Killing time: part two

A thread for discussion of part two of the ABC’s documentary on the life and times of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government.

Last week’s opening instalment of the ABC’s The Killing Season treated us to the thrills and spills of the Rudd government’s first two-and-a-half years in government. In tonight’s episode, we move into the sharper end of proceedings. Here again as a thread for discussion of what transpires. Play nice, everybody …

Killing time

Stroll down memory lane with tonight’s premiere of the ABC’s warts-and-more-warts documentary on the short life and fast times of the Rudd-Gillard government.

A thread for discussion of the troubled life of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government, apropos tonight’s premiere of ABC Television’s epic fantasy series, The Killing Season. Please keep this thread on topic – the general discussion continues on the post immediately below this one.

Photo finishes: Dobell

This post will be progressively updated to follow the late counting in the undecided seat of Dobell.

Wednesday 5pm. The addition of 817 absent votes have favoured Labor by 450-367, whittling the Liberal lead back to 624.

Sunday 6pm. Some missing booth and pre-poll voting centre results have broken handily for Liberal candidate Karen McNamara, favouring her 2701 to 2243 over Labor’s Emma McBride, increasing her lead to a surely decisive 968.

Election night. As with neighbouring Robertson in 2010, Labor has done better in Dobell in the wake of local member scandals than most expected, though in this case not by quite enough. The ABC projects a 5.7% swing off a 5.4% margin, although the margin on the raw two-party preferred count is lower at 35029 (50.4%) to 34519 (49.6%).

Morgan: 52-48 to Labor, Essential: 51-49 to Coalition

The weekly Essential Research and Morgan results both detect a rise in support for the Greens, with Morgan finding Labor support coming off a little after successive strong results in previous weeks.

The weekly Morgan multi-mode poll finds the Labor primary vote slipping three points to 38.5% and the Greens up 1.5% to 10.5%, with the Coalition up half a point to 41.5%. That translates to 52-48 to Labor on respondent-allocated preferences, down slightly from 52.5-47.5 last week. The change is sharper on the generally more useful two-party measure which distributes preferences according to the previous election result, with Labor’s lead down from 52-48 to 50.5-49.5.

Meanwhile, today’s Essential Research has the Coalition down a point for the second week in a row to 44%, with Labor steady on 39% and the Greens up two to 9%. After shifting a point in Labor’s favour on the basis of little change in the published primary votes last week, two-party preferred remains at 51-49 despite more substantial change this week, suggesting the result has moved from the cusp of 52-48 to the cusp of 50-50.

Essential also finds 61% approval for the government’s new asylum seekers policy against 28% disapproval, and concurs with Galaxy in having the two parties almost equal as best party to handle the issue. Labor is favoured by 25% (up eight on mid-June), Coalition by 26% (down 12) and the Greens by 6% (down one). Asylum seeker arrivals are rated the most important election issue by 7%, one of the most important by 28%, quite important by 35%, not very important by 16% and not at all important by 8%. The poll also has Malcolm Turnbull rated as best person to lead the Liberal Party by 37% against 17% for Tony Abbott and 10% for Joe Hockey, and also includes further questions on workplace productivity.

Galaxy: 50-50

Contrary to talk of stalled momentum for Kevin Rudd after a relatively weak Newspoll, a new Galaxy poll has Labor’s primary vote with a four in front and a dead heat on two-party preferred.

GhostWhoVotes reports that a Galaxy poll in tomorrow’s News Limited tabloids has two-party preferred at 50-50, from primary votes of 40% for Labor and 44% for the Coalition. This compares with a 51-49 lead for the Coalition at the last such poll four weeks ago, with Labor up two on the primary vote and the Coalition steady. More to follow.

UPDATE: James J fills the blanks: “Greens Primary for this poll is 9. Who do you think will be better, Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party or Tony Abbott and the Coalition, in handling the issue of asylum seekers? Rudd Labor 40, Abbott Coalition 38. Who do you think will be better, Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party or Tony Abbott and the Coalition, in tackling climate change? Rudd Labor 45, Abbott Coalition 31 Which of the two party leaders do you believe has the best vision for the future? Rudd 46, Abbott 36. July 23-25. 1015 sample.

We also have the Launceston Examiner reporting ReachTEL polls of 600 respondents in each of Bass, Braddon and Lyons show the Liberals continuing to lead in all three, although details provided in the article are sketchy.

UPDATE 2: Kevin Bonham has kindly passed on results of the ReachTEL poll of Bass, Braddon and Lyons. The polls were conducted on Thursday from respective sample sizes are 626, 659 and 617, for margins of error of around 4%. The results unusually feature personal ratings for both the Labor incumbents and Liberal candidates, which show a) implausibly high recognition ratings for all concerned (only 1.5% of Braddon respondents had never heard of their Liberal candidate, former state MP Brett Whiteley), b) surprisingly weak results for the incumbents, and c) remarkable uniformity from electorate to the next.

Bass (Labor 6.7%): Geoff Lyons (Labor) 34.7%, Andrew Nikolic (Liberal) 48.9%, Greens 9.4%. Two party preferred: 54.0%-46.0% to Liberal. Preferred PM: Rudd 50.6%, Abbott 49.4%. Geoff Lyons: 25.6%-39.8%-30.3% (favourable-neutral-unfavourable). Andrew Nikolic: 43.3%-24.0%-24.6%.

Braddon (Labor 7.5%): Sid Sidebottom (Labor) 34.6%, Brett Whiteley (Liberal) 51.3%, Greens 7.4%. Two party preferred: 56.8%-43.2% to Liberal. Preferred PM: Rudd 51.2%, Abbott 48.8%. Sid Sidebottom: 27.4%-37.8%-33.1%. Brett Whiteley: 42.7%-30.5%-25.3%.

Lyons (Labor 12.3%): Dick Adams (Labor) 32.3%, Eric Hutchison (Liberal) 46.8%, Greens 10.2%. Two party preferred: 54.4%-45.6% to Liberal. Rudd 50.7%, Abbott 49.3%. Dick Adams: 26.8%-34.3%-35.7%. Eric Hutchison: 36.8%-29.3%-18.2%.

UPDATE 3: More numbers from last night’s Galaxy poll. Kevin Rudd’s lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister is unchanged at 51-34, but Malcolm Turnbull holds a 46-38 lead over Rudd.

UPDATE 4: Essential Research has the Coalition down a point for the second week in a row to 44%, Labor steady on 39% and the Greens up two to 9%. After shifting a point in Labor’s favour on the basis of little change in the published primary votes last week, two-party preferred remains at 51-49 despite more substantial change this week, suggesting the result has moved from the cusp of 52-48 to the cusp of 50-50. The poll finds 61% approval for the government’s new asylum seekers policy against 28% disapproval and concurs with Galaxy in having the two parties almost equal as best party to handle the issue, with Labor on 25% (up eight on mid-June), the Coalition on 26% (down 12) and the Greens on 6% (down one). The issue is rated the most important election issue by 7%, one of the most by 28%, quite important by 35%, not very important by 16% and not at all important by 8%. Malcolm Turnbull is rated best person to lead the Liberal Party by 37% against 17% for Tony Abbott and 10% for Joe Hockey, and there are further questions on workplace productivity.

BludgerTrack: 50.5-49.5 to Coalition

The Coalition pokes its nose in front after a strong showing in Newspoll and close results elsewhere.

Four new poll results have been added for the BludgerTrack aggregate this week, with Newspoll handing Labor a relatively weak result and ReachTEL, Essential Research and Morgan recording little change. The force of Newspoll has pulled the two-party preferred total 0.4% in the direction of the Coalition, which nets it a handy three seats on the national projection. The high yield is testament to the sensitivity of Queensland, where Labor’s projected gain of six seats from last week has been halved by a 1.8% shift on the two-party vote. Some soft polling for Labor in Tasmania has also brought them down a peg in that state, but this is cancelled out by a gain in New South Wales, where the model continues to have them on the cusp of 25 and 26. The projected total still leaves us in hung parliament territory, but with the Coalition able to govern with help from Bob Katter.

Newspoll especially has been keenly scrutinised for the effect of Friday’s asylum seeker policy announcement, but this would seem a fraught endeavour at this stage. The asylum seeker issue played badly for the government throughout last week up until Kevin Rudd’s move to seize the initiative on Friday evening, news of which would have taken a while to filter through. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to note the latest polls are solidly better for the Greens than a particularly weak batch last week, and that Labor’s primary vote is down correspondingly. This of course will mostly come out in the wash on preferences, but a refugee backlash could nonetheless be of considerable consequence in the Senate.

Usually the six Senators returned by a state at a normal half-Senate election split evenly between the parties of the left and right, but Labor’s polling under Julia Gillard was bad enough to allow for the possibility of four right, two left results in as many as three states (or perhaps four, depending on what view you take of Nick Xenophon). Now it appears that Senate battles will proceed along more familiar lines, with Labor comfortably winning two seats and fighting it out with the lead Greens candidate for a third. Labor’s starting position in such contests is its surplus vote above 28.6%, which can generally be expected to leave them in about the 7% to 10% range where the Greens vote is fluctuating at present. So while Labor’s western Sydney MPs might have cause to cheer the Prime Minister’s new policy direction, its number three Senate candidates (including incumbents Ursula Stephens in New South Wales, Mark Furner in Queensland and Lin Thorp in Tasmania) will feel less pleased.

BludgerTrack arrives with some new toys this week, starting with a new set of graphs on the sidebar which plot the polling over the four weeks since the restoration. These look a bit threadbare at present, but they will have a story to tell soon enough. The Gillard era model remains preserved for posterity at the bottom. In between is another new feature, which projects the likelihood of seat outcomes under the present BludgerTrack results. This is done by simulating 100,000 election results from the ALP seat win probabilities I have been using to determine the seat projection totals and observing the frequency of each result. The chances of majority government are currently put at 42.8%, which increases to 50.4% if you take the view that Labor will win Melbourne from Adam Bandt. Labor’s chances of holding on with the support of whoever ends up representing Denison and Melbourne are put at 28.7%.

Newspoll: 52-48 to Coalition

Newspoll has the Coalition leading 52-48 after a dead heat a fortnight ago, but there’s some encouragement for Labor in an extra question on asylum seeker policy.

The Australian reports the latest Newspoll has the Coalition leading 52-48, after a dead heat a fortnight ago. This comes off a three-point lift in the Coalition primary vote to 45%, with Labor down a point to 37% and the Greens up one to 10%. Kevin Rudd’s lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, which blew out from 49-35 in his first poll to 53-31 in his second, is roughly back where it started at 50-34. Rudd’s approval ratings have followed a similar course over the three polls, this one showing approval down a point to 42% and disapproval up five to 41%, while Tony Abbott is steady at 35% and 56%. However, the Prime Minister can take solace in a finding that 26% now consider Labor the past party to deal with asylum seekers, up six since the question was last asked, with the Coalition plummeting 14 points to 33%.

Earlier today we had the regular weekly Morgan poll, which was little changed on last time with Labor down half a point to 41.5%, the Coalition steady on 41%, and the Greens up two points to 9%. There was actually a slight move in Labor’s favour on two-party preferred as measured using preference flows from the previous election, presumably because of rounding, their lead up from 51.5-48.5 to 52-48. On respondent-allocated preferences, the lead is steady at 52.5-47.5. Regrettably, the poll does not come with state breakdowns, which keen observers among us had started to think would be a regular feature (as it surely should be with such a large sample size).

Essential Research is delayed this week and will be along tomorrow.

UPDATE: And here it is – Labor has pared back a point on two-party preferred to now trail 51-49, from primary votes of 39% for Labor (steady), 45% for the Coalition (down one) and 7% for the Greens (steady). Also featured are a semi-regular series on important election issues (“Australian jobs and protection of local industries” being up five points on a month ago), best party to handle them (across the board improvement for Labor in the wake of the leadership change), carbon pricing (45% support the move to an ETS with 29% opposed, while support for the “tax” scheme is down to 37% support with 48% opposed compared with 43% each in May – these being relatively supportive results on account of a question which explains it’s industries that pay the tax). Sixty-two per cent said they would support a referendum on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution with only 16% opposed.

ReachTEL: 51-49 to Coalition

A second post-Ruddstoration ReachTEL result finds little change on the first, and confirms the impression that Malcolm Turnbull is strongly favoured over both the current contenders.

ReachTEL has published results of an automated phone poll of 2922 respondents across the country which has the Coalition leading 51-49, down from 52-48 in the immediate aftermath of the leadership change, from primary votes of 39.3% for Labor (up 0.5%, 45.4% for the Coalition (up 0.3%) and 8.3% for the Greens (down 0.4%). ReachTEL shows Kevin Rudd with an unusually narrow 52.4-47.6 lead over Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister, but the knife is nonetheless turned on Abbott by a result on voting intention under a Malcolm Turnbull leadership which has the Coalition lead at 58-42. Turnbull is also favoured 65-35 over Rudd as preferred prime minister.