and 35% worried, about “the amount of information available to Australians about how to protect themselves”, for which 65% were satisfied and 28% dissatisfied with the federal and state government response.

The poll was conducted Wednesday to Saturday from a sample of 1501.

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.

1,631 comments on “Newspoll: 51-49 to Labor”

  1. “Mexicanbeemersays:
    Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 4:37 pm
    Blobbitt
    The response to climate change is contributing to the problem or transition pending on what side of the energy fence you sit. The market is slowly forcing change.”

    Yes, I agree that the market is slowly causing change.

    I think that following C19, there is going to be a massive need to get the economy moving again. That’s only going to happen by governments spending massive amounts of money, just like they would in a war.

    Rather than having a war, they could spend the money of doing stuff that might be useful. Forcing the pace of the energy transition is one of those possible areas.

  2. The Worldometer stats, if we can believe them, continue to make interesting reading.

    I see some so-called experts in the media making statements such as “Italy is our future.” However, if you look at the column headed “Serious, Critical” – which I assume broadly to mean cases that need intensive care in a hospital – then over 8 per cent (1,851 out of 23,073) of Italy’s “active” cases are deemed “Serious Critical” whereas only 1 out of over 400 Australian cases is in this category.

    When you compare Italy’s and Australia’s stats to those of other countries in the early to medium stages of virus spread, you find a wide variation. France is not far short of Italy’s situation in terms of the proportion of critical cases to active cases, but from an infection rate among the general population around half that of Italy’s. Spain and Norway both have a comparable proportion of the population infected to Italy, but with significantly lower proportions of critical cases.

    Spain is struggling to deal with its critical cases, which is probably a combination of the capacity of the health care system, and also of the geographically-dispersed nature of the Spanish population and thereby its hospital system: a problem I suspect is also the case in Italy and France: for instance, in reading that article by the overwhelmed intensivist in the absolutely gorgeous town of Bergamo, it struck me that many countries – including Australia – wouldn’t even attempt to operate an ICU in a town of around 100,000 people which is only 60ks from a major city (Milan). I suspect a bit of underlying inefficiency in their health system, which might also have contributed towards the rapid spread of the disease in Italy, and from Italy to many other parts of the world (as the news tracking part of the Webometer Coronavirus page illustrates).

    So are we heading towards becoming Italy and France and Spain, or are we heading in the direction of Norway, or perhaps even Singapore? The pessimistic among us are shouting “Italy, Italy”. But I’m a bit of an optimist: even though we have rather slipped up in getting our act together at the start, perhaps it all won’t end up being quite as bad as that.

  3. CC

    [I’m going to assume that the number of real cases outnumbers the official figures 10-20 times.]

    Why that range of multipliers?

    That has the effect of making the death rate very small and the rate of serious cases (of which we know virtually nothing) very small as well.

  4. ‘meher baba says:
    Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    The Worldometer stats, if we can believe them, continue to make interesting reading.

    I see some so-called experts in the media making statements such as “Italy is our future.” However, if you look at the column headed “Serious, Critical” – which I assume broadly to mean cases that need intensive care in a hospital – then over 8 per cent (1,851 out of 23,073) of Italy’s “active” cases are deemed “Serious Critical” whereas only 1 out of over 400 Australian cases is in this category. ‘

    The discrepancy has been discussed previously. No-one appears to be quite sure why the Australian figure is ‘too’ low, based on the experience just about everywhere else.

    The Italian stats are not like-for-like because they no longer test everyone who comes into contact with the Health System. You can arrive at Emergency, be sick as a dog, be over 65, and they send you home because there are no ICU beds for you. They don’t test you for the Virus either. No point. In other words the ‘critical’ percentages are off a false base.

  5. poroti: “They are not just being shoved onto a plane and sent back . They are now under quarantine. Given what was outlined earlier it would be a ‘police assisted one”. After the quarantine period they are up for deportation and the consequences that flow from being deported.”

    There seem to be two people from S-E Asia who have been quarantined ahead of being deported, but are these the same as the woman picked up from the Christchurch youth hostel who – at least according to the Guardian – has actually been deported?

  6. Jeff Sparrow

    Coronavirus gives us a terrifying glimpse of the future – and highlights a chilling paradox

    Capitalism must expand or lapse into crisis. But perpetual growth pits humanity against nature

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/17/coronavirus-gives-us-a-terrifying-glimpse-of-the-future-and-highlights-a-chilling-paradox

    The structural similarities between Australia’s two 2020 emergencies means that coronavirus offers a terrifying glimpse of the future, allowing us to see what might happen as catastrophic manifestations of climate change – such as prolonged bushfires – become commonplace.

    In December masks didn’t protect from air pollution, any more than toilet paper wards off Covid-19 today. But, as the skies in Sydney and Melbourne and Canberra turned yellow from carcinogenic smoke, after years of public policy failing the most vulnerable, much of the public no longer trusted the government.
    :::
    But, in many ways, Morrison represents merely a local manifestation of a rottenness apparent everywhere, with the highest offices the world over filled with weak, shallow leaders who govern by spin and bluster, and cannot address any issue of substance.
    :::
    But war is good for business – and saving the planet isn’t.

    Indeed, the coronavirus highlights the awful paradox that makes global heating feel so inevitable.

    A pandemic-induced recession will ruin people’s lives. If the economy ceases to grow, some of us will lose jobs and others our homes. Many more will have to work harder for less pay, abandoning dreams and ambitions to struggle for bare survival.

    Yet a recession almost certainly also means that carbon emissions will fall, just as they did during the 2008-09 financial crisis.
    :::
    To be clear, a recession isn’t good news, in any way, shape or form. Aside from anything else, expect governments across the world to now abandon whatever commitments they’ve made to long-term decarbonisation as they scramble to get the wheels of industry turning again.

  7. I wonder if just wearing gloves, any sort of gloves, would serve as a reminder to not touch your face or nose.

    Got some old boxing gloves downstairs, but I don’t think I could hold a coffee with them. Maybe the batting gloves?

  8. So, how do you scratch an itch on your face without a nice sharp fingernail? I can’t quite get my elbow around to my face to do it. 😐

  9. meher baba

    Different one. Not sure what the story is re the woman. It was reported as if she was going to be sent back quick smart yet those other two are are being kept. Seems a bit odd.

  10. Peg

    Sparrow? sparrows? King James version, Matthew 10:

    ‘Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in [h]hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.’

  11. Remember the fire crisis everyone was kind, left drinks for tired fire fighters,cafes gave stuff to volunteers and some people donated money and time and resources?Let’s be those people again.Don’t be greedy self-centred jerks. There’s enough for everyone #coronavirusaustralia— Emma Husar (@emmahusarmp) March 17, 2020

    #EmmaGetsIt

  12. It is hard to have any confidence when the Government and AMA seem to say there is no need to rush and pandemic specialists say hit it fast, early and hard!

  13. @ meher baba: you are confusing quarantined due to being a new arrival with infected. No evidence that she’s the latter. The only evidence is that she was unlikely to comply with current New Zealand customs requirements.

    I do think the requirements themselves are overkill, but such is the world we live in at the moment.

  14. ‘Simon says:
    Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    @ meher baba: you are confusing quarantined due to being a new arrival with infected. No evidence that she’s the latter. The only evidence is that she was unlikely to comply with current New Zealand customs requirements.

    I do think the requirements themselves are overkill, but such is the world we live in at the moment.’

    ‘Over kill or under kill?’ that is the question.

  15. Peg
    The guy in Wuhan that brought the bat wasn’t living a capitalist life.

    China is no hotbed of neoliberalism and is likely to remain as it is for the foreseeable future.

  16. Rex Douglas @ #1317 Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 – 5:01 pm

    Remember the fire crisis everyone was kind, left drinks for tired fire fighters,cafes gave stuff to volunteers and some people donated money and time and resources?Let’s be those people again.Don’t be greedy self-centred jerks. There’s enough for everyone #coronavirusaustralia— Emma Husar (@emmahusarmp) March 17, 2020

    #EmmaGetsIt

    The news bulletins covering the supermarket brawls haven’t made as much of a deal about the “typical Aussie spirit” on display.

  17. shellbell @ #1305 Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 – 3:49 pm

    CC

    [I’m going to assume that the number of real cases outnumbers the official figures 10-20 times.]

    Why that range of multipliers?

    That has the effect of making the death rate very small and the rate of serious cases (of which we know virtually nothing) very small as well.

    This article describes the logic. And other things too.
    https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

  18. Email from Victorian Greens Ellen Sandell:

    “I’m sorry to email you with bad news, especially when the world is facing very uncertain times right now, but…

    Premier Daniel Andrews has just announced he will lift Victoria’s ban on onshore gas drilling.

    Yep, you heard that right. Victoria is now open for big gas companies to drill our farmland and precious places, and further destroy our climate.

    The timing of this announcement is a very low act. Daniel Andrews and Victorian Labor are sneaking it through while everyone is busy coping with COVID-19.

    Right now, COVID-19 is everybody’s focus – as it should be. But in the months, years and decades to come, the decisions made today will have a profound impact on our climate and the planet.
    :::
    What’s more – Premier Andrews is trying to convince people this decision is okay because he’s banned ‘fracking’ (a particularly destructive form of gas drilling). We fought long and hard for the fracking ban, and we’re pleased it’s happening, but the decision to open up ‘conventional’ gas drilling across the state is still horrendous.

    ‘Conventional’ gas drilling has been given the green light to proceed across Gippsland and south west Victoria from July 2021. Conventional drilling is not fracking, but it’s still a destructive, extractive practice that will fuel the climate emergency and pose risks to water, land and wildlife.

    Today’s decision to allow new gas drilling shows we must stay active and engaged in our fight for climate justice, even as we also grapple with the developing COVID-19 situation.
    In the coming weeks and months my Greens colleagues and I will be in regular contact with updates about both COVID-19 and our ongoing work for climate justice.

    Now, more than ever, we must stay connected as a community, driven by our shared vision for a safe and healthy future, for all of us and our planet.”

  19. shellbell: “That has the effect of making the death rate very small and the rate of serious cases (of which we know virtually nothing) very small as well.”

    You’re pointing out a paradox that some of the harbingers of doom around the place (including on this forum) don’t seem fully to appreciate. I have people down here in Tassie seriously argue that there could already be up to 50,000 people infected in Tasmania. But my understanding is that none of the 7 publicly-identified cases is in an ICU which means either that, there are a large number of dying people currently not in hospital or else that, at least in its Tasmanian manifestation, coronavirus isn’t anywhere near as dangerous as even the normal flu.

    The problem is not lots of undetected full-blown cases: it’s lots of emerging cases that haven’t manifested any symptoms yet but which mean that today’s 450 or so cases in Australia could inevitably blow out to several thousand within a week or two: even if, as of right now, governments were to put into place the most draconian social distancing rules imaginable.

    And then the question becomes that of how many of those several thousand cases are going to require ICU treatment. And the answer to that question depends, in my view, on the demographic characteristics of the people who become infected.

    In my view, the big question coming out of Italy is whether or not there has been significant spread of coronavirus within hospitals and aged care facilities: a development which, as far as I can see, hasn’t occurred to any great extent anywhere else (other than in Washington State in the US and, to a limited extent, in Sydney). The very high death rates we are seeing from Italy – which now exceed even those of Iran – are consistent with such a spread, which would explain the much higher death rates: due to the concentration of the old and chronically ill in those facilities.

  20. Sparrow

    ‘But war is good for business – and saving the planet isn’t.’

    No idea except to mouth extreme Left platitudes.

    Tell that to the Germans and the Japanese at the end of WW2. They were trashed. TRASHED.

    Losing wars is terrible for business.

  21. Xenophon acting for military whistleblower

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6683794/xenophon-acting-for-military-whistleblower/?cs=14231

    Former senator Nick Xenophon will represent a military lawyer who blew the whistle on alleged war crimes by Australian troops.

    David McBride leaked classified documents to the ABC and is facing charges of theft of commonwealth property, breaching the Defence Act and unauthorised disclosure of information.
    :::
    “His will be a test case for whistleblowers and the right for all of us to know what happens in the shadows of our government and military.”

  22. mb

    ‘The very high death rates we are seeing from Italy – which now exceed even those of Iran – are consistent with such a spread, which would explain the much higher death rates: due to the concentration of the old and chronically ill in those facilities.’

    They are not counting the peeps who obviously have the Virus that they are sending home. They are testing nobody out in the community.

    Thus the very high death rates in Italy are partly an artefact of not counting the true base.

    They are also a result of the ICU system being overwhelmed and lots of 65+ peeps being triaged out of ICU and thereafter dying for lack of oxygen or a septicemia storm in the vital organs.

    Double whammy.

  23. Mexicanbeemer @ #1288 Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 – 3:03 pm

    Rakali
    There is no good news unless you are debt free and hold spare cash.

    Some people on the left make the mistake of thinking this only hurts the rich.

    Only hurts the rich in the short-term, and not at a personal level.

    They love a good recession or depression every so often. Floods the market with a wide range of cheap distressed assets, and offers yet another chance to further force down wages and conditions for the plebs.

    If the rich can stay healthy, they are going to clean up.

    No doubt including train loads of taxpayer funded bailouts.

    It is sickeningly predictable. 🙁

  24. Peg
    The Greens spreading moral panic on every single issue gets you around 12% of the polling.
    You guys need to move on to Plan B.
    Whatever that might be.

  25. Statisticians swing into action to measure growing impact of coronavirus

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6681285/statisticians-swing-into-action-to-measure-growing-impact-of-coronavirus/?cs=14225

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics will map the areas predicted to be the hardest hit by coronavirus-induced job losses, as the country locks down to slow the spread of the pandemic.
    :::
    To that end, the ABS will look at providing extra, more up-to-date information “over and above existing statistical releases” in order to track the economic impact of the virus.

    It will publish preliminary retail turnover estimates two weeks after the end of each month, the first of which is due on Wednesday. Currently, there’s a longer lag between the end of the month and when the figures are published. The January figures for example went up on March 6. The estimates will be subject to revision two weeks later.
    :::
    The ABS has also started surveying businesses about the actual and expected impacts of the virus. It will be done monthly, with the first results due in mid-April.

    It will also conduct extra analysis of short term visitor arrivals and international students for each state and territory. It will also beef up its data collection on hours worked, including reasons for working less hours, and quarterly analysis by industry.

    Most critically, the ABS will publish interactive employment maps from Wednesday to support a regional assessment of potential impacts of the coronavirus on employment. These maps will include age, industry and employment dimensions, and be based on underlying data from Jobs in Australia.

  26. new zealand’s response is discusseed at “the conversation”. -a.v.
    https://theconversation.com/new-zealand-outstrips-australia-uk-and-us-with-12-billion-coronavirus-package-for-business-and-people-in-isolation-133789

    Financially, New Zealand’s first response dwarfs Australia’s.

    Its package is worth 4% of gross domestic product. Australia’s is less than 1% of GDP.

    And it dwarfs it in the help it extends to the businesses and workers who are going to suddenly lose income.

    All businesses in all sectors, which can show their revenue has slumped 30%, will be paid NZ$585 per week for full time staff, and NZ$350 for part time staff, up to a total of NZ$150,000 per business.

    For as long as it lasts …

    peter martin, anu

  27. Climate Vse Corona Virus

    https://theaimn.com/climate-vse-corona-virus/

    Without casting criticism on global governments’ measures to stem the spread of Covid 19, one cannot deny the stark contrast between our response to the pandemic, and our response to the very real existential threat that is climate change. So now, all of a sudden we believe the scientists?

    If the great toilet paper panic of 2020 has taught us anything, it is that many of us are shamelessly self-interested to the point of utter irrationality. So consider this, is it a coincidence that an existential threat that is beating down the door of the “power rich” demographic gets such unprecedented action; Whereas the looming disaster of climate change, that will impact heavily on the currently “power poor” younger generations is largely ignored?
    :::
    Corona Virus has made a mockery of the economic excuses. When the bell tolls for the powerful no level of economic sacrifice is too great, but when it comes to economic realignment to stem climate change, our children and grandchildren can quite literally burn in hell.

  28. Peg
    That comment on climate change is flawed because it ignores that fossil fuel companies are coming under increasing pressure from both regulators and investors.

  29. shellbell

    The multiplier is motivated by this article.
    https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

    And in particular this graph.

    Its only in retrospect that you can look backwards and infer the number of unreported cases there must have been in order to generate the numbers you are looking at now. You can see how China had a certain curve of reported cases, but with maths you can infer that the rise of real cases came first and reporting caught up with a lag.

    Same thing is probably happening in Australia – we are also on the leading edge of the curve. And if you look at the numbers in that graph then we could be looking at a 10-20 times factor. Meaning real cases are 10-20 times presently reported.

    In other words for there to be 400 reported cases today, the real number of infected people (given we are not testing everyone) could be in the thousands.

  30. MB

    [And then the question becomes that of how many of those several thousand cases are going to require ICU treatment. And the answer to that question depends, in my view, on the demographic characteristics of the people who become infected.]

    Yes – the figures in NSW have the 50s as the highest % decile.

    Presumably there will be soon enough cases to draw some statistical conclusions of our own.

  31. John Menadue – Democratic Renewal

    https://johnmenadue.com/john-menadue-democratic-renewal-3/

    Many Australians are sick and tired of politics and politicians .The situation is worsening .The community is deserting the major political parties in droves.
    :::
    I have written many times about the collapse of trust in business, the banks, churches and the media. But our immediate concern must surely be the failure of our political institutions, politicians and the urgent need for political reform.

    With unfettered capitalism, democracy is losing it’s appeal. The two often seem linked.The failure of capitalism is eroding confidence in democracy . People around the world feel alienated and are concluding that the ‘system’ may be working well for a few but not the many. ‘Strong leaders’ are responding with corrosive but appealing messages.
    :::
    Politics is about how power is exercised and for whose benefit. It is a noble calling and disparaged too much, particularly by those who want untrammelled private power for themselves. But to change the way our institutions,both Church and State operate, faces one major obstacle – the power of those who benefit from the present system. Insiders want to hang on to power. That is very true of our media ,churches and major political parties. They are run by insiders for the benefit of insiders. They abuse their power.
    :::
    Unless the political parties broadly represent their voter constituencies, we will continue to tread the slippery road of personalities and political spin, rather than addressing the real issues and concerns of the community. While the major parties refuse to treat the community seriously and run from public discussion, their natural constituencies are disenfranchised. Those that are really enfranchised are a small group of party power brokers and voters in swinging electorates.
    :::
    Parliaments are in need of renovation. The cabinet and party machines dominate parliament. The executive has become arrogant. Question time is given over to hectoring and personal abuse.
    :::
    Decades of failure to keep promises have also taken an inevitable and heavy toll. Fairness, respect for others, openness, integrity and trust, are the glue that hold us together. A democratic and free society will remain free only if the virtues necessary for freedom are alive in our community. Democracy cannot be separated from public morality. The democratic project and institutions within it must be informed by what is right and true. Every society needs a moral compass.

    Moral behaviour is in the end about how our words and actions enhance human dignity and human flourishing. Robust and well functioning institutions are an important means to that end.

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